Rep. Steve King recently (R-IA) introduced legislation recognizing the “importance of Christmas and the Christian faith,” despite previously opposing resolutions recognizing the Muslim celebration of Ramadan and the Hindu Diwali.
A spokesman for King told ThinkProgress that the congressman simply “thought it was important to honor Christmas” by introducing the bill. Yet today on Fox News, King went further, decrying an “assault on Christmas” from “secularists” who want to “eradicate Christ from Christmas.” Ignoring the Constitution, King claimed America is really a “Christian nation”:
I recognized that we’re a Christian nation founded on Christian principles, and we’re coming up to Christmastime. … It’s time we stood up and said so, and said to the rest of America, Be who you are and be confident. And let’s worship Christ and let’s celebrate Christmas for the right reasons.
In his tirade, King attacked the nine “liberal Democrat” “naysayers” who voted against the bill. “I would like to know how they can vote yes on Ramadan, yes on the Indian religions, and no on Christianity, when the foundation of this nation and our American culture is Christian,” he said.
In response, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) ripped King’s religious zealotry as “another sad attempt by conservative Republicans to skew the line between church and state”:
“America is not a Christian nation,” Hastings said. “It is a nation of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and everyone in between. Our diversity is our strength and those who seek to use religion as a litmus test are doing a disservice to all of us.”
As for the “assault on Christianity,” Hastings said, “all someone has to do is visit a shopping mall, turn on the radio or TV or look at the Christmas trees sitting on the front lawns of the White House and the United States Capitol to realize that no such assault is underway.”