Science Fan wrote: ↑
Mon May 29, 2017 5:23 pm
This post ignores a great deal of history. Just take a look at the history of the USA. A common historical myth is that the pilgrims came to America to avoid religious persecution in Europe, and did so by establishing a nation that gave everyone religious freedom. The actual historical facts are dramatically different. After fleeing persecution in Europe, the pilgrims oppressed other religious people.
What people typically fail to distinguish is the federal government from the state governments. Although the federal government was free from religion, a secular government, the original 13 state governments were all religious theocracies. In the early days of the American republic, most people thought of themselves as a citizen of a particular state, and only secondarily, if they thought about it at all, as a citizen of the USA. The state governments were more influential over a person's life than the federal government was at the time the nation was founded.
Every state was based on a Christian theocracy, with 6 of the original states even having public financing of their respective state churches. All of the states discriminated against religious minorities, even Christian minorities, and definitely against Muslims, Jews, agnostics and atheists. Freedom of speech was outlawed in these states, and people did get sent to prison for committing the crime of "blasphemy." It was not until the late 1940s that the US Supreme Court applied the First Amendment to the states through the 14th Amendment.
So, historically, in the USA, when Christians ruled, they denied citizenship to all people of color, they denied the right to vote for women, they even excluded poor white men from being able to vote. In addition, they denied religious minorities the right to hold state public office, and even banned agnostics and atheists from being able to testify in court --- even on their own behalf.
Over and over again, the freethinker movement in the USA, primarily made-up of atheists and agnostics, was at the forefront in the battle of extending rights to minorities. They were influential in providing equal rights to colored people, poor people, women, and even today, have largely led the fight for gay rights.
The USA is a perfect example of atheists ensuring greater civil liberties to minorities than a Christian majority, which, when it held power, engaged in outright persecution against others. The Christian right today, in the USA, represents the people who want to go back to the time when Christians were able to persecute non-Christians. There would be no Christian right in the USA if the nation allowed religious freedom from the beginning. These people did not just pop into existence out of a vacuum. Their presence, and political agenda, in the USA can be readily explained by real history, while avoiding the popular myths that far too many people have swallowed whole.