The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism Is Un-American

Andrew Seidel. Sterling, $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4549-3327-4
Seidel, a constitutional attorney, provides a fervent takedown of Christian Nationalism in his furious debut. After support by far-right Christian nationalists helped Donald Trump win the U.S. presidency, Seidel worries that Evangelical political influence is increasing and dangerous. He argues that America was not founded as a Christian nation on Judeo-Christian principles, and thus Christian nationalists are inherently wrong. Judeo-Christian principles, he argues, are directly opposed to the Enlightenment principles on which the United States was founded: “to put it bluntly, Christianity is un-American.” Seidel points out subtle but pervasive Christian theocratic arguments that aim to link patriotism with religion by looking at the history of the 1950s media blitz conducted by Christian organizations promoting religion in American life, the 1954 addition by Congress of “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance, and Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan’s use of “God bless America” as a concluding remark for presidential addresses. According to Seidel, Christian nationalists see Christianity as the foundation of American exceptionalism; Seidel subverts this claim by arguing that democratic freedoms (such as freedom of religion and speech) are what make America exceptional. While many readers who don’t agree with Seidel will dismiss his forceful tone, his well-conceived arguments will spark conversations for those willing to listen. (May)
Reviewed on : 02/14/2019
Release date: 05/01/2019
Genre: Religion
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