Richard Dawkins: Rick Perry betrays a great American principle
One of the principle necessary conditions for terminal butthurt is the existence of facts that disprove one’s case. Since it is a stone cold fact that America was founded as a secular nation, it’s no mystery why so many on the religious right are so affected. Dawkins well deserved attack on Perry focusses on the fundamentally un-American nature of the religious right:
The secular constitution of the United States, so clearly and farsightedly laid down by the Founding Fathers, is one of the glories of the Enlightenment, and the envy of many (including in my own country of Britain). It was designed – with good contemporary reason – to protect the religious against oppression by other religions, and it is astonishing that such a historic treasure needs vigilant defense against undermining from within – from historically illiterate politicians.
One could hardly imagine a more calculated insult to the Founding Fathers than Governor Perry’s statement. His remark would have been unconstitutional even if he had merely asked the nation to call upon God. Calling upon Jesus compounds the error by adding an affront to American Jews, Muslims and Hindus, to say nothing of the growing population of agnostics and atheists who outnumber all three of them put together. Suppose a Muslim American happened to be elected to a governorship and said, “As a nation, we must come together and call upon the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to guide us through unprecedented struggles …” The fact that the majority of Americans call themselves Christian in no way undermines the Founding Fathers’ intentions: quite the reverse. They were well aware that, in their own time too, most Americans were Christian. They wanted freedom to practice religion, but not a whit or a whisper of compulsion, or imposition of one religion over others.
Full article: washingtonpost.com