If some members of Congress get their way, the first week in May will be “American Religious History Week,” seven days set aside to “affirm the rich spiritual and diverse religious history of our Nation’s founding and subsequent history, including up to the current day.” In no less than 75 “whereas” statements, the resolution introduced in December, describes a completely Christian and mainly Protestant history of the United States. Minnesota’s U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., is one of 31 co-sponsors of the bill.
The Secular Coalition for America (SCA) took aim at the resolution last week saying it “promotes a false and distorted Christian nation reinterpretation of our history.” The group says it doesn’t take positions on resolutions, but the bill was so “outrageous” that the group felt compelled to speak out.
“A truly complete look at our nation’s religious history would include religious persecution. It would include the physical violence resulting from the imposition of Protestant theology in public schools,” the SCA response said. “Such a history ‘including up to the current day’ would include anti-Catholic, anti-atheist, and anti-Semitic activities.”
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State were equally as critical. “Many of the statements set forth in this resolution are exaggerated, taken out of context, or misleading. For example, the resolution asserts that the Supreme Court affirmed repeatedly that the U.S. is a ‘Christian Nation.'” The group says that that assertion is false.
“I don’t think Congress should embrace false history,” Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United told The Daily Press in Virginia. “It ignores the contributions of so many and elevates the contributions of some.”