Wednesday, June 6, 2012

John Hagee to Atheists: 'Get Out of America. We Don't Want You.'

In a sermon this past Sunday, mega church televangelist John Hagee made clear that he has no interest in bringing atheists and non-believers into the Christian fold; he wants atheists to get out:

“Let me be very clear. This country was not built for atheists or by atheists. It was built by Christian people who believe in the word of God. To the atheists watching this telecast: If our belief in God offends you, move. There are planes leaving every hour on the hour going every place on planet earth. Get on one. We don’t want you. And we won’t miss you, I promise. Our coins say in God we trust, President Obama recently told the foreign media that America not a Christian nation. You are absolutely wrong. We were, we are, and always shall be a Bible reading, praying Christian people.”
 Hagee's understanding of American history is, of course, incorrect if not insincere. The people who built this nation had varied and mixed views of religion and its role in public life. Certainly, there were few who saw it the way Hagee sees it. Thomas Jefferson said that the "superstition" of Christianity had not "one redeeming feature." Thomas Paine said that he "would not dare to so dishonor my Creator God by attaching his name to that book (the Bible)." James Madison said that religion and government "will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together."

Are these the Bible reading, Christian people that Hagee says built this nation? No, they are not. And the documents they gave us, including the Constitution, make clear that religion is not a litmus test for citizenship in the United States and it is not the method by which we guide our laws or governance.

But having abandoned the precepts of the articles of his own religion, we can't be shocked that Hagee would so choose to ignore the words of our founders and our founding documents in pursuit of his own vision. The New Testament of the Bible stresses the importance of charity and of searching for souls that need to be saved from eternal damnation. Since Hagee believes that non-Christians will burn in hell, one might think that he would relish the opportunity to preach to and convert the atheists in America. But no, given the chance to speak to them, if they are listening, he doesn't welcome them to the message of the Christian Gospel, but tells them to get out of America because, "We don't want you."

That's because Hagee, like many on the religious right, isn't interested in building the spiritual kingdom of God that the Bible speaks of. He isn't interested in searching for lost Americans souls and bringing them a message of salvation. He's interested in purging the land of those who prevent him and his fellow theofascists from establishing a theocracy ruled solely by his vision of Christianity wherein everyone worships the same God as him, not by faith, but by compulsion. Why else would he want those who believe differently to leave the country?

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