A very young-looking Obama in 2009 said the thing that made Right Wing Evangelicals heads go boom. "We are not a Christian Nation."
The blogosphere has moved to social media, but there was a time not too long ago when we liberal bloggers did something called a "blogswarm" in which we all blogged about the same thing. And around Easter week our blogswarm was "Blog Against Theocracy." Of course, this was at a time when George W. Bush was re-elected by people who insisted he was a "good Christian man."
But if you think theocracy died with the Bush administration...well, of course you don't. But did you know the new Attorney General of Texas thinks separation of church and state is a myth? Not a surprise, since Texas is also home to the most dangerous theocrat that has likely ever run for President on a major party ticket, Rafael Ted Cruz.
So often I talk or email with fellow liberals who have just had it with the religious right to the point that they can't stand Christianity or even religion in general. It's as if there is such a slippery slope in their minds between any admission of faith and total fundamentalism that it's just not worth it to go down that path. No religion is better than any religion, because in the end we all become Ted Cruz or Al Qaeda.
If we ever take a really good hard look in the mirror, we'll see that we progressives are horribly moralizing and unforgiving "condemn them all to hell" bunch, especially among our own. And we're up against the GOP Christianists who have no problem whatsoever saying "we're not perfect, just forgiven" and as far as our sins go, "Jesus paid for that."
I'm actually quite sympathetic to those liberals who think they hate Christianity. Funny thing is when you engage with atheists in conversation, a great many of them think Jesus was a cool guy, and some actually revere him. Even those who reject Christianity outright are not nearly so angry as they let on.
Let me point out something about the Easter story. Jesus of Nazareth was nailed to a tree by the political and religious CONSERVATIVES of his day because they mistakenly thought they had power and that he threatened that power. ANY Christian, myself included, who thinks they would have rescued Jesus from the cross, that certainly WE wouldn't have gone along with Pilate and Judas and abandoned him like Peter, are just kidding themselves. And those right-wingers who think they're really serving the cause of Jesus by electing Republicans, or working to make America a "Christian" nation? Little Christian ladies can say f*ck off, can't they?
It's that the religious right/Republican Party has so often set the discourse that "God/Jesus equals us" that some of us liberals tend to go along and agree with Republicans. Rejecting hate speech, intolerance, and fundamentalism becomes rejecting all religion.
But see, I love Jesus, and I'm strongly committed to making sure YOUR right NOT to believe is protected. I also believe, while we're at it, that I would be SINNING against my God to attempt to convert you. That's His provenance. And if I believe (and I struggle to, at least) that God is Love and that God loves his creation, I think smart, funny, gifted non-believing liberals have one of the better tables at Divine Love's cocktail party. You certainly do at mine.
Here's the deal about Christians, though. We're not all Mike Huckabee, and if we're honest, we must refuse to allow the Religious Right and their Ted Cruz's of this world, to define what Christianity is.
Highly recommended: Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Their website gives us all a map of the battle lines for continuing to ensure our constitutional right to church/state separation.
The author has a Master's in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School.