Quoted in total from Reed's blog because it deserves a full read. HA! Reed needs to be read. Hope you sign the petition, I was number 276.
Pluribus Unum, Motherfucker
The American national motto, as Benjamin Franklin coined it, is E Pluribus Unum. It means, “Out of Many, One,” and perfectly captures the idea of America as a great melting pot: where whites and blacks, natural-born citizens and Mexican Americans, Christians and Atheists can live together and share the status of American.
Our other national motto, the more famous one that is touted on gaudy posters in every public school in the nation, was crapped out by McCarthyist reactionists and “Red Scared” religious nuts in 1957 as a knee-jerk reaction to Communism. The regal Latin model was shouldered out of the way on a loophole: it was only the motto de facto and was not passed as the national motto by a Congressional Act. Until McCarthy and his loons started yelling about it, the motto didn’t have to be passed by Congress to be official, but they needed a loophole and they made one.
So what’s the big deal?
In God We Trust is not only tacky and grammatically awkward, it not only makes the rest of the developed world see us all as Midwestern snake-handling Pentecostals with bouffants, it not only pales in comparison to the elegant Latin motto that epitomises the American dream, but it disenfranchises those who don’t trust in a single god and ostracises them as un-American. “We” means all Americans. All Americans do not trust in “God.” Some Americans think the concept of a god would be downright silly if it weren’t so harmful. Some Americans believe in a creator who does not demand their trust like a violent alcoholic husband. Some Americans believe in a goddess with a light muslin sundress and a daisy in her ear. S0me Americans believe in a space alien that threw frozen souls into a volcano and is always a little short on change. Some Americans trust in three or four gods. Some Americans trust in twelve gods, a monkey, two zebras and a plate of grilled halibut but absolutely do not, no matter what the Conservative media says, trust in or believe in a pee-drenched marmoset from Xerxes IV. And those people are still Americans. They are the “We” that do not trust in “God.” Must they continue to be disenfranchised by a remnant of McCarthyism?
I am a direct descendant of President Thomas Jefferson. Peyton Randolph, another direct ancestor, was the President of the First Continental Congress. My family was very active in the American revolution. My ancestors arrived in the 1600s and facilitated the organisation of the American colonies, risking their lives and spilling their blood to ensure that America could be a nation where all peoples were accepted. Most of my family from that time, the ones we have any biographical information on anyway, were Deists and did not believe in a god who needed to be trusted. They believed in a god, not God. My family, those who were first on these shores, would not be covered under the “We” in “In God We Trust.” For me, this battle–I’m going to call the preservation of church-state separation what it is: a battle–is a deeply personal one. Evangelical and Mainline Protestants are not only rewriting the history of America and debasing the writings and opinions of our founders, they are rewriting the history of my family and disrespecting everything my family held dear and fought for.
Once again, America is under attack from the Church. Where my relatives once fought against those who wanted to claim America for the Church of England and the Royal Family, now I must fight against those who want to claim America for the Evangelical and Mainline Protestant churches. With over two hundred years of apathy built up under their size 48 belts, it’s not going to be easy to rile up the indignant spirits of the American people. I’m not sure that side of America’s spirit still exists but in small secluded enclaves, but we can use our small voice to shout, and keep shouting, that America is being abused by the Christian church and a President who suckles the newly reincarnated angerbaby* of McCarthyism at his evil teat.
Well, it’s time that I raise an angerbaby of my own. For the past several years, the use of “Under God” and “In God We Trust” haven’t bothered me as much and I chose to focus on less stereotypical Atheist and Humanist causes. Today, I had a woman stop me on the sidewalk after reading my bumper stickers to tell me that I should be imprisoned for, “crimes against God’s America.” I told her to fuck off (not in those words) until I finished my coffee and I am, “coherent enough to listen to your garbage without wishing brain cancer on you” (in those words).
Long have I been swollen and pregnant with irritation over our national motto and McCarthy’s crew’s addendum to our Pledge of Allegiance, “Under God,” but that bedraggled old tart broke my water right there in front of Tudor’s Biscuit World in Downtown Roanoke. I’m cradling an angerbaby of my own now and I will be pitting my angerbaby against George Walker McCarthy-Bush’s angerbaby as soon as he’s done teething.
Sign the E Pluribus Unum petition to revive what America used to mean: a place for all Americans to be Americans, not just the monotheistic ones.