A Pentecostal bishop on Sunday told a rabbi and an imam that the U.S. was a “Christian nation” that was bridging religious divisions because Christians would “let” other faiths worship and “we’re not going to persecute you.”
Speaking to a interfaith panel on CBS News, Hope Christian Church Pastor Harry R. Jackson responded to Rabbi David Wolpe, who said that the Americans should “celebrate difference” because “God is greater than any religious tradition.”
“In deference to the Christian foundation of this nation, it is that foundation that allows us freedom,” Jackson explained. “I don’t see this diversity in other places. So to the credit of our Christian foundation of this nation, this freedom we’re experiencing is because folks came and said, ‘We believe this is to be a Christian nation. We feel like we’ve been persecuted in the places we came from, and we’re going to intentionally let this nation be founded in a way that if you come here and you’re Islamic and you come here and you’re Jewish, we’re not going to persecute you.’”
“Although we don’t worship as Jewish people, we’re going to let this country be guided in a place where there’s going to be liberty and freedom or worship. I feel we’d be remiss if we act like some other set of countries has operated in this way.”
Imam Suhaib Webb, however, reminded Jackson that Christians persecuted Christians during the early days of the United States, while Jews and Muslims lived together in Harmony in Spain.
When Amercia was Free:
The murder of Viola Liuzzo was one of the most shocking moments in the civil rights movement. On a winding, isolated road outside Selma, Liuzzo was ambushed and shot to death by a car full of Ku Klux Klansmen.
She was murdered while giving a ride to a 19-year-old black man, Leroy Moton, one of many civil rights marchers she had driven around Selma. Liuzzo had joined the movement’s carpool system soon after arriving in the small Alabama town. Liuzzo’s murder became international news. Her photo became a fixture in history books. Her name has been inscribed on civil rights memorials throughout the United States.
But people had far less sympathy for Liuzzo when she was murdered. Hate mail flooded her family’s Detroit home, accusing her of being a deranged communist. Crosses were burned in front of the home. Her husband, Anthony Liuzzo Sr., had to hire armed guards to protect his family.
A Ladies’ Home Journal magazine survey taken right after Liuzzo’s death asked its readers what kind of woman would leave her family for a civil rights demonstration. The magazine suggested that she had brought death on herself by leaving home — and 55% of its readers agreed.
“It was horrible,” Penny says. “People sent [copies of] this magazine that showed her body in the car with the blood and bullet holes. They called her a white whore and a nigger lover, and said that she was having relations with black men.”
Even Sally did not escape the public’s wrath. Students threw rocks at her and taunted her on the way to school, Penny says.
The family says they were even more devastated when they learned years later who had initiated the public backlash — J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI. To absolve itself of culpability in her death — an FBI informant was in the car with the men who killed Liuzzo — the FBI released her psychiatric records and directed a smear campaign to suggest that Liuzzo was promiscuous.
Christian Nation America responded to the death of a Voting Rights Activist in 1965 with anger and derision…directed at members of the surviving family. I’d write more here if I could but I can’t find the words.
USA Christian Ministries Pastor Steven Andrew has also endorsed Bachmann and Santorum, wrote a book declaring the US a Christian nation. It pretty much goes without saying that he’s also anti-abortion, and anti-gay and anti-Mormon. Did I mention that he thinks god talks to him?
A California pastor says God has personally told him that Christians must vote for Rep. Ron Paul (R-CA) to be the next president of the United States.
“God wants Ron Paul to be President,” USA Christian Ministries Pastor Steven Andrew said in a statement released on Wednesday. “Paul is the only Christian still running who beat Obama in polls, but will Christians and pastors obey God?”
“We must obey God and vote for Christians.”
Andrew believes that President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are not qualified for office because they “are deceived and would seek Satan because they refuse to make Jesus Lord.”
One of the more interesting speculations here is that one reason the USA is so much more religious than the rest of the Western world is that a large percentage of churches in the US would not be able to afford to operate if they were not directly or indirectly subsidized by everyone else. The numbers here are surprising.
For those interested, this issue has some excellent articles on debunking the current claims that the USA was founded as a Christian nation, constitution and all, as well as the historical debates about that; many which sound very familiar today.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul ended up with a strong showing in Iowa’s GOP presidential sweepstakes. It wasn’t quite as strong as his supporters had hoped, coming in at third place after several polls predicted a stronger showing. But what remains surprising is the strength of Paul’s evangelical support. CNN’s entrance/exit poll has Ron Paul collecting 19 percent of the evangelical vote. That trails Sen. Rick Santorum’s 32-percent support among evangelicals, but it is well ahead of Perry, Bachmann, and Gingrich, who actively courted the prized GOP demographic. It’s an interesting split, and Warren Throckmorton seems to have found what may be the key to Ron Paul’s support among one evangelical segment, Christian reconstructionists, while simultaneously being spurned by another segment, dominionists:
But back to [New Apostolic Reformation dominionists] vs. Christian reconstructionists; the focus of control is different. The NAR folks want to rule America as a Christian nation from the seat of centralized power in Washington DC. The Christian reconstructionists want to deconstruct central government in favor of state or local control of law. Bachmann and Perry promise to govern biblically and impose their view of Christian America on the nation. Paul promises to dismantle the federal government in favor of the states.
In fact, the Christian reconstructionists are afraid of the NAR dominionists. Recontructionist Joel McDurmon wants biblical law in place, but he thinks the NAR approach is a dangerous power grab.
We’ve talked about this here many times, but this an excellent article with lots of interesting tidbits to nibble on, so you might want to bookmark it for future reference.
The idea that the United States has always been a bastion of religious freedom is reassuring—and utterly at odds with the historical record
By Kenneth C. Davis
Smithsonian magazine, October 2010
Wading into the controversy surrounding an Islamic center planned for a site near New York City’s Ground Zero memorial this past August, President Obama declared: “This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are.” In doing so, he paid homage to a vision that politicians and preachers have extolled for more than two centuries—that America historically has been a place of religious tolerance. It was a sentiment George Washington voiced shortly after taking the oath of office just a few blocks from Ground Zero.
But is it so?
In the storybook version most of us learned in school, the Pilgrims came to America aboard the Mayflower in search of religious freedom in 1620. The Puritans soon followed, for the same reason. Ever since these religious dissidents arrived at their shining “city upon a hill,” as their governor John Winthrop called it, millions from around the world have done the same, coming to an America where they found a welcome melting pot in which everyone was free to practice his or her own faith.
The problem is that this tidy narrative is an American myth. The real story of religion in America’s past is an often awkward, frequently embarrassing and occasionally bloody tale that most civics books and high-school texts either paper over or shunt to the side. And much of the recent conversation about America’s ideal of religious freedom has paid lip service to this comforting tableau.
From the earliest arrival of Europeans on America’s shores, religion has often been a cudgel, used to discriminate, suppress and even kill the foreign, the “heretic” and the “unbeliever”—including the “heathen” natives already here. Moreover, while it is true that the vast majority of early-generation Americans were Christian, the pitched battles between various Protestant sects and, more explosively, between Protestants and Catholics, present an unavoidable contradiction to the widely held notion that America is a “Christian nation.”