National Religious History Week -- Not



Quite possibly much ado about nothing, likely an election-year stunt to fire up the base rather than some grave evidence of the theocrats on the march. But still -- courtesy of Tenured Radical, here's a discussion of a House Resolution to establish a National Religious History Week -- aka "America is a Christian Nation" week. Here's an excerpt from the resolution:

"Whereas political scientists have documented that the most frequently-cited source in the political period known as The Founding Era was the Bible" and "Whereas the United States Supreme Court has declared throughout the course of our Nation's history that the United States is 'a Christian country', 'a Christian nation', 'a Christian people', 'a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being' and that 'we cannot read into the Bill of Rights a philosophy of hostility to religion....'"

Apparently the bill's sponsors have not talked to John Fea, among others.

Here's the best portion from The Radical's take:

The bill clips a fistful of historical "facts" that link American political institutions to Christianity, including the presence of a Gutenberg Bible in the Library of Congress. These facts are stripped of their historical context, and strung together in chronological order, to "prove" that the United States is, and was intended to be by its founders, a Christian nation . . . Curiously, it also suggests that religion really has no history as such -- only a timeless present that can be used to re-order a political past in the interests of a contemporary interest group, a charge often aimed at leftist academics by cultural conservatives who want to minimize the importance of race and gender to national history.

Another History Blog looks under the hood of the "facts" stated in the resolution, briefly; Chris Rodda does so, more extensively, here. Truthiness reigns in this regiment of the right.

One presumes this will collapse of its own absurdity.


Anonymous at: January 20, 2008 at 12:57 PM said...

The first week in May is also the last week in the semester at many colleges, or towards the semester's end. It will make a fantastic teaching moment at the conclusion of American Religious History courses to examine the text of this Resolution, to open it to critical analysis, and to celebrate the complexity of America's actual religious history during American Religious History Week.

Anonymous at: January 20, 2008 at 12:59 PM said...

The text of the Resolution is here:

john t at: January 21, 2008 at 12:49 PM said...

Perhaps one of us might become the nation's American Religious History czar.

Pastor Bob Cornwall at: January 21, 2008 at 7:49 PM said...

If we were to celebrate the religious diversity that is America, that might be worth the effort. But this is simply old trash warmed over. Bizarre!

Another History Blog at: January 22, 2008 at 9:26 AM said...

from Tenured Radical's posting:
"These facts are stripped of their historical context, and strung together in chronological order, to 'prove' that the United States is, and was intended to be by its founders, a Christian nation based on Biblical fundamentalism."

Actually, it's considerably worse than this; many, probably most, of the "facts" are incorrect. See Chris Rodda's posting from a few weeks ago on Daily Kos--

Edward Blum at: January 22, 2008 at 9:38 AM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous at: January 22, 2008 at 12:39 PM said...

Here's a vote for the Paul Harvey nomination for Am. Rel. History Czar. heehee.


Paul Harvey at: January 23, 2008 at 11:22 AM said...

I'll only accept this proferred post if I'm given the title "Czarina."

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