About the editor: Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s suggestion that America be “a nation under God and a religion under God” is dangerous, delusional, divisive and a distortion of history. (“No, Michael Flynn, America Doesn’t Need a Religion,” Opinion, Nov. 20)
Besides, what would that one religion be? Obviously, in Flynn’s view, it would not be Islam or any of the myriad religions that are viewed as “Eastern”. And regardless of when the term “Judeo-Christian” was coined, it does not describe a religion, but a supposedly common ethical belief system.
So does Flynn mean Catholicism or Judaism? My guess is no. That leaves Protestantism. But even that encompasses many different faiths, the followers of which argue vehemently over the lesser and greater principles of their faith.
Flynn blows a dog whistle in the hope that anyone 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
About the editor: The living religious culture that we enjoy today as the most devout democracy in the West does not exist in spite of our secular tradition, but because of it. The tolerance, pluralism and unrestricted freedom of expression that we experience are only guaranteed by the state-sanctioned freedom of conscience.
Flynn’s argument about the Christian nation is attractive. Many Americans would prefer an “established” state church and an implicit covenant: If we worship God, He will protect and bless us.
But secularism has also contributed to our identity as a beacon of freedom. For example, without an Age of Reason, the abolitionist movement would not have been able to decontextualize Scripture’s implicit sanction of slavery and racial segregation. The political emancipation of women would have been prevented and the equality of marriage would have been unthinkable.
While proponents of Christian heritage see Divine Providence in the founding of the nation, secularists celebrate 1776 as the birth of a new kind of elevated state, a throne-less, altar-less society in which human reason prevails. Bringing these two impulses into harmony is a central challenge of our political system.
David DiLeo, San Clemente
About the editor: Flynn says America needs a god and a religion. May I only say, if his kind of “religion” is what he proclaims, then count me out.
I might be wrong, but I’ve always lived on the concept that believers in God are moral, honest, and decent people. If anyone has “lost sight of that,” it is Flynn.
I repeat: count me out.
Rebecca Hertsgaard, Palm Desert
About the editor: Randall Balmer, an episcopal priest, reminds us of attempts in earlier times to express faith in God. President Lincoln and Mike Mansfield, the Senate majority leader in the 1960s, were instrumental in thwarting such attempts in their day.
I cannot help but be reminded of Germany at a time when many of us were born – a time when one man was hypnotizing the nation against Jews who were murdered in ungodly numbers.
God is too great to be limited to one religion. The 1st Amendment remains America’s best idea.
Mary Leah Plante, Los Angeles