People have on more than one occasion called me an ass. Now I steadfastly refuse to accept that I am an ass—I am a man, not an ass. But if I were, I might say something like this:
I’m from Alabama. And white. And a man. And a Christian. You know, we white southern Christian men are not the most highly esteemed these days. I can walk in a room of mid-westerners and merely open my mouth, let my southern drawl waft across the room, and bam—just like that—my IQ goes down a full fifteen points. Let a mid-westerner merely hear me say hello, and sometimes they start giggling. “Poor thing,” it seems they’re thinking. “How cute. But what a dolt. ” They’ll put their hand over their mouth, trying to decide between one of two replies…
I am rather convinced that to conflate love of country with the myth of a Christian nation is bad news. To claim that the United States once was a “Christian nation,” or to seek to recover some supposedly lost “Christian nation” status, is bad news because it is historically false; misunderstands basic Christian theology and practice; and contends for a strategy that is sure to back-fire into resentment and hostility.
Here in the Buckle of the Bible Belt our Tennessee Legislature seems destined to drive us nigh unto insanity. I would like to say I think this bill, to make the Bible the official book of the State of Tennessee, in my carefully considered and nuanced vocabulary, is altogether stupid. And I think it is stupid for the following articulate and Biblical reasons: