One Nation, Above God

Whatever problems the USA has (out-of-control corporate power and fraud, undisguised contempt for international law and order, fanatical adulation of celebrities), it is unrivalled as a true democracy. That also implies secularism: the strict separation of church and state. Born out of the need to reconcile extremist religious zealots, it has become a powerful tool to ward off fundamentalist powers.
Now, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the words "under God", introduced in 1954 into the Pledge of Allegiance, are unconstitutional and should be removed. Politicians and public alike are outraged over this decision, claiming that the Founding Fathers are spinning in their graves. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court will handle this. It is a true test of America's protection of secularism in the face of public adversity. And as for those Founding Fathers, here's what they and other prominent Americans had to say:

George Washington: "The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion."
John Adams: "This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it."
Thomas Jefferson: "I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature."
Abraham Lincoln: "The Bible is not my Book and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long complicated statements of Christian dogma."
John F. Kennedy: "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute."
George Bush: "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." [my italics]

Posted by cronopio at 12:24 PM, June 28, 2002 | Comments (0)