Tennessee Pastor Posts Video of Himself Burning Book by Atheist Lawyer Arguing That America Was Not Built as a Christian Nation

A conservative evangelical pastor in Tennessee posted a video of himself on social media burning a book by an atheist lawyer who argued the U.S. was not built as a Christian nation.

The book, “The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism Is Un-American,” was published in May and written by Andrew Seidel, a constitutional attorney who works at the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

“I was just making my point that any history of America that would exclude God or the Bible or a pastor’s viewpoint is just really ridiculous,” Pastor Greg Locke, who founded the Global Vision Bible Church in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, told Religion News Service. “They’re doing everything they can to scrub God from the history books. It was almost as if I was saying, ‘Because you guys have decided to burn the truth of history with your revisionism, I’ll burn this book and show you what nonsense it is.’”

The video, which had amassed more than 81,000 views on Twitter and nearly 87,000 views on Facebook as of Thursday afternoon (Oct. 24), followed a long back-and-forth on Twitter between Locke and Seidel over a recent FFRF advertisement.

The 30-second commercial on the separation of church and state aired during the CNN Democratic presidential debate and featured former President Ronald Reagan’s son Ron Reagan declaring himself a “lifelong atheist, not afraid of burning in hell.”

Locke reacted with a tweet calling the ad “further proof that this party HATES GOD” and claiming that the FRFF “LIED about our Founding Fathers.” When Seidel responded by offering to send the pastor a copy of his book, which argues that the personal beliefs of the Founding Fathers are irrelevant to the country’s political philosophy, Locke responded that he might sign it himself and send it back to Seidel.

“I felt like this is the kind of person who actually needs to read this book,” Seidel told RNS. “He’s got this huge audience, and he’s out there telling them lies about the foundation of this country and what it is to be an American.

“I thought maybe he’d read it and we’d be able to have a public conversation about it,” he said. “But he took out a blowtorch and burned the book that I put eight years of my life into.”

Locke set the book on fire in a two-minute-long video describing atheism as “one of the fastest growing religions in the world” and claiming the book “is not factual.”

In a phone call with RNS, he declined to list any specific inaccuracies in the book, instead renewing his online challenge to Seidel to publicly debate what he called “statements that are taken wildly out of context about the Founding Fathers and the framing of the constitution.”

“An atheist writing the history of America is like Planned Parenthood writing a manual on how to take care of infants,” he said in the video. “There is no history of America without God.”

Watching the video evoked “a very strange feeling that’s hard to put into words,” Seidel said. “It’s a mixture of that revulsion and horror that any thinking person feels when they see a book being burned, mixed with the morbid curiosity of the rubbernecker — plus a sort of pride that the ideas in my book are so threatening to him that he couldn’t even begin to engage with them.”

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Source: Religion News Service