God and Citizenship

51

Last Friday I woke up as a foreigner and went to sleep as an American citizen.

It all started with business as usual, lining up in front of the Federal Building, going through security check, taking the elevator up to the designate floor, and presenting my appointment letter to the receptionist at the entrance to the designated room. Easy! I had done that ritual many times before.


I went in, approached the window, and signed in for my appointment. The immigration officer cordially greeted me and inspected my documents, then proceeded to hand me my newly issued Certificate of Naturalization. “WOW!” My knees felt weak. After almost 20 years, I was about to be granted the right to call home the only place I call home since I became an adult, The United States of America. However, since this is not about immigration processes in this country, I will skip the details.

Finally! I thought.

So I anxiously inspected all of the details and confirmed to the officer that everything was in order. She then gave me a white envelope, a little American flag, and instructed me to go into the ceremony room at the end of the corridor.

As I walked, I opened the envelope, examined the papers inside and, to my surprise, the first thing I grabbed had the word “God” stamped on it. I got confused. Read it again. And there it was, “so help me God”.

I felt a sense of outrage and disbelief. I couldn’t possibly imagine that I was being directed to ask God to help me keep a promise I was making to my new country. The promise I was about to make was far too important for me to rely on a mythical being to help me keep it. I had decided to make that promise because I had made a decision to be a part of this country, participate in its democratic process, and stand for freedom and justice for all; a decision made by me, rationally. I am responsible for my own actions and their consequences, not God! But I don’t want to sound like I am ranting. After all, this was only the beginning.

Next, I decided to turn the paper to see what was written on the other side. Well, there it was again, “one Nation, under God”.

WHAT? What God?

I looked around and saw the new faces of America. We were a total of 50 or so people, from every possible ethnic background, representing more 38 countries around the globe. Believers and non-believers of all sorts of different flavors stood together, united by the desire to be a part of this great nation because of the principles for which it stands, and not because of any god or gods!

I started to think that I was being a bit critical though. I was trying to enjoy that very special moment in my life and not get all frustrated with the God business. So I thought, “Well, this country was colonized by people who were seeking freedom of religion, so it’s part of its history.”

Then the ceremony was about to start and another Immigration Officer started to address us with regards to what was about to take place. He explained the technicalities, congratulated us, and the ceremony began.

We watched a “welcome” video and a speech by Madam Albright. I must confess that I was way too excited at this point to really scrutinize every word, so if God popped up anywhere, I didn’t see him, but I knew he was still lurking around the corner.

Next was the Oath of Allegiance.

Concerned, I stood up and wondered if they would think I wasn’t patriotic enough if I didn’t say the bits about God. When everybody started, I started; when everybody said “so help me God”, I choked up. I just couldn’t say it. I thought, “I will keep my promise because I said so; not because a figment of someone else’s imagination helped me with the task. God is just a word used by primitive men to justify lack of knowledge and evidence. America embraced me because I am worthy of its principals, not because I believe in supernatural entities.” And that was not the last of it.

Next we were officially welcomed by a video of President Obama addressing the new children of this nation as “fellow Americans”. His speech was inspired and I felt emotional; even cried. Then, as he prepared to say goodbye, he uttered “May God bless you all and may God continue to bless America.”

My heart dropped! So many things were wrong about that statement.

For instance, let’s assume for a moment that God indeed exists, then shouldn’t he also bless all other nations? Have we created yet another God? One solely created for the American People? Why are we bringing God into matters of citizenship?

Anyway, not quite done with harassing me just yet, God showed up again.

The video of “I’m proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood started playing, and  – Lo and behold! –there he was, “God bless the USA.”

To finish the ceremony, we were all asked to stand up and recite the Pledge of Allegiance and again, I choked, “under God.”

I felt like I was drowning in religiosity. It felt like I was being born again as an American and baptized by the President. Nonetheless, “proud to be an American!” No question about that!

And that is how the ceremony concluded. After negotiating with myself on whether or not I should write this article, I realized that, as an American, I made promise to stand up for freedom and justice for all. I was taught that “if you see something, you say something.” So here I am, telling you what I saw.

As someone who has only recently decided to come out of the atheist closet and who has just become an American citizen amidst so many references to God, I ask; what about separation between church and state? Where do we go from here?

