Tag Archives: in god we trust

Bring the country back to God!

5 Jul

Well, 4th of July has come and passed and now the orgy of nationalism is finally subsiding. During the build up to this climax I saw a number of signs and videos proclaiming how the christian god was integral to America. This got me thinking. It seems like everywhere you turn nowadays, there is a politician or somebody screaming that we need to “bring the country back to god!!!1”. They feel that if we only acknowledged their god enough by editing him into the constitution, plastering him all over government buildings, printing him on government memos, putting him on the currency, and altering the pledge to include him, the country would prosper, Al Qaeda would surrender, and all crime would end. Yes, if only we would prostrate our selves enough before their god, everything would be right in the world.

There are many things just patently ridiculous with this claim, but it brings to mind the image of superstitious witchdoctors spreading the blood of a chicken around a campfire to ward off evil spirits. What these people are demanding is basically the same thing. They want to put up a physical sign of their devotion in order to ward off bad things and gain favor with their god. It’s like a band of ancient goat herders erecting a statue to Zeus in order to gain his favor and protection. The “logic” goes: the more religious you make your country, the more it will prosper.

Well, lets check that with reality shall we? In a previous post I compared two maps, one showing religiosity, another showing quality of life. Contrary to the “logic” of “more god=better”, some of the worst places to live are the most religious. (This even carries over to the US, the one outlier on the global scale. The most religious states are the worst states in terms of health/education/poverty) Take Saudi Arabia and Iran for example. They’re theocracies. There is zero wall between church and state and the religion is the government. They put god first in everything and their countries are hell on earth. Human rights violations off the charts.

Oh, but GP! Those are Islamic nations! They’re worshiping the wrong god! You see, if they only worshiped Jesus then everything would be fine. <facepalm> A) it’s the same god, just different religion B) theocracy is theocracy, it doesn’t matter what god or religion it espouses, it will always be prone to violence, bigotry, oppression, and tyranny.  There have been christian theocracies in the past and they too made life as miserable as possible for their citizens. The Vatican, a christain theocracy, stood in the way of human advancement for centuries. It was only during the renaissance and enlightenment that the church began to loose it’s power. Only then did things start getting better. Here in America, a handful of puritans fled England, unhappy with the theocracy there, only to land here and set up their own theocracy! What happened? They started persecuting each other. Meanwhile England exploded into a civil war. Present day Uganda is moving fast towards becoming a christian theocracy. American evangelicals, unhappy that the bill of rights and the constitution prevent them from establishing “god’s kingdom’ in America, have gone to that poor African country to stir up hate and superstition. Being gay is now a crime punishable by death in Uganda, in keeping with god’s “perfect” word in the bible. Lets see, how much do you want to bet that Uganda will soon be a utopia of christian love, where everyone will happily live in god’s kingdom?

The worst part of this “bring the country back to god” bullshit is that the country was never “of god”, so you can’t really “bring it back”. The religious right has been working tirelessly for years to propagate this American creation myth that the US was founded by Jesus as a Christian nation. Reality and the facts don’t matter (they’re fundamentalists after all, they never have) so the fact that god is nowhere in the constitution and that the majority of the founding fathers were not christian, doesn’t bother them. Just deny everything and insist on your own version of history until people finally cave in. Our founding fathers had seen the dangers of theocracies. They left Europe to get away from the mixing of religion and government, and now people try to claim that to be American is to be Christian. No thank you. If people actually payed attention to what happens when you try to “bring a country to god” they’d run in the other direction as fast as they can.

A generic god does not represent everyone

14 Jun

Yesterday I met with a local Americans United for the Separation of Church and State group. We had a city council woman as our guest speaker. She was there to explain why she thought it was necessary for the city council to open each meeting with a prayer, despite the fact that this is blatantly unconstitutional and another near by city was just sued for this. (The city lost, it went up to the supreme court and they refused to hear it, so the 4th circuit court’s ruling stood)

Despite having a lawyer background, she was woefully uneducated in the history or church/state issues. She kept trying to tell us it was just a generic higher power, no specific god, that they were praying to, and thus it was not state endorsement of religion.

No. Sorry, you’re wrong. Here is an example of christian privilege in action. She just assumed that she was the norm and that everyone else had a god, even if they sometimes differed on what faith. We asked her, “What about those without a religious faith? What about Atheists or Agnostics?” She was confused by this and did the little song and dance all politicians do when they obviously have been proved wrong yet want to save face. Atheists and Agnostics hadn’t even crossed her mind when she crafted this legislation mandating prayer at every council meeting.

Acknowledging a generic god is still an endorsement of religion. No, it is not like saying “Jesus Christ is our lord and savior”, but it’s not much different. For starters, the government is taking a stance on the question “Does a higher power exist?” By answering in the affirmative they alienate all of the non-religious citizens. After stating that  a higher power exists (for which there is no more evidence other than “faith”) the government then goes on to call it “god”. God is singular, as opposed to “gods”, and is also masculine, as opposed to goddess. This then alienates everyone else who does not believe in a single masculine god. Trying to claim “Oh, but we don’t mean singular masculine, we mean anything” does not work because we already have words for that. One could say “Dear god-gods-goddess-goddesses”, but even then you are still managing to offend everyone.

The whole point of the first amendment is to keep government from doing exactly this. Just don’t even approach the question “Is there a higher power?” The moment you do a can of worms is opened. This lady, ignorant of the dangers and the illegality of her actions, introduced mandated city council prayer. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, she’s trying to save face by being as inclusive as possible. In the “all or none” doctrine she’s going with “all”. (Or at least claims she is. She kept only mentioning churches that she had sent invitations to. Again, christian privilege where by “religion” she automatically assumes christian churches).

The city of Charleston fell into this trap. The found that despite telling the visiting ministers they could not mention anything specific, they would often slip up at the end saying “in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.” Also, the idea that the legislators honestly mean to include everyone is a flat out lie. In their heart of hears they do intend to represent the single, masculine christian god in their prayers. This was evident when a secular humanist was invited to give the invocation at the Charleston City council. Over half of the council members walked out in protest. The non-religious are not citizens apparently…