Monday, March 21, 2011

In GOP we trust

By Capt. Fogg

There are a few things that seem to be endless about the American Lie Machine and it's quest to rephrase our founding principles, rewrite our documents and refashion us into the government by divine right the colonists left behind. The endless assault on the First Amendment is one of them.

Congressman J. Randy Forbes (R-VA), the founder and chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, sponsored a bill to make "In God We Trust" the official motto on the United States of America, giving unlawful support to an unspecified, but intentionally Christian God and allowing and encouraging the carving of religious credos into the stone of our institutions and establishing state Theism contrary to the letter and intent of the US Constitution. He was troubled by a pattern of omitting God from the nation's heritage, said he. Could a talking snake be any more devious? Of course omitting God is not the same thing as preventing state recognition of Forbes' god and that's the forbidden and worm eaten fruit we're being offered and that some of us are deluded and befuddled enough to bite into.

"There is a small minority who believes America does not have the right to trust in God, who believes the United States should not affirm trust in God, and who actively seek to remove any recognition of that trust,"

But the writers of the constitution weren't a small minority and had no intention whatever of forbidding the free exercise of religion by citizens -- only of forbidding the government officially to recognize any religion, sect, denomination or cult as preferred. But as I said, it's devious. There is nothing in our laws and no credible movement to prevent any American from trusting in any God or gods or principles or making statements to that effect -- or from ignoring them. There is the First Amendment to prevent the government from doing so.

Although Republicans are notorious for portraying the government as an alien force, separate from the people and their interests, it's interesting to see how in this instance, they're quite willing to see the people and the government as congruent or identical because equivocation is the armature about which is built this grotesque idol. But of course not paying for you to engrave your God on the wall I paid for isn't a rejection of anything but the government's right to do so, which is the precise intent of our constitution. There is no official God or gods in the United States, no official belief -- and this legislation furthers only the intent to create one.

Forbes claims that the resolution is meant to affirm the importance of God in the heritage of the United States, but refuses to address the question of who the "we" are. If he's talking about the people as people, perhaps he's right, at least in the sense of a majority of them, but to a good number of Americans for whom the right to be irreligious, atheistic or pagan is protected, this resolution is an exclusion act. There is no me in that we.

Small minority? I'm not so sure, what with the penalties attendant to disbelief and doubt and unsanctioned belief, but so what? A small minority of Americans are of African descent or Jewish decent or indigenous descent and the triumph of our democracy is to protect their rights, their numbers notwithstanding. I might say that a large minority of Republicans are asserting that intellectual minorities don't have the same rights when it comes to private thought and this mumbling against "small minorities" is nothing but an attempt to marginalize intellectual non-conformism.

In God We Trust isn't all that historical anyway. Although some, but not all US coins have had it stamped on them since about 1864 as part of the attempt to give a boost to the unpopular war, the motto only became "official" in 1956, shortly after the Knights of Columbus and other religious lobbyists convinced Dwight Eisenhower it would help give Americans another reason to hate and fear Communism.

The first appearance of "In God is our trust" was in Francis Key's poem, later set to an old drinking song and made into an anthem which didn't become official until the 1930's, by which time there wasn't much left of Jefferson's bones to be furiously gyrating in his coffin. That he would do so is of course contested by the plethora of Church funded revisionist historians like All About History who make statements saying President Thomas Jefferson wrote,
"The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time" and "Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are of God?"

which words, of course, Jefferson never spoke or wrote. Perhaps you can see why the GOP stands against public education, science and history -- and for the Christian Bible and Christian government. Perhaps somewhere, the shade of Galileo is wryly smiling and George III, Rex Dei Gratia is giggling because the long upward climb to freedom is sliding back into the reeking sump from which it emerged.

(Cross posted from Human Voices)

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