Personally, I’d like to see any and all references to God removed from our money, our pledge, and all government buildings. It’s never going to happen, at least in my lifetime, and as an atheist, I think our time is better spent on the real governmental abuses of the Establishment Clause than these perceived infractions.
There’s been a recent decision by the 8th Circuit in a case filed by several individual atheists and 2 atheist organizations that failed in the attempt to have In God We Trust removed from our currency. The decision is embedded in the article linked and it actually appears to be a sensible one.
It seems that every few years I read or hear about a case similar to this: an atheist group or some atheists want any reference to God removed from something or somewhere. They inevitably fail because they haven’y met the burden of showing a violation of the 1st Amendment.
The 1st Amendment, specifically the Establishment Clause, doesn’t prevent the use of the word God anywhere, even in government, but it’s specific to government proclaiming a sectarian preference in religion.
I don’t think that when any of these were introduced that there was any other meaning other than the Abrahamic god. More to the point, since we are a nation that the majority identifies as Christian, that it was meant for that purpose alone. No one seriously believes that in using the word God on our money and buildings has any other meaning. No one looks at that and thinks of Zeus or Odin.
Atheists challenging these in court are going to need to come up with a better argument. What that may be, I actually have no idea: I’m not a Constitutional scholar, but there are many that are and if there is a way to remove these references from our secular government, none have been able to discover it.
If it looks to some I’m saying that we atheists should give up, well, yes I am saying that, in cases like this one. We should be concentrating on those cases where a government entity tries to skirt the 1st Amendment and established law with promoting a particular belief. Every time we challenge those, we win.
Maybe there will come a day when there is a Constitutional argument for removing God from our secular life. Until then, let’s not waste time on cases like this one just for publicity or fundraising.
2 thoughts on “Removing God From Government”
I could not agree with you more. So sorry, rabid atheists, but I don’t pay much attention to what’s on my money. If some accept that there may be some benign force for good in the Universe, it may as well be a god with a big G. Who cares? Let us move on to bigger issues…any bigger issue, please.
And…quite frankly, as a former believer and an atheist whose neighbors and community is overtly Christian and who is nearly always within range of “God Bless America” and Garth Brooks songs at public events and who still gets teary-eyed over them, it feels good to share these emotions with my fellow citizens. I leave out the “under God” bit in the Pledge just by habit, now.
So sue me. It is just not important at all to me anymore. Maybe some can keep themselves riled up in outrage over stuff such as this, but I have too much of my life to live to worry about this silliness.
Oh, yeah…I say “Merry Christmas” too. Guess you’ll have to take away my American Atheist dangle earrings. Whatever it is that Bill The Cat spouts out when he blows raspberries…that to you.
Before I tell you how I really feel…I am hitting the hay. 🙂
I would like to see the military get out of the God business. Churches and chaplains should not be paid for by the U.S. government. The churches should pay for their own facilities and personnel. GROG