Soleil Silva a secular activist and you can follow her on Twitter @secularsoleil

Written By: Soleil Silva
continue to source article at

51 COMMENTS

  1. I did the same thing in San Diego in 1975. I must admit the idea of US citizenship only came about at that time in order to keep my job at a shipyard that was about to receive a government contract. Citizenship was required in order to gain a security clearance for the project. I was not, at the time, an atheist although I was very sceptical about any religion. Frankly the oath didn’t bother me it was just something one said such as commenting, “bless you,” when a person sneezes although that phrase has its origin in casting out devils and thanking god for the blessing.

    Nonetheless, I became proud to be an American and, eventually, used that citizenship to get security clearances at the highest level working for one of the security agencies in the government. The US and its government have done some things that are hardly commendable but, in the end, its the only country that still offers the ultimate promise of a good life. After all we are promised life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – note the pursuit, not its attainment.

    The system is what it is. When I later became a declared atheist I remembered a comment that a friend in the military made when asked, “how can you salute a senior officer that you know to be incompetent?” He responded, “We salute the uniform, not the man.” The US, the idea of the US, is the uniform. It deserves the salutation despite its problems. Be proud to be an American and work from within to attain the goals outlined in the Constitution. That’s where the gold at the end of the rainbow resides.

    • In reply to #1 by stuhillman:

      I did the same thing in San Diego in 1975.

      Small world. I did the same thing in San Diego eight years ago. I didn’t get too hung up on the god thing though, rather I saw it as a quaint anachronism, and a little bit embarrassing, but in any case I was signing up to be a citizen of a constitutionally secular nation–something my country of birth was not.

    • In reply to #1 by stuhillman:

      The US and its government have done some things that are hardly commendable but, in the end, its the only country that still offers the ultimate promise of a good life….. Be proud to be an American and work from within to attain the goals outlined in the Constitution. That’s where the gold at the end of the rainbow resides.

      This is an odd statement. There are few western countries that don’t make similar promises to their citizens if they behave themselves, and who can forget the “workers’ paradise” promises of the Eastern Bloc?

      As for national pride, flag-waving and anthem-singing seem to have become an international disease. No sporting event, public gathering, civil ceremony or school function seems immune from them, and events such as the Olympic and Commonwealth Games have become positively orgiastic. And what is its basis? An accident of birth or circumstances generally beyond your control have landed you in a particular country, and suddenly you’re expected to be proud of it.

      National pride is fundamentally irrational and just one step short of patriotism which, as Samuel Johnson observed, is the last refuge of a scoundrel. We should regard it as sceptically as we do religion. It may seem harmless, and give you a warm inner glow and sense of belonging, but so does religion, and it is certainly potentially as destructive.

      Oh, and good article Soleil!

      • In reply to #12 by Macropus:

        In reply to #1 by stuhillman:

        The US and its government have done some things that are hardly commendable but, in the end, its the only country that still offers the ultimate promise of a good life….. Be proud to be an American and work from within to attain the goals outlined in the Constituti…

        FABULOUS distillation- I too regard National *Pride, Flag waving etc as a sickness, no different to religious fervour; quiet personal appreciation of one’s society is OK but when I see ostentatious displays and talk of “My Country, right or wrong but still my Country”
        it brings to mind the Nuremberg rallies. Pride- no. 1 of 7 ‘deadly sins’ :-)

        ‘Patriotism is a kind of religion; it is the egg from which wars are hatched’

    • In reply to #1 by stuhillman:

      That might be an integral part of the difference between the US and semi-secular states like Germany. We don’t swear oaths to flags anymore and as we repeatedly had our well known problems with swearing to uniforms in the past after WW2 we finally stick to salute the man, not the uniform (and give that man the finger and sack, if he doesn’t live up to the salute).
      For example, we have no oath to the flag (we had, in about 1.500 years of time, to many different flags already, I suppose) – we have an oath to the people. The formular is, roughly translated “I swear to loyaly serve the Federal Republic of Germany and to bravely defend the rights and the freedom of the German people.”

      That’s it. No flag, God or believe involved. You MAY add God to your formula – but interestingly enough, you have the explicit right to name the God of your choice, be it Jahwe, Odin, Allah, Isis, Dhamballa, the FSM, Shiva or any other deity of your choice. Even, yes, Satan. We also have a guarantee of religious freedom (it’s Article 4, assisted by Article 2, 3 and 5) and that means every and any religion – as well as freedom FROM.

