Written by Pia Savage
Blogging has been great for me. It's allowed me to meet people from parts of the country I didn't know well enough before, and realize that people throughout this incredible country are caring, compassionate, and intelligent with beliefs that are very similar but they don't exactly mirror them.
That's the problem. We, who are called liberal, don't think exactly alike. Earlier this summer I wrote about subway searches. I was scared, angry, tired of answering comments from people who do usually think alike, and can't understand how people on Bring it on! can think differently from one another.
I won't explain how The First Amendment really means that America is a Christian country; because as many times as it's been explained to me I still don't understand how this: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. — The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution can possibly mean that as a non-Christian I have been living in a legally Christian country all these years. Yes the majority of the population is Christian.
The variety of religious beliefs in the United States surpasses the nation’s multitude of ethnicities, nationalities, and races, making religion another source of diversity rather than a unifying force. This is true even though the vast majority of Americans—83 percent—identify themselves as Christian. One-third of these self-identified Christians are unaffiliated with any church. Moreover, practicing Christians belong to a wide variety of churches that differ on theology, organization, programs, and policies. The largest number of Christians in the United States belong to one of the many Protestant denominations—groups that vary widely in their beliefs and practices. Roman Catholics constitute the next largest group of American Christians, followed by the Eastern Orthodox.
That in no way means that Thomas Jefferson and the other founding fathers meant for this to be a Christian nation.
The roots of the First Amendment can be traced to a bill written by Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) in 1777 and proposed to the Virginia Legislature in 1779. It guaranteed freedom of (and from) religion. After an impassioned speech by James Madison, and after some amendments, it became law on 1786-JAN-16.
Why when we at Bring it on! have been saying this since we began am I bringing this up now? Because many radical Christian Rightists still don't get it. It's simple; it's the Amendment that guarantees the most basic of rights, the right to practice or not practice a religion, and never have to worry that a state religion will be formed, and also and equal, guarantees freedom of speech.
Because so many people feel validated and vindicated by the people occupying The White House, Intelligent Design, and The Discovery Institute have been getting much play recently. Here are a few quotes by William Safire who isn't exactly known as a liberal, but yikes, he's Jewish, so the Radical Christian right always knew that they couldn't trust him, really.
Then along came the phrase intelligent design, and evolution had fresh linguistic competition. Though the phrase can be found in an 1847 issue of Scientific American, it was probably coined in its present sense in "Humanism," a 1903 book by Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller: "It will not be possible to rule out the supposition that the process of evolution may be guided by an intelligent design."