Dear Liberal Christians: Do You Know This Is A Christian Nation?
So I ran across this video of right-wing “historian” David Barton saying
If you look at signers of the Declaration of Independence, they said America is a Christian nation. So were we? Yes. … Are we? … America’s 82 to 88 percent professing Christian. I would say that qualifies for a Christian nation.
It’s worth taking a closer look at Pew’s numbers.
|Evangelical Protestant Churches||26.3%|
|Mainline Protestant Churches||18.1%|
|Historically Black Churches||6.9%|
I’m not going to delve on the difference between Pew’s 78.5% and Barton’s 82-88%; let’s just assume that Christianity has fallen by 4-10% in three years, more or less evenly across denominations. Nor do I want to pick on David Barton specifically. He merely provided a representative quote in the general ballpark of “most Americans are Christians, so it’s our way or the highway”.
What’s more interesting to me is that if we take all these different flavors of Christian and bake them into a tasty pie chart, it looks like this:
Now, I’m guessing that Barton is in that blue 33.5% wedge, which many of the people in the other wedges consider crazy, heretical, or worse. I haven’t been following Christians’ internecine sniping much, but I recall a lot of the blue guys saying that the green guys aren’t True Christians. And of course the Mormons and JWs are on the chart not because the bigger sects consider them Real™ Christians, but because they consider themselves Christians.
My point here is that if you’re a non-crazy-right-wing-holy-roller Christian, then you’re probably not in the same wedge as Barton and the crazy right wing holy rollers. But they’re speaking for you anyway. In the video above, for instance, Barton is saying that since most Americans are Christians (call themselves “Christian”), therefore laws should follow Christian (right-wing Evangelical) principles.
But for some reason, I don’t hear a lot of liberal Christians calling right-wingers on this, demanding that the conservatives stop speaking for all Christians. Except, I guess, when the craziness reaches Fred Phelps levels. In most cases, however, silence is perceived as agreement.
So if you’re a Christian who doesn’t agree with the Pat Robertsons and Maggie Gallaghers and Bill Donohues and David Bartons of the world, you have a few options:
a) Get the right-wingers to stop using the word “Christian” when they really mean “Fundie”. Good luck with that.
b) Pick a different word for yourselves. I’d suggest “Jesusist”, but that has too many esses, so how about “Yeshuist”?
c) Stop giving cover to the crazy Christians. Raise a stink whenever someone says something crazy and claims to speak for you.
Or, I suppose, you could d) agree that yes, unbelievers and gays should be second-class citizens just like it says in the Bible, that there should be no wall of separation between church and state, and like that. I’d just like to know where things stand.