      There is no gold at the end of rainbows – because, scientifically, there is no end of a circular phenomenon.
      If you believe in pots of gold at the end of refractions of light located depending solely on point of view, you might as well guarantee an entirely subjective undertaking like “pursuit” of an entirely subjective goal like “happiness” and you as well might swear on an entirely subjective concept as “God” (I’d really, really like to know the official US answer to the question “which one?”).

      Another difference might be: while the US offer the PROMISE of a good life, many European countries GUARANTEE the Fundamental Right to a worthy life (It’s article 1 of the German constitution by the way – you could say the First Amendment).

      I, personally, think that’s how a rational, modern constitution should work. No vague promises, no gods, no flags, no books of myth and former glory. Just facts, rights (based firmly on the universal human rights) and the people themselves.

    • In reply to #1 by stuhillman:

      …The US and its government have done some things that are hardly commendable but, in the end, its the only country that still offers the ultimate promise of a good life. …

      Wow, you have been brainwashed by the chants of U-S-A, U-S-A. The US was the second-last country in the world to end state-sponsored apartheid, has the Western world’s highest crime rate by far, has the Western world’s highest poverty rate, and one of the lowest life expectancies.

      This ridiculous dellusion that America is the only free/democratic/promising country in the world is both laughable and sickening. I suppose it is a product of the US’s self-absorbed education system and willfull ignorance of the rest of the world.

    • In reply to #1 by stuhillman:

      in the end, its the only country that still offers the ultimate promise of a good life.

      This part of your comment is almost as bad as Obama’s “May God bless you all and may God continue to bless America.”

      It shows an arrogance in your belief that the United States is somehow ‘blessed’ and more special than other countries of the world. I agree that the US has some great attributes – but then so do many other places in the world! I personally believe that Nationalism or Patriotism isn’t very far removed from Religion and promotes many of the intolerances found there. It is yet another reason to look down upon, hate or otherwise separate the human race and, until we can overcome it, we will never find a way to live in peace, tolerance and mutual respect.
      It’s great to recognise the positive things about the society in which you live and to promote those things in places where they do not currently exist, but please recognise that other parts of the world also hold things of value that we can learn from.
      I am not a citizen of the US but also feel that my countries (4 nationalities in my family – British, Spanish, Canadian & Guatemalan) offer the promise of a good life.

  2. Australia’s first female Prime Minister, who is also publicly Atheist, made a point at her swearing in ceremony by making her leadership pledge – not on the bible or to god, but on the Constitution and to The Australian People.

    • In reply to #4 by dvbivs:

      Australia’s first female Prime Minister, who is also publicly Atheist, made a point at her swearing in ceremony by making her leadership pledge – not on the bible or to god, but on the Constitution and to The Australian People.

      And now we have a Catholic CC denying Prime Minister appropriately named “Abbot”

      D’OH!!

  3. It’s a funny thing – the most successful county of the last 75 is also one of the most insecure. “All those flag waving Americans” as Kim Jong Il says in Team America. God is another aspect of this – an attempt to shore up and unite the various cultural groups that make up the US.

    I’m in two minds these days – on the one hand, I’m a very patriotic Brit, but on the other, I recognise that the days of the nation state are nearly over. And I’m not sure it matters except that one world government, or in the short term, regional government will bring with it it’s own problems and certainly a greater democratic deficit.

  4. In Australia you get the option of whether you want to say the pledge under god or not. The unfortunate part is that they get you to stand separately for the two pledges so it would feel uncomfortable if you were the only person doing this. Luckily I wasn’t. :)

    I think there should always be an option. However in the religious nuttery of the US I think it would be seen as un-American.

  5. Strange. I’d no idea becoming a u.s. citizen was so goD infused; patriotic yes, but big guy in the sky schickt?

    If that’s how it is, then why not go the fully Monty? Get rid of that lame, sappy Greenwald song – replace it with Made in America. After all, we ‘mericans like things big, e.g. the national fourth of July celebration ends with T.’s ’1812 Overture’, replete with real cannon shots!

    The amber waves of grain now blow in all kinds of directions. The whole shebang needs serious updating. Keep it neutral, so everyone can feel proud in their own way.

