Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More Pointless BS from DC

H.Con.Res. 13 is up before the House of Representatives.  This proposal, with 66 co-sponsors, seeks to allow government buildings and public institutions (including schools) to be plastered with "In God We Trust".  Let us see what is in this very much needed proposal, shall we?

The overall goal is stated as, "Reaffirming `In God We Trust' as the official motto of the United States and supporting and encouraging the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions."

Here's their confounding arguments why:

Whereas `In God We Trust' is the official motto of the United States; 
Not before 1956.  How short-term is this right-wing pundit memory of theirs that we have to keep reminding them of that fact.  The injustices of the McCarthy era weren't justified then, and they're not justified now.  These days, instead of a big "fuck you" to Russia and the scary Communists of the world, they want to give the finger to Muslims and us non-religious types.  It may be "official" but that doesn't make it right.  Besides that, do you really need to be reminded that you trust God so badly the phrase be everywhere?

Whereas the sentiment, `In God We Trust', has been an integral part of United States society since its founding;
What this issue (and all the others like it) really comes down to is the incorrect assumption that the God of our deist founders equals the God of the Christian bible.  As I've explained many times before, many of our founders didn't believe in a personal god, and they certainly didn't believe in Jesus's Daddy.  The vagueness of the word "God" makes it easier to spread this religion, because it generalizes the idea of deities.  Thus, if a man 200 years ago says something about "God", people 4000 years from now can interpret it by the God of their understanding.  Simply, our founders weren't talking about YOUR god when they referenced "our Creator" (read: nature).

Whereas in times of national challenge or tragedy, the people of the United States have turned to God as their source for sustenance, protection, wisdom, strength, and direction; 
In times of great strife, people turn to whomever they can to seek help.  But let's look at the facts: God didn't send people into the burning World Trade towers to get people out.  God didn't send food, medical supplies, and water to Sudan or New Orleans.  God didn't send aid to Japan, and God didn't take down the Tucson shooter.  However you want to define it, "God" hasn't helped with any national challenge or tragedy.  People have.  Humans provide sustenance, protection, wisdom, strength, and direction.  It's demonstrable.  And even though many do look toward a higher power for those things, they don't all turn to YOUR God.  So presupposing that all Americans trust in YOUR God is arrogantly presumptions.

Whereas the Declaration of Independence recognizes God, our Creator, as the source of our rights, `We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'; 
The Declaration of Independence isn't a founding document.  It could say, "Jesus Christ is the nation's Lord Almighty" and it wouldn't matter.  This nation was founded based on secular documents meant to keep the government out of everyone's personal beliefs.  But again, that Creator they're talking about isn't the biblical God.  It's the idea of how humans arrived (again, read: nature).

Whereas the national anthem of the United States says `praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation . . . and this be our motto: in God is our trust.'; 
The motto could be, "We are a White Nation" and it wouldn't be true nor accurate.  And it wouldn't matter if it were our national government-approved motto because again, it may be official but that doesn't make it okay.  That's why we try to put away official ideas when we realize they're not honorable (slavery, anyone?).

Whereas the words `In God We Trust' appear over the entrance to the Senate Chamber and above the Speaker's rostrum in the House Chamber;
It doesn't matter how many injustices they cite, they're still trying to inject religious beliefs into government -- our collective government.  Government isn't a private business that can reserve the right to serve who they like.

Whereas the oath taken by all Federal employees, except the President, states `I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.'; 
The phrase, "so help me God" is purely optional, as mandated by Article IV, paragraph 3 of the United States Constitution.  It doesn't matter what imaginary being someone wants to seek help from to tell the truth or uphold an oath to.  And what if the "God" someone swears by are the Pseudologoi?  How would you know?

Whereas John Adams said, `Statesmen may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.'; 
Those who would think that their God is the god of everyone in America also think that morality comes from God.  Morality isn't the property of, nor authored by, religion, and it certainly holds no monopoly over it.  It's demonstrable that non-religious people are quite capable of being moral.

Whereas if religion and morality are taken out of the marketplace of ideas, the very freedom on which the United States was founded cannot be secured; 
Our Constitution makes it clear that government is meant to stay out of religion for the sake of freedom.  Do you really want the government to start endorsing religion?  It might seem great, but which religion?  You can't get members of the SAME CHURCH to agree on everything, so how do you propose we get government to do it?  How free do you think we'd be if, say, they started plastering buildings with Mormon ideals (like God punishes people by darkening their skin)?  Even if they keep the vague "God" sense, there comes a point when their God isn't your God anymore, but government's claws are in too deep. I'm an atheist and don't think religion is a good thing, but I wouldn't want my government telling a religious person how to worship.  Freedom is the distance between Church and State, for ALL OUR SAKES.  I see this Whereas as saying "if you don't have God then you don't have morality, and we can't guarantee your Freedom of Speech or your protection under the Fourth Amendment".

Whereas as President Eisenhower said and President Ford later repeated, `Without God, there could be no American form of government, nor, an American way of life.';  and
Whereas President John F. Kennedy said, `The guiding principle and prayer of this Nation has been, is now, and ever shall be `In God We Trust.'
It wouldn't matter if the current president said, "Those who have no God should be shot".  If these clowns would read the Constitution and the words of those who helped create it, they'd see the reasons for keeping religion out of a secular government.

So to recap:
  1. "God" doesn't always mean your god, and for our government to assume so makes us all look like asses.
  2. Government is meant to be kept separate from religion.  You don't want Washington telling you what prayer to use over dinner, and I don't want my public school to feature a prominent statue of Brahma.
  3. Presidents and other members of government can be as religious as they want, as long as they leave their religion at the door when making policy that affects our nation (roughly sixty million of which aren't Christians).

The House needs to kill this bill.  Get in touch with your representative today and politely let them know -- even if you're a Christian -- that this type of legislation doesn't' belong in a government of our kind, and that you support everyone's right to see God how they want to.

If you want to go further, write them a snail mail letter (sometimes more effective than an email) and tell them how you would instead like to restore "E Pluribus Unum" as our national motto, because it more accurately reflects America: "Out of Many, One".


No comments: