Indecent Proposal: Another ‘Religious Supremacy’ Amendment Surfaces in the U.S. House
As part of a continuing effort to use religion as a way of excluding many Americans, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives recently proposed a resolution that “reaffirms the importance of religion in the lives of United States citizens.”
Introduced Sept. 19 by Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), the resolution includes a number of statements that are offensive to anyone who supports church-state separation or isn’t Christian.
The resolution says that Judeo-Christian heritage “has played a strong role in the development of the United States and in the lives of many of the Nation’s citizens” and that the House “rejects efforts to remove evidence of Judeo-Christian heritage and references to God from public structures and resources.”
A long list of “evidence” is also offered to support the claim that religion is important to people in the U.S.
One claim is that the “first act of Congress in 1774 was a prayer.” That is pretty meaningless because that wasn’t the U.S. Congress. Not only did that First Continental Congress meet for just a few weeks, it didn’t include representatives of all 13 colonies. America hadn’t even declared independence yet from Britain, so to say the Congress in 1774 set the precedent for the United States is just not accurate.
Another meaningless claim intended to support the resolution is that the Bible is the best-selling book of all time. So what? The Bible has been available for centuries and is sold worldwide. That doesn’t prove anything about the importance of religion to people in the United States.
A third claim made in the resolution references a 2007 study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public life that found 92 percent of U.S. citizens believe in God and 78.4 percent identified as Christian. Here, the House is basically saying, “If you don’t believe in God, get out” and “If you aren’t Christian, you should probably leave, too.”
Those who would support this resolution seemingly have no issue with excluding eight percent of the population (though really it’s 21.6 percent), so let’s put that 8 percent number in context. It may not seem like a lot of people, but that’s a little over 25 million Americans. Should the U.S. government be passing resolutions that alienate such a large number of people?