  6. The underground railroad has always run from the USA to Canada. So if you really want to be free, then you know where to go instead. The citizenship ceremony is atheist and it was specifically mentioned that if you prefer to swear allegiance on a religious book, then you should please provide your own, since there are too many different ones for the government to keep them all available! There are still a fair percentage of religious people in Canada, but they are a dying breed, especially in the West. The bible thumpers are mostly retired people residing from Quebec eastwards.

    My perception is that all American politicians are religious before an election. The rest of the time, it is not an issue!

  7. Is a problem with nationalism/patriotism and religion feeding of each other. Hard to budge either because they are working as a coalition.

    Hopefully a US Political Candidate will take Dawkins advise and try tapping into the growing percentage of Americans who count themselves as Non-Religious. The Berlin wall hung around for a long time but was knocked down pretty quick when the time came, hopefully the time is coming for God to stop blessing America so some sensible work can be done.

    Following is few quotes from Kurt Vonnegut that I always thought were pretty close to the mark.
    >
    Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves.
    >
    Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: “if you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?”
    >
    This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say Napoleonic times. Many novelties have come from America. The most startling of these, a thing without precedent, is a mass of undignified poor. They do not love one another because they do not love themselves.”

    I think this “mass of undignified poor” has also got something to do with the level of religiosity in America.

    • In reply to #13 by Catfish:

      I think this “mass of undignified poor” has also got something to do with the level of religiosity in America.

      That may be very true, as it’s the heart of the old European protestant movement of the Swiss ‘Calvinism’: If you are prductive, successful, wealthy and healthy, that’s the sign you are in Gods grace. If you are not, therefore, you deserve what you got.

      In Europe, the calvinist reformatoric movement went straight to the niches of history and religion, as most of it’s followers gave up over here and went straight to the US where they laid the foundations to most anglican churches, as well as significant contributions to the Presbyterians, Baptists, Puritans, Kongrationalists ans Quakers. All are based on the same ethic:

      If you are poor and unsuccessful you deserve it, because you obviously fell from the grace of God and therefore have less worth. And those wo are rich and successful equally deserve it, because god obviously wants and lets them to be.

      Over the centuries this kind of thinking seems to have gotten deeply engraved into the hive mind and it might not suffice to take “God” out of the equation – it might be needed to redefine “worth”.

  8. Clearly the concept of church/state separation in America is just that, a concept, not actually followed but given lip service to make it sort of appear so. I recently became a UK citizen to give myself additional options in life and at the swearing in ceremony I was given the option for god/no god. Which was nice.

    As ex-USAF, I can confirm what stuhillman said to be true in the military. Sometimes you have to respect the position, not the person filling it. Remembering that probably kept me from feeling the wrath of the UCMJ on more than one occasion.

    Thanks Soleil, for stating in an eloquent manner what many of us are thinking. Well done.

  9. I got ahead of the curve on this one. I got US citizenship in 2008. During my interviews with the INS I brought up the fact that I was an atheist and that I could not, in good conscience, say “under god”. I was told that was fine, just don’t say it. It might have helped that the INS office was in San Francisco. Had I been in Texas they might have tried to repatriate me!

    • In reply to #17 by Stevehill:
      Quote: “You probably paid your fees with currency printed with “In God we trust”, so don’t say you weren’t warned!”
      That motto has only been on paper currency since 1957 but was put on coins in the civil war to tell everyone that god was on the side of the union. They may as well have used “we trust in the fairies” and “May the fairies bless America”, for all the good it does.
      “The Reverend M. R. Watkinson, in a letter dated November 13, 1861, petitioned the Treasury Department to add a statement recognising “Almighty God in some form in our coins.” At least part of the motivation was to declare that God was on the Union side of the Civil War.” Wikipedia. How utterly stupid is that!!

  10. In about 1782, John Gast invented the ‘Greek’ goddess Columbia, which is the official goddess of Washington DC, while Gustav Eiffel created Libertas as the official goddess of New York. So, ‘In god we trust’ and all the American oaths, actually refer to those two!

  11. Dear stuhillman, you stating that the USA is the only country that still offers the ultimate promise of a good life is insulting and patronizing. I guess countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, UK, Netherlands, etc don’t count for anything to you. One of the main problems of your country is not only its bizarre fetish on religions and God, but also its sense of primacy and exceptionalism. No, the USA is NOT the only country that still offers the ultimate promise of good life! Most of the countries I just mentioned have lower poverty rates than the USA, people have longer life expectancies, lower violent crimes and imprisonment rates and lower birth deaths, and I’m just mentioning a fraction of things that make them ahead of the USA. Try to learn something about the places outside of your own border before saying such nonsense.

