Demolishing the right's "Founding Myth": America was never a "Christian nation" - 2019-05-18
As I reported last year, nothing did more to elect Donald Trump than the belief in America as a "Christian nation." By that measure, nothing could be more timely than a book that takes that myth head on and fundamentally destroys it. Such a book has just been published: "The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American" by Andrew L. Seidel, a constitutional attorney who works for the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Seidel is far from the first author to address the historical myths and confusions of political philosophy that sustain Christian nationalism. But no one has written a book quite like this before, because of its sweep, its depth, its viewpoint and its tone. "The Founding Myth" goes far beyond debunking the false history that Christian nationalists advance to a detailed examination of how biblical principles are fundamentally at odds with our constitutional order. The rare exceptions at the time of our founding — biblical support for slavery and the subjugation of women — do not reflect how we view the Constitution today.
In addition, the fact that the Constitution has evolved, and was designed to do so, points to another sharp contrast with the unchanging edicts of the Bible, many of which simply go ignored today in order to preserve the mythic appeal. Seidel also examines how linguistic trappings — "In God We Trust" on our currency, "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, etc. — do not reflect deep principles of national political philosophy, but rather episodes of national weakness and political opportunism that cloud and obscure our true heritage.