American Religious History Week

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, May 1, 2009 | Published in

For once I actually agree with the Dobsons, just not for the same reasons. Next Thursday, which just happens to be the National Day of Prayer and my birthday, James and Shirley will join Congressman J. Randy Forbes (R-VA) will hold a press conference to introduce a bill entitled "The Spiritual Heritage Resolution". If you follow House resolutions closely (and who doesn't??) you might recognize it by its former name of House Resolution #888. The first part of the resolution is to reaffirm "the rich spiritual and diverse religious history of our nation's founding and subsequent history" which is obvious dog whistle language for "America is a Christian nation no matter what Obama says!!!" Obviously I don't agree with this part since it plays right into the right-wing theocratic wannabes' desire to completely rewrite American history in their own image.

The part of resolution I do agree with is the fourth part which "expresses support for designation of a 'American Religious History Week' every year." I love this idea because we, as Americans, don't talk honestly about religious history enough in this country. I know too many people who just go along with whatever right-wing meme is floating around. And lord knows our high school textbooks have been sanitized within an inch of their life! What we need to do is go back through the history of the continent and discuss where religion has gotten us.

We should start with the fact that the Pilgrims were batshit crazy enough to get thrown out of both England and the Netherlands. We could also point out that many of the Founding Fathers were Deists, including Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and Thomas Paine. We could have a whole day dedicated to Jefferson's thoughts on the Separation of Church and State. Might want to throw something in there about the time Jefferson took a pair of scissors to the Bible to make it more appealing to him. We'll have to have something on the Treaty of Tripoli which very clearly states "the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion". Follow that up with the fact that the Protestant doctrine of Manifest Destiny helped to spur on the genocide of millions of Native Americans. And we can't forget to mention how Christians ended up on both sides of the slavery issue with many denominations (including the Southern Baptists) splitting off thanks to it. We could round all of it off by talking about the Utah War, where members of the Latter-Day Saints church actively fought against the US government and killed about 120 people at the Mountain Medows massacre. We wouldn't want anyone to feel left out.

So there, doesn't an American Religious History Week sound like fun? Make sure to contact your representative now to make sure this passes.

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