The Creation Crusade

While Christian sects have always collectively made up the majority of the population, key parts of the American system were designed precisely to keep this type of majority from tyrannizing minority groups. The English conservative thinker Edmund Burke wrote that "the tyranny of a multitude is a multiplied tyranny." Christian political activists often hold up their faith's majority status to dismiss the rights of others. But to see the pernicious nature of this line of thought, we need only to imagine a massive influx of Muslims that suddenly made Christians a fractional minority. Under different circumstances, Christians would be clamoring to keep the state and the courts free of religious bias.

In some parts of the country, this won't be mere thought-experiment much longer. Christians are likely to remain in the majority for many decades, but American demographics are changing rapidly. People who identify as non-religious are one of the fastest-growing demographics in the country, and the U.S. Muslim population is expected to double in the next twenty years. It is realistic to imagine that, in some communities, either of these minorities could become the new majority. What if local representatives suddenly decided public schools should teach the Islamic creation story in science class? Or that, in addition to evolution, students should be informed they are fools for believing in a Creator? In response to the outcry from the new Christian minority, they could fairly ask, "How do you suddenly have a problem with biased education? And what do you mean we can't ban Christian principles from the courts? Haven't you been trying to do that to us for decades?"

Fortunately, most attempts to Christianize the state never make it very far. Most of the creationism bills were dead on arrival, and not a single sharì'a ban has been allowed to stand. But over the past year, crusades against mosques and sharì'a have been loud and bellicose, while a not-insignificant number of Christians happily teach their religious views in public schools. I desperately long for a country where Christians respect not only believers of other faiths, but the unique American ideals that allow us all to live together in peace.

4/27/2011 4:00:00 AM
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  • David Sessions
    About David Sessions
    David Sessions is the founding editor of Patrol. His writing has appeared in Slate, New York, Politics Daily, and others. Follow him on Twitter.