The Bengal's Purr

The student news site of Lewiston High School

The Bengal's Purr

The Bengal's Purr

Opinion: Christian nationalism poses threat to American society

85.9% of respondents said that there should be a separation
of church and state, while 14.1% disagreed. Data compiled
by Jerrick Edwardsen.
85.9% of respondents said that there should be a separation of church and state, while 14.1% disagreed. Data compiled by Jerrick Edwardsen.

In light of the push for Christianity in schools in Oklahoma and numerous previous attempts across the country, it is time to talk about the growing trend toward favoring religious beliefs in our laws, school policies and other aspects of our government. This trend toward laws and/or policies based on religious beliefs is dangerous for the country and signals a growth in religious extremism. In the beginning of our country’s history, religiously based laws were
common practice, and laws based on Christianity are still common today. States such as Texas, Oklahoma and North Carolina have laws highly based on Christian beliefs, and similar laws are continually being introduced. The issue with laws like these is they violate the Constitution and what the founding fathers wanted.
How does it violate the Constitution? It goes against the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
Many people believe that this clause ensures the separation of church and state. One such person is the founding father Thomas Jefferson. He is quoted as saying, “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.
So what does all this mean? It means there is a massive need to separate church and state, and most of the general public thinks so, too. According to the Pew Research Center, about 67% of respondents agreed that America should not have an official religion.
Those numbers align somewhat with a Bengal’s Purr survey of LHS seniors. A total of 99 students LHS in government classes responded this fall. The local survey showed:
85.9% of respondents said there should be separation of church and state — about 20% more than in the general Pew poll.
About 17% of LHS seniors said they disagree or strongly disagree that there is a current separation of church and state.
55.2% of LHS seniors said municipal governments should be allowed to put religious symbols on public property, compared to 39% in the Pew survey
The most significant difference of opinion between the students and the Pew poll was regarding this last question about religious symbols on public property.
Regarding this, one anonymous student wrote in their survey response: “The separation of church and state has been a thing since the U.S.’ creation. Christianity is not the only religion practiced in the country, and it should not be forced into people’s daily lives if they do not practice it. In some ways, the figurative wall that separates church and state is slowly cracking, as we see some politicians today who try to undermine our constitution and have outright said that America should be a Christian Nationalist country, which is not what this country was intended to be when we gained independence. Until it was added by Congress in 1956, ‘In God We Trust’ was not the original motto of the U.S.; It was E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One). ‘Under God’ was not originally in the Pledge of Allegiance. It was signed into law by Eisenhower, also in 1956.
This person raises an excellent point. In recent years, politicians such as Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga) have openly referred to themselves as Christian Nationalists. The wall between church and state is crumbling, and the rate of that crumbling is increasing daily.
I believe in this separation as a self-labeled Christian — this isn’t a perspective of someone who isn’t religious, or who isn’t specifically Christian. People who loudly proclaim that our laws should be based on Christian beliefs are outright wrong, even if the U.S. has a majority Christian population.
This trend toward Christian extremism is a slippery slope into a less free America. According to a 2021 article from The Guardian, Christ Church of Moscow, Idaho, has a goal to make Moscow a “Christian town.” It’s closer to home than we think.
There are many ways to fix this, most importantly, we can vote and voice our opinions. If we don’t, there could be serious consequences. We can’t let our country down. Put a stop to Christian nationalism.

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