The Freedom From Religion Foundation is pleased that the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors has voted unanimously to overturn its decision to declare every July “American Christian History Month.”
The motion to rescind the proclamation was put forward by Supervisor John Hidahl, who originally proposed the idea. Thankfully, better sense has prevailed now.
“Hurrah for reason, inclusion and the principles of our secular Constitution triumphing against Christian nationalist propaganda,” comments FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.
FFRF had communicated with the board (the county seat is in Placerville, Calif.) earlier this summer urging it to revoke the perennial proclamation, which perpetuated the pernicious legal myth that the United States is a “Christian nation.”
The original resolution passed by a 4–1 vote, with only Supervisor Lori Parlin voting against it. Last week, FFRF’s legislative arm, the FFRF Action Fund, had named Parlin its “Secularist of the Week” in recognition of her integrity. The Action Fund also reported that Supervisor Brooke Laine had publicly regretted her “yes” vote, saying that “I stood in silence. … I should have voted against it.”
As FFRF Attorney Christopher Line had written to the board: “The proclamation twists American history to paint a false narrative perpetuating the myth that we are a Christian nation.” Line added that it would be more appropriately called “Historical Revisionism Month.” For example, the proclamation claimed that George Washington added the phrase “So help me, God” when taking the oath of office for president. This is unfounded, as George Mason University Professor Peter R. Henriques has shown, even though the myth has been disseminated widely.
The proclamation referenced that the first Congress opened with prayer and reading of the bible, without noting that this occurred under the failed Articles of Confederation, which lasted barely eight years and which was supplanted by the living document that governs the United States today: the godless and entirely secular Constitution, which bars any religious test for public office and whose only references to religion are exclusionary.
FFRF had informed the El Dorado County Board that the religiously unaffiliated are the fastest growing segment by religious identification, at 29 percent of adult Americans. In El Dorado County itself, 31 percent of the residents are religiously unaffiliated.
It’s heartening that public opposition had continued to grow since the July vote, including an online petition and many constituents and groups speaking out against it.
FFRF expresses its gratitude to John Hidahl, George Turnboo, Wendy Thomas and Brooke Laine for changing their minds and their votes once the facts were brought to them, to the many community activists who insisted the designation be rescinded and to Lori Parlin for her original lone vote upholding the all-American principle of separation between state and church.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with 40,000 members and several chapters across the country, including more than 5,200 members and two chapters in California. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.