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Two Democratic congressmen reportedly have plans to present a prospective Biden administration a slate of recommendations that include pushing back against the “Christian nationalist movement.”
Those recommendations come courtesy of a 28-page document created by the Secular Democrats of America PAC (SDA); Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-MD)and Jared Huffman(D-CA), the co-chairs of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, reportedly intend to present the document to Joe Biden, Religion News reports.
Raskin told Religion News Service, “Trump’s ministers and judges have turned religious free exercise into a weapon against anti-discrimination law, and this essential fallacy must be corrected. The Biden Administration should quickly debunk the right-wing myth that personal free exercise of religion is a license to discriminate against other people in the provision of services in government and the marketplace.”
The document states that the “Christian nationalist movement” “provides constant cover for white supremacy,” as follows:
We urge you not to underestimate the institutional strength of what we refer to (interchangeably) in this document as the “Christian nationalist movement” or the “religious right.” This movement is extraordinarily well-funded and well-organized, and the manifestation of its extreme and sectarian agenda is on constant display under the Trump- Pence administration. Its political ideology is anti-democratic and anti-scientific. It provides constant cover for white supremacy.
The document continues:
The constant entanglement of religion and government—promoted by the religious right and intensified by the Trump administration—sweeps far beyond hot-button “culture war” issues like abortion and contraception. It permeates every aspect of government policy— healthcare, public and private education, foreign policy, tax policy, environmental policy, military policy, and more, all of which will be addressed in this document.
Some suggestions in the document include: “reframe” concepts of patriotism by urging politicians to avoid saying “God and country”; encouraging chaplains in the military who are non-religious; and using “E Pluribus Unum” instead of “In God We Trust,” asserting that “In God We Trust” is “a relic of McCarthyism and the anti-atheist hysteria of the 1950s, and it has been invoked by Christian nationalists to reinforce their historically revisionist narrative of our nation’s founding. They characterize the United States’ founding as a ‘Christian nation’ based in biblical principles, rather than as a secularist nation based in revolutionary democratic ideas.”
The document also states that the group recommends opposing “religious displays on government property,” and to “crack down on nonprofits operating as businesses, including megachurches.”
Sarah Levin, program director for the Secular Democrats of America, stated, “Tens of millions of secular Americans stood with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Election Day because they want a government that reflects their values. President Trump placed religious privilege above both individual freedom and our democratic way of life.”
SDA wants the government to withhold federal funds from any faith-based organization that “discriminates against its employees or program beneficiaries on the basis of religion.” It also wants to revivify enforcement of the U.S. tax code barring nonprofit groups from endorsing candidates for political office.