What's God got to do with it?
By MICHAEL SHERMER - LA TIMES
Added: Fri, 04 Nov 2011 20:42:02 UTC
The House voted 396-9 this week to reaffirm as the national motto the phrase "In God We Trust" and encouraged its pronouncement on public buildings and continued printing on the coin of the realm. The motto was made official in 1956 during the height of Cold War hysteria over godless communism and — in the words of Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper in "Dr. Strangelove" — "Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids."
As risible a reason as this was for knocking out a few bricks in the wall separating state and church, it was at least understandable in the context of the times. But today, what is the point of having this motto? There are no communist threats, and belief in God or a universal spirit among Americans is still holding strong at about 90%, according to a 2011 Gallup Poll. The answer is in the wording of the resolution voted on: "Whereas if religion and morality are taken out of the marketplace of ideas, the very freedom on which the United States was founded cannot be secured."
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