In God We Trust Politics in America
Recently I received the following email...
NBC this morning had a poll on this question. They had the highest number of responses that they have ever had for one of their polls, and the percentage was the same as this:
86% to keep the words, IN God We Trust and God in the Pledge of Allegiance
Why is the world catering to this 14%?
I was asked to send this on if I agreed or delete if I didn't.
I felt that this email was bullying in tone because only those who agreed with the chain of senders was given the respect to participate, so while not sending on to others I did reply to all as follows...
No, because the foundation of America's religious freedoms has always been the constitutional neutrality regarding individual beliefs. The original colonies which became the original states each, with the exception of Rhode Island, had their own state church. Most members of a particular belief
lived within the colony that protected their religion. For instance, Quakers lived in Pennsylvania, Puritans in Massachusetts, Episcopalians in most southern states, and Catholics in Maryland. The US in 1787 decided that the best way to protect all people was to follow the lead in Rhode Island and
not favor any religion.
Today, while 76 percent of Americans are Christian (52 percent Protestant and 24% Catholic), the remaining number of Americans is not even small. The closer our government identifies and affiliates with Christianity, the closer our governments, probably in the form of the separate states, will be
pushed to identify and affiliate with specific Christian denominations. That would spell the absolute end of the freedom of religion we have enjoyed during the more than 200 years of our constitutional government.
As Christians, we should respect the identities of all citizens, their beliefs or non-beliefs, their feelings, their rights to not pay taxes to fund churches and church activities that they disagree with. Imagine the
outrage of very conservative Christians if their taxes were to be used to pay the salaries of homosexual Episcapol biships in Vermont. I realize that is an extreme example since may Episcopalian congregations are threatening to withdraw from the organization and affiliate with more conservative Episcopalian organizations. But conflicts would eventually develop that rival the sectarian violence found today in other places of the world. In fact, this sectarian violence has fairly recently existed inside a Christian
country in Europe.
As Americans, I would pray that everyone develop a sincere relationship with Christ as a Christian. But I would not force anyone to participate in a way that they would not choose to. We have freedom only when we respect people who disagree and do not force ourselves on them. I, at least, can worship
God as an individual and not feel inconvenienced or assulted in any way when other persons don't see a need to worship or even to personally respect God. I don't wish to be coerced by others and I would not want to coerce others.
The "in God we Trust" is a fairly small intrusion into some peoples lives but it is an unnecessary intrusion. Besides, these words on our money and in our pledge are not under any kind of public outrage. The outrage expressed today comes primarily from we Christians who resent the fact that not
everyone wholeheartedly agrees with us. We Christians unnecessarily make this an issue since the courts give this issue scant recognition. When we shout this issue we accomplish the simple action of driving a wedge between us and those few who disagree with us. We provoke a fight where no credible
danger exists to our preference. And we will be just as wealthy or poor monitarily with or without these words. And we will be just as secure in our relationship with Jesus Christ and God the Father as committed, praying Christians without these words on our currency and in our pledge.