The myth that God built America

A co-worker recently told me that she believes, “this country got worse when they started taking God out of everything.”

I’m not sure who “they” are, but the government did take religion out of the governing of this country with the First Amendment stating, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

That’s why I don’t get it when people say that this country was built on God. Nowhere in the constitution is there the word “God.”

In fact, the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli specifically says, “[T]he Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

And the so-called Founding Fathers? Well Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were deists, meaning they believed in one Supreme Being but rejected the miracles and prophecies of Christianity.

This was right in line with George Washington never using the words “God” or “Jesus” during public speeches.

Instead he would say, “Great Author” or “Almighty Being.” The second president of the U.S. John Adams once wrote, “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!” So clearly the Founding Fathers were not too fond of Christianity.

As far as the country getting worse? The Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that violent and property crimes have decreased since the 1970s.

The media coverage of murders on network evening news shows has increased more than 700 percent, and overall crime news tripled since 1993, according to the Center for Media and Public Affairs.

That’s sensationalism, baby, and THAT is what is getting worse.

One of the issues that Christians are upset about is the push to remove the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. When Baptist minister and socialist (gasp!) Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge in 1892, he did not include the words “under God”.

It wasn’t until 1954 when the Catholic group Knights of Columbus convinced President Eisenhower to incorporate “under God” officially into the pledge. Even so, there is no law requiring that you have to utter the words of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Having prayer in school is always a big issue. The point is not whether Christians have a right to pray and have religion in public schools.

It’s whether or not they would like Muslims, Jews or Buddhist holding the same religious functions and prayers in public schools.

I seriously doubt there would be a rally at Pace High in support for a Coach Ahmed who decided to pull out a prayer rug and required his students to participate. In fact, they probably would rally to get him fired!

The American Religious Identification Survey informs us that this country is becoming less Christian as 76 percent of people identify themselves as Christian, which is down from 86 percent in 1990.

Does this mean America is turning into a godless, immoral country on the highway to hell? Not likely. Most people still have their personal faith in God. Much like our forefathers, they are exploring new frontiers, but on a spiritual level.

Only by not having “God” in everything, such as in our government, are we allowed to explore.

Originally printed in The Voyager

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