Tuesday, June 02, 2009

DYK - In God We Spend

So here’s a question for you—if there’s supposed to be a separation of Church and State, why does our money say “In God We Trust,” and why is the phrase “One Nation Under God” included in the Pledge of Allegiance?

In the first place, it should be noted that the phrase “Separation of Church and State” is not located anywhere in the Constitution. At all. Jefferson wrote about it in a letter about how the idea relates to the first amendment freedom of religion. And how does it relate to our freedom of religion? Well, the idea is that the government and education system should not push or advertise any one religion to the masses. Keep the Church out of State matters. And you’ve got to admit, that’s not the worst idea in the world. Read “The Crucible” to see what happens when the Bible is used for evidence in court.

But even still, if we’re supposed to be about freedom of religion in this country, then we should be tolerant of those who don’t believe in any sort of god at all, right? With these people in mind, is it constitutional to have that phrase on our money, or that phrase in our pledge?

In regards to the pledge, the rules have already changed for some schools in America. Just like “sitting Indian-Style” has become “sitting criss-cross applesauce,” a lot of kids in younger generations just leave “one nation under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance. That’s probably the most appropriate measure. Parents who want to teach their kids otherwise can do so at home. At school, with a mixture of all different religions and whatnot, things stay sober so nobody feels left out.

As for “In God We Trust” and its relation to our currency, it first appeared on bills during the Lincoln presidency, but Teddy Roosevelt—a devout Christian—tried getting it lifted during his own term because he felt like having God’s name on money was sacrilegious. Nowadays die-hard conservatives would call taking the name OFF the money was sacrilegious. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

The bottom line is that all of the original permanent settlements in America were Christian in some denomination or another. So were several of the founding fathers. The men that put together our Constitution believed in Christian values, and certainly there are echoes of that in the system of government that they set up. But that freedom of religion means it’s okay not to believe the way the founding fathers did. Do what you want to do, but I guarantee that no atheist is throwing away dollar bills just because it has God’s name on it. It spends the same as anything else, and it’s all green, baby.

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