Religious Right Pushes 'Christian Ideals' In Congress

In an election-year ploy designed to energize Religious Right conservatives, the House of Representatives is planning to vote on several "culture war" issues over the next few days.

Votes are expected on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage as well as bills that would legalize church-based partisan politicking and strip the federal courts of their ability to hear cases challenging the constitutionality of "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Leaders of Religious Right groups are salivating at the prospect. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, admitted in an e-mail to supporters that the votes are part of a larger effort to remake America in the Religious Right's image.

"While the phrase 'under God' is a relatively new addition to the Pledge - the fact that we are a nation founded on Christian ideals is not," Perkins wrote. "Unfortunately, there are those seeking to erase our Christian heritage from our nation's memory, and they are not afraid to use a compliant judiciary to reach that goal."

Rarely has the Religious Right been more upfront about its goals. Frustrated by court rulings that block its efforts to usher in an officially "Christian" nation, fundamentalists and their allies in Congress are trying to neuter the courts and rewrite our Constitution.

While they are at it, they're busy rewriting history to whitewash unpleasant facts that don't fit in with their scenario. The U.S. Constitution says nothing about America being Christian but does, in the First Amendment, provide for the separation of church and state. But according to the Religious Right's version of things, the Founding Fathers were 18th-century versions of Jerry Falwell who wanted the nation to be officially Christian. (Funny how they forgot to put that in the Constitution.)

What's the ultimate goal here? It's no secret: a theocratic state with the Religious Right calling the shots. That type of America wouldn't just exclude non-Christians but plenty of Christians as well. The Religious Right's definition of Christianity is a narrow one that wouldn't include millions of Americans who belong to progressive, moderate and mainstream denominations.

In short, the Religious Right's dream of a Christian America would quickly turn out to be everyone else's nightmare.