Friday, November 4, 2011

In God we trust?

Here's Barry Lynn, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and the Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State:
Now that the United States has achieved full employment, solved the debt crisis and shored up Social Security for the next 100 years, we can move on to less pressing matters.

Wait a minute, we haven’t actually solved any of those things. Yet we’re moving on to less-pressing matters anyway. What’s going on?

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives spent a good bit of time debating a resolution reaffirming “In God We Trust” as the official national motto. (Are you surprised that the vote was 396-9 in favor of the motto?)

That’s right - rather than deal with pressing matters like, say, the dire state of the national economy, the House would rather spend its time reminding everyone that it loves God.

The thing is, the Republicans who control the House of Representatives don't want to solve any of our nation's pressing problems - certainly not while there's a Democrat in the White House.

In fact, they're doing their best to make them worse. Remember that debt ceiling debacle this summer, when America lost its AAA credit rating for no reason but politics? That was Republicans deliberately sabotaging our economic recovery.

After all, if they get us into the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression and then the Democrats get us out of it, that's not going to help their own political ambition, is it?

The only chance they have is to keep us Americans as miserable as possible - and hope that we're not smart enough to see through it. (And if we were that smart, they really wouldn't have a chance in the first place.)

Besides, who can be against "God"?
“In God We Trust” became the national motto in 1956 at the height of the Cold War. It was a slap against those Godless commies. The fact that it was as bland and generic an endorsement of faith as one could get was actually seen as a plus. Remember, it was President Dwight D. Eisenhower who once is reported to have remarked, “Our government makes no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith - and I don’t care what it is.”

So make no mistake, I’m no fan of a motto that divides Americans along religious lines. With polls showing increasing numbers of Americans expressing skepticism about the existence of God or defining God in non-traditional ways, the motto is increasingly polarizing.

The fact is, we had a perfectly good unofficial motto for a long time. “E Pluribus Unum” (“Out of Many, One”) appears on the Great Seal of the United States, which was codified in 1782. That phrase really encapsulates what the United States is about. It celebrates that we are a diverse nation, a people drawn from many backgrounds who are united as Americans.

Changing our motto to "In God We Trust" was just one of the stupid things right-wing loons did during the McCarthy Era of the 1950s. (Adding "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance, after decades without it, was another.)

What was wrong with E Pluribus Unum? Out of many, one. What could better describe America? That had been the motto of our nation since 1782. Plus, it's inclusive, not divisive. (I sure as hell don't trust in their imaginary "God," myself!)

These Tea Party Republicans pretend that it's all about government debt, all about the economy, these days. But when they get elected, they show their true colors. These are the same old culture warriors who gave us George W. Bush. Their policies - including their economic policies - failed horribly then, but they're still pushing them.

Well, as I say, they don't want to improve our economy. In fact, as long as a Democrat is in the White House, that's the last thing they want to do. And even if they did, we'd be probably better off with them wasting time on stupid things like this, rather than trying to implement the same policies that got us into this mess in the first place.

Still, I don't have to like it.

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