By Ted Rall
10/18/07 "ICH' -- -- WASHINGTON--A poll finds that 55
percent of Americans think the U.S. was created as a Christian
theocracy. "The strong support for official recognition of the
majority faith appears to be grounded in a belief that the
United States was founded as a Christian nation, in spite of the
fact that the Constitution nowhere mentions God or
Christianity," says Charles Haynes of the First Amendment
Sadly, these morons are allowed to vote. Tragically, one of them
is a major presidential candidate. "The Constitution established
the United States of America as a Christian nation," John McCain
recently told an interviewer.
Here's an offer that an erstwhile front-running shoe-in, now low
on cash, ought not to refuse. Senator McCain: If you can show me
where the Constitution makes us a Christian nation, I'll donate
$10,000 to your campaign. If you can't, please explain why we
should trust your presidential oath to preserve, protect and
defend a document you haven't read.
Lest you think McCain's comment was an isolated brainfart, check
out his pandering morsel from the same interview: "We were
founded as a nation on Judeo-Christian principles. There's very
little debate about that."
Speaking of war criminals, Bush won 80 percent of the Christian
fundamentalist voting bloc in 2004. (If they can show me where
Jesus advocates the murder of hundreds of thousands of people,
I've got another ten grand set aside.) This year, however, the
Christian soldiers are in play, dissatisfied with the entire
field of presidential candidates.
It's not for lack of sucking up.
Mitt Romney is one-upping McCain, misrepresenting Mormonism as
well as the secular nature of American government. "The values
of my faith are much like, or are identical to, the values of
other faiths that have a Judeo-Christian philosophical
background," he said in New Hampshire. "They're American values,
if you will." Or if you won't. As The New York Times notes,
"Mormons do not believe in the concept of the unified Trinity;
the Book of Mormon is considered to be sacred text, alongside
the Bible; and Mormons believe that God has a physical body and
human beings can eventually become like God." Also, the Mormon
Jesus will eventually return to Independence, Missouri. "Much
McCain, Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee, Sam
Brownback have all signed up to address this week's right-wing
Christian "Values Voter Summit." So has Democrat Bill
Richardson. But when it comes to indulging the whims of
Christianists, these guys have nothing on the Big Three Dems.
Hillary Clinton has hired an "evangelical consultant" to court
the quarter of voters who tell pollsters that God favors the
United States in foreign affairs. Barack Obama deploys
evangelical imagery at campaign stops in the Bible Belt. At an
evangelical church in Greenville, South Carolina, he said he
wants to be an "instrument of God" and expressed confidence "we
can create a Kingdom right here on Earth."
"That terminology," said the Rev. Welton Gaddy of the Interfaith
Alliance, "has a very specific, indisputable definition that is
exclusive rather than inclusive." On the campaign trail, Gaddy
continued, Obama "has sounded precisely like George W. Bush."
Even John Edwards, the most reasonable person running, isn't
above whoring his faith for votes. "I think that America is a
nation of faith. I do believe that. Certainly by way of
heritage--there's a powerful Christian thread through all of
American history," he told BeliefNet. To his credit, he doesn't
go as far as his opponents. Yet he can't bring himself to
condemn prayer in public schools: "Allowing time for children to
pray for themselves, to themselves, I think is not only okay, I
think it's a good thing."
Between 10 and 14 percent of Americans are atheists. Devoting a
"moment of silence" in schools sends a message to their
children: you and your parents are out of step with American
If people want to believe in God, the Great Pumpkin, or a Jesus
who lives in Missouri, that's up to them. But religion has no
place in the public life of a democracy. None.
Right-wing Christians started questioning their support for the
GOP last year, when former White House staffer David Kuo
published "Tempting Faith," a bestselling book that revealed
that Bush Administration officials privately ridiculed
evangelicals and ignored them between elections. Bush betrayed
"the millions of faithful Christians who put their trust and
hope in the president and his administration," wrote Kuo, who
was the White House's deputy director of the Office of
Faith-Based and Community Initiatives until 2003.
Who knew? Bush isn't all bad.
McCain, meanwhile, is getting ready to get soaked to score
Christian votes. "I've had discussions with the pastor about
[undergoing a full-immersion baptism] and we're still in
conversation about it," he says.
Ted Rall is the author of the new book "Silk Road to Ruin: Is
Central Asia the New Middle East?," an in-depth prose and
graphic novel analysis of America's next big foreign policy
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