Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
Recently, due to a bad run, I’ve had to move in with a friend while I scavenge at the bottom of the abysmal job market. And yes, he’s a Christian (and a creationist to boot), but he’s an old and dear friend. We assiduously avoid religious discussions (as they end in loud acrimony), but we co-exist, which is the way it should be. He’s thoroughly familiar with my position ona religion long before he agreed to help me out.
So Saturday morning, I’m awakened by his loud neighbors at 8 (why people feel the need to carry out conversations at the top of their lungs regardless of the hour, is beyond me. Nobody cares but them.), so I clamber off the inflatable bed in the corner and start cruising the channels (I didn’t have TV at the old apartment, so it’s kinda a treat), when I come across a listing on C-SPAN title ‘In God We Trust’. So I flip to it, with frighteningly predictable results:
Mind you, this is just a taste of an hour-long waste of our taxpayer dollars. And they pulled out all the old (re)tired tropes. Here’s a smattering of the oldies-but-moldies:
1. Our found fathers created this country because of their belief in god.
This is just a stupid argument: it’s an argument from tradition, and it relies on the deification of the founders as some sort of saintly GODSQUAD. The simplest counter? They also ‘believed’ in: slavery, leeches, that water was bad for them (a good percentage, likely 100, is that they were soused most of the time anyways), Benjamin Rush thought that being born non-white was a congenital defect (he also used to tie down patients on a board and spin them, to cure what I don’t recall), Washington wanted to be king, Hamilton was a raging asshole (Burr did us a favor there) – the litany goes on. The point is that they were wrong about a great deal of things. They were correct about many other things. Why? Because they were human beings. We could go over an exhaustive list of their flaws, but for the sake of brevity, I shall move on.
2. The Declaration of Independence speaks of a ‘Divine Judge’, that every man is given their rights by their creator.
This is by far one of the more obnoxious of the litany of tropes. The word ‘Creator’ is obviously deliberately left ambiguous.Why? Because some of the founders were Deists. I couldn’t tell you the demographics of the period, i.e., how many Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, or Muslims were extant at that time. Obviously there were some around. That one of the rethuglickans actually interpolated the word ‘divine judge’ in his nonsense was offensive as well as egregious. By modern standards, I can claim my rights derive from my parents, fer FSM’s sake. I illustrated in one of my essays from 2007 that five of the big founders would not be elected by neo-cons today.
3. It’s on the walls, it’s on our currency, etc.
The first time the 'logo’ showed up was in 1864. I’m fairly sure that all the founders were deceased by then. So the founders argument flounders on this point, because that’s 88 years AFTER this country was founded. It didn’t even show up on our paper currency until 1964, which is 288 years after our inception. Republicans don’t fact-check. How is this not a surprise?
The other issue is that our actual motto (until Eisenhower passed that law in 1956, due to McCarthyism and the Cold War) was E Pluribus Unum, which was actually approved by the founders, and means "Out of many, one". Never mind the infamous Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11, which unequivocally states that, “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” This was also passed unequivocally by the senate in 1797, and signed by the president (Article 11 included).
(The argument usually used, is that this a sovereignty treaty, and therefore doesn’t apply. However, such treaties are as a rule represent the state of law in said country.)
The Constitution nor the Bill of Rights state any of the key points of Christianity: there is no declaration of Jehovah or Yahweh (or whatever ‘name’ the Christian would provide); there is no declamation that “Jesus is our lord”; nor is there any mention of the alleged resurrection. Those are the big three points, any of which being present would prove that this is a ‘Christian nation’. Historically, the Christians were excessively intolerant of other faiths, ergo there would be no First Amendment statement tolerating any other religion.
And the repercussions were ridiculous for the few who dissented.
“Fox Nation’ immediately posted the names of the nine people who voted against Resolution 13. Keith Ellison, the only elected Muslim representative, voted ‘present’, and abstained. He spoke to it later, stating that “We’re out of our lane. We’re in their [The American People’s] private religious affairs, not doing what we’re supposed to be doing, which is getting the economy working.” (Good advice, I say.)
The rest of the nonsense can be found here, if you have the stomach for it.
What none of these pandering politicians get, is that the language is demonstrating an exclusivity in an inclusive society. When one stipulates “In God We Trust”, it is a clear violation of church and state: that in referring to “God”, it is clearly bent in favor of the Judeo-Christian deity: the Jews spell it “G_d”, the Muslims holler “ALLAH AKBAR”, the Hindus bring up Brahma, etc..
The free pass is over, folks. Your two hundred years of domination is over. Time for a level playing field.
Get used to it.
Till the next post, then.