In God We Gush

“Don’t be ridiculous. We mean a ‘secular’ God.”

Finally, our lawmakers breach that formidable aisle of the partisan divide and come to an agreement that will make a lasting difference in our country’s struggles. Following a 35 minute debate which ironically was probably more of an overt violation of Matthew 6:5 than a productive political exchange, in a overwhelming majority of 396-9, the House voted to reaffirm the national motto: “In God We Trust.” Again. (Now maybe that Big Guy in the Sky will step up and clean up this mess we’ve made, being how we are His favorite country and he blesses us and all.)

As a brief history lesson, “In God We Trust” became the first ‘official’ motto of the United States in 1956. Does that time frame ring a bell, by the way? That’s right, this is the time during the Eisenhower administration when God’s PR seemed to experience an anti-communist windfall. In addition to establishing the motto, during this period “under God” was incorporated into the Pledge of Allegiance. A month later, Congress passed a law which required “In God We Trust” to be placed on all coins and currency. If you’d like to understand details of the history of this godly insertion, I’d suggest reading Jeff Sharlet’s The Family, which to me was about as eye-opening as they come. (Just as a note, a couple people I’ve talked to did not like Sharlet’s writing style, but I found the topic fascinating and the style bearable.) As Sharlet reports, Eisenhower entered the foray into the church and state boundary reluctantly; however, he ultimately owed his election to the endorsement of the fundamentalist Christians. As part of the anti-communism movement of the Red Scare, such religious endorsements stood in stark contrast to communist godlessness; thus they were easily propelled without any resistance at all. Politically, Eisenhower made the right move. Today’s overwhelming success likely has more to do with war on evolution and the loss of the 10 Commandments and nativity scenes than fears about communism.

“How much more of this bailout money are they going to
take from me and stuff into the pockets of the non-productive??!”

The “In God We Trust” motto replaced the unofficial motto of the day which was the Latin “E Pluribus Unum” which means “Out of many, one.” This was never an ‘official’ motto but it is on the Seal of the United States.

So what’s up with our motto returning to Congressional attention? The national motto was not about to expire and was not endangered in any way; it is however the 50th anniversary of the motto’s passage. Also, perhaps it simply seems like a good time for a reaffirmation of our faith…uh wait a sec, that probably won’t hold up…for a reaffirmation of our ‘motto.’ Yeah, that seems secular enough. But 396-6? So much for those goons who keep claiming our waning faith was earning us a divine beat-down in the form of hurricanes, earthquakes, early snowstorms, lost jobs, and crumbling economies. Now maybe if we had shitcanned the motto, maybe then you could bang drumsticks on a false correlation, but this emphasis of our trust in the creator…er evolver?…belches our lawmakers’ faith to the nation. Interestingly, though, this 50th anniversary celebration is not the first affirmation of the motto. In 2002, the motto was also reaffirmed. Hmmm, wonder what it triggered our affirmation at that time…that’s right, it was shortly following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. One might have never guessed that.

Most realize (with varying amounts of annoyance) that non-believers from time to time challenge the constitutionality of our nation’s motto. In the landmark decision Aronow v. United States, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled:

It is quite obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency ‘In God We Trust’ has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion. Its use is of patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise.”

Alas, congress is certainly doing whatever they can to demonstrate this is not the case. In addition to multiple unnecessary reaffirmations (which are more indicative of religious expressions than secular ones) the latest re-re-affirmation also strongly encourages the posting of the motto in classrooms and public places (hmmm…sound familiar?) Unfortunately for God, in spite of the overwhelming congressional support for this latest reaffirmation, the media has not embraced this ceremonial waste of time with the “Rah! rah! rah! We love God!” eagerness they perhaps had hoped for. Rev. Barry Lynn ridiculed the action in the Washington Post and Inga Barks (religious enough to even use the godlessness leads to ruthless dictators claim) suggests that while it’s at it, Congress should go ahead and pass “Puppies are cute” legislation.

Interested at all in some of the discussion prior to voting on the bill? Well, Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (I’ll let you guess on which party) tells why this issue is so important…

Sadly, it seems as if Rep. Trent Franks mind has already become ‘worm food.’  (So, is he essentially saying, if we aren’t going to reaffirm our motto, “we should just let anarchy prevail?”)

Even Obama gets in his jabs.

(Not sure which one is worse, that Obama hates God or Obama hates baseball.) Which brings me to my last point. Notice how, once disagreeing with Trent Franks assessment of time well spent, the president reminds us “I trust in God…” This, of course, relates to that strange one-sidedness of the 396-6 affirming vote. Quite simply, if you don’t trust in God, you might as well identify with atheism. And we all know how atheism prevails in the polls.

Damn, with numbers like these, I’m surprised they let atheists get married! The gays have a 20 point lead on the godless (but probably, you can’t be a godless gay.) Obviously, this translates into a general electability. While pedophile priests still find it pretty easy to maintain employment on their knees, atheist politicians do not. As a result, I’m guessing approximately 9 candidates can look forward to political advertisements to the effect of “My godless opponent voted against retaining “In God We Trust” as the national motto. Is this who you want representing you?” Unfortunately for douchebags like Trent Franks, it appears we seem to know that worm-feed anarchist atheists don’t appear to be the real problem in this country. They couldn’t get elected if they wanted to.

But hey. Keep trusting in God. I’m sure that will do the trick.


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