John Fuller’s recent guest column is harmful propaganda, justifying hatred and discrimination against anyone who rejects his far-right, anti-democratic values and those of his reactionary allies. And it reveals that he is shockingly ignorant of history for a former teacher of the subject.
He claims, “only Christianity teaches that mankind was given Life as an unalienable right,” but all major religions value life, and Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism make it a far higher and broader priority than Christianity. Furthermore, the modern concept of political rights was developed in the 1600s and 1700s by philosophers like Locke and Rousseau, based on human reason, not religion.
Fuller tries to link God’s “gift” of “Free Will” to political liberty, but the two have about as much to do with each other as they do with the sign at the store that says, “Buy One Get One Free.” Slaves, for example, have free will to choose what they believe, and to choose which foot to move first when they go out to plow. But they do not have the liberty to come and go as they please, or to decide not to plow today.
He says inaccurately that Christianity “is the foundation of our Republic’s belief in equality under the law.” But Fuller and his Christian nationalist allies are hard at work sabotaging equality before the law. For example, they want people like them to be free to reject recommendations of public health experts. But they are hell-bent on eliminating the freedom of women and trans people to choose what kind of medical care they receive. They talk endlessly about “parental choice” when it comes to library books and curricula but want to expunge the freedom of parents to determine what health care is best for their children.
Fuller begins by mentioning that Zooey Zephyr said recently that Christian nationalism is “a threat to democracy.” Revealingly, he doesn’t bother to defend himself against this allegation, but instead spends his entire column exaggerating Christian nationalism’s longevity as an influence over American politics.
Christian nationalists like Fuller like to elevate the Declaration of Independence and deemphasize the Constitution, to get around the facts that the Constitution doesn’t mention God at all, and the First Amendment requires separation of church and state. They ignore America’s real history as a country founded by diverse groups of people of many different faiths, many seeking sanctuary from religious persecution. That’s because Christian nationalists want to weaponize government to force their extreme values and warped version of Christianity on everyone else. They won’t be satisfied until they have replaced American democracy with reactionary theocracy.
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