Faculty, Students Discuss Religion in America

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Faculty, Students Discuss Religion in America

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A lively yet intimate discussion seeking to demystify the origins of religious freedom in the United States took place on campus Sept. 23.

“Was America Founded As A Christian Nation?” was a roundtable discussion led by Art Remillard, an associate professor of religious studies at SFU, and Kyle Thomsen, an assistant professor of philosophy at the school.

The conversation delved into the specifics of religious freedom outlined in the Constitution; the faiths of the Founding Fathers; and how politics and history have shaped citizens’ views on religious practice in the United States.

“This is a question that is often in our public discussions and debates,” said Remillard. The best way to become more informed on this topic, he said, is to have these discussions and “see what we come away with.”

Thomsen insisted that, given the upcoming presidential election, this is a discussion the public should be having.

“If people are running (for president) based on the fact that they are the ‘most Christian,’ we need to look at who is being excluded from that process,” he said. The question of why people might vote for a Christian candidate should also be confronted, according to Thomsen.

Jordan Troxell, a junior nursing major, helped organized the event.

“I’m very interested in this topic and I think it’s something we need to talk about.”

A consensus among the facilitators and participants of the discussion was that each person came away with a different understanding and perspective on the history of the nation.

“That was really encouraging to me,” said Remillard.

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