Here we go again, rehashing the age old question-should America embrace Christianity as the state sponsored religion and end our country's time as a democracy? This is exactly what the Reclaim America for Christ Center is attempting do and is highlighting its mission at their annual conference right here in sunny Florida.
The center's supporters are attempting to gain momentum for their movement to reshape America as a theocracy from a democracy as we approach the 2008 election. As a Humanist, I implicitly deny the center's claim that the business of the United States is the advancement of the Kingdom of Jesus.
Humanists are unapologetically pro-democracy, and we do not want to see our country overtaken by an oppressive brand of Christianity. Even President George W. Bush acknowledged in a President's Day celebration that every American has the right to freedom. This freedom includes freedom of and freedom from religion.
We have seen many examples of theocracies around the world-Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and these are not examples of what we would like our country to become. We also know what can happen under theocracies-the Spanish inquisition, the oppression of women, and the denial of basic human freedoms.
The Reclaim America for Christ Center contends that they are attempting to renew the Christian principles that our country was founded on. While that is all well and good, the truth is that our country was founded at its very roots on the desire to have freedom of religion. In fact, without that desire, I dare say America never would have come into existence. Our founding fathers realized the damage a theocracy can inflict on a person's freedom and basic human rights. As the leaders of the free world, we must set an example-that we value freedom above all else. The separation of church and state sets an example of freedom that few other countries have been brave enough to embrace.
Even among Christians there are differences of opinion on how the religion should be observed-proving that any one state sponsored religion will not be well received by all even those in the Christian faith. The constitution of America allows each and everyone of us to practice our own religion or not to practice at all. Humanists believe that the separation of church and state is paramount to our American way of life. It is this very idea that the Reclaim America for Christ conference seeks to undermine.
As we move into the 2008 election season, it is especially important that we take note of our freedoms and that we preserve our democracy. If we allow any of our freedoms to be compromised, we open the door for all our freedom to eliminated.
Heather Wellman is the Executive Director of the Humanists of Florida Association. The Humanists of Florida Association (HFA) is a statewide association of groups and individuals that affirm the Humanist worldview. Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.