FFRF’s Seidel writes open letter to CNN about Rick Santorum for Christian Nationalism

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Last week, FFRF’s Director of Strategic Response Andrew L. Seidel warned you, “creationism is back.” Your activism helped kill that bill in the Arkansas Senate, but now Rick Santorum is back. One of the loudest proponents of modern Christian Nationalism, Santorum spouted what Seidel called a “textbook example of Christian Nationalism” at Young America’s Foundation event on Friday. Seidel took Santorum’s bigotry and disinformation down in an open letter to Santorum’s employer, CNN. Religion Dispatches published the open letter, “Claiming that ‘We birthed a nation from nothing,’ CNN’s Rick Santorum gives a master class in Chritsian Nationalism.” Seidel begins:

Dear CNN,

Many questioned your decision to hire Rick Santorum as a senior political commentator back in January 2017. Not because he’s a conservative—diversity of opinion can be valuable—but because he’s a bigot. His bigotry toward LGBTQ people was already well-known and documented, as even a cursory Google search shows. That his bigotry was rooted in religion perhaps gave him a pass, and your network chose to pay this man, presumably quite well, to pontificate to audiences of millions.

Last Friday, however, Santorum delivered a speech in which the racism was obvious, but the harmful disinformation rooted in Christian Nationalism was less so. I write this open letter in hopes that it will connect the dots for your network between his Christian Nationalist claims about America’s founding and his more overt and alarming racism.

By now, you’ve seen the video that’s been burning a hole through social media. At a Young America’s Foundation event, your commentator said:

If you think about this country, I don’t know of any other country in the world that was settled predominately by people who were coming to practice their faith. They came here because they were not allowed to practice their particular faith in their own country. And so they came here, mostly from Europe, and they set up a country that was based on Judeo-Christian principles — when I say Judeo-Christian, the Mosaic laws, 10 Commandments, and the teachings of Jesus Christ, the morals and teachings of Jesus Christ. That’s what our founding documents are based upon. It’s in our DNA. …

We came here and created a blank slate [sic]. We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here. I mean, yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture. It was born of the people who came here pursuing religious liberty to practice their faith, to live as they ought to live, and have the freedom to do so. Religious liberty. Those are the two bulwarks of America. Faith and freedom. I mean, you hear it all the time about faith and freedom, faith and freedom. But it is what makes America unique in the world.

Transitioning from the claim that America was founded on “Judeo-Christian principles” to bigotry and racism is, quite literally, a textbook example of Christian Nationalism. Christian Nationalism is and has always been bigoted.

Seidel connects the dots he set out to connect and concludes the piece with a simple question. Please read the whole open letter on Religion Dispatches and then share it on your social media. Be sure to tag Santorum and CNN, we want them to read it too.

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