Saturday is Religious Freedom Day. While it’s not one of our most well-known or popular holidays, Religious Freedom Day shouldn’t be overlooked. Our country is in the middle of a campaign, spearheaded by far-right religious groups and their political allies, to redefine religious freedom. We cannot allow this to happen.
Three years ago, Religious Right phony historian David Barton published a ridiculous book called The Jefferson Lies that argued, in part, that Thomas Jefferson was a fundamentalist Christian who wanted Christianity to form the basis of the U.S. government.
The tome marked a turning point for Barton. His previous books had been self-produced, but The Jefferson Lies was issued by Thomas Nelson, a respectable publisher of evangelical works.
Editor’s Note: Steven K. Green is the Fred H. Paulus Professor of Law and director of the Center for Religion, Law & Democracy at Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon. Green, who served as legal director of Americans United from 1992—2001, is the author of several books on church-state relations, most recently Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding (Oxford University Press). Green discussed his new book with Church & State Editor Rob Boston recently.
It was June 28, 1787, and the delegates of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia had reached an impasse. At a critical moment in which it seemed the convention was nearing dissolution, 81-year-old Benjamin Franklin made an impassioned plea for all present to join together in prayer as a means of easing the mounting tension.
When we last left David Barton, the Religious Right’s favorite pseudo-historian and “Christian nation” advocate , he was under fire for claiming that he had played on a record-setting basketball team at Oral Roberts University (ORU) in the mid- 1970s.
Here’s what the country doesn’t need right now: another zealot aiming to mobilize right-wing pastors to become a force in electoral politics.
Yet that’s what the country is getting.
Religious Right pseudo-historian David Barton has been running around of late bragging about how he won defamation lawsuits against two Texans and a writer who had accused him of being a racist and a liar. However, it increasingly appears that Barton’s version of events is missing some details.
The Religious Right’s favorite doctor, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, has a well-documented history of making hateful statements. As a result, he finds himself listed in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) “Extremist Files.”
Whenever I’m in the mood for clear, insightful commentary on the separation of church and state, I know just where to turn: the nearest reality TV star!
Just kidding. Reality TV stars are perhaps the worst source for anything sensible. Exhibit A: Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty.”
When we last left the Z.Z. Top wannabe, Robertson was under fire for a string of homophobic comments that almost derailed his reality TV empire on the A&E network.