Pastor burning of FFRF attorney’s book shows Christian Nationalism run amok

Locke

Oblivious to the disturbing connotations of his act, a pastor yesterday on social media burned a copy of a Freedom From Religion Foundation attorney’s new book on Christian Nationalism.

When Pastor Greg Locke vehemently denounced FFRF’s freethinking ad featuring Ron Reagan during the most recent Democratic primary debate, Seidel sent Locke a copy of his book The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American for his edification. Locke chose to respond to Seidel’s gesture by denouncing it in an ignorant video rant (“there is no history of America without God,” he opined). He then torched the book in a perhaps inadvertent homage to the dystopian classic Fahrenheit 451. The final shot in his video is that of The Founding Myth burning on the gravel in, presumably, his driveway.

FFRF is appalled but not completely surprised at Locke’s over-the-top act.

“Locke fails to understand something that FDR explained some 80 years ago: ‘Books cannot be killed by fire,’” says Seidel. “Locke may have burned a copy of The Founding Myth, but he admitted that he cannot comprehend the basic history and facts in the book.”

Adds FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor: “When I watched the video, I immediately thought of Heinrich Heine’s famous observation, ‘Where they burn books, they will end in burning human beings.’”

Seidel’s new book asks a simple question: Did Judeo-Christian principles positively influence the founding of the United States? Seidel argues that America was not founded on Judeo-Christian principles and that this is a good thing because Judeo-Christian principles, especially those central to the Christian Nationalist identity, are thoroughly opposed to the principles on which the United States was built. Renowned constitutional law scholar and Dean of UC-Berkeley School of Law Erwin Chemerinsky calls The Founding Myth “a beautifully written book that demolishes the myth that American law is based on scripture.”

“Seeing my book burned — a book I spent eight years researching and writing — brought on an odd mix of feelings,” adds Seidel. “Certainly, I experienced the revulsion and horror any thinking person has when witnessing a book burning, but I’ll also admit to a touch of pride. I set out to write a book that destroys the Christian Nationalist identity, and this Christian Nationalist recognized the threat . . . without even reading it.”

FFRF last month sent every member of Congress a copy of the book. The cost of the major undertaking was generously underwritten by University of Arkansas Professor Emeritus Brian Bolton, who has funded FFRF’s new Bible Accountability Project.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 30,000 members and several chapters across the country. FFRF’s purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between church and state, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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