History Lessons the Christian Right Doesn't Want You to Know

In this brief post, I will present 3 important examples of the impact of Christianity in the United States that the contemporary Christian right does not want you to remember. I have selected these examples out of many possible choices because they represent important chapters in American history in which secular Americans played a role. In addition, they can be validated from newspaper articles, books, and sermons (yes, sermons) published at the time each event was happening. Thus, they each help to highlight that much of the revisionist history presented by the modern Christian right is ludicrous.

1. The majority of American Christians opposed the abolition of slavery, defended it as the will of their god, and justified it with their bible.

The more conservative they were in their Christian beliefs, the stronger was their opposition to abolition. What does that tell us? Do you think it might reveal something about Christianity, or at least conservative Christianity? I'd say so.

2. The majority of American Christians opposed suffrage.

Again, they used their bibles to argue that women should not have the right to vote. And again, the more conservative they were in their religious beliefs, the more vehement their opposition. A pattern is emerging here.

3. The majority of White American Christians opposed the civil rights movement.

While some conservative Catholics expressed support for the goals of the movement, most fundamentalist Protestants did not. Many of the White Christians who supported the movement were thrown out of their churches, demonized as atheists and/or communists, and deluged with hate mail from their Christian neighbors.

In each of these cases, we witnessed "culture wars." Scular freethinkers, repressed groups, and select liberal Protestants were on one side. Conservative Christians were on the other. It helps put today's culture wars in perspective, doesn't it? It also demonstrates a pattern of fundamentalists Christians being fundamentally wrong on important social issues.

For more information about the distinguished role of freethinkers, secular humanists, and atheists throughout American history, Susan Jacoby's Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism is a great read.

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