Colson: A tardy dispatch from Wisconsin |

Colson: A tardy dispatch from Wisconsin

John Colson
Hit & Run
John Colson
Courtesy photo

Well, I did it.

For a number of reasons, I am officially now a resident of a small village in south-central Wisconsin just 20 miles or so south of Madison, which is a blue island in a very red sea of MAGA-heads.

The move was strenuous, the settling in has been a little chaotic, but our new home is working out pretty well despite some speed bumps in the form of missed deadlines and failed promises by the builder.

I’m sorry about the tardiness of this dispatch, but I’ve been a little too distracted to crank out anything over the course of the past month or so.

But, hey, it’s all good at this point, and I continue keeping an eye on Colorado politics, specifically on the increasingly bizarre outbursts from Colorado’s self-aggrandizing incumbent in the Third Congressional District, Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Silt, a Trump-loving, harebrained and undereducated maniac from the right.

Specifically, I’ve been bemused, at best, and outraged in general, at her recent efforts to remake herself into a “Christian nationalist,” which is a strange combination of ersatz Bible-thumping and pure opportunism.

Boebert’s pronouncements along these lines are so far out in left field that even some Republicans have shown signs of Boebert fatigue.

And the same is true even of some of the very people she claims to be courting — actual religious commentators worried that she and other “Christian nationalists” are perverting everything from the tenets of Christianity that she professes to hold, to the words enshrined in our national founding documents, including the U.S. Constitution.

Completely mischaracterizing selected portions of the Constitution, Boebert declared that rather than keeping church and state separate, as is laid out in the Constitution, “the church should direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church …. I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk.”

The points she completely misses, of course, is that the Constitution does not say anywhere that the state ought to “direct the church,” but instead contains language aimed at keeping the church out of the government’s business.

While the Constitution does not, as she and others have heavily pointed out, anywhere contain the words “separation of church and state,” it does explicitly and implicitly advise against allowing the dictates and doctrines of religion anywhere near the creation of laws and regulations overseeing our nation’s governance.

First off, as noted in a column by Baptist activist and scholar Marvin A. McMickle, which appeared in The Christian Citizen and in the Baptist News online publication, the Constitution mandates that “Congress shall pass no law respecting the establishment of religion … nor prohibit the free exercise thereof.”

The meaning here is obvious: Religion and government should be entirely separate so that no one sect or creed can ever become the law of the land.


Also, as McMikle points out, there’s Article VI, Clause 3 of the Constitution, which states, “No religious test shall ever be required as qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Because we, as a nation, come from many backgrounds and many different religions, we should not expect one particular creed to gain dominance over any other.

Religious groups as a rule are at least in part based on the idea that their beliefs are pre-eminent and special, and the religious referents by Christian nationalists and fundamentalists are aimed at putting their own faiths and beliefs above all others. All you have to do is listen to them and you detect whiffs of superiority “righteousness” all over the place.

“Not only is Christian nationalism a bad political philosophy, it is also faulty Christian theology, asserting that God has some special bond with the United States. Christian nationalism seeks to take a worldwide religious faith centered in the love and grace of God, and in concern for one’s neighbors and for the neediest among us, and twist that faith into an ideology that would allow an extremely conservative group of persons to impose their political agenda on the nation and the world,” McMickle states flatly.

It’s time to defend Christianity from Christian nationalists, McMickle continues. “What seems like a fringe movement in American politics today can become a danger to religious liberty tomorrow for all Americans when the power of the state is used to advance the work of any group that presumes to speak on behalf of the whole church …. If we are not careful, this nation may face a return to a form of religious intolerance not seen since the founding of the colony of Virginia in 1606 when all settlers were to be instructed in the one true religion.”

McMickle is correct, and the Republican Party appears to be equally determined to engineer a political coup as well as a religious takeover of this country, and if they succeed, the result will not be anything we can recognize as the United States of America.