The right to freedom of religious belief and practice is one of several that the First Amendment to our Constitution guarantees. It is a fundamental right in a civilized society. Persons should be as free as possible to define their religion as they see fit and to practice is as they see fit.
This is a problem in the United States because no one will seriously suggest that we should infringe or abrogate that right, but Christianity is the primary impediment to progress in many, if not all, areas of politics and public policy.
Many people saw in the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States a promising sign that we had begun to abandon our ugly history of racism and racial discrimination that Christians initiated and bequeathed to the nation they created by relying heavily on slave labor from well before the founding of the republic until seventy six years after the founding, then continuing legal discrimination against the freed slaves and their descendants for at least one hundred years after that.
On this score, the accession of Donald Trump to the presidency was a huge disappointment. Trump was openly racist from the moment he announced his candidacy and has a well documented history of racist statements and conduct both before that event and after. Christians as a group, except for African Americans and Hispanic Catholics, voted over 55 percent for Trump. Had only Christians voted, Trump would have won the popular vote easily.
Now is the time for the annual idiocy that is the “March for Life,” the major event for opponents of abortion rights. This year, Vice President Mike Pence spoke. Pence is a vocal Christian and opponent of abortion rights. Opponents of abortion rights are mostly bloody minded fools — good Christians — who fail to think at all rationally about how best to achieve their stated goal. If one really wanted to prevent abortion, one would ensure that all persons had access to all of the contraceptives they want. But many abortion rights opponents also oppose easy access to contraceptives, which only reveals that their real agenda is to control women and their sexuality for purely ideological — Christian — reasons.
Abortion rights has consistently perverted our politics at least since the major abortion rights decision, Roe v. Wade, in 1973. By focusing obsessively on abortion rights, and being dupes, opponents of abortion rights have very consistently supported Republican candidates despite the evidence indicating that the incidence of abortion drops under Democratic presidents, but remains flat under Republican presidents. Republicans, of course, typically oppose various policies that have the purpose of helping pregnant women and mothers.
Opponents of abortion rights are not smart.
The vice president is also the turd in the punch bowl of another story that has vaulted into the headlines, about his wife taking a job teaching at a school that explicitly prohibits LGBT teachers or students. For teachers, the answer is, go teach elsewhere, but students may not have that option. This school may think it has no queer students, but it does. They just suffer in silence and live with the increased risk of suicide that comes with being a queer youth in a culture that is overtly hostile to you for no good reason.
Pence has recently addressed this imbroglio in an interview with a Christian cable network, saying that “attacks on Christian education are deeply offensive to us.” So, for Pence, Christian education necessarily equals discrimination against LGBT people.
A significant subset of Christians fanatically support anything and everything the government of Israel does, and endorsed the decision by Trump to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, despite the opposition of his own advisers.
Christians as a class tend to doubt that the climate is changing and that human activity causes that change.
Christians still support abstinence only sex “education,” despite the overwhelming evidence that it fails to achieve its stated goals.
The creationist theme park in Kentucky sucked up millions of dollars in tax money from the state.
Christianity, being a bundle of silly ideas itself, is a fount of bad ideas in the realm of politics and policy. It’s a shame that the bedrock guarantee of freedom of religious belief and practice prevents us from excluding all identifiably Christians ideas from our political and policy debates.