Tennessee Congressman Introduces Legislation to ‘Reaffirm the Importance of Religion’

Congressman Stephen Fincher (R-TN) has introduced legislation in the House promoting the “importance of religion.”

Congressman Stephen Fincher

Here’s the purpose of House Resolution 789:

Reaffirming the importance of religion in the lives of United States citizens and their freedom to exercise those beliefs peacefully.

As if that was really a problem in our country…

After a series of statements like “Whereas the Bible is the best-selling book of all time,” we get into what Fincher really wants:

Resolved, That the House of Representatives–

(1) reaffirms the importance of religion in the lives of United States citizens and their freedom to exercise those beliefs peacefully;

(2) recognizes that Judeo-Christian heritage has played a strong role in the development of the United States and in the lives of many of the Nation’s citizens;

(3) rejects efforts to remove evidence of Judeo-Christian heritage and references to God from public structures and resources; and

(4) expresses support for preserving the freedom to exercise religious beliefs in the United States.

Basically, Fincher wants to fortify the way we promote faith through government and push this false notion that we’re a Christian Nation.

The Secular Coalition for America is all over it:

“A resolution that ‘reaffirms the importance of religion’ — specifically a Judeo-Christian religion — in the lives of Americans excludes the many Americans for whom religion is not important, or those who do not identify with a Judeo-Christian religion. This only serves to divide rather than unite Americans,” said Edwina Rogers, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America. “This resolution insinuates that because Christianity is the majority religion in the United States, the religion and its followers should be privileged by our government, but this logic is problematic — our Constitution is secular precisely to protect all Americans regardless of their religious beliefs or lack of religious beliefs.”

“This resolution attempts to cloud the issue by including statistics that indicate religious Americans are in the majority — in reality, it doesn’t matter if one hundred percent of the population is religious, that still does not change our nation’s founding principles,” Rogers said. “Our Constitution makes no reference to God and instead derives its power from ‘we the people’, our laws are made by politicians not clergy, and our First Amendment outlines a separation of religion and government that has consistently been upheld by our Supreme Court. Our government is secular — there are no two ways about it.”

The full text of the Resolution is here. It’s infuriating to read, so have fun with it.

The Resolution has only been introduced; no committee has approved it yet. But given the way Congress acts whenever religion comes up, it’s hard to believe this won’t pass.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • ortcutt

    All of this stuff strikes me as symptomatic of the general decline of religion.  It’s the Tinkerbell Fallacy, that if they just clap harder and harder for religion, then it will be relevant in modern society again.   Sorry, Congressman, but the kids today aren’t buying what you’re selling.

  • onamission5

    Sometimes I wonder why they don’t just plant crosses on everyone’s lawns who isn’t a Real Christian and be done with it. That’s what they want, after all, for anyone who isn’t them to be too scared or overwhelmed to possibly stand against them. At least then we’d have no qualms what all this posturing is really about, moderates and wafflers who are uber sensitive to “respecting all religious beliefs” no matter how abhorrent would get a dose of what it is their apathy and ignorance are enabling, and there would be open, public, widespread opposition to this American taliban, aka christian supremacists.

    Oh wait, I just figured out why they don’t do that. Because then it would be utterly transparant what they are up to. Sneaky fuckers.

  • Randomfactor

    Well, the online  site I read it at gives it one chance in three.  Referred to committee, and it’s election season, so who’s gonna be around to vote for it?

  • Craig Daniels

    It’s almost as if the author was building an argument to the almighty, that he/she/it should be on OUR side when the real fighting starts, because OUR country obviously likes him/her/it more than the others.

  • Thegoodman

    When was the importance of religion first affirmed? To reaffirm something, I would hope he would reference the original affirmation.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Who is on the “committee” that would decide if this were to go up for vote to congress?

    What states are they from (so that local voters can contact those representatives)?

    If anyone knows how to access that info. and post it that would be helpful. 

  • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine

    What’ll happen is the same thing as that idiotic reaffirmation of “In God We Trust” as our motto. It’s going to pass. It’s all for show, it’s not about democracy or anything like that, just a piety play.

  • ZenDruid

    Fincher, you jackass, what part of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” do you not understand?

  • SJH

    It does seem to imply that Judeo-Christian religions take precedence in our government. I think he might be trying to use the government to sustain a belief within our country. This is not the government’s purpose and I would agree is unconstitutional.

    I disagree with the Secular Coalitions analysis that this is not a Christian country. Certainly the government is secular and should remain so however the country does not equate to the government. The country is made up of its people and their beliefs and the country is still mostly Christian. Also, even if individuals do not identify with a particular religion, the values of our country are Christian. Even atheists within our country base their values on our culture and heritage which is based upon Christian values.

  • ZenDruid

     I can’t dispute the fact that the majority is, and has always been, Christian. The fly in the ointment is that there are so many different varieties of Christian. The thrust of secularism in government is really to keep the different factions civilized instead of promoting atheism per se.

