"Christian nation" McCain

This BeliefNet interview (h/t: Crooks and Liars) mentions the recent First Amendment Center survey; sadly, John McCain appears to be fully immersed in historical revisionism:

A recent poll found that 55 percent of Americans believe the U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation. What do you think?

I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation. But I say that in the broadest sense. The lady that holds her lamp beside the golden door doesn't say, “I only welcome Christians.” We welcome the poor, the tired, the huddled masses. But when they come here they know that they are in a nation founded on Christian principles.

One would think that after years of being rebutted, the “Christian nation” myth would have ceased to function as a rhetorical device; it appears, despite its fundamental inaccuracies, to fulfill a need for a certain segment of the population. Tristero calls McCain “despicable” at Hullabaloo, but he’s off-base with this assessment:

He's lying. McCain has certainly read the Constitution and he knows it "established" nothing of the sort.

There is no reason to "engage" this trash with counter-arguments. McCain, in his desperate desire to pander to the absolute worst bottom-feeders in American political life, has stooped to the level of a Holocaust denier. Disgusting.

Despite their ideological similarity to Reconstructionists and other Christianists, there are many good-meaning and well-intentioned people who are simply misinformed about the religious aspects of American history; their leaders are “bottom-feeders,” true, but we should be careful about tarring the followers with the same brush. I remain unconvinced that counter-argumentation is not an appropriate and effective method to counteract the Religious Right’s pandering and revisionism; only ill effects can result when the truth simply cedes the public square to lies. Also, the “Christian nation” mythology should never be considered as being on the same level with Holocaust denialism, except when Christianists take that next step into neo-Nazi territory.


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