Wednesday, April 20, 2011

In God We Trust(To Divide)

It's true, and it's unfortunate. 'In God We Trust' is the official national motto. It was codified into federal law in the early 50's, during the McCarthy era, while America was doing everything in its power to separate themselves from the godless reds.

If you talk to most people on the street they will tell you they are completely fine with this. The phrase is printed on money, and the majority of people believe in the deity. This presents a problem for me, not just because I am an atheist, but because it is wholly un-American. The phrase is divisive and unconstitutional.

The average American will tell you this a democracy. The majority of people like the motto, or truly believe it NEEDS to be our motto (This being a Christian nation and all), and that because the majority wants it, it needs to be so. But they forget this is not a pure democracy, this is a democratic republic with safeguards to prevent this kind of thing. The tyranny of the majority.  For whatever reason the people of this country think if the majority wants it, it must happen. Nothing can be further from the truth. The Constitution has rules in it to prevent the minority from being obliterated.

One of those rules is freedom of religion. As Americans we have the right to choose our own religion, and not have others force theirs on us. We also have the right to have freedom from religion, because you can't have true freedom of religious choice if you can't abstain from making that choice. The state is not allowed to favor one religion over another, or religion over non religion. For all intents and purposes, the state is atheist. Our motto is purely unconstitutional.

The motto is also divisive. I have to live in a country that bombards me with 'You have all these great freedoms!', then goes ahead and endorses religion over non-religion. Am I a second class citizen? Does the state not respect my choices? Slightly dramatic questions, sure, but valid. Add on top of that the people who insist this motto is protected, special, and anyone who disagrees isn't American. They ignore the whole 'freedom of religion' thing, and say if you aren't their color of Christian, you are not American.

What I don't understand is why we can't go back to E Pluribus Unum. It was never codified as the official motto, but it was inclusive to all. Out of many, one. What could be a more American sentiment? Out of all the cultures, religions, races, and orientations we have in this great country, we come together. We stand united. We overcome those petty differences and make something great. This is a motto everyone can stand behind. This is what it truly is to be American, to be part of the melting pot.

My question to all this is, why can't America include all of its citizens, not just the majority?


  1. Couldn't agree more with this whole post! The reason it stays our motto is because it is a wonderful tool for nationalism. Even if it isn't constitutional.
    "There once was a time when all people believed in God and the church ruled. This time was called the Dark Ages."

  2. That's it! We're all gonna get together and drink some whiskey and have a good old fashioned religion bash!!

  3. Wow, I never even knew what E Pluribus Unum meant. Thanks for letting me know.

    Great post.

  4. I'm way ahead of you, at least on the whiskey part.. :)

  5. That's the sad thing, it will remain the motto for the time being simply because it's so useful in determining patriotism. Well the majorities view of 'patriotism'

  6. It is also a means of WAR!! There have been more people that have been persecuted and killed in the name of a god then anything else on earth. I will be at the Whiskey party!!


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