    I would say more Stoic values than Judeo-Christian. When “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and “natural rights” and “all men are created equal” are mentioned in the national philosophy, there is no biblical precedent.

  • Rubahtics

    Oh really? What part of Christianity does the first amendment come from?

  • ortcutt

    So, do you think the US is a white nation because the country is mostly white?  I just don’t understand what the claim that most Americans are Christians is supposed to prove.  I also don’t understand what “the values of our country are Christian” means.  I think you’ll find that there is a great divergence of opinion on nearly every question of values, and many of the questions of value that we agree on aren’t Christian ones but rather Enlightenment values.

  • Baal

    I don’t think the Representative’s definition of  ‘peace’ is the same as mine.  Denying folks jobs, health care or not paying society for infrastructure are not ‘peaceful’ in my view.

    As to the timing – it’s election season / nothing will get passed substantively until we have the presidential election done with.  This is more show for the base.  The House will pass it regardless and the Senate will not bring it up for a vote.  Everyone will be happy (except us good government types who rather they worked together to run the show (even if it’s one party that’s abdicated the responsibility for governing)).

  • icecreamassassin

    I suspect that he lacks understanding of the word ‘religion’ and the phrase ‘free exercise’.

    I really, truly, think that there are a lot of people out there that don’t understand that there exist religions that are not their own.  To them, religion means ‘spiritual righteousness’ or somesuch.  And their ‘spirituality’ is ‘right’ because…somethingsomethingwordsHEYLOOKOVERTHERE.

  • http://www.facebook.com/abb3w Arthur Byrne

    While religion may still be above some threshold level of importance in
    the lives of United States citizens, it does look to be diminishing,
    particularly with younger generational cohorts. As such “reaffirms the importance of” looks like “LA-LA-LA-LA-I-DON’T-HEAR-YOU”.

    That said, there’s still quite a ways to go.

  • Question Everything

    This country is also mostly women, and yet they don’t get the same pay as men, and had to fight for the rights that men have, such as voting.  Can you claim this is a woman country?

    I, as an atheist, do not base my values on Christian values.  I don’t think I’d ever beat my children to death if they should talk back to me, and that’s in the bible.  I don’t want to keep slaves, and the same.  I want to help people because I think that helps everyone live better lives, not because of what people wrote in a book.

  • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine

    Burning crosses.

  • Michael Koch

    On the same bill in which he proposed the banning of the teaching of Evolution, and all other Science in the state….

  • Grizzz

    Always the south. Let the south secede.

  • Edmond

    I certainly do NOT base my values on anything “Christian”.  I reject slavery as immoral, I recognize females as my equals, I believe people who are gay should be free to pursue relationships with like-minded consenting adults, and I will never cut up animals and smear their blood around to curry favor with local or Federal authorities.

    Many of the values which I DO believe can NOT be found in any scripture, most assuredly the Christian one.  I believe that our government should not give power or privilege to any single religion.  I believe that people should be free to worship ANY god they like, or none at all, without having rocks hurled at them.  I believe that people should not be exempted from public office, based on their religious beliefs, or lack thereof.  I believe that women should be in charge of what goes on in their bodies.

    As it happens, there are SOME values that Christians and I do share.  Like, don’t murder people, don’t steal from them, don’t lie to them.  However, I also believe that humans held these values BEFORE Christians began pretending that they only stopped these actions because they were told to.

  • Greg1466

    Seem like it should be prompting calls to the Federal Fraud and Abuse Hotline.  Seriously, that’s the best thing the House can spend it’s time on?

  • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

    The entire concept of revolting against government is anti-Christian.  The revolution of the American colonies was a violation of Christian teachings.

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    They tried it once. They failed miserably. So now they’re inflicting themselves on the entire country.

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    Re: “Also, even if individuals do not identify with a particular religion, the values of our country are Christian. Even atheists within our country base their values on our culture and heritage which is based upon Christian values.”

    You mean, the values of the religion that gave us the Crusades? And the Inquisitions? And witch-hunts (which are still going on in parts of the world)? And the burnings of reformers and heretics?

    When you talk about “Christian heritage,” you are necessarily and by definition talking about all of those things, and more. You literally can’t not be talking about them, because they are part and parcel of “Christianity’s heritage.”

    This non-believer doesn’t base any of his values on that crap. It’s true that a lot of Christians don’t, either. Which, maybe, is the whole reason we need to stop yammering endlessly like mindless, droning automatons about “Christian heritage” and the rest of that bilious sewage. Maybe it’s time for all of us — of whatever religion — to base our values on something other than some past “heritage.” Maybe base them on “what works,” instead? Or on “what is humane”? Or “what is compassionate”?

