Fulwider, 7-7-2015

My Word: A Christian nation or one indivisible?

Clearly, this message is important to the ads’ sponsors. After all, repeatedly buying space in major newspapers doesn’t come cheaply. So what’s the goal? 

Are the ads’ purveyors hoping to pave the way for our lawmakers to pass legislation formally declaring the U.S. a Christian nation? But, again, what about those many statements that tell a different story?

And what about the total absence of Christian-nation legislation? Were our Founders so inept that they somehow overlooked the need to actually draft laws that enshrined their true vision for this great land?

And what are the practical implications of believing that we are, once were or should become a Christian nation?

Should non-Christians — whether atheists, agnostics or adherents of another faith tradition — not be allowed to immigrate? Should they be banned from holding public office? Did our Constitution’s framers get that totally wrong? Should they not be allowed to vote? Or should they be forever made to feel like second- or third-class citizens because they’re simply being magnanimously tolerated despite not really belonging here?

Should prayer and religious instruction be returned to the public-school classroom? And if so, which forms of Christian prayer and which denomination’s theology should be allowed? Should we declare ourselves to be a Protestants-only Christian nation? Should we return to the rabid anti-Catholicism held by at least one of the Founders whose quotes adorn the Hobby Lobby ads?

Or should we be celebrating the true genius of our Founders in creating one nation indivisible — despite our highly varied viewpoints about God?

The Rev. Bryan Fulwider is chair of the executive committee of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida.