On July 2, radical “ex-gay” activist Greg Quinlan appeared on “Sons Of Liberty” radio and made some pretty bizarre comments. He declared that the Supreme Court justices who voted in favor of marriage equality were “five black-robed Nazis.” Quinlan, the President of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX), claimed that President Barack Obama was closeted homosexual who is on the “down low.” The activist, who also works as a lobbyist for The New Jersey Family Policy Council, said that swing Justice Anthony Kennedy, “has a predilection on the down low, Justice Kennedy, that was the rumor that was around back then, now, thirty years ago, really.”
While these absurd, sensationalistic, and unsubstantiated comments gained attention, we should be equally galled by Quinlan’s revisionist interpretation of America. Here is what he also said on the same radio show:
“The Constitution of the United States is a Christian document, in fact it’s a Calvinist document. I happen to be an Arminian. But it’s a Calvinist document. It’s clearly a Christian document. So what stands in the way? It’s the Constitution of the United States. What stands in the way? It’s the Church of Jesus Christ. And in order to change this government, to change the mightiest government that ever existed, because it’s founded on God Almighty’s truth and principles, is to destroy it so that they can do what they want to do, have sex the way they want to have it, and the only way they can do it is to shut us up.”
It is quite the fashion these days for fundamentalist Christians to try to rewrite history to suit their belief system. The most notable of these revisionists is the disgraced pseudo-historian David Barton (pictured left). The false narrative these frauds try to sell America is that at our founding we were a proud Christan nation. However, our heritage, and everything that made America great, is now in jeopardy because heathens began running Christians out of the public square. The evidence they cite is the end of coercive, state-sponsored prayer in public schools, the Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortions, and now the inevitability of marriage equality. (Some are also bitter that women are allowed to vote and segregation ended)
In their warped view, these advances in human rights have upset God, so he has removed his cloak of protection from America. This loss of divine American exceptionalism will, in their opinion, lead to the eventual downfall of this nation. That is why they always seem so dour, maudlin, and depressed.
The problem with this narrative is that it’s completely false and grossly distorts history. America’s founding fathers went out of their way to ensure that America was explicitly NOT a Christian nation. They were wise men who had seen the problems such zealotry caused in Europe — including intolerance, tribalism, ignorance, hatred, and bloody wars — and wanted no part of it. These visionaries wanted a fresh start where men were truly free and could live according to their own consciences. (* In 1800, only 10-15 percent of Americans were church members)
On July 4, the Freedom From Religion Foundation placed a full-page ad in the New York Times. It quoted several key men in American history who can articulate the “original intent” of this nation much better than phonies such as Greg Quinlan and David Barton:
“Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize.”-- Thomas Paine
“When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it, so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of a civil power, ’tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.” – Ben Franklin
“Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause…” – George Washington
“The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” — John Adams in the signed Treaty of Tripoli, 1797
“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear…” – Thomas Jefferson
“During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution…” – James Madison
Clearly, the United States of America was never a Christian nation and those peddling this lie are doing so for self-serving purposes. What we basically have are sophisticated men, like David Barton, deliberately exploiting uneducated, simple men, to achieve personal power while furthering a bankrupt ideology.
America may be a country where the majority of people are Christians — but this is not the same thing as a Christan nation. Most real Christians want genuine religious liberty, freedom of speech and conscience, and consider Barton and Quinlan’s version of state sanctioned Christianity, blasphemous and against the spirit of our nation’s founding principles.
Greg Quinlan’s understanding of American history is as fraudulent as his alleged conversion from gay to straight, as outrageous as his crazy public statements, and as doomed as his failed marriage. We would hope that he would get an education before speaking out on such issues, but homework doesn’t seem to be his strong suit.
** A good resource for learning about the actual words of our Foundling Fathers is the book, “Attack of the Theocrats” by author Sean Faircloth.