The Wall of Separation Blog https://www.au.org/ en Evangelicals Assail Christian Nationalism In New Statement https://www.au.org/blogs/evangelicals-Jan6-statement <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Evangelicals Assail Christian Nationalism In New Statement</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu Feb 25, 2021 - 08:38</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/capitol%20police%20tape.jpg?h=6f8e8448&amp;itok=cgB6ZTHn" width="1700" height="525" alt="capitol tape" title="US Capitol police tape" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>We <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/poll-on-capitol-attack">noted yesterday</a> on this blog that disturbingly high numbers of white evangelicals have embraced conspiracy theories about antifa and Black Lives Matter being responsible for the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, despite a mountain of evidence showing that supporters of Donald Trump did it.</p> <p>Today we’d like to give a shout-out to a group of evangelicals who not only accept the real version of events but have condemned the attack – and the dangerous ideology lurking behind it.</p> <p>National Public Radio <a href="https://www.npr.org/2021/02/24/970685909/evangelical-leaders-condemn-radicalized-christian-nationalism">reported yesterday</a> that a coalition of evangelical Christian leaders “is condemning the role of ‘radicalized Christian nationalism’ in feeding the political extremism that led to the <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/insurrection-at-the-capitol">violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan</a>. 6 by supporters of former President Donald Trump.”</p> <p><a href="https://religionnews.com/2021/02/24/more-than-500-evangelicals-other-faith-leaders-condemn-faith-at-insurrection-as-heretical/">More than 500 evangelicals</a> have signed an <a href="https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScbvRNRgAcUo1UfZfxuBZHmv63FI8k2gnxxAaNVlCvsiG9xHw/viewform?vc=0&amp;c=0&amp;w=1&amp;flr=0">open letter</a> so far. The letter pulls no punches. It puts the blame for the riot where it belongs – on Trump supporters – and correctly labels the assault as an attempted coup.</p> <p>“On January 6 we saw the flags claiming Trump's name, calling for violence, and raising the name of Jesus,” the letter reads. “We saw images of a police officer being beaten with an American flag and another being crushed in a doorway. We know an officer was murdered in the act of insurrection. We witnessed the cross and the gallow[s] being erected. We saw and heard the prayer the insurrectionists prayed from the Senate desk in Jesus’ name. Many of us recognized the content, the structure, and the style of that prayer as matching our own churches and faith. But we reject this prayer being used to justify the violent act and attempted overthrow of the Government.”</p> <p>In the wake of the attack, there has been much discussion about white Christian nationalism and the threat it poses to our country. Make no mistake, that threat is real. The Jan. 6 assault exposed the violent extremists among us who were willing to overturn the vote of the people in an effort to keep Trump in office after he lost an election. They are fundamentally anti-democratic, and they must be held to account.</p> <p>But let’s not forget that the majority of American Christians don’t stand with these extremists. Yes, too many Christians embrace white Christian nationalism, but they’re not a majority of that faith’s members.</p> <p>Two years ago, AU’s allies at the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty organized <a href="https://www.christiansagainstchristiannationalism.org/">Christians Against Christian Nationalism</a>. As the name makes clear, it’s an explicitly Christian response to this corrosive worldview. </p> <p>More than 21,000 Christians have signed Christians Against Christian Nationalism’s <a href="https://www.christiansagainstchristiannationalism.org/statement">statement</a>, which reads in part, “Christian nationalism demands Christianity be privileged by the State and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian. It often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation. We reject this damaging political ideology and invite our Christian brothers and sisters to join us in opposing this threat to our faith and to our nation.”</p> <p>By all means, non-Christians and secularists should do everything in their power to oppose white Christian nationalism. But it’s Christians whose faith is tarnished by this divisive and un-American ideology. They must lead the way in denouncing it.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-right-0" hreflang="en">Religious Right</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/us-capitol" hreflang="en">U.S. Capitol</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/bjc" hreflang="en">BJC</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/npr" hreflang="en">NPR</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/donald-trump" hreflang="en">Donald Trump</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 25 Feb 2021 13:38:05 +0000 boston 16665 at https://www.au.org White Evangelicals Still Embracing Conspiracy Theories About Jan. 6 Assault On The U.S. Capitol  https://www.au.org/blogs/poll-on-capitol-attack <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">White Evangelicals Still Embracing Conspiracy Theories About Jan. 6 Assault On The U.S. Capitol </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed Feb 24, 2021 - 09:34</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/us%20cap%20trump%20nuts%203%20wapo.png?h=267545eb&amp;itok=kVUjr8TC" width="1700" height="525" alt="capitol assault " title="assault on US Capitol" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>More evidence is surfacing that when it comes to the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, white evangelicals are living in a fantasy world of their own creation, a place informed by conspiracy theories, not facts.</p> <p>Samuel Perry, a professor in the University of Oklahoma’s Department of Sociology, <a href="https://twitter.com/socofthesacred/status/1362805416636387328?s=20">posted an item to Twitter recently</a> concerning Americans’ thoughts on the insurrection. The key takeaway is that nearly 70% of white evangelicals believe that “outside agitators” like antifa and Blacks Lives Matter (BLM) mixed with the crowd and started the violence.</p> <p>No other group hit a figure this high. The next-largest group mostly likely to believe the antifa/BLM lie is white Catholics, at more than 50%. But among Hispanic Catholics, only about 35% blame antifa and BLM. Fewer than 30% of secularists say antifa/BLM were responsible, and among Black Protestants, the figure is only 10%.