To the editor: Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s proposal to make America “one nation under God and one religion under God” is dangerous, delusional, divisive and a distortion of history. (“”No, Michael Flynn, America does not need one religion, “Opinion, 20 Nov.)
Besides, what would one religion be? It is clear, in Flynn’s view, that neither Islam nor any of the innumerable religions would be considered “Eastern.” And no matter when the term “Judeo-Christian” was coined, it does not describe one religion, but rather a supposedly common ethical belief system.
So, does Flynn mean Catholicism or Judaism? My guess is no. That leaves Protestantism. But even that includes many separate faiths whose adherents fiercely disagree on minor and major principles of their faith.
Flynn blows a dog whistle in the hope that every person who hears him will believe that his or her religion will be the chosen one. Even my dog knows better than to listen.
Andrew Rubin, Los Angeles
To the editor: The vibrant religious culture we enjoy today as the most pious democracy in the West does not exist in spite of our secular tradition, but because of it. The tolerance, pluralism and unrestricted expression we experience is only ensured by state-approved freedom of conscience.
Flynn’s argument for the Christian nation is attractive. Many Americans would prefer an “established” state church and an implied covenant: If we honor God, he will protect and bless us.
But secularism has also added to our identity as a beacon of freedom. Without the age of reason, for example, the abolitionist movement would not have been able to de-contextualize Scripture’s implicit sanction of slavery and segregation. The political liberation of women would have been prevented and equality would be unthinkable.
While proponents of Christian heritage see the divine providence in the founding of the nation, secularists celebrate 1776 as the birth of a new kind of exalted state, a society without a throne and no altar where human reason is increasing. Uniting these two impulses is a core challenge in our political system.
David DiLeo, San Clemente
To the editor: Flynn says America needs one God and one religion. May I just say that if his brand of “religion” is the one he preaches, then count me out.
I may be wrong, but I have always lived under the concept that believers in God were moral, truthful, decent people. If anyone has “lost sight of it,” it’s Flynn.
I repeat: Count me out.
Rebecca Hertsgaard, The Palm Desert
To the editor: Randall Balmer, an episcopal priest, reminds us of past attempts to exploit faith in God for one form of expression. President Lincoln and Mike Mansfield, the Senate Majority Leader in the 1960s, were instrumental in thwarting such attempts in their own time.
I can not help but be reminded of Germany at a time when many of us were born – a time when a man fascinated the nation against Jews who were murdered in wicked numbers.
God is too great to be referred to one religion. The 1st amendment remains the best idea of the United States.
Mary Leah Plante, Los Angeles
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.