November 2012 Church & State | AU Bulletin


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.), H. Res. 789 says that the 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 offered to support the assertion that religion is important to Americans, including claims that the “first act of Congress in 1774 was a prayer” and that the Bible is the best-selling book of all time. Also cited is 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 identify as Christian.

Advocates of church-state separation were upset by the measure.

“This [resolution] only serves to divide rather than unite Americans,” said Edwina Rogers, executive director of the Secular Coalition for America, in a media release. “This resolution insinuates that because Christianity is the majority religion in the United States, the religion and its followers should be privileged by our government, but this logic is problematic – our Constitution is secular precisely to protect all Americans regardless of their religious beliefs or lack of religious beliefs.”