Jennifer, I think you are very mistaken if you think McCain does not want the “Christian nation” video to get much attention. Instead, I think it is a deliberate attempt by his campaign to reach out to conservative Christians as part of his effort to claw back into the race. And if you listen closely to what he said, he couched the statement very carefully. What he said is, indeed, simply a matter of fact: The nation was overwhelmingly Christian when founded, and the government they created was seen by them as one based on Christian principles and to serve a largely Christian people. Granted, Thomas Jefferson had a different conception of Christianity than most, but he was an outlier at the time. Meanwhile, there is nothing in what McCain said that indicates this nation does not welcome other faiths. George Washington and James Madison, among many others, made it clear that people of all faiths, and none, were welcome and had/have equal rights. Parsed carefully, there is nothing in the “Christian nation” statement that is exceptional.
(Now, might it have been wiser to say “Judeo-Christian”? Yes — and it also would have been true, although there is a bit of a substantive difference between the two statements. But properly understood, even without the “Judeo” part verbalized, it is always included anyway, because there is no Christianity without Judaism. As for other faiths, or no faith at all, people of those persuasions enjoy the exact same political rights as do Christians and Jews and everybody else, even if the nation they live in was and is overwhelmingly culturally Christian.)
But back to McCain. This is a controversy he relishes. Its free media for a cash-strapped campaign. And in the end, very few GOP primary voters that were going to vote for McCain will do otherwise just because of this statement, but there are plenty of GOP primary voters who will give him another look the more he is attacked and pilloried for defending faith’s historical role. In short, if there is to be controversy over this, it is a briar patch of McCain’s own, deliberate creation. It’s a briar patch he will relish at any and all times between now and the Minneapolis convention. (And if “briar patch” is culturally insensitive, too, well, throw ME into THAT briar patch, please, because it is a perfectly good literary reference.)
Notice to Readers: The American Spectator and Spectator World are marks used by independent publishing companies that are not affiliated in any way. If you are looking for The Spectator World please click on the following link: https://thespectator.com/world.