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John T Harding: Reflections

Christian Nationalism


There has been much talk recently about Christian Nationalism and its role in American government. There is an undercurrent of fear among many that other belief systems will somehow be made secondary or even outlawed.

The Constitution forbids any attempt to establish an official state religion, but that does not stop Christian Nationalists from saying the government should recognize that many Americans embrace Christianity.

The problem becomes a question of which branch of Christianity – Methodist or Baptist or Episcopal or even Roman Catholic. There are also millions of Jews in America, as well as Hindus and Muslims, all of whom have members in Congress and in the judicial system nationwide.

At one point, a spokesman for the Christian Nationalist movement referred to the Anglo-Saxon heritage and its belief system that supposedly dominates American culture.

This leaves out Irish Catholics and those of African heritage, as well as new immigrants and those whose ethnic background is French, Scandinavian, Polish, Hungarian and other European cultures, including Hispanic – plus Central and South American heritages as well as Spain and Portugal.

And we cannot forget the many Chinese laborers who, along with many Irish workers, helped to lay the tracks for the transcontinental railroad.

Also, there are newcomers and their offspring whose heritage is throughout Asia and the Middle East – for example, India, Vietnam and the many other cultures in that region.

In short, America is not and never has been an Anglo-Saxon nation. That culture may be politically dominant, but it is not and never has been shared by most Americans.

The Constitution guarantees that no religious system shall ever be required as a qualification to any political office in America. Yet that is precisely the goal for those who call themselves “Christian Nationalists.”

Until and unless they change the Constitution and eliminate the First Amendment. That would also mean banning the right of free speech.

John T. Harding lives in Doylestown.