Promotional material for the program at the Boulevard Web site suggests that it promotes a radically revisionist view of church and state.
The Wall of Separation is a metaphor deeply embedded in the American consciousness," the company observes. "Most of us take for granted the idea that politics and religion should not be intermixed because of the heritage of The First Amendment in our understanding of freedom of religion. The No Establishment Clause has protected us from the entanglement of religion with government, and the Free Exercise Clause has secured the right for all faiths to engage in their religious practices without interference from the state. America is a religiously pluralistic culture guided by a secular government."
That sounds pretty good. But then the Boulevard promo takes a troubling turn.
"...[W]hat would surprise most Americans," it asserts, "is the discovery that this is not what the Founding Fathers of our country intended when they established our nation and wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They in fact had a radically different definition of establishment and the role of religion in state and federal governments than we do today. So radical, in fact, that some say the modern understanding of the role of religion in the public square is exactly the opposite of what the Founders intended."
So Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and others among the nation's founders didn't intend a "religiously pluralistic culture guided by a secular government"? That's totally wrong and very much in keeping with the Religious Right's spin on America's founding.We at Americans United did a little research on Boulevard Pictures, and here's what we found. Although the Web site for the film company mentions no religious or political agenda, its president is Jack Hafer, an evangelical Christian who told one interviewer that Christians have an obligation to "shape the culture" and "spread the faith." He urged Christian young people to go into the arts as "kingdom-spreaders" and as "a form of missionary service."
There's a whole heck of a lot of room for the role of religion in our society and it's appropriate that such a discussion would take place on the public channel on the public airwaves. But this isn't about that sort of discussion. This is about proselytising of a warped Evangelical view of how and why this country was founded. It has no business on my PBS.