</p> <p>Even as events were unfolding on Jan. 6, Christian nationalists began a desperate effort to shift the blame from Trump and his supporters to left-wing groups. On the day of the attack, for example, evangelist Franklin Graham issued a tweet blaming antifa. Several other Christian nationalist leaders quickly <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/Religious-Right-blame-antifa">picked up that line</a>.</p> <p>But these folks have a problem: There’s absolutely no evidence for their claims. The FBI <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/08/fbi-says-no-indication-that-antifa-took-part-in-us-capitol-riot.html">issued a statement</a> saying it had uncovered no evidence of antifa presence during the attack; more to the point, several people have been arrested in conjunction with the riot, and they’re supporters of former President Donald Trump. They didn’t try to hide who they were. They were proud of what they did. They took pictures and video of themselves sacking the Capitol and posted them to social media. Some of them apparently plan to use “Trump told me to do it” as their <a href="https://news.yahoo.com/capitol-rioters-trump-told-them-123643116.html">legal defense</a>.</p> <p>To believe that antifa, BLM or other “outside agitators” infiltrated the event, you have to engage in a series of mental gymnastics so strenuous they should cause brain strain. We’re to believe that these outside forces somehow successfully melted into the mob, led and participated in the attack on the Capitol and managed to all slip away and evade arrest. It’s absurd.</p> <p>The philosophical principle of <a href="https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Occam%27s%20razor">Occam’s razor</a> teaches us that simple explanations are usually the best. In this case, the simpler explanation is also true: A mob of racists, neo-Confederates, Trump cultists, Christian nationalists and other extremists came to Washington, D.C., for a rally. They were whipped into a frenzy by Trump and assaulted the Capitol in an effort to disrupt a normally ceremonial procedure to certify the election of Joe Biden. People were killed, and the Capitol was vandalized.</p> <p>That may be an uncomfortable reality for white evangelicals, but it’s truth all the same. As the people who attacked on the Capitol go on trial and Congress launches <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/congress-aims-avoid-politics-independent-jan-investigation/story?id=75946340">its own investigation</a>, more unpleasant truths are going to emerge. White evangelicals would do well to come to grips with what really happened on Jan. 6 and let go of the fairy tale that makes them feel better but does a disservice to history, accountability and decency. Failing to do so only makes them look foolish.</p> <p><em>Photo: Trump supporters attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Screenshot from The Washington Post.</em></p> <p> </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-right-0" hreflang="en">Religious Right</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/us-capitol" hreflang="en">U.S. Capitol</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/donald-trump" hreflang="en">Donald Trump</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/polls" hreflang="en">polls</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/black-lives-matter" hreflang="en">Black Lives Matter</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/joe-biden" hreflang="en">Joe Biden</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/fbi" hreflang="en">FBI</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 24 Feb 2021 14:34:57 +0000 boston 16664 at https://www.au.org Don’t Miss These Important Webinars On School Vouchers https://www.au.org/blogs/two-important-webinars <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Don’t Miss These Important Webinars On School Vouchers</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue Feb 23, 2021 - 08:43</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/elise-helgesen-aguilar" hreflang="und">Elise Helgesen Aguilar </a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/school%20student%2C%202.23.21.jpg?h=f2fcf546&amp;itok=dMsdUcdS" width="1700" height="525" alt="student" title="school student" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>In state legislatures across the country, proponents of taxpayer aid to private schools are pushing forward voucher bills at a rapid pace. Next week, Americans United is hosting two webinars on March 2 and March 3 to educate and equip advocates with the resources they need to oppose private school vouchers. </p> <p>AU’s opposition to vouchers is core to our mission: Vouchers violate fundamental principles of religious freedom by forcing taxpayers to support religious education. Vouchers also weaken our public schools and communities by diverting resources away from the schools that serve all students regardless of race, ability, or religion to fund the education of a few, select students at private, religious schools.</p> <p>We advocate against voucher legislation at the federal level as co-chair of the <a href="https://www.ncpecoalition.org/">National Coalition for Public Education</a> (NCPE), a coalition of over 50 national organizations that support public funding for public schools and oppose vouchers. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this summer in <a href="https://www.oyez.org/cases/2019/18-1195"><em>Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue</em></a>, which weakened states’ abilities to prohibit funding for religious schools through their constitutional no-aid provisions, NCPE created a resource for state legislators and advocates to oppose voucher legislation. This <a href="https://www.ncpecoalition.org/s/NCPE-Espinoza-and-Vouchers-Toolkit-2021.pdf">toolkit</a> contains information about the case and talking points on the policy reasons for opposing vouchers. Our upcoming webinar series will showcase this toolkit.</p> <p>The first webinar, “When Communities Come Together: Supporting Public Schools,” will take place on Tuesday, March 2, at 3 p.m. Eastern. It will highlight the harm vouchers pose to religious freedom and why members of religious communities support public funding for public schools rather than taxpayer funding for religious education. </p> <p>I will moderate the panel, which will include Jennifer Hawks, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty; Suhag Shukla, Hindu American Foundation; the Rev. Charles Foster Johnson, Pastors for Children; and Rabbi Robert Barr, Congregation Beth Adam in Loveland, Ohio.</p> <p>To join this webinar, please RSVP <a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/k7MiDxiCHEOuQfUG4Ov7Og2">here</a>.</p> <p>The second webinar, “When Public Dollars Fund Discrimination: How Private School Voucher Programs Harm the Students They’re Meant to Serve,” will take place on Wednesday, March 3, at 2 p.m. Eastern. The focus of this webinar is to demonstrate that private school vouchers not only weaken public education but also fund schools that discriminate against students and teachers.