    Christianity’s time in the sun has come and gone. It’s time for Christians to get over it already and move on with their lives. If being Christian makes you happy, then have at it. But don’t use transparent maneuvers like this — and other fallacious “appeals to tradition” — to try to convince me I must be a Christian along with you. I don’t have to. I don’t plan ever to be one in the future. And there’s no power in the universe that can make me one … certainly not an asinine, fascist resolution like this one.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Maybe we could get someone to introduce a bill reaffirming the importance of science and technology in the lives of American citizens.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=533968931 Andrew Willyard

    All this reaffirmation crap does smack of desperation doesn’t it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bradley.betts.10 Bradley Betts

    Seriously, what on Earth is going on with you guys over the pond? Here in Britain, we actually have a state religion (something I am not happy about), and yet a public announcement of religiosity is treated in the same way as a sort of mild eccentricity. You know, sort of harmless, if a little silly, but keep an eye on them because you never know… Whereas over there you seem to have no shortage of religious nutjobs just waiting to crawl out of the woodwork! I’m actually exasperated on your behalf. How on Earth do you deal with it?

  • http://twitter.com/Reality_Rules The Pastanist

    What a disgusting, ignorant, bigoted scumbag. 

  • Mrkite108

    I live in TN – we’re not all crazy bible-thumpers here. 

  • romad20000

    I think its the last push of this nonsense. They are watching the pews empty and those that remain are getting “greyer”. Most “Christians” here use the bible like terms of service, they agree but have no idea what is contained within 

  • romad20000

    I’ve always loved the expression “the south will rise again”…. When exactly was the first time???? 

  • romad20000

    I don’t think so. “in god we trust” only passes the muster because its “ceremonial deism” I don’t think this will qualify 

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    But it doesn’t need to ‘pass muster’.  It’s simply a vote.  Unless someone wants to sue, there is no test.

  • Timothy Riches

    Hot damn! I wish I could like this comment more than once!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jan-Marra/1139453450 Jan Marra

    Wantsa be the furst Chrisschun Prezzydint.

  • Lieca

    There is a widespread expectation throughout society that people should be respected purely on the grounds that they harbor religious beliefs. That nonsense has to stop. Opposing religions even propagate this rubbish in mock support of each others right to be respected. Religion isn’t a right, it’s a mental disorder. Religion is no more a right than becoming a psychopath is a right.
    40% of people in the US don’t believe evolution is true, despite it now being a provable FACT. Christianity is padding itself with layers of denial, but that won’t prevent its demise. The scary thing is, if nutjob Christian politicians are allowed to make laws based on their beliefs, the number of Americans being exposed to the facts will dwindle, and we can not afford a setback like that. It’s time we took the species back, it’s time we wrestled out humanity from the grasp of superstition and fear. It’s time to stand up and fight this condition which has been crippling humanity for millenia.

  • Moondance0712

    keep your church out of my government…i don’t deny your right to worship…you have no right to require me to

  • http://www.facebook.com/aslan.balaur Aslan Balaur

    The Right Honorable Congressman Stephen Fincher (R-TN) can kiss my @$$. I do NOT follow a “Judeo-Christian” faith of ANY sort. I find my faith to be important TO ME. I do NOT expect it to be of importance to others, just like HIS Christian faith may be important to him, but to me, he can shut up. Keep your faith in your home, your church, even “in your heart” if that is what you believe. KEEP IT OUT of laws, the state house or federal government. And get it off the money, out of the Pledge of Allegiance and Oaths of Office.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aslan.balaur Aslan Balaur

    Then do something about them, get them out of your front yard. OR accept that this is what the rest of us think about you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aslan.balaur Aslan Balaur

    Then do something about them, get them out of your front yard. OR accept that this is what the rest of us think about you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1244605457 Robin Lee Horne

    Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich. – Napoleon Bonaparte

    This is the only reason politicians promote religion.  They are trying to save their own necks.

  • http://twitter.com/Rural_Progress Rural.Progress

    Wouldn’t it be more productive to help us? Seriously – we have tens of thousands of volunteers for the Obama campaign, move.on, the league of conservation voters, the list goes on. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BB2F6VMATUEHIE67ZNWSB2TJC4 D

    When are these fuquads going to spend their time trying to solve real problems, and wasting their time and ours with worthless bills like this? Do these guys think they are still in junior high? They are not getting paid to come up with a name for the school prom – do your jobs or get out.

  • Joeplumber

    Hard to believe it won’t pass? Wow you lose a lot of credibility. There no way this is going to be signed into law.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    It’s a resolution.  It’s not destined to be a law.  It’s just congress spouting off.  It’s complete BS, but it’s not ‘law’ in that it has any legislative effect whatsoever.  You can still walk down the street and chant “Religion is unimportant in the live of Americans” .  A vote for means they get to prove how Godly they are.  So it costs them the eyeroll of a few secularists. But a vote against means their opponent gets to run lots of attack ads highlighting how they voted against religious freedom.

  • pagansister

     Am waiting for some elected official to define just WHOSE god that is the one we are supposed to trust?     For a nation that has legally no State faith, why in the world is that stuck on our money?     

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=722277245 Simon Taylor

    It is indeed strange that in the UK, church, state and crown are all intertwined with each other, yet we are a fairly secular nation. Whereas in the US, which has a constitutional seperztion of church and state, its over run with bible thumpers trying to turn the country into a theocracy?

    Whats up with that?