An opinion piece by Skeptic Magazine’s Michael Shermer in the LA Times has stirred up lots of strong opinions amongst Angelenos. What do disinfonauts think?
The House voted 396-9 this week to reaffirm as the national motto the phrase “In God We Trust” and encouraged its pronouncement on public buildings and continued printing on the coin of the realm. The motto was made official in 1956 during the height of Cold War hysteria over godless communism and — in the words of Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper in “Dr. Strangelove” — “Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.”
As risible a reason as this was for knocking out a few bricks in the wall separating state and church, it was at least understandable in the context of the times. But today, what is the point of having this motto? There are no communist threats, and belief in God or a universal spirit among Americans is still holding strong at about 90%, according to a 2011 Gallup Poll. The answer is in the wording of the resolution voted on: “Whereas if religion and morality are taken out of the marketplace of ideas, the very freedom on which the United States was founded cannot be secured.”
What is troubling — and should trouble any enlightened citizen of a modern nation such as ours — is the implication that in this age of science and technology, computers and cyberspace, and liberal democracies securing rights and freedoms for oppressed peoples all over the globe, that anyone could still hold to the belief that religion has a monopoly on morality and that the foundation of trust is based on engraving four words on brick and paper.
If you think that God is watching over the U.S., please ask yourself why he glanced away during 9/11 or why he chose to abandon the good folks of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and why he continues to allow earthquakes and cancers to strike down even blameless children…
[continues in the LA Times]