A Pentecostal bishop on Sunday told a rabbi and an imam that the U.S. was a “Christian nation” that was bridging religious divisions because Christians would “let” other faiths worship and “we’re not going to persecute you.”
Speaking to a interfaith panel on CBS News, Hope Christian Church Pastor Harry R. Jackson responded to Rabbi David Wolpe, who said that the Americans should “celebrate difference” because “God is greater than any religious tradition.”
“In deference to the Christian foundation of this nation, it is that foundation that allows us freedom,” Jackson explained. “I don’t see this diversity in other places. So to the credit of our Christian foundation of this nation, this freedom we’re experiencing is because folks came and said, ‘We believe this is to be a Christian nation. We feel like we’ve been persecuted in the places we came from, and we’re going to intentionally let this nation be founded in a way that if you come here and you’re Islamic and you come here and you’re Jewish, we’re not going to persecute you.’”
“Although we don’t worship as Jewish people, we’re going to let this country be guided in a place where there’s going to be liberty and freedom or worship. I feel we’d be remiss if we act like some other set of countries has operated in this way.”
Imam Suhaib Webb, however, reminded Jackson that Christians persecuted Christians during the early days of the United States, while Jews and Muslims lived together in Harmony in Spain.
“You’re saying I’m wrong that — that foundation doesn’t bring us to this point?” Jackson asked.
“I don’t know if that was foundational or negotiated would be a better word for it,” Webb pointed out.
“Negotiated by who?” Jackson replied. “Negotiated with Christians by Christians.”
“Or by deists as well,” Webb added. “I mean, I think we need to be really careful.”
“We have strong disagreements,” Jackson grumbled.
“But we still love each other,” Webb said.
Watch this video from CBS’ Face the Nation, broadcast March 31, 2013.