Fifty-seven percent of Republicans would be more than happy to see legislation making Christianity America’s national religion, according to a recent poll from Public Policy Polling.
Additionally, the poll highlighted something else just as concerning: the majority of Republican respondents either have the inability to comprehend, a disdain for, or a willful ignorance about science and rationality in general.
Let me explain why I say that. The same poll told us: 1) Sixty-six percent of Republicans don’t believe in global warming, 2) almost half don’t believe in evolution, and 3) the current leader for the GOP Presidential nod is Scott Walker (yes, the Scott Walker who has absolutely wrecked the state of Wisconsin on behalf of the Koch brothers).
That’s a snap shot of ideologues choosing to wear blinders and follow the party line over the well-researched conclusions of some of the planet’s finest minds.
These results show that a majority of Republicans are much more interested in what they think they believe or are told they should believe instead of actually learning and understanding real data and facts — and their implications for our country and the planet.
Basically, these folks prefer a falsely-constructed reality over actual reality. (And frankly, the GOP’s constant moves to dismantle education systems make the job even easier).
And that makes the poll question about Christianity becoming the national religion all the more frightening.
Let’s just start with how their lack of interest in reality seems to lead them to believe that there is actually something patriotic about wanting a “Christian nation.” If you don’t believe they see it that way, just try to tell them you see yourself as a “patriot” and you would never want this to be a Christian nation. Oh, and good luck with that conversation.
It’s mind-boggling to insist that demanding a legally mandated national religion is “patriotic” in a country whose founding documents are resolutely premised on the separation of church and state.
The only reasonable explanation for this kind of belief is willful ignorance of America’s Constitution and The Declaration of Independence – and historical blinders against the ideological origins of our country.
Where does this kind of “thinking” come from?
I’d argue it comes from conservative (and even some mainline) churches.
It’s rooted in a little thing called blind faith.
Think about it. These people who want Christianity to be America’s “official” religion identify as Christian and also self-identify as politically conservative.
So, they likely attend conservative Christian churches where it is seen as noble and pious to follow their congregational leaders without thinking too much – blind faith.
Add to that the reality that people seeking political power have long known that religion is a useful tool, in part because of followers’ strict adherence to anything that can be promoted as the “correct” position on a religious (or even loosely religious) issue.
As Napoléon Bonaparte once quipped, “Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”
You want people to be quiet when their own good is being trampled upon by the wealthy (as GOP frontrunner, Scott Walker, has done)? You just need a heavy dose of conservative religion.
Bonaparte massively understated the power of religion. It doesn’t just keep common people quiet and keep them from murdering the rich while you make life harder on them and easier on the rich. Religion also allows you, after having done that, to still become the frontrunner for President for their political party.
Furthermore, you can convince them that, in a nation entirely founded on the ideal of the separation of church and state, it is patriotic to believe the church must be the official guide of the state
And, believe it or not, it gets worse.
You can also convince them that what a Christian nation looks like is something far removed from what Jesus (the one called Christ) taught us to do: healing the sick, feeding the poor, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, caring about the imprisoned, welcoming immigrants, embracing the outsiders, advocating for the marginalized, confronting those who abuse power, loving one another… and the list could go on and on.
That’s the danger of Republican politics mixed with the blind faith of Christianity: they can make up seem like down and down seem like up.
They see Christianity as a tool not as a spiritual practice.
And, they are leading a majority of Republicans down a road that is not only ruining America, but is ruining their ability to follow the teachings of Jesus as well.