As America’s finest continue shedding their blood in Iraq and Afghanistan, we do well to take stock of who we are and what we’re up against. What we’re up against is a fanatical cadre of theocrats bent on imposing their view of Theo on everybody else. At gunpoint.
Who we are is a little more complicated. On paper, we’re the freedom people. I say “on paper” because that’s where it all starts. We have the oldest written constitution on the planet. We can be proud of that. What we can’t be proud of is that many Americans don’t seem to know what it says, particularly when it comes to our nation’s first freedom: religious freedom.
Ask most Americans what the Constitution says about God, and their answers may surprise you.
“One nation under God?”
Nope, that’s the Pledge of Allegiance.
“Oh, yeah, right, right. How about, ‘Endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights’?”
Sorry, but that’s the Declaration of Independence.
Mostly what you’ll get is a lot of blank stares. Trust me. I’ve tried it in nearly 50 states. Fully 55% of the country, according to a recent survey by the First Amendment Center, believes that the U.S. Constitution establishes us as a “Christian nation.” Worse still, while nearly all Americans say freedom of religion is important, only 56% think it should apply to all religious groups. The truth is that the Constitution says nothing about God. Not one word. And, you can bet that some of the local clergy back in the 1780s howled about it. Newspapers, pamphlets and sermons decried the drafters’ failure to acknowledge God.