</p> <p>I'll take part in this panel along with Jennifer Berkshire, freelance journalist and co-author of <a href="https://thenewpress.com/books/wolf-schoolhouse-door"><em>A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door: The Dismantling of Public Education and the Future of School</em></a><em> </em>who will moderate the discussion; Titilayo Tinubu Ali, Southern Education Foundation; Myrna R. Mandlawitz, Council of Administrators of Special Education; Aaron Ridings, GLSEN.</p> <p>To join this webinar, please RSVP <a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/yCP1kkTQJUG9-4ivttwmew2">here</a>.</p> <p>Both webinars will also be available on AU’s Facebook Live. We hope you will tune in to learn more about opposing private school voucher programs.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/government-support-of-religion" hreflang="en">Government Support Of Religion</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/neo-vouchers" hreflang="en">neo-vouchers</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/public-education" hreflang="en">public education</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/ncpe" hreflang="en">NCPE</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 23 Feb 2021 13:43:17 +0000 boston 16663 at https://www.au.org To Protect Everyone’s Rights, Congress Should Pass These Two Important Bills https://www.au.org/blogs/two-important-bills <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">To Protect Everyone’s Rights, Congress Should Pass These Two Important Bills</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon Feb 22, 2021 - 08:46</span> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/LGBTQ%20rights%20.jpg?h=9dd951d5&amp;itok=AkZF8mPW" width="1700" height="525" alt="LGBTQ" title="LGBTQ Rights " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>By Claire Davidson Miller</p> <p>As a college student and a <a href="https://www.au.org/youthfellows">Youth Organizing Fellow</a> with Americans United, I came of age as an activist during the Trump administration. When Donald Trump was elected president, I was a senior in high school, and he was in office throughout the majority of my college years. Trump was our president when I attended my first protest, signed my first petition and participated in my first lobby meeting. My activism developed with his racism, sexism and xenophobia constantly in the background.</p> <p>Of course, becoming an activist in such a setting was frequently demoralizing. I quickly became cynical and never had the privilege of the idealism and optimism that tend to characterize many budding activists. Yet, there was also a benefit to becoming an activist in the Trump era: I was surrounded by countless like-minded people. The Trump administration woke many Americans up to the pervasive hatred in our society. Even people who did not consider themselves to be activists in a pre-Trump era began taking action.</p> <p>Now that Trump is out of office, however, how will these people spend the next four years? Will they continue to fight the hatred that boils just below the surface in our country? Or will they breathe a sigh of relief at the end of the Trump era and return to business as usual?</p> <p>After the trauma of the past four years, a friendly administration is ample reason to celebrate. It is not, however, an excuse to stop fighting. Rather, we need to take advantage of the next four years – and particularly the next two, after which a Congress supportive of expanding civil rights protections is not guaranteed – to pass legislation whose impact will last far longer than the four-year-long Biden administration. We may feel safe for now, but we need to work to put systems in place that will guarantee our safety no matter who wins the Oval Office in 2024, 2028 or ever.</p> <p>There are two particularly important pieces of legislation that supporters of the separation of church and state need to work to pass in this 117th Congress: the Equality Act and the Do No Harm Act.</p> <p>The Equality Act, first introduced in 2015 and <a href="https://www.advocate.com/politics/2021/2/18/equality-act-reintroduced-us-house-vote-next-week">reintroduced last Thursday</a>, would amend existing civil rights laws, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics and fill other gaps in our civil rights laws. Currently, only 31 states have outlawed discrimination against LGBTQ communities, and few LGBTQ protections exist at the national level. And although the Supreme Court’s 2020 ruling in <em><a href="https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/17-1618_hfci.pdf">Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia</a> </em>made clear that LGBTQ workers are protected against employment discrimination on the national level, the Equality Act would vastly expand this protection to include other domains, such as housing, credit, education and more. The Equality Act also expands federal non-discrimination protections for people of color, women and others in the two key areas: It protects people from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity in places like retail stores and shopping malls, and it protects against sex-based discrimination in government services and federally-funded programs.</p> <p><a href="https://www.au.org/tags/do-no-harm-act">The Do No Harm Act (DNHA)</a> which is expected to be reintroduced soon, would ensure that the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) can’t be used to harm others or take away their rights. The Do No Harm Act clarifies the intent of RFRA to ensure the law is used only for its original purpose, which was to protect minority religious expression from government overreach. In today’s climate, the Do No Harm Act has the ability to ensure religion can’t be used to undermine LGBTQ rights, access to reproductive health care and other crucial rights.</p> <p>Taken together, the Equality Act and the Do No Harm Act would help us achieve an unprecedented level of equality in the United States. Imagine a world in which no LGBTQ person could be denied housing because of who they love; no Sikhs, Muslims or Jews could be turned away from a federally funded job for being the “wrong” religion; and no person could be denied access to reproductive health care by their employer in the name of religion.</p> <p>Many of us have spent the past four years of the Trump administration fighting for only our most basic rights and protections. Now that we have a friendly administration, however, it’s time to be bold. We must be unafraid to expand our vision of equality, beyond what we previously thought possible, and we must be unafraid to fight for expanded civil rights protections for all groups.