The Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress have joined numerous groups and individuals in condemning the call by Michael Flynn, former President Trump’s national security adviser, for the United States to have one religion.
Flynn, who was subpoenaed last week by the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack, made the comment during a speech to a conservative Christian audience on the ReAwaken America tour in Texas this weekend.
“If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion,” he said. “One nation under God and one religion under God, right? All of us, working together.”
His message — the latest in a lengthy history of outlandish remarks — appears to be an inflammatory contradiction of the First Amendment, which protects freedom of religion.
Flynn has previously drawn backlash for controversial comments.
“To suggest that the United States of America, a nation founded on twin bedrocks of pluralism and the freedom to practice any religion, should ‘have one religion’ is anti-American, anti-democratic and downright dangerous,” Greenblatt said.
“Michael Flynn’s statements are both unacceptable & anti-American,” the American Jewish Congress said. “Such dangerous rhetoric runs counter to American values and threatens the foundations of our democracy.”
The Framers of our Constitution — particularly James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton — would be turning over in their graves to hear a retired general and former national security adviser trying to undercut the First Amendment, which unequivocally declares that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
The Constitution mentions religion only three times: 1) to preclude the establishment of religion, 2) to preclude any prohibition on the free exercise of religion, and 3) to preclude any religious test for holding office under the United States.
The ADL’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, and the American Jewish Congress both called Flynn’s statement “anti-American.”
Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling similarly cast Flynn’s remarks as “an embarrassment to the US Army and an aberration to those of us who have proudly worn the cloth of our country.”
“His words are disgusting,” Hertling said.
Journalist and author Carl Bernstein said that Flynn is among the Trump associates “saying out loud things that have never been said by an aide or close associates of a president of the United States.”
“It’s so stupefying to think that we had a president of the United States that would entertain these knaves, fools, and dangerous authoritarian figures. That’s what we need to look at the big picture,” he added. “Donald Trump looked for people to facilitate his authoritarian impulse.”
There’s irony here too.
Flynn was raised as a Roman Catholic.
At the time of the Constitution, Catholics were discriminated against in a number of states, including Massachusetts.
The First Amendment was designed to protest Catholics and Jews from becoming second-class citizens.
The United States is the envy of the world when it comes to religious freedom.
Flynn advocates what countries like Iran currently have.
The constitution of Iran defines the country as an ‘Islamic republic’ and specifies Twelver Ja’afari Shia Islam as the official state religion.