Friday, July 28, 2006

And You Thought 'In God We Trust' Was Bad...

Check out what the White House Web Page says on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of that absurd and unconstitutional motto:

"As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of our national motto and remember with thanksgiving God's mercies throughout our history, we recognize a divine plan that stands above all human plans and continue to seek His will."

Christ on a cracker. These people never cease to amaze.

(Via Metafilter)

10 Comments:

Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Yup, "these people" never do stop, WS. Altho it's not always about Christ, admittedly sometimes about crackers:

"WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness...

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine."

(signed) G. Washington

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Becca said...

Yeah, the Thanksgiving thing acknowledges God. It does not, however, attempt to thwart the rule of law with the rule of God. In fact it seems to ask God for the wisdom to govern wisely within the framework of our Constitution. "[A] divine plan that stands above all human plans and continue to seek His will." sounds a little more intrusive on our Constitutional framework.

That said, I believe that Washington's decree WAS unconstitutional. I also believe that Washington's America was significantly different, demographically from today's America. Colonial America had a handful of non-Christians. This kind of rhetoric was far more acceptable to the population at large.

While ideally it shouldn't matter how large or small a minority is in the face of "tyranny of the majority", in reality it obviously does make a difference. There is now a critical mass--if still a minority--of people who object to this kind of thinking and rightly refer to our Constitution as our protection.

10:54 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

"[A] divine plan that stands above all human plans and continue to seek His will." --Bushies

"...it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will..."---G. Washington

Just not hearing you here, Becca.

In fact, the Bushies "seek" where America's first congress and president (Washington, who, if you check it out [and the author is a pal o'mine], assiduously avoided any association with Christianity) simply sought to "obey."

Hardly enough to damn Bush.

As I wrote on Jon's blog, which I admire very much, some Christians err claiming the Founding for their religion, and so too agnostics err in claiming the philosophy of the Founding for empiricism.

I'm sorry you might be offended, but agnosticism is and was not the ethos of this nation, because it's not an ethos at all. Even agnostics, not to mention atheists, tend to agree that nations cannot cohere or survive without ethoi.

Besides, Nietzsche didn't get around to killing God until 1882.

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves? That which was the holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we purify ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we need to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to be worthy of it?"— Nietzsche, The Gay Science

1:45 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

You've got a real mish-mash of irrelevant points here, Tom.

Washington's decree was a mistake. It wouldn't pass muster now, and it shouldn't have then, but we've advanced a lot since then. Certainly you wouldn't assert that since Washington owned slaves it would be permissible to do so now.

Christianity wasn't a particularly important element in founding the country, except insofar as Athens and Jerusalem are always lurking in the background of of much of what happens in Western civilization. Locke was more important than Jesus. But even if that weren't so, the origin issue is irrelevant.

The important point, as should be obvious: this is a secular democracy. Many of us don't believe in any god, gods, imps, sprites, Bigfoot, magic space aliens, tree spirits, Gaia, or any other such things. The constitution expressly forbids the establishment of religion, and that has obvious implications for what kinds of things a president ought to be saying in his official capacity.

I've got no big gripe against ceremonial Deism. A reference to a god or higher power every now and again in a suitably vague, dignified, poetical and passing way irks me, but I don't see anything wrong with it. Heck, even I find it vaguely inspiring sometimes.

But there's a line, and Bush crosses it repeatedly. The passage quoted above is--aside from being false and silly--a clear promotion of not just religion but a certain particular flavor of religion. And agressively so.

Divine plan my dying ass. What a bunch of hogwash.

7:28 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

O.k., scratch that last line. I'm sure it's true, but I shouldn't have said it. No reason to aggressively push my own line here.

See? Bush could have reasoned thusly, too. Why is it that even *I'm* more temperate than the President of the United States in such matters?

And, incidentally, I hope Tom's not suggesting that Nietzsche was the first atheist...

7:38 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Just to make it painfully clear, atheism pre-dates Christianity by a long, long time.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

It was a joke, man. Jeez.

But your view of American history and religion isn't the reality quite yet. Look up presidential Thanksgiving Proclaimations through the present.

And a google yields Clinton speaking of a divine plan here. It happens. "You people" are the ones who never cease to amaze. Take a pill or something.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

My bad, and my apologies.

But the Clinton reference doesn't cut it. What he actually said was:

"For those of you who wonder from time to time about whether there really could be a divine plan guiding our lives, consider this: In Spanish, the name, Dolores Huerta means "sorrowful orchard." But if Dolores has her way, her name will be the only sorrowful orchard left in America." He then goes on to discuss Ms. Huerta's activism.

That's a far cry from W's official endorsement of religion. "For those of us who wonder whether there might be a divine plan..." is hardly objectionalbe...there are at least two hedges in there.

That's a far, far cry from W's claim that we [sic] recognize a divine plan above all others.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

You think it's a far cry. I don't.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Then you are, apparently, mistaken.

5:14 PM  

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