The Separation of Church and State

Two thumbs up! ‘God & Country’ is receiving rave reviews

  Rob Boston

The documentary “God & Country” has been playing in theaters for more than a week, and reviews are overwhelmingly positive. The film has a 92% “fresh” rating on the film review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

Here are some excerpts:

The New York Times:

“‘God & Country” describes the growing threat to democracy posed by voters who subscribe to the belief that the United States is above all a Christian nation and that this should influence policies on abortion, public education, immigration, and so on. The film’s insights about the role of religion in politics feel especially well-informed because many of its commentators draw on their own personal and professional experiences with the Christian church. They’re believers, too, and they’re worried.”

The Hollywood Reporter:

“Among the things that gives God & Country – based on the book The Power Worshippers, by Katherine Stewart – its strength is that most of its numerous interview subjects are both deeply religious Christians and politically conservative. They’re clearly disturbed by the movement’s distortion of religion and its rewriting of history. A constitutional scholar describes how the founding fathers intended the separation of church and state to protect religious freedom for all faiths, and that the country was not founded on Judeo-Christian principles.” (Note: that constitutional scholar is AU’s own Andrew L. Seidel!)

The NYC Movie Guru:

“This documentary will make you justifiably angry about what’s happening in the U.S. this very day. Just to know that an ideology like Christian Nationalism can even exist and have so many followers is both alarming and scary.”

“Partland’s vigorous film argues that as far back as the 1960’s and 70’s, landmark rulings on civil rights and abortion led to the re-organisation of churches into a political movement, with financial muscle via the rise of tele-evangelical preachers such as Jerry Falwell.”

“Partland has made a film that lays out the cause, the ‘thinking’ and secret agenda and not-so-secret financiers of this dangerous Christian National movement. But it’s also a clarion call to the ‘40 to 50 percent of Americans who don’t vote,’ a brilliantly-argued, damningly laid-out documentary case for registering, voting and preserving democracy from its most serious internal threat ever.”

The Christian Post:

Of course, not everyone was pleased with the film. Christian Post writer Jon Brown called “God & Country” a “partisan broadside that deceptively conflates so-called Christian nationalism with positions held by a large swath of conservative Christians.”

In the review, Brown notes that during the film, I point out that far-right Christians want to take away women’s rights, make abortion illegal in all 50 states, deny rights to LGBTQ+ Americans and “Christianize” public schools. To Brown, these are just common views held by conservative Christians, so what’s the big deal?

The big deal is that, while the conservative Christians who hold these extreme views are a minority in our country, they wield outsize power – and some are willing to resort to violence to get their way, as “God and Country” demonstrated. They’re teaming up with politicians, well-funded organizations and other political powerbrokers to enshrine their beliefs into law. They’ve formed a Shadow Network that’s working in the courts, legislatures and in our communities to use the power of government to impose their views on everyone else. That’s Christian Nationalism and it’s antithetical to our democracy.

“God & Country” sounds the alarm about the dangers of this. See it now if you can – and tell your friends and family about its important message. Then you can watch this virtual discussion about the film that AU President and CEO Rachel Laser hosted a few weeks ago with Reiner, Director Dan Partland, author and historian Dr. Jemar Tisby, author Katherine Stewart, Andrew L. Seidel and me.

Congress needs to hear from you!

Urge your legislators to co-sponsor the Do No Harm Act today.

The Do No Harm Act will help ensure that our laws are a shield to protect religious freedom and not used as a sword to harm others by undermining civil rights laws and denying access to health care.

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