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View Diary: Is There a Christian Nationalist Majority in America? (167 comments)

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  •  I've heard (13+ / 0-)

    "America was founded as a Christian nation" since I was a young little gay Jew.  I moved around a lot growing up, living in the south, New England, the Midwest, and the northeast.  Everywhere I heard the same refrain.  I'd like to suggest that the one thing this narrative misses is WHO the persecutors of the early settlers were:  Other Christians.  This might seem like a small and obvious things, but over the years I've gathered that Christian nationalists that repeat this mantra think the settlers were escaping evil atheists, secularists, or Marxists.  

    Pointing out that this was Christian on Christian violence (and it's also important to underline the brutality of US Christianity prior to the founding of the US and after as well) both provides a context as to the problems of Christian nationalism, but also the dangers of theocracy.  Suppose the Christianists got their way.  What would you see next?  Horrific Christian internecine warfare between Catholic and Baptist, Pentacostal and Church of Christ, etc.  how many Americans know the details of the 30 Years War or the English Civil War.  Do Americans have the faintest clue as to what cultural experiences (brutal violence and horrific bloodshed) made the Enlightenment attractive?

    •  I got precisely the opposite (7+ / 0-)

      Growing up Jewish (and gay) in NYC, I was given the impression by my teachers, as well as by my parents, that the Founding Fathers, even if they somewhat unconsciously used the language of Christianity, wanted to distance the US as much as possible from the idea of any sort of official religion. And that that intention was behind  the Establishment Clause.

      •  I suspect NYC (8+ / 0-)

        was a part of it.  As I think back, I'm not surprised I heard this in the South, but Boston and Philly?  In MA it was strangely even a part of the elementary school history mythology they taught us alongside all sorts of stories about the revolution and the 13 colonies.  Now that I'm old and grey, I've concluded that Maericans have an extremely limited knowledge of the Enlightenment, why it happened, and the results of the Reformation.  Even on the left I'm perpetually surprised by just how sanitized the history of Christianity is.  No doubt I'm particularly sensitive to this due to the pogroms that were ever so popular throughout Europe, but Christian on Christian violence was nearly as ugly.

        •  Even on the left (1+ / 0-)
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          and that is particularly odd. Given that the left is among the legacies of the Enlightenment, it's particularly surprising so many of us should know so little about it. Then again, when I was a grad student (early to mid-1970's) it was quite common for people to call themselves Marxists without ever having read anything at all by old uncle Karl. I cannot claim to have been an expert of course; I gave up about half-way through the first volume of Kapital, but at least I managed to plow through most of Marx's earlier, more philosophical writings and those were the ones considered most important by most of the crowd I associated with back then.

          As I recall, I was told, even when I was fairly young, that Americans tended to be very well-informed about technical matters, less so about languages other than English and even less about European history. I suspect it was mainly those of us that ended up here because of the pogroms who felt we needed to be well-read on the background for them. As for the Thirty Years War and the Hundred Years War, at this point it's tough for me to remember how much I learned about them came from assigned texts and how much I picked up on my own.

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