</p> <p><em>Claire Davidson Miller, a senior at Brown University, is a member of Americans United’s Youth Organizing Fellowship. </em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-against-customers" hreflang="en">Discrimination Against Customers</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-the-name-of-religion" hreflang="en">Discrimination In The Name of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-health-care" hreflang="en">Discrimination In Health Care</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/do-no-harm-act" hreflang="en">Do No Harm Act</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/equality-act" hreflang="en">Equality Act</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/joe-biden" hreflang="en">Joe Biden</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/rfra-0" hreflang="en">RFRA</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 22 Feb 2021 13:46:52 +0000 boston 16662 at https://www.au.org You Won’t Want To Miss This New Book On Church-State Separation https://www.au.org/blogs/randall-balmer-book <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">You Won’t Want To Miss This New Book On Church-State Separation</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu Feb 18, 2021 - 09:16</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/church%20and%20state%20street%20sign%20%20%282%29.jpg?h=84a3cfca&amp;itok=tvGwAjjz" width="1700" height="525" alt="sign" title="church and state sign" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Dr. Randall Balmer, a professor of religion at Dartmouth College, is a prize-winning author who has penned several books, many of which deal with the role of religion in American life. Balmer’s latest, <em>Solemn Reverence: The Separation of Church and State in American Life</em>, is a real gem.</p> <p>This slender volume of essays covers a lot of ground, with a focus on history. An overarching theme of the book is that the United States is not, and was never intended to be, an officially Christian nation.</p> <p>“Were I to identify a foil for this book, it would be those voices breezily claiming that the United States is, and always has been, a Christian nation,” Balmer writes in the book’s Preface. “That assertion is demonstrably false. Those same voices have sought, and continue to seek, a diminution of the First Amendment and its wall of separation between church and state. That, in my view, is a dangerous course. I say that not as a secularist trying to root out all expressions of religion but instead as someone who believes along with Roger Williams that religion functions best from the margins and not in the councils of power, that the integrity of the faith suffers from too close an association with the state.”</p> <p>Balmer, who was ordained an Episcopal priest in 2006, offers just what we need right now: an unapologetic, full-throated defense of separation of church and state as the best vehicle to protect and promote religious freedom in America. <em>Solemn Reverence</em> underscores how this separation is bound up with American history and makes the case that we should proudly embrace the principle; after all, we pioneered it.</p> <p>The book is especially welcome now, as Americans United seeks to <a href="https://www.au.org/BidenAgenda">restore and protect</a> church-state separation in the wake of the Trump years and the nation faces an emboldened movement of <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/spotlight-on-WCN">white Christian nationalists</a> eager to mix religion and government.</p> <p>The forthcoming March issue of <em>Church &amp; State</em> will feature an excerpt from <em>Solemn Reverence</em>. In the meantime, you can learn more about the book <a href="https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/670007/solemn-reverence-by-randall-balmer/">here</a>.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/history-and-origins-of-church-state-separation" hreflang="en">History and Origins of Church-State Separation</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/roger-williams" hreflang="en">Roger Williams</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-right-0" hreflang="en">Religious Right</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 18 Feb 2021 14:16:58 +0000 boston 16659 at https://www.au.org Pollster Finds – Surprise! – That Many Christians Who Voted For Biden Aren’t Fundamentalists https://www.au.org/blogs/Barna-Poll-Biden-Voters <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Pollster Finds – Surprise! – That Many Christians Who Voted For Biden Aren’t Fundamentalists</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/69587" lang="" about="/user/69587" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">LHayes</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed Feb 17, 2021 - 09:44</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/GettyImages-1125718858.jpg?h=58b7d6d5&amp;itok=9SIrwA_P" width="1700" height="525" alt="Diverse group of young people praying" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Evangelical pollster George Barna has released an analysis of the voters who supported Joe Biden – and he doesn’t like what he sees.</p> <p>A press release about <a href="https://www.arizonachristian.edu/culturalresearchcenter/research/">the survey</a>, conducted by the Cultural Research Center of Arizona Christian University, where Barna teaches, contains a rather offensive headline: “Biden voters worship at the altar of ambiguity.”</p> <p>From there it asserts, “Biden is reported to have received votes from roughly 81 million adults” – as if there is some doubt about that. Barna goes on to say that nearly two-thirds of these Biden voters “consider themselves to be Christian,” but he quickly adds that “the Biden base is not particularly active in or committed to that faith.”</p> <p>Barna reports that 72% of Biden voters “believe that a person who is generally good, or does enough good things for others, will earn a place in Heaven”; that 68% believe that the “Holy Spirit is not a living entity, but is merely a symbol of God’s presence, power, or purity”; and that 63% “do not believe that God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect and just creator of the universe who rules that universe today.”</p> <p>According to Barna, the Bible “is also not held in high regard by the Biden base. Only three out of ten (30%) believe that the Bible is the actual or inspired word of God and contains no errors.”</p> <p>At this point, a little context is helpful: Barna was raised Roman Catholic but at some point, he converted to a fundamentalist form of evangelical Christianity. For the past several years, <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/poll-shows-increasing-numbers-of-americans-are-rejecting-the-religious">he has been hanging out</a> with the Family Research Council  and other white Christian nationalist groups that believe the myth that the United States is an officially Christian nation and that religion should inform our secular laws and policies.</p> <p>This clearly colors his interpretation of the survey results. Barna is shocked – shocked! – that many people believe good works alone can get one into heaven. He shouldn’t be – it’s an article of faith for millions of American Catholics and resonates with others as well. Barna is also bothered because millions of Americans refuse to interpret the Bible literally. He and his fellow fundamentalists have always thrust a false choice in our faces: either you interpret the Bible literally, as they do, or you can get nothing from it. Millions of Americans, Christian and non-Christian, have rejected that simplistic dichotomy.   </p> <p>Barna is a huge name in polling. No one doubts the accuracy of his information; it’s his interpretation that is offensive. In the press release, Barna insists that the country was founded on the Bible – it wasn’t – and says, “A strong and thriving society requires a stable foundation of truth on which to make just and appropriate decisions. The more the United States puts distance between itself and its moral and spiritual moorings, the less likely we are to facilitate a healthy and vibrant government and way of life.”</p> <p>Gee, I wonder that that “stable foundation of truth” is? Could it be the rigid, fundamentalist Christianity embraced by Barna and his fellow fundamentalists? And here we have what’s really bothering these folks: Millions of Americans, including many Christians who voted for Biden, aren’t fundamentalists. They insist on interpreting the Bible differently than Barna. Some of them even have the audacity to question, to doubt and even to criticize the doctrines that are settled truth to fundamentalists.</p> <p>Barna had better get used to it. According to <a href="https://religionnews.com/2019/03/21/nones-now-as-big-as-evangelicals-catholics-in-the-us/">some other polls out there</a>, growing numbers of Americans are taking advantage of religious freedom and doing their own thing. This includes interpreting the Bible in ways that fundamentalists do not like, being liberal Christians, adopting non-Christian faiths and rejecting religion entirely.  </p> <p>No one should be surprised that this is happening. It’s kind of the whole point of the First Amendment, after all.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/george-barna" hreflang="en">George Barna</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/joe-biden" hreflang="en">Joe Biden</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/polls" hreflang="en">polls</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 17 Feb 2021 14:44:18 +0000 LHayes 16658 at https://www.au.org New Poll Shows Most Americans Don't Believe Religious Freedom Is Under Assault https://www.au.org/blogs/new-PRRI-poll <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">New Poll Shows Most Americans Don&#039;t Believe Religious Freedom Is Under Assault</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue Feb 16, 2021 - 08:20</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/worship.jpg?h=b3fb6893&amp;itok=2JEwuJTs" width="1700" height="525" alt="worship " title="praying man " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>A <a href="https://www.prri.org/research/is-religious-liberty-a-shield-or-a-sword/">new poll</a> by Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows that most Americans don’t buy the white Christian nationalist line that faith is under attack in the United States. Furthermore, most Americans are skeptical of granting broad rights to discriminate based on religious views.</p> <p>PRRI found that 42% of Americans believe that the right of religious freedom is being threatened, while 58% say it’s not. Not surprisingly, white evangelical Protestants, at 72%, are the group most likely to believe religious freedom is being threatened. No other group hit 50%. Figures are: white Catholics, 44%; white mainline Protestants, 42%; and Protestants of color, 41%. Religiously unaffiliated Americans are the least likely to believe that religious freedom is threatened, with only 24% saying it is.</p> <p>Here are some other highlights from the poll:</p> <ul> <li>Americans don’t support allowing small businesses to refuse to serve LGBTQ people if owners have religious objections to such persons. Only 22% see refusing service as a legitimate right, while 76% oppose it.   </li> </ul> <ul> <li>Americans strongly oppose allowing religiously affiliated agencies receiving taxpayer funding to refuse to accept qualified same-sex couples as foster parents. A whopping 77% oppose this.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>A strong majority, 84%, opposes allowing professionals like doctors, lawyers, teachers and social workers to refuse to provide services to particular groups of people if they believe doing so violates their religious beliefs.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Most Americans, 62%, say privately owned corporations should be required to cover contraception in their employees’ health insurance plans, even if it violates a company owner’s religious beliefs. In addition, 57% say that religiously affiliated colleges and universities should be required to provide this coverage for employees, and 48% favor requiring houses of worship to provide such coverage for employees.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Only a small percentage of Americans, 13%, favor allowing pharmacists to refuse to provide contraceptives to women who have a prescription.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Americans are closely divided over the question of whether people should be able to opt-out of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine on the basis of their religious beliefs, with 48% saying they should and 51% opposing the exemptions.</li> </ul> <p>The survey highlights the ongoing disconnect in America about what religious freedom means. Americans United maintains that religious freedom is a shield that protects your right to worship or not as you see fit. White Christian nationalists want to use that principle as a sword that lashes out at others and takes away their rights. They seem to believe that their right to worship is somehow bound up in their ability to treat others like second-class citizens. They also resist the idea that under secular government, people of all faiths and no faiths are equal.  What white Christian nationalists call religious freedom looks like oppression to many others.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the Supreme Court keeps inching closer to standing the principle of religious freedom on its head by embracing a definition favored by Christian nationalists. <a href="https://www.au.org/become-a-member">With your support</a>, Americans United will continue to fight against that.