Christianity in America will undermine its otherwise noble goals of spreading values and ethics if it sounds in any way bigoted, homophobic, or just downright nasty. It is possible to advocate for heterosexuality, and even for the sinfulness of homosexuality, without hating gays. After all, Christianity believes in the sinfulness of sex outside of marriage, but does not hate the 90 percent of heterosexuals who practice it.

There are far too many religious Christians who are undermining Christian aims with appalling public statements that deeply discredit the wholesomeness of the Christian message. Those fraudulent TV evangelists who are more interested in money than souls are obvious culprits, but so are abominable mutterings like that of Jerry Falwell, who said two days after 9/11 that the United States was being punished for its sins.

Religious Americans have a propensity for blaming the secularism of American society on atheists, but seem blind to how their own bad example can contribute to the public's rejection of a spiritual message.

I would love for our country to be more religious and for our lives to be more G-dcentric. Christianity has an absolutely central role to play in America in achieving that aim. But Christian leaders are far too savvy to believe that's this is going to happen by sounding judgmental, bigoted, and exclusionary.

In the TV debate with Donohue, I told Pat Buchanan, who moderated the debate, that "the reason why many Jews--I'm not among them--are fearful of Christianity is that they're tired of Christians saying that we're a bunch of Christ killers." It is time for Christian leaders to reach out to Jews as partners in faith rather than as perpetrators of a crime. Give those voices in the Jewish community who have championed the cause of Christian-Jewish brotherhood some proof that the real enemy of Judaism in the United States is not Christianity but secularism.