The taxpayer funded Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) will hold an event on the “myth of Christian America” next year.
Steven K. Green, a professor of history and law at Willamette University, is set to host a history forum at MNHS on the “persistent mythos of a religious founding” in March 2019. The lecture will focus on how America’s supposedly mythical Judeo-Christian heritage adds to the “collective national identity.”
“Green will argue that among the most enduring themes in American history is the idea that the United States was founded as a Christian nation,” the event description reads. “This myth arose out of three critical moments in our national past: the Puritan founding of New England; the American Revolution, and the early 19th century, when a second generation of Americans sought to redefine and reconcile the memory of the founding with their religious and patriotic aspirations.”
“Fostered by Americans both famous and ordinary for nearly 400 years, the persistent mythos of a religious founding has become the central concept of our nation for many and the shared story that gives a deeper meaning, however false, to our collective national identity,” the event description continues.
The issue becomes more controversial due to MNHS’ status as a state-funded organization. According to a 2016 financial report, about two-thirds of MNHS’ approximately $60 million annual budget comes from the State of Minnesota. Some of that funding comes through the Arts and Culture Heritage Fund, a part of the controversial 2008 Legacy Amendment meant to “support arts, arts education and arts access, and to preserve Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage.”
The Minnesota Legislative Prayer Caucus says it isn’t acceptable to have a taxpayer funded organization “promoting a narrative … that is patently false.”
“The Minnesota Legislative Prayer Caucus emphasizes their engagement is not intended to try to convince anyone to believe as our founders believed, rather to point out that a state-funded organization is promoting a narrative about our nation’s history and founding that is patently false,” the caucus stated in a press release.
The Minnesota Legislative Prayer Caucus is calling for MNHS to either cancel the event outright, or to allow for a representative of the caucus’ choice to “provide an accurate presentation of America’s Judeo-Christian heritage at the same event.”
MNHS has not yet responded to the Minnesota Legislative Prayer Caucus’ request. Alpha News reached out to MNHS for comment — they did not respond prior to publication.
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Author: Christine Bauman
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