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-against-customers" hreflang="en">Discrimination Against Customers</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-the-name-of-religion" hreflang="en">Discrimination In The Name of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-health-care" hreflang="en">Discrimination In Health Care</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/birth-control-benefit" hreflang="en">Birth Control Benefit</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/supreme-court" hreflang="en">Supreme Court</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/protecting-religious-freedom-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic" hreflang="en">Protecting Religious Freedom During the Coronavirus Pandemic</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 16 Feb 2021 13:20:53 +0000 boston 16657 at https://www.au.org Biden Order Signals Important Shift On Faith-Based And Neighborhood Partnerships   https://www.au.org/blogs/rogers-appointment-office <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Biden Order Signals Important Shift On Faith-Based And Neighborhood Partnerships  </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon Feb 15, 2021 - 08:29</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/soup%20kitchen_0.jpg?h=b94d8edb&amp;itok=AZYuhik-" width="1700" height="525" alt="soup kitchen" title="helping at soup kitchen " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>President Joe Biden yesterday issued an<a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/02/14/executive-order-on-the-establishment-of-the-white-house-office-of-faith-based-and-neighborhood-partnerships/"> </a><a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/02/14/executive-order-on-the-establishment-of-the-white-house-office-of-faith-based-and-neighborhood-partnerships/">executive order</a> restructuring the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Under President Donald Trump, the office had become a playground for the white Christian nationalists who formed the core of Trump’s base. Biden is promising a markedly different approach, one Americans United welcomes.</p> <p>Biden has<a href="https://religionnews.com/2021/02/14/biden-to-sign-executive-order-reestablishing-white-house-faith-office/"> </a><a href="https://religionnews.com/2021/02/14/biden-to-sign-executive-order-reestablishing-white-house-faith-office/">appointed Melissa Rogers</a> to head the office. Many of us at AU have known Rogers for decades. She worked for several years for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC), a strong ally of Americans United composed of Baptists who hew to the traditional Baptist stand in favor of church-state separation.</p> <p>Rogers brings a wealth of experience. She ran the faith-based office for several years under President Barack Obama, and she’s also a First Amendment scholar who has taught at Wake Forest University School of Divinity.</p> <p>In 2019, Rogers authored <em><a href="https://www.baylorpress.com/9781481309707/faith-in-american-public-life/">Faith in American Public Life</a></em>. In<a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/january-2020-church-state-magazine/featured/faith-freedom-and-the-law-a-conversation"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/january-2020-church-state-magazine/featured/faith-freedom-and-the-law-a-conversation">an interview</a> with <em>Church &amp; State</em> about the book, she endorsed church-state separation and lamented that under Trump, vital protections to protect the religious freedom rights of people who use social services had been stripped away; Rogers expressed hope that a future president would restore them.</p> <p>That time has come, and with Rogers at the helm of the faith-based office, we’re confident that those protections can and will be restored. Rogers will also serve as a senior advisor on faith and public policy on the Domestic Policy Council, the White House arm that oversees the implementation of Biden's domestic policy agenda. Rogers' presence on this body is a sign that the Biden administration intends to take these issues seriously. </p> <p>More good news is found in a<a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/02/14/fact-sheet-president-biden-reestablishes-the-white-house-office-of-faith-based-and-neighborhood-partnerships/"> </a><a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/02/14/fact-sheet-president-biden-reestablishes-the-white-house-office-of-faith-based-and-neighborhood-partnerships/">fact sheet</a> issued by the administration yesterday, in which the Biden administration embraces America’s religious and philosophical diversity. That’s a sharp break from the Trump administration, <a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/americans-united-denounces-appointment-of-paula-white-to-white-house-faith-and">which put Paula White</a>, an appalling “prosperity gospel” TV preacher, in charge of the faith-based effort and basically ignored any religious body that wasn’t part of Trump’s base.</p> <p>The fact sheet reads, “A key commitment of the Partnerships Office is embracing pluralism. At its best, the United States is not only a country with remarkable peace across our religious differences, it is a nation where people of diverse faiths and beliefs regularly make common cause. When Methodists and Muslims, Buddhists and Baptists, Sikhs and Secular Humanists serve together, we strengthen one another and we strengthen America. As part of this commitment, the Partnerships Office will work to protect the right to practice faith without fear, implementing promises President-elect Biden made about safeguarding faith communities that are at risk of discrimination, harassment, and hate-based acts of violence and vandalism.”</p> <p>It adds, “Fundamental to these goals is respecting our cherished guarantees of church-state separation and freedom for people of all faiths and none, as the executive order notes. The Partnerships Office, for example, will not prefer one faith over another or favor religious over secular organizations. Instead, it will work with every willing partner to promote the common good, including those who have differences with the Administration.”</p> <p>This administration calls church-state separation a “cherished” principle and acknowledges our right to believe or not as we see fit. What a refreshing change!</p> <p>In a<a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/Biden-Appoints-Melissa-Rogers"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/Biden-Appoints-Melissa-Rogers">media statement</a> issued yesterday, Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United, welcomed Rogers’ appointment, remarking, “Rogers’ mastery of church-state law and policy and her track record of finding shared values make her exceedingly qualified. When she served in the Obama administration, Rogers successfully worked with people across faiths and the nonreligious to adopt policies that protect the religious freedom of people who use federally funded social services.”</p> <p>Long-time supporters know that Americans United has never been a fan of “faith-based” initiatives. But the federal effort, which stretches back to the era of President Bill Clinton, is well established in the White House now, and if we must have it, the office should be led by someone who supports church-state separation – and now it will be.</p> <p>As Rachel noted in her press statement, Rogers and her team will have a lot to do. The Trump administration spent four years promoting policies that misused religious freedom to sanction discrimination, deny access to health care and require taxpayers to fund religion.