Friday, January 25, 2008

We Trust Whom?!

I'm sure that you've seen the debate of In God We Trust and the Under God almost everyone has an opinion about it, so I think I'll share mine.

The first thing that anyone who is against removing these phrases from nationally-approved and regulated entities (namely, the Pledge of Allegiance and our national currency) points out is that this is a petty and tiny thing. While we could (and perhaps should) be working on cures for life-threatening and life-debilitating diseases, we are actually fighting over twenty letters, six words. Is this small-scale battle really unimportant? Why are we doing this petty bickering when we could join together and do something about the terrible-ness of the world?

My answer to this first issue is that yes, this is a petty battle. Yes, this is small. But it is no more small than feminists insisting that "chairman" should become "chairperson". The purpose of this battle to raise awareness and to change the way that people think. If the way that people think can be changed, then in the end how they treat other people can be changed also. While the injustices that atheists, agnostics and non-theists face are not near as bad as those that were faced by the African American community nor those faced by women nor those faced by the Jewish community for centuries, the injustices that atheists, agnostics and non-theists face are still injustices. In my country, atheists are currently the most hated groups. According to one survey, people would rather vote for a black, a gay or a woman than an as-qualified atheist for public office. I plan to go into politics at some point in my life, but if I wish to do that in my own country, I will have to renounce any and all ties that I have to the non-theistic community. So while this is a petty issue, in the end, it comes down to making all (wo)men equal, as it is put down in the Constitution of the United States of America.

The reason that the majority of Americans are fine with this injustice is that it is their belief and their world-view being promoted. If our currency said "In Allah We Trust" and the Pledge said "One Nation, Under the Prophet (May Allah Rest His Soul)" then the Christians would feel just as oppressed as a large number of non-Christians and non-theists do. But, several people (myself included) believe that although the religious right is not correct, they do not know any better. A good number of the evangelicalists were raised in their religion and have never had an outside view of it. And likely never will.

Let me give you an example. I raised the Easter Challenge in class to one of my more skeptical friends. The class in question was an honors class, so I figured that the people in there are more open-minded about things. A good 'ol Southern Baptist overheard our private conversation and had to butt in. So, I brought the challenge to him, and he could not fathom that there were contradictions in the Bible.

So, while we should be fighting bigger battles, any injustice is an injustice, and all injustices should be righted. I feel that putting these phrases in our Pledge of Allegiance and on our currency is showing preference to theists over non-theists. Even if you can argue that the arbitrary "God" on this money and in the pledge is a God for all faiths, non-theists are left out.

Please leave comments of your own opinion. If you wish for me to talk about something in a future post, please be sure to email me at Please include the words "Tolerance and Peace" in the subject line, so that it is not kicked back by my SPAM filter. Thank you.

1 comment:

anonymous said...

Indeed, people think these issues petty, but they truly do make a differance in the big picture.