Establishment clause? Never heard of it

Here’s a press release from the mayor of Lebanon, Tennessee. Apparently we should “regardless of religion… come together as Christians”. Note also that “tolerance” is singled out as evil….

“Man has achieved highs and suffered lows during our history of struggling with the wiles of Satan in Satan’s quest for our souls…. When our only recourse was to have a savior, God sent us Jesus….tolerance by Christians has caused our nation to slide further and further away from God…. Let us call upon the Lord together by gathering on the National Day of Prayer…. We do this when we, regardless of religion, sing and pray together calling upon God to intervene and forgive our sin and heal our land. For one hour, surely we can leave the signs on the buildings and come together as Christians

Coincidentally, I read that “cheerful piece of religious propaganda”, as Andrew Sullivan calls it, just after I’d finished an article which provided the perfect context for it. In the May 2005 edition of Harper’s Magazine, there’s a piece by Chris Hedges called “Feeling the hate with the National Religious Broadcasters”. After a thoroughly depressing account of the annual convention of the NRB, he concludes with a personal recollection:

“I can’t help but recall the words of my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, Dr. James Luther Adams, who told us that when we were his age, and he was then close to eighty, we would all be fighting the ‘Christian fascists’. He gave us that warning twenty-five years ago, when Pat Robertson and other prominent evangelists began speaking of a new political religion that would direct its efforts at taking control of all major American institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government, so as to transform the United States into a global Christian empire. At the time, it was hard to take such fantastic rhetoric seriously. But fascism, Adams warned, would not return wearing swastikas and brown shirts. Its ideological inheritors would cloak themselves in the language of the Bible; they would come carrying crosses and chanting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Exactly. Today, Lebanon, Tennessee and Colorado Springs. Tomorrow?

(All links and emphases are mine.)