Mystery Quote

Showed this in my current class on Christian Nationalism.

See if you can guess who said it, then click on the link for the answer (hint: this political leader, who died in 2004, has a son who is an outspoken atheist):

“We in the United States, above all, must remember the lesson, for we were founded as a nation of openness to people of all beliefs. And so we must remain. Our very unity has been strengthened by our pluralism. We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate. All are free to believe or not believe, all are free to practice a faith or not, and those who believe are free, and should be free, to speak of and act on their belief.”

Mystery Quote Answer (click and scroll down)

Categories: church and stateTags: , , , , , ,


  1. I know who said it….but I’ll let others try to figure it out….

  2. Agree totally with Ronnie. I am a conservative but consider myself a moderate. Because I am a Republican/ conservative somehow people lump me in a far right category. I am so tired of that happening. What is going on in our country? I don’t even know what a Christian Nationalist is…. Are you sure that they exist or is their existence a creation of the main stream media? Please give me an example of one…and don’t say Trump. He doesn’t demonstrate any Christian principles.

    • Thank you for commenting, Ellen. Finding moments of common ground seems especially important these days. Christian Nationalism is a dangerous mixture of one narrow kind of politics with one narrow kind of religion. It threatens both democracy and Christianity. This is not about patriotism (a natural love of country) but nationalism (Our God’s Country First). It goes way beyond any one figure like the 45th. I’m not sure who you trust for information and you certainly don’t need to trust me, but I would suggest the work of Katherine Stewart (I’m using her book The Power Worshippers in my class), or the books The Flag and the Cross, The Founding Myth, etc. Some names you might know who are clearly Christian Nationalists: David Barton (Wallbuilders), Ralph Drollinger (Capitol Ministries), Tony Perkins (Family Research Council), Franklin Graham and many others who are now claiming America is a Christian Nation that should have “biblically guided” leaders and laws. One good source for more information is Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a non-partisan organization in D.C. Hope this helps!

  3. That was my guess. I was a university instructor Cal State LA when he became governor of California. I wish his tolerance to religious and the non-religious had translated into his tuition policies for the University of California campuses as he raised the fees x4 during my tenure and a few of my disadvantaged students could not complete their graduate degree. I had enough of RR so that when he won the presidency in 1980 I started the journey to Canada to escape his political agenda and Reaganomics. Few would see him saying this but it was at a Jewish speaking engagement so someone more tolerant (a speech writer) than him made this up to impress these non-Christians that he was open-minded. Reagan like most politicians would twist the truth to fit the moment and help in the polls.

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