</p> <p>Job one will be fixing that warped definition of religious freedom and getting these dangerous policies off the books. Americans United looks forward to helping Rogers do just that.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/government-support-of-religion" hreflang="en">Government Support Of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/nontheists-rights" hreflang="en">Nontheists&#039; Rights</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/faith-based-initiative" hreflang="en">faith-based initiative</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/faith-based-regulations" hreflang="en">Faith-Based Regulations</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/melissa-rogers" hreflang="en">Melissa Rogers</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/joe-biden" hreflang="en">Joe Biden</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/paula-white" hreflang="en">Paula White</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/donald-trump" hreflang="en">Donald Trump</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/bill-clinton" hreflang="en">Bill Clinton</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/barack-obama" hreflang="en">Barack Obama</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 15 Feb 2021 13:29:12 +0000 boston 16656 at https://www.au.org Supreme Court’s Dismissal Of Science In Pandemic Cases Threatens Public Health https://www.au.org/blogs/covid-science-court <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Supreme Court’s Dismissal Of Science In Pandemic Cases Threatens Public Health</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu Feb 11, 2021 - 08:47</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/science%20person%20.jpg?h=cacfb0d1&amp;itok=uxTyZAI2" width="1700" height="525" alt="science" title="scientist " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Tomorrow is Darwin Day, a time when secularist and education groups celebrate the birth of the famed British naturalist Charles Darwin, whose pioneering work shaped our understanding of evolution.</p> <p>It’s also a day to acknowledge the contributions of science. We have special reasons to make this acknowledgment now, as our nation continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic. Although the rollout of the vaccines has been frustratingly slow, their development has given hope to millions. We can be thankful for the scientists who made this happen.</p> <p>Science, not religious belief, should guide public policy as the pandemic plays out. Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t see it that way. The high court’s<a href="https://www.npr.org/2021/02/06/964822479/supreme-court-rules-against-california-ban-on-in-person-worship-amid-the-pandemi"> </a><a href="https://www.npr.org/2021/02/06/964822479/supreme-court-rules-against-california-ban-on-in-person-worship-amid-the-pandemi">recent ruling</a> partially overturning restrictions California officials had placed on indoor religious services should have been informed by professional scientific opinion – as were the restrictions California created for large gatherings, both secular and religious. Instead, the court relied on an inaccurate and overly rigid interpretation of religious freedom, and the justices failed to take into account the risk to public health posed by allowing these gatherings.</p> <p>Justice Elena Kagan pointed out the problem with this approach. She began<a href="https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/20a136_bq7c.pdf"> </a><a href="https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/20a136_bq7c.pdf">her dissent</a> with a blunt statement: “Justices of this Court are not scientists. Nor do we know much about public health policy. Yet today the Court displaces the judgments of experts about how to respond to a raging pandemic.”</p> <p>Elsewhere, Kagan noted, “To state the obvious, judges do not know what scientists and public health experts do. I am sure that, in deciding this case, every Justice carefully examined the briefs and read the decisions below. But I cannot imagine that any of us delved into the scientific research on how COVID spreads, or studied the strategies for containing it. So it is alarming that the Court second-guesses the judgments of expert officials, and displaces their conclusions with its own. In the worst public health crisis in a century, this foray into armchair epidemiology cannot end well.”</p> <p>Kagan’s right – and science backs her up. Medical experts<a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/indoor-church-services-are-covid-19-hot-spots-heres-why#Church-outbreaks"> </a><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/indoor-church-services-are-covid-19-hot-spots-heres-why#Church-outbreaks">have warned</a> that the unique nature of religious services – large groups of people gathering in close proximity, indoors, for a prolonged period of time, often with singing and speaking – puts those events at enhanced risk for being super-spreader events. Numerous coronavirus outbreaks have been linked to events at houses of worship and other religious gatherings.</p> <p>No one likes the current state of affairs, but accepting some science-based restrictions now will get us to a better place all the sooner.</p> <p>Commenting on the Supreme Court’s action, Americans United President and CEO Rachel Laser<a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/Supreme-Court-California-COVID"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/Supreme-Court-California-COVID">said</a>, “State orders restricting large gatherings, religious and secular, are for the common good. This is a time for shared sacrifice. Tragically, the court’s embrace of a radical definition of religious freedom and its unwillingness to uphold public health officials’ common-sense rules are actively undercutting our national effort to keep everyone safe and healthy.”</p> <p>Exactly. There are several problems with the court’s recent rulings on the pandemic, but they share a common thread: a lack of appreciation for science.</p> <p>Americans United <a href="https://www.au.org/tags/protecting-religious-freedom-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic">continues to urge</a> courts and public officials across the country to listen to the scientists when it comes to COVID-19 public health orders, and to implement any restrictions fairly for both secular and religious entities because religious freedom should not be misused to risk people’s lives.<a href="https://www.au.org/become-a-member"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/become-a-member">Join us</a> to support our efforts to protect both.