In God We Don’t Trust

Another article for the union:

In God We Don’t Trust

The United States of America is not, never has been, and hopefully never will be a Christian Nation. The US was not founded upon Christian ideals. The founding fathers were not Christians. Thomas Jefferson, the man who penned the declaration of independence, was respectful of the teachings of Jesus as a moral philosopher, but he was not a Christian. Likewise, the rest of the founding fathers, as was common amongst enlightenment thinkers, were not Christians. Most of them were deists. This meant that they did not believe in any sort of personal God who answered prayers or performed miracles. The God of the founding fathers was an apathetic god, designing the laws and constants of the universe and leaving it to its own devices. The list of deist forefathers is a long and prominent one, including Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.

At any rate, the personal belief systems of the framers of the constitution are irrelevant because the first amendment clearly shows that they intended to keep church and state separate. The first amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The language is quite clear. Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of any religion. That means you can’t legislate what is written in the Bible, or the Koran, or any other alleged divinely-inspired book. So is it ok to refuse homosexuals the right to marry, simply because the Bible views homosexuality as wrong? No, it isn’t. Nor is it legit to ban abortion simply because the good book says that “God knew you in the womb.” If any of this sort of thing is going to fly in the legal system, it better be backed by some good logical reasoning and while abortion might come close to having logical reasons against it, I can say with certainty that there are definitely no good secular reasons to bar homosexuals from marriage.

In the same vein, the inclusion of the words “under God” and “in God we trust” in the pledge of allegiance and on our money is absolutely unconstitutional. An ignorant person might say, “but doesn’t the first amendment support freedom of religion, but not freedom from religion?” Nope. But, even if it did not mean freedom from religion, the inclusion of the capital “G” God on the dollar bill is clearly the establishment of one type of religion over another. Ever hear of polytheism? Animism? Eastern spiritualism? Scientology?? There are many religions in the world that do not believe in the monotheistic sky-god of Judeo-Christian tradition, and there are countless more that I could just make up on the spot! Not to mention, “under God” and “in God we trust” weren’t even added to the pledge and to our currency until the 1950’s in the midst McCarthyism, which, in my opinion, is the closest we have ever come as a nation to theocracy and American fascism.

It is apparent that a wall between church and state is necessary for the success of any governing body that guarantees freedom to all of its citizens. For freedom to exist, every individual must be able to exercise his own freedom, until he or she is treading upon the freedom of another. It follows that minority groups are not impeding upon the “rights” and moral codes of Christians when they move to have “under God” removed from the pledge, ask for mandatory prayer to be removed from government run schools, or ask for the same marriage rights as the rest of the population. On the contrary, if any of the above are put into law by a Christian majority, then the line between exercising personal freedom and limiting the freedom of another has been crossed and we have ventured into the realm of coercion and tyranny. America is not a Christian nation because America is a free nation. It cannot be both.

Sean

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13 Responses to “In God We Don’t Trust”

  1. knighthospitaller Says:

    There is a great quote from Ronald Reagan, “If we ever forget that we are one Nation, under God, we will be one Nation gone under.”

    It truely is an excellent quote, but the best part is, at the time everyone agreed with him. Today the majority still does, in a democracy the majority rules…

  2. Arem Says:

    There’s a huge difference between “establishing a religion” and legislating something because the majority of the population believes it’s right. If somebody had the religious belief that murder was right, you would have no problem in congress legislating a ban on murder. Yet, just because somebody believes homosexuality is OK, we need to respect their views and avoid establishing a religion by banning homosexuality, even if the majority decides it’s wrong?

    -Arem
    http://www.seaofire.com

  3. secularstudentslb Says:

    Arem, If you think you are living in a pure democracy, you are mistaken. At any rate, that is exactly why the first amendment was created – to prevent minority groups from being squelched by the majority. This maintains a free market of ideas. That being said, if a legislator can only back his argument with a religious document, that would be unconstitutional. With murder, their are obvious secular arguments against – that apply to everyone. With homosexuality, there are no such arguments. It is the role of the lawmaker to make a secular argument, and if it is a good argument, he will convince his peers in the market place of ideas. The market place of ideas must be free if we are to be able to call the US a free nation. The legislation of religion restricts freedom.

    Knighthospitaller, I would have to disagree on the status of that quote. I would rather call it disgusting, prejudiced, or ignorant. And again, the point of the first amendment is to protect minorities – to keep their viewpoints from being squelched by the powerful majorities. This is essential to democracy. What you are talking about is tyranny, where the most powerful rule.

  4. knighthospitaller Says:

    Ah yes, and when the weakest rule, we call it anarchy…

  5. secularstudentslb Says:

    Oh, you are so wise…

  6. knighthospitaller Says:

    Thank you… I enjoy disscussion on this issue. I didn’t mean to offend you if I did…

  7. secularstudentslb Says:

    No offense taken. I just find I silly that you throw out words like anarchy, assuming that I would consider a truly democratically run society with no central government to necessarily be a bad thing. I don’t. I think what you meant is chaos – a democratically controlled state where everyone’s ideas are given equal consideration would not be chaos. A true anarchist “state” (if you could call it that) might be chaos. There are however, successful, though small, anarchist communes. I see nothing particularly wrong with this.

  8. knighthospitaller Says:

    I see nothing wrong, with you seeing nothing wrong with it. We will just heve to agree to disagree I guess.

  9. Aaron Says:

    Who wants a democracy? Everyone screams this same old mantra, its so boring.

    America is not a democracy, it is a REPUBLIC. It never was a democracy until the powers that be decided it was easier to control mass opinion, than to control the mass.

    Two wolves and a sheep, deciding on whats for dinner.

    Democracy is for nations of plebeians and patricians. Guess where the majority of the population dwells? And guess where the media and its benefactors lie?

    Besides, if people are so nuts and animalistic with a religious foundation, what will they be like in a completely secular world. Has anyone here actually read the new testament? I do believe it has an awful lot in there about not killing, treating others with respect, loving your neighbors, not stealing etc etc. Just becuase a pope declares a crusade against the brown people, doesn’t mean he is a Christian. Nor does it mean that everyone who agrees with him is either. It just means that there are greedy people who will use anything and anyone to get what they want.

  10. secularstudentslb Says:

    Aaron, I am not sure how your points are relevant. All I am saying in this article is that the legislation or favoring of any religion by any government automatically denies said government the right to legitimately call its nation “free.”

    Whether or not the United States is technically a republic or a democracy is neither here nor there. In either case, the constitution guarantees the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and it prohibits the establishment or favoring of any religion.

    As long as this is true, The United States can’t be called, in any official sense, a Christian Nation.

    If by completely secular you mean devoid of any and all superstition, I think the world would cease to be so nuts and animalistic, but that is not the argument I am making in this piece. You seem to suggest that religion is the only foundation for ethics, which it isn’t. Secular philosophies have created far more coherent ethical systems than any that could be gleaned from the new testament, which is more often violent and bigoted than meek and mild.

  11. jay Says:

    Sean I very much enjoyed your comments on the “in God we don’t trust peice”. I though it showed open mindedness and knowledge, but when I read your peice on Homeopathy it came across as very closed minded. Were/are you the same person that wrote both peices?.

    Just wondering. Nothing is black and white. There is a lot of gray area in which light can be found.

    Jay

  12. Jurgen P. Kuhl Says:

    There is a great difference between democracy by representation and direct democracy and there is no definite meaning of Anarchy. You are playing with words only. When you write about democracy then you should explain what you think democracy means.

  13. Jual-Beli Says:

    Jual-Beli…

    […]In God We Don’t Trust «[…]…

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