    • In reply to #21 by phoqnchyt:

      Dear stuhillman, you stating that the USA is the only country that still offers the ultimate promise of a good life is insulting and patronizing. I guess countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, UK, Netherlands, etc don’t count for anything to you. One of the main problems…

      Only in the US of A can you carry a concealed weapon into a movie theater and kill someone who texts during the previews of the movie. That is Freedom! and that is what real Men demand and can only be achieved in the USA, USA!

    • In reply to #21 by phoqnchyt:

      Dear stuhillman, you stating that the USA is the only country that still offers the ultimate promise of a good life is insulting and patronizing. I guess countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, UK, Netherlands, etc don’t count for anything to you. One of the main problems…

      That’s the problem with ad hominem attacks, you don’t know my background. I have lived in the UK, Canada, US, Panama, Ghana and am now retired in France. In my work as a US diplomat I have visited over 50 countries and seen more than my fair share of African shit-holes – try Monrovia, Liberia, for example. You failed to notice that I said “the idea” of the US – its possibilities – not necessarily the reality of which I am acutely aware having lived there for some 40 years. There are many other countries with a good, or better, standard of living than the US but you should understand that millions of people around the world would give all they have to be allowed to live in the US. No taxi driver ever asked me to help them get a visa to New Zealand. It is the idea of the US as the “land of opportunity” that still resonates and the fact that it is under constant attack from every front – those with a legitimate gripe, and those who are simply jealous is telling in itself.

      • In reply to #35 by stuhillman:

        In reply to #21 by phoqnchyt:

        But… but… no matter how many countries you’ve stayed in, you’re still wrong… The US is not the only country that offers the ultimate promise of a good life, nor is it the only country that has more immigration potential than it wants to cope with…

        • In reply to #38 by Barnie:

          In reply to #35 by stuhillman:

          In reply to #21 by phoqnchyt:

          But… but… no matter how many countries you’ve stayed in, you’re still wrong… The US is not the only country that offers the ultimate promise of a good life, nor is it the only country that has more immigration potential than it wan…

          Apparently Australia and Switzerland win the prize for the most immigrants with both having around 25% of their current population born overseas. If I am reading the numbers right on wikipedia the US is about 15%.

          Michael

  12. Stuhillman: The percent foriegn-born population of my country, Ireland, is about the same as the US,and slightly higher than the UK. This would suggest that Ireland, and the UK, are just as attractive as the US for people emigrating.{quite a few of our immigrants are from the US}.In 2014, over 6000 people were granted citizenship,with no mention of gods. They were welcomed by our {atheist} president.and {jewish} minister for defence.

  13. Well, of course, all of this “god bs” has to go, and it eventually will. Only a few idiots actually believe the Earth is flat today, and at one time everyone did. The myth of gods is the same. It will go the way of the dustbin. I do have to admit, however, it can be a nuisance and sometimes a big pain in the butt while it is here.

  14. Ms. Silva’s portentous ‘surprise,’ ”outrage’ and ‘disbelief,’ is frankly ridiculous and not credible. First, the mock surprise at seeing these incidental references to ‘God,’ as on any piece of currency, makes the issue seem preposterous, but more troublesome is her claim to finding ‘surprise’ in the ‘oppressive’ phrase ‘so help me God’ in the Oath of Allegiance–to claim that this was the FIRST mention of it or that she knew of it in a naturalization process is preposterous and would belie a perjury–the oath itself appears at the end of the Application for Naturalization (N-400), which Ms. Silva presumably read and completed before filing it, and there are questions therein that ask, have you read and do you understand the entire Oath of Allegiance, which is printed in full on the application. To get the application approved the answer must be ‘Yes’ (with a narrow exception for persons incapable of mentally grasping it) on the officially signed form AND this would have been repeated during an interview with a USCIS officer. By MERELY REQUESTING IT however, a person may change the statement regarding oath to “solemnly affirm’ and OMIT the ‘So help me God’ portion entirely. This is clearly spelled out in the Code of Federal Regulations at 8 CFR 337.1(b). If it was worth making a point of it, this could have been raised during the interview. Ms. Silva could not possibly have been genuinely surprised by the language and scarcely needed to ‘choke’ on anything, she wasn’t required to say it at all. A less fatuous way to raise the issue would have been to merely discuss why patriotic language itself, inside and outside of the naturalization process, is saturated with ‘God’ references, rather than painting a picture making it seem ‘God’ references ambush unwitting foreigners about to be naturalized. By presenting the story couched in misleading exaggeration dilutes the import of the issue, in my opinion. I speak not only as an atheist, but as an immigration attorney.

