Unsurprisingly, we have more theocratic hijinks from some of our Pennsylvania legislators. Interested only in forcing one religion on everyone in the state, these wannabe theocrats are claiming that it’s just “history” that they want to educate people on. We did have one Democrat go with the theocrats and one Republican that did not when this nonsense was voted on in the House Education Committee.
Representative Rick Saccone (R – Allegheny County) has sponsored a bill (HB 1728) that would require the words “In God We Trust” to be posted in every school building. It would require this to be posted as a plaque, “student artwork” or in some other form.
Now, the skirt they are hiding behind is that James Pollock, a 19th century former PA governor put this phrase on coins back during the US Civil War and it’s been 150 years since this happened. We’ve had several instances of gestures to get the goodwill of this imaginary being, just as adding “under God” to the US Pledge of Allegiance was another gesture to get this deity’s attention and flush those “godless Commmies” out of American because golly, no one could say “God” and survive if they didn’t really mean it, right? Of course, Rep. Saccone doesn’t mention such inconvenient facts when trying to hide his intentions. We have Treasury Secretary Chase writing the following to the mint Director James Pollock: “Dear Sir: No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.”
This nonsense is very similar to the adoption of “In God We Trust” as a national motto during the same time period, all a rather transparent attempt to pander. We even have this nonsense on public buildings since our legislators saw fit to pander even more in 2000.
Indeed, “In God We Trust” was supposedly used as a battlecry during the US Civil War. Funny how both sides were sure that this god was on their side. And it seems that some law professors are a bit confused on why the “Ten” commandments are not allowed in schools. A Duquesne U professor, Bruce Ledewitz stated ““There was a surprising precedent that held that the Ten Commandments can be posted in certain contexts but cannot be posted in schools,” Ledewitz said. “It’s possible something like the national motto could conceivably be unconstitutional in schools.” Hmm, might it be because not everyone worships the same god, in that the commandments say “Thou shalt have no other god before me.”? Yhe motto says that we, the entire population of the US, trust in the Christian god, and that is not true at all.
One argument used by Christians is that this isn’t “just” their god. That is always a hilarious one since it shows that these people have no problem in lying when convenient. Now, if this isn’t only the Christian God, then what need for there is this phrase? What god is capitalized if not the Christian god in the US? It’s about as ridiculous as Christians who try to claim that the Latin cross isn’t a symbol of their religion when they want to force it on others in public spaces. Witness Justice Anthony Scalia’s ridiculous lies “It’s the — the cross is the — is the most common symbol of — of — of the resting place of the dead, and it doesn’t seem to me — what would you have them erect? A cross — some conglomerate of a cross, a Star of David, and you know, a Moslem half moon and star?” All of the pitiful willful ignorance and arrogance of someone who hasn’t a clue what other cemeteries look like.
I see in HB 1728, Rep. Saccone says “To increase student understanding of and familiarity with American historical documents, historically important excerpts from or copies of the documents should be prominently displayed in public school buildings.” Of course, when an excerpt would show Christians to be wrong when they repeatedly claim that the US is a “Christian Nation”, we don’t hear any support for *those* excerpts. As always, these theocrats intentionally want to present only their warped version of history.
The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom is one of those very important documents that should indeed be shown to students. But I’m sure that Rep. Saccone and his compatriots would find it against their theocratic ways. Thomas Jefferson wrote this and was more proud of it than serving as president. This shows that those would try to keep the US for themselves and their particular religion are simply liars who only want to force themselves on everyone else. Feast your eyes on some quotes from it:
“That our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry,”
“Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities. And though we well know that this Assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of Legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare that the rights hereby asserted, are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.”
Not the words of someone who thought that the US was some kind of “Christian Nation”.
Of course, we could go back to the motto of the US that is on our official seal. E pluribus Unum: from many, one. But I can see why theocrats are certain they don’t want that one back. Then were would their tactics of “us and them” be?
“We” do not all trust in the Christian god, never have done so, and to claim so is pathetic arrogance based on a lie that is very easy to discover if one cares about the actual facts. We are all Americans no matter what we worship or not worship.
Addendum 10/28/13 noon EDT
A way to determine if Saccone et al are lying or not about how interesting they are in educating PA students on history.
First, per the bill, a student produced piece of art would suffice as posting the motton in a school. So, there should be no restrictions on this art in how it portrays the phrase to protect the American value of free speech. I very much doubt that Saccone would agree to this.
Second, make sure that other historical documents are also taught and also have excerpts from them posted in the schools. We can start with the parts from the Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom.
If these would be agreed to by Saccone et al, then I think we can be relatively sure that they aren’t lying about their historical concerns. If they would be refused, then we know that they are liars and wannabee theocrats.