President Donald Trump has convinced me that our nation needs a wall. However, I have a few modifications that I think should be seriously considered. The wall I’m calling for will be about $22 billion cheaper than Trump’s “border wall.” In fact, the foundation for this wall had been partly engineered by a non-tweeting president by the name of Thomas Jefferson. This wall would allow our diverse society to govern fairly and equally while also preserving the integrity of churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues.
The wall that the United States of America needs now more than ever, is the wall separating church and state.
Let’s not fool ourselves. The blending of Christianity and American patriotism has been going on for generations. That doesn’t make it right, though. Whether it’s a sensationalized top story on the 6 o’ clock news about a religious display being removed from a public park or requests to restore our Pledge of Allegiance to its original Godless text (“under God” was added in 1954) there is a sense of victimhood that comes from decades of Christian privilege. This is particularly harmful now that we are all under the management of a megalomaniac, Muslim-fearing president and a vice president who has a history of implementing discriminatory anti-LGBT public policy because of what he reads in the Bible.
It hasn’t even been two full months into the Trump presidency and we’re already destroying families due to religious-based travel bans signed by a president who called for a Muslim registry during his campaign. Furthermore, as president, Mr. Trump had banned all travel (twice) from predominantly Muslim countries while giving preferential treatment to Christian refugees. Among other troubling policies, President Trump has also pledged to dismantle legislation that prevents churches from political activity.
It gets worse. Our new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has every intention to funnel taxpayer money into subsidies for private Christian-based schools. As with much of Trump’s cabinet, Ms. DeVos is a billionaire and she has donated millions of dollars supporting bible-based education and anti-LGBT organizations like Focus on the Family. I find it worth noting that she gained her wealth from the success of her father-in-law’s infamous Amway company. After demonstrating some alarming ineptness during her confirmation hearing, she was awarded the post of education secretary after the pious vice president gave his blessing by breaking 50-50 tie in the senate.
“There are not enough philanthropic dollars in America to fund what is currently the need in education,” Ms. DeVos said in a 2001 interview. She continued to advise that she has a “desire is to confront the culture in ways that will continue to advance God’s kingdom.”
I believe that there’s a significant number of Christians who understand the harmful impact of blending government in their religion and religion in their government. They must speak openly to their Christian friends and families about the importance of this wall — Jeffersonian, not Mexican — if we wish to preserve American Greatness. We need them, especially, to speak out against Ms. DeVos’s privatized, religious-based takeover of our public education system. It’s important to understand that one doesn’t have to be an atheist to be a secularist. One just needs to accept that a secular government is the clearest and most sensible path for our diverse society to achieve individual liberty, equality, justice, and have the opportunity to pursue happiness.
Whether you’re a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Taoist, Buddhist, atheist, or something else, we must all hold our elected officials accountable and tell them to build this proverbial wall backed by our nation’s Constitution. A secular constitution, by the way, that makes no mention of God, Jesus, or Christianity.
Eric Jayne is director-at-large of Minnesota Atheists.
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