In James A Haught’s Dec. 30 article “The Evangelical Vote,” readers were faced with the unvarnished progressive vision for America.
Though Haught tried to create division by directing his ire against “white” Evangelicals, he made clear his target was Christian values in general: “Nonreligious Americans (compared to religious Americans) tend to hold liberal, compassionate, progressive views, and if their full potential could be realized, the nation’s values would improve.” Haught further alleged that “religious freedom” means “the right to hate gays, Muslims and other ‘enemies.'"
I will not respond in kind to hyperbolic anti-Christian remarks but must answer the misguided assertion the nation’s values would improve if Christianity is marginalized.
First, history has shown what happens to nations when atheistic values prevail. The Soviet Union was an atheist state outwardly hostile to religion. Communism followed the view that religion was an “opium of the people.”
Estimates of the numbers who died under the Soviets, by forced relocation, gulags, purges, etc. to number as high as 100 million. Millions were killed under Mao’s rule in China, particularly during his “Cultural Revolution” of the 1960s. Other examples abound, like Pol Pot’s communist killing fields in Cambodia.
Of note, Benito Mussolini was an avowed atheist who brought the evil of fascism. The Nazi regime of Germany was similarly opposed to Christianity. Himmler banned any Christian observance for members of the SS in attempting to create the NAZI Pagan future without Christianity.
America, on the other hand, was infused with Christian values from the earliest times. John Adams said of the nation’s founding document: “This Constitution was made for a moral and religious people, it is wholly unsuited for the governance of any other." Similar quotes from the founding fathers proclaim the importance of Christian values for success of the American system of government.
Alex de Tocqueville observed the rise of America in the 1830s and wrote in his seminal work “Democracy in America”: “There is no nation on Earth is which the Christian religion retains greater sway over the souls of men than in America.” English historian Paul Johnstone wrote what he believed was the basis for American Exceptionalism: “America is a God fearing nation, with all that Implies."
Beyond the historic record, Haught is just wrong in his claims about Christian values. Haught claimed that the nonreligious are more compassionate and Christians more hateful. Quoting David King in the Washington Times about the findings of the Philanthropy Panel Study (“Giving USA Special Report on Giving to Religion,” released on Oct. 26, 2017, by The Giving Institute): “There is a ‘substantial connection between religion and giving.’ ‘Religious affiliation really matters,’ Mr. King said. 'Someone with a religious affiliation was more than two times more generous than someone without a religious affiliation. And among those with a religious affiliation, religious intensity really matters. Those who attend services were much more likely to give, whether it’s monthly or weekly. We really see the connection grow with continued involvement in a religious community.’” A plethora of studies show the same connection between religion and compassion for others.
The same compassion and care for others are seen with the public service and political activity of Christians. They serve at higher numbers in the military, and, as Haught lamented, they vote in higher numbers. All part of the same value system that we need now more than ever -- a value system and an America that would not exist if progressives like Haught had their way.