    • In reply to #29 by sblower3:

      Ms. Silva’s portentous ‘surprise,’ ”outrage’ and ‘disbelief,’ is frankly ridiculous and not credible. First, the mock surprise at seeing these incidental references to ‘God,’ as on any piece of currency, makes the issue seem preposterous, but more troublesome is her claim to finding ‘surprise’ in…

      I commented before. I specifically requested at my interview with the INS that, as an atheist, I could not honestly use the spoken word God or sign off on its use in any other way on the paperwork. They were OK with that. Were they wrong? As I now have no Green Card to fall back on will I be deported?

      • No, they weren’t wrong. You are not required to use the word ‘God’ in the oath. That has been the law for a very long time. As a U.S. citizen, you cannot be deported. I doubt that failing to say the word God during the Oath of Allegiance, even if it didn’t have the exception already written into the law, would amount to the level of fraud required for a federal denaturalization proceeding, which are very rare indeed. And there has never been one about this issue.
        In reply to #30 by PSpence:

        In reply to #29 by sblower3:

        Ms. Silva’s portentous ‘surprise,’ ”outrage’ and ‘disbelief,’ is frankly ridiculous and not credible. First, the mock surprise at seeing these incidental references to ‘God,’ as on any piece of currency, makes the issue seem preposterous, but more troublesome is her c…

        • In reply to #31 by sblower3:

          No, they weren’t wrong. You are not required to use the word ‘God’ in the oath. That has been the law for a very long time. As a U.S. citizen, you cannot be deported. I doubt that failing to say the word God during the Oath of Allegiance, even if it didn’t have the exception already written into the…

          Of course I was joking somewhat. But just in case I’m now working on my third citizenship!

  15. America’s founding fathers tried to separate church and state with their wording of the constitution. The Pledge of Allegiance written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy a baptist minister, was done so without the mention of god. It was formally adopted by congress in 1942 with some changes but still no god. it wasn’t until 1954 that Eisenhower had the words, “under god”, added and did so because of a perceived communist threat. The motto, “In God we trust”, is a similar story. It was added to coinage during the US civil war so people could see that god was on the side of the Union. it wasn’t added to paper currency until 1956 to replace the unofficial motto of, “E Pluribus Unum”. This motto, E pluribus Unum, was adopted when the Great Seal of the United States was created and adopted in 1782. The pledge of allegiance actually contravenes the US constitution and that’s the reason that school children or any other citizens are not compelled to recite the pledge.

  16. I knew what to expect for my citizenship ceremony last February, and just omitted/ignored anything that alluded to the supernatural. It’s funny that I was asked if I would recite the pledge in front of everyone, but I said I would only do it if I could leave out two words. I didn’t have to say those words, but it worth it to see the utter look of revulsion on the DHS guys face when he realised what I was alluding to. Needless to say, I wasn’t the 14 year old hispanic girl who ultimately got to recite the pledge. She did a better job than I ever would have.

  17. The what God part- there can only be one God. A plurality of God’s is a contradiction, A plurality of religions is possible- there traditions individuate them, but the entity they are directed at unites them.

    • In reply to #37 by Nabaus:

      The what God part- there can only be one God. A plurality of God’s is a contradiction, A plurality of religions is possible- there traditions individuate them, but the entity they are directed at unites them.

      Followers of polytheistic faiths would disagree by definition wouldn’t they?

    • In reply to #37 by Nabaus:

      The what God part- there can only be one God. A plurality of God’s is a contradiction, A plurality of religions is possible- there traditions individuate them, but the entity they are directed at unites them.

      Do you know any Hindus ?

      Michael

    • In reply to #37 by Nabaus:

      The what God part- there can only be one God. A plurality of God’s is a contradiction, A plurality of religions is possible- there traditions individuate them, but the entity they are directed at unites them.

      Many religions are polytheistic. Montheistic religions are in a minority.

      You have to be at least vaguely religious to care one way or another how many gods there are. To entertain the discussion at all is to admit the existence of at least one.

