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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Know Your History - 'Under God'

For years there have been issues with organizations, people, schools etc that have taken out or omitted the 'Under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance.

If I can't say it enough - people do your damn homework! Stop being so offended by something you really don't know anything about!

The Pledge of Allegiance was created by Francis Bellamy in 1982 as a ploy to sell flags to schools across the nation. "Under God" wasn't added to the Pledge until 1954 because President Eisenhower had a fear of secular Communism.  The original salute to the flag was known as the "Bellamy Salute", and was nearly identical to what most of us would recognize at the Nazi salute.

Children performing the Bellamy salute to the flag of the United States, Hawaii, March 1941.

It would remain that way until December 22, 1942 when Roosevelt instituted the 'hand-over-the-heart' salute.

"In God We Trust" wasn't added to our currency until July 30, 1956.  Again, by Eisenhower. And even then it wasn't adopted on all paper currency until 1966.

The original de facto motto of the US is much more poignant and in line with the spirit in which this country was founded. "E pluribus unum".  Out of many, one.  This is what was printed on currency from 1795 until the adoption of the current US motto.

In any case, protesting and boycotting a product or company or person or organization because they recognize that not all Americans subscribe to one particular faith, and instead use a previous rendition that had not yet been tarnished by religious zealots and cowards is both ridiculous and ignorant.

Although the Constitution does not include the phrase "Separation of Church & State," neither does it say "Freedom of religion." However, the Constitution implies both in the 1st Amendment. As to our freedoms, the 1st Amendment provides exclusionary wording:

Congress shall make NO law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Many Religious Right activists have attempted to rewrite history by asserting that the United States government derived from Christian foundations, that our Founding Fathers originally aimed for a Christian nation. This idea simply does not hold to the historical evidence.

Of course many Americans did practice Christianity, but so also did many believe in deistic philosophy. Indeed, most of our influential Founding Fathers, although they respected the rights of other religionists, held to deism and Freemasonry tenets rather than to Christianity.

Our Founding Fathers were not Christians. None of the Founding Fathers were atheists. Most of the Founders were Deists, which is to say they thought the universe had a creator, but that he does not concern himself with the daily lives of humans, and does not directly communicate with humans, either by revelation or by sacred books. They spoke often of God, (Nature's God or the God of Nature), but this was not the God of the bible. They did not deny that there was a person called Jesus, and praised him for his benevolent teachings, but they flatly denied his divinity. Some people speculate that if Charles Darwin had lived a century earlier, the Founding Fathers would have had a basis for accepting naturalistic origins of life, and they would have been atheists.

But people who don't believe in your Jesus should just go back home...right?

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