Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Return to Cohesion

A brief essay for class at my very religios school..lol

A Return to Cohesion: Returning the Rightful Motto to Our Currency
By Brian Johnson


There is no greater affront to the separation of church and state then to have our national currency emblazoned with the mantra, “In God We Trust.” If we believe in democracy and the inclusion and rights of all citizens within our borders, these four simple words should be stricken from our financial record.

Proponents of the mantra would like you to believe they are modern day prophets. Entrusted by some divine power to enforce these words as a testament to our founding fathers and the Christian ideals upon which this country was founded. The history of the motto however, is not on their side. While it would be convenient for the prophets to trace this motto back to the beginning of this country, it was not until July 30 1956 that Dwight D. Eisenhower instituted the slogan as the national motto. He changed the national slogan from E Pluribus Unum which is Latin for, “out of many, one” (USTreasury.gov, 2007) and ordered the new motto printed on all currency in response to what he called, “The Godless communist soul” (WhiteHouse.gov, 2007). The context of this new religious anthem arose not out of the seeds of our country’s fertile beginning but as a response to communism and the start of the cold war. With this motto arriving so late in our nations history coupled with the call to return this country to the ideals of our founding fathers, the prophets deliver an eloquent argument why we should remove it from our currency. Should the prophets truly want to give tribute to the founding fathers of our country, why not then return to the mantra given to us by them? After all, in 1776, our country’s birth, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin created the national motto E Pluribus Unum to do exactly the opposite of what “In God We Trust” does -- bring diverse people together.

If we are concerned about the cohesion and stability of the diverse cultures of our country, it is noteworthy that 19% of the people living in our country describe themselves as Atheist or non-religious (Humanist Survey, 2002). That is roughly one in five and climbing. The Humanist survey states that even the people who identify themselves as religious are declining with membership in religious organizations dropping from 61% to 54% over the last ten years (Humanist, 2002). Is separating and alienating 20% of the population really, what the founding fathers had in mind when they set out a doctrine that wished for nothing more then the protection of all people in a society where all have freedom from oppression? Remember many of them were escaping religious oppression and persecution, so then we must ask why in turn would they want us to impose our religious views on others?
Freedom of religion and separation of the church and state are fundamental rights that protect the whole of society from views and doctrines governed by a specific few. The prophets may say the motto only says “God” but does not specify which god. Now, let us assume the 20% of the people in this country who do not believe in any god do not exist. We only need to look at front page of any world newspaper to know we are specifically talking about a Christian entity for two reasons: One, if we use the founding fathers as an argument, then that is exactly who they were talking about. Two, we have spent a great deal of the last century deposing regimes that are Islamic because the government is opposed to those religious regimes hindrance of democracy in the world. If we look at the travel warnings issued by the US Department of State of where Americans because of their citizenship are in imminent danger a pattern emerges. These are regions where we are in active conflict with the governments and 90% of those governments are Muslim: Syria, Iran, Congo, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, to name but a few (State Department, 2007). Therefore we cannot argue for the inclusion of all religions under the term, “God” when we are actively trying to remove these religions from power though embargos and direct military conflict around the world.

Instead, it is time we awaken to a new age of enlightenment. An age of understanding, where we realize the doctrines of sheep herders who believed epileptic seizures were cause by demon possession are out-dated and ill-equipped to guide us in light of the new insight that is blossoming across the world. It is time that we carry out the guidelines and potential that the founding fathers saw in this new land: that out of many become one. It is time to erase this biased graffiti that separates the great people of our country. It is time to bring back E Pluribus Unum.



Works Cited

About.com. (, ). Retrieved May 10, 2007, from http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/cs/blcsm_gov_motto.htm
The White House. (, ). Retrieved May 10, 2007, from http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/
United States Department of the Treasury. (, ). Retrieved May 10, 2007, from http://www.ustreas.gov/education/history/events/07-jul.shtml#30
US Department of State. (2007, May 10). Retrieved May 10, 2007, from http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_1764.html
Speckhardt, Roy, . The Humanist. (2002, February ). Retrieved May 10, 2007, from http://www.thehumanist.org/humanist/articles/speckhardt.html

1 comment:

the108 said...

You are so very intelligent.