At Obama's inauguration, here's what he said:
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this EarthHe's emphasizing the diversity of the American people as one of our great strengths. Everyone (well almost everyone) agrees with that. But he made one mistake, he said that we're a religiously diverse nation (which is factually true, check the latest polls). And that has the wingnuts up in arms.
They insist that America is a Christian nation (read: soft domionism). Well, what does that mean? It means that America has been and should continue to be governed under Christian (as opposed to secular) principles and it heavily implies that non-Christians aren't "true" Americans and should have no say in their own country. Nothing but historical revisionism (particularly about the founding fathers) used to fuel thinly-veiled religious bigotry and theocratic fervor.
Imagine people saying that America is a "white country" and that government should promote "white values". See the problem? Yeah, it's horribly racist and an attempt to abuse governmental authority to promote their narrow-minded, sectarian, racist ideology - a notion of "white values" that many white people would likely dispute. American theocrats have the same gameplan. And that's why they despise Obama's admission that America is a country of Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and nonbelievers in addition to Christians. They can't admit the diversity of American religious opinion because then they have to surrender the myth that America has always been and should continue to be based on their religion beliefs. Without the enduring myth of the Christian Nation, they cannot hold power.
Wingnut Daily went to town on this latest news, complete with links to other crazy wingnut sites. Here's one reaction:
A television commercial that aired in South Dakota by a group calling itself the Coalition Against Anti-Christian Rhetoric juxtaposed the audio of Obama's "no longer Christian" statement over images of the presidential candidate dressed in Somali garb and a picture of him with his hands rested below his waist while other politicians place their hands over their hearts during the Pledge of Allegiance.
"It's time for people to take a stand against Barack Hussein Obama," declares the voiceover on the commercial.