In a piece by The Associated Baptist Press, Ken Camp talks about the Mormon-influenced movement that is gaining traction among many conservative Christians and Republicans.
Self-styled historian David Barton and conservative provocateur Glenn Beck — both inspired by the late Mormon conspiracy theorist W. Cleon Skousen — use tactics of half-truth and faulty scholarship to create a mythical America constitutionally established as a Christian nation, said Stookey, professor of church history and director of the master of arts in theological studies program at Dallas Baptist University.
Christian America advocates use out-of-context quotations and some outright falsehoods to give the Founding Fathers impeccable Christian pedigrees, ignoring or at least minimizing Enlightenment influences, he said.
“The historical reality is that the Founders were a varied collection of orthodox Christians, nominal (church) attenders, Christian moralists, deists and nonbelievers,” Stookey said.
For those of us that are interested in how one reads ancient (religious) texts and that are also interested in supporting and fighting for religious freedom on all fronts, we have a responsibility to involve ourselves in these sorts of discussions as well. For those who read the Constitution and America’s past through a tainted lens are the same ones that read the Bible through tainted lenses, using the text as nothing more than a mirror.
As concerned persons and scholars we teach people how to read ancient texts and ancient history. We must also, it appears, be helping to teach people how to read much more modern texts and a much more modern history.
For more information and resources on religious liberty check out the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.