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/protecting-religious-freedom-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic" hreflang="en">Protecting Religious Freedom During the Coronavirus Pandemic</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/supreme-court" hreflang="en">Supreme Court</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/justice-elena-kagan" hreflang="en">Justice Elena Kagan</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/charles-darwin" hreflang="en">Charles Darwin</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 11 Feb 2021 13:47:10 +0000 boston 16653 at https://www.au.org Eager For Trump’s Second Coming, White Christian Nationalists Back Voter Suppression https://www.au.org/blogs/WCN-voter-suppression <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Eager For Trump’s Second Coming, White Christian Nationalists Back Voter Suppression</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed Feb 10, 2021 - 08:29</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/voted%20.jpg?h=b39c5fef&amp;itok=uKi8JUU4" width="1700" height="525" alt="voter" title="I voted " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Even after more than three decades of monitoring groups that espouse Christian nationalism – the belief that America is and must remain a Christian nation with laws and policies that reinforce this myth – I’m still often amazed at how much misinformation movement leaders can cram into messages to the faithful.</p> <p>Consider this passage from a <a href="https://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=WA21B07&amp;f=WU21B03">recent column</a> by Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council: “If the mess of 2020 accomplished anything, it was lighting a fire under conservative states. After weeks of election counting, recounting, and questions, more legislatures than ever are determined to stop Democrats from taking advantage of COVID again. Cheat-by-mail is going to end, they warn. And a record number of states are lining up to prove it.”</p> <p>First off, the 2020 election was not a “mess.” It was, according to relevant government officials, <a href="https://apnews.com/article/top-officials-elections-most-secure-66f9361084ccbc461e3bbf42861057a5">our most secure election ever</a>. The election took place during a raging pandemic, and the fact that we pulled it off so flawlessly is a testament to a lot of hard work by Americans of various political beliefs all over the country who served as election judges, vote tabulators, etc.</p> <p>Secondly, the only reason we had “weeks of election counting, recounting, and questions” is because President Donald Trump refused to accept that he had lost. In Georgia, Trump insisted on three separate recounts, only to learn anew each time that he did, in fact, lose the state. And those “questions” Perkins mentions? They exist only in the fever dreams of QAnon boosters, tin-foil conspiracy theorists and other reality-denying Trump partisans. By now, anyone with even a lick of sense knows Trump lost.</p> <p>Thirdly, no one took advantage of COVID, and there was no “Cheat-by-mail.” With hundreds of thousands of Americans dead from the pandemic – in large part due to Trump’s ineptitude – millions of people did the smart thing and voted by mail, avoiding crowds and lines.</p> <p>Despite what Trump and his toadies claim, voting by mail worked. There was no cheating. Ironically, we know this in part thanks to Trump’s attorneys. They had ample opportunity in court to make the case that cheating had occurred and couldn’t do it. Trump and his wackadoodle army filed an astounding <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/politics/elections/2021/01/06/trumps-failed-efforts-overturn-election-numbers/4130307001/">62 lawsuits in state and federal courts</a> and lost 61 of them. (Their sole victory, over a minor technical point in Pennsylvania, didn’t change the outcome in that state; Joe Biden won it by more than 81,000 votes.) Trump’s legal team loved to float bizarre conspiracy theories in the media, but when forced to put up or shut up in courts of law, where actual evidence is required, they couldn’t provide even one shred.</p> <p>This brings us to what Perkins is really after: voter suppression. What a “record number of states are lining up to prove” is that Christian nationalists don’t support democracy. Stung by the fact that Trump was rejected by the American people, they’re pushing a raft of voter suppression bills in the states.</p> <p>One of the lessons of 2020 is that if you make it easier for people to vote, <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/turnout-map-2020-election-n1249620">record numbers</a> of them will do so, and many of them will be <a href="https://apnews.com/article/election-2020-joe-biden-race-and-ethnicity-virus-outbreak-georgia-7a843bbce00713cfde6c3fdbc2e31eb7">people of color</a>. This alarms white Christian nationalists. Their answer to Trump’s defeat is not to offer better candidates, drop offensive policies or cease their racist dog whistles – it’s to make it harder for people of color to vote.</p> <p>The Brennan Center for Justice <a href="https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/big-lie-and-push-restrict-voting">puts it bluntly</a>: “The new surge in voter suppression bills is a backlash to the historic voter turnout of the 2020 general election. It flows directly from the bid to cut out the votes of majority Black cities during the bid to overturn the results. Politicians who push and support voter suppression aim to rob Black and brown Americans of their say in our democracy.” </p> <p>And white Christian nationalists are all for it. We’ve <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/spotlight-on-WCN">noted previously on this blog</a> that these extremist groups don’t support democracy. They proved that after the election when they backed Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of fraud. They proved it again Jan. 6 when they failed to condemn a marauding band of insurrectionists that assaulted the U.S. Capitol with the goal of keeping Trump in power. They’re proving it now with their attack on the right of Americans to vote.</p> <p>Trump lost, but that doesn’t mean he and his allies are no longer a threat. His friends in Washington, D.C., and state capitals have embraced a new, un-American scheme: punishing the millions of Black and brown people who voted against Trump by restricting their access to the ballot box.  </p> <p>Much to their eternal shame, Perkins and his fellow white Christian nationalists are lining up to help. </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-right-0" hreflang="en">Religious Right</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/tony-perkins" hreflang="en">Tony Perkins</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/frc-0" hreflang="en">FRC</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/donald-trump" hreflang="en">Donald Trump</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/joe-biden" hreflang="en">Joe Biden</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/election" hreflang="en">Election</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/voting-rights" hreflang="en">voting rights</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 10 Feb 2021 13:29:28 +0000 boston 16652 at https://www.au.org