  18. However “first world” some might perceive the author’s objections, they are brilliantly laid out, and I was very impressed by the article. Hitchens has great writings and speeches on the topic of American secularism being eroded. Was it the nineteen fifties when “In God We Trust” got printed on the bills? The article overall struck me as one that Christopher would’ve applauded. A narrative of an honest person’s entirely reasonable objections to the bizarre, out-dated elements of the United States. 10/10

  19. God and the Gas Station — a parody of God and Citizenship

    Last Friday I woke up a hermetically sealed active unobserver of the world around me, with an almost empty tank of gas, and I went to sleep overwhelmed by the omnipresence of a vague concept that has insidiously worked its way into every corner of my existence. It all started with me noticing my car’s gas tank was almost empty–Goddammit! I exclaimed, not really knowing why or where I had heard that expletive or if it meant I was really invoking something I consciously didn’t believe in. On the way there I passed a restaurant, and when I saw it’s name I winced, it was called the Chinese PaGODa restaurant! How horrible! I thought, virtually mortally wounded by this deliberate act of sabotage for even the Chinese to try to get me to utter the sound of g-o-d. So I headed to the gas station where I figured they must be able to provide something for me to keep my car running, it’s not as if this happens routinely (or does it?). As I pulled into the station, an SUV with a couple of beautiful German Shepherds sitting in the back was stopped at the pump in front of me. On the bumper though, was a message on a sticker that made me nearly faint: I Love My Gods! But then, I collected myself, for I realized that after being clubbed with the multiple God references so far that day I has misread Dogs for Gods. I chalk this up to a deliberate form of brainwashing, that I began to see the word ‘God’ even where it isn’t. Still, it left me rather badly shaken.I figured I was losing precious time mulling over this, however, so I pumped the gas into the car, following the lead of others around me who seemed to be there for the same reason, then went inside to pay. As I took out my money, I was horrified. There, on the paper in front of me, that soiled my hands for all its taint of religiosity, were the words ‘In God We Trust.’ I nervously glanced around me to see if anyone else had noticed this. How long has this been on there? I wondered. I better just play along and not act like this is something new. However, I still grabbed for some loose change hoping to find some relief from this bombardment of the word god everywhere, but they had me trapped–on each coin was the same message! In GOD we Trust. How long had this been going on? It was as if I was waking up in a nightmare. I almost swooned, as the blood drained from my face. Suddenly, someone sneezed. I wasn’t totally caught off guard, because I had heard people sneezing a few times before, at least once on television, maybe. Then, the worst came: a stranger said to him “God bless you.” Why, oh Why would they say this? How did they know the sneezer may have believed in God or not? Didn’t they think I might overhear it and be completely stupefied by this outrageous statement? Frankly if I had sneezed and someone said that, I would have been tempted to reply, well I don’t believe in your God, so there won’t be any blessing me today! Grrrr. You might think I would have been done with God by now, but not a chance. As I got to the register, a rack of old videocassettes sat on the side, and incredibly, there was God waiting for me again, except this time he was hiding in the movie title, Godzilla. Nice try, God, I thought, I see what you’re doing. You are trying to make me paranoid so I think you are real, so you keep showing up everywhere and its coming to me as if it’s the first time I’m seeing it all with clear vision. This truly was a conspiracy. In another corner of the store, a couple of teens were talking and I heard one say to the other, I God I have it, or something. Maybe I Godda have it, perhaps that’s what he was saying. I began to sob uncontrollably, and at that point, I figured I’d better call it a day, if I saw any more God references I might have completely passed out, and I didn’t want to end up in some medical facility where they would chant the word god around me just to make me insane. Because, I an incapable of ignoring anything, as you can probably tell from my story.

  20. A One World Goverent?
    What a quaint and disastrous idea.
    I thought that idea went out of vogue with the death
    VI Lenin.
    How about the rule of an intelligent, educated electorate instead?

  21. That is exactly the reason why i wouldn’t be able to live there in the land of the free!! Lol

    There are too many people (sheeple) who have been brain washed from an early age, it makes me sad to think of the founding fathers. Thinking of them rolling in their graves when all these polititions are using religion in their speeches.

    It would be interesting to see how many votes they gain by adding those few words lol. They are indeed shepherds! Tending to their flock of sheep! I am glad that there are some people with free thoughts there tho!

Leave a Reply