Editor's Note: This post originally ran on Thanksgiving Day 2007. It was written by Joe Conn, Americans United's former director of communications. Joe, who retired in July of 2013 after a remarkable 33 years of service to AU, makes the case for being thankful for the church-state wall. Happy Thanksgiving!
When you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner today, do you plan to say grace?
Colonial-era Baptist minister John Leland was a devout Christian, but he was no bigot.
In an essay titled “The Virginia Chronicle” (1790), Leland attacked antiquated laws in the Old Dominion that limited public office to certain types of Christians.
“If a man merits the confidence of his neighbors in Virginia,” observed Leland, “let him worship one God, twenty Gods or no God. Be he Jew, Turk, Pagan, or Infidel, he is eligible to any office in the state.”
Tomorrow is Independence Day, and many of us will be meeting up with family for cook-outs, picnics, reunions and other events.
While I’m certainly not recommending that you get into an argument with your Uncle Lou who watches too much Fox News, I acknowledge that it might happen. If it does and the topic of America as a “Christian nation” comes up, here is some information you might find useful.
I graduated not so long ago from an all-male private high school, properly considered parochial, I’d say, for more than just its Catholic affiliation. And so, some of my freshest memories there date from the 2008 election.