However... there is an assumption with the word God that really bugs me... that it encompasses all faiths. Not all gods are called "God." What about the Buddha? What about godesses? What about gods?
The point is that the majority of the majority in this country who do believe in a higher power than themselves believe in one God. Majority is the operative word that establishes the inevitable status quo.
Would you accept "in Gods we trust" as a substitution on our money?
For all practical intents and purposes it wouldn’t bother me if our money declared “In Bozo the Clown We Trust”. What it says or doesn’t say is a non-issue to me. The issue to me is the corruption and attempted corruption of Constitutional guarantees by the minority to impose their will on the majority.
But our government shouldn't be free to do any of that, for any religion or faith, no matter how generic, because there is a constitutional separation there.
Here’s the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
There’s nothing here that speaks to separation of church and state other than that Congress can make no law regarding an establishment of religion, i.e, they are forbidden to legislatively address the issue. That is the extent of the "separation" issue granted to them by the states. It is a guarantee of freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. What's more, limiting religious expression to non-government/public venues is abridging free speech. That justices and career political opportunists have adulterated the Constitution in this and in other matters to advance their own agenda does not change the original intent of the document.
The context of Thomas Jefferson’s words ‘separation of church and state’ were found in a letter to the Danbury Baptists of Connecticut, in 1804, who had solicited his aid, through Congress, to ‘disestablish’ the Congregationalists as the official church of the State of Connecticut. He told them that the First Amendment forbade the State (Federal Government/Congress) from interfering in making any laws regarding such matters and could also not overstep its Constitutional bounds by interfering in a sovereign state issue. (The individual states were truly sovereign prior to Abraham Lincoln and a few did have official state religions established, which was exclusively a matter of the individual state legislatures. The federal government had no authority in the matter.)
pray in public (provided that it isn't government=sponsored prayer)
The framers didn’t see this as a violation as they prayed in and even sponsored religious services in their government buildings all the time, perhaps a clue as to the actual intent of the actual words that were put to paper.
It's fine that people who aren't Christian are in the minority... demographically, that's pretty hard to avoid. But for our government to misrepresent those who don't believe in God, as such, shouldn't be tolerated.
Again you frame this as a non-Christian/Christian issue. It's not. It is a freedom of religion issue. People are free to believe whatever they want to believe and to express those beliefs, including atheists. The fact that the majority believe in God and have had those sentiments expressed in the Declaration of Independence, National Anthem, etc., is just the inevitable outcome of the freedom of expression of the belief of the majority, nothing more, nothing less.
That you would advocate intolerance toward the outworkings of the expression of Constitutionally protected rights of fellow citizens is troubling to me.
But Denise, belief in the existence of a transcendent God is peculiar to only three of the major world religions ... Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Yes, that's true. It's also still true that, combined, they represent the religious majority in this country.
A good question should be, should government strive to accurately reflect God's truth, or only exist to serve humanistic plurality?
I don't think that it is the mandate of any government to attempt to reflect God's truth, nor to serve humanistic plurality. The best that any government can do to facilitate God's will is to allow religious freedom. I believe that it is the responsibility of individuals to do that in their personal lives and professional lives, be it in government service or private enterprise.
But this gets a bit sticky doesn't it? ... This means that those who are government officials who make decisions cannot do so on the basis of their own worldview, if it is not naturalistic. Any attempt to curb something or promote something based upon absolute moral principles for example, is targeted as "religiously biased". What this does is shuts out relgious influence from the big decisions about public policy ... making faith a "personal" matter only ... innocuous, sterile, and caged in stain glassed buildings and bedrooms. All that is left are those who base decisions upon arbitrary ideas and agendas of the moment.
And this is exactly what we see going on today. Under the guise of the fallacy of the 'separation of church and state' issue, there are some who are advancing that very agenda. They don't believe in absolutes of any kind, whether it be truth or morality, and hope to render powerless those who do by misinterpretation and misapplication of the Constitution, stating that it is Constitutional and thereby mandatory to separate God (and morality and religious values of any kind) from public affairs, thereby having free reign to advance agendas that are grounded only in what will serve their own political aims. They don't want a fair debate in the market place of ideas. They want to tie their opponents hands through a manufactured advantage. That's why we now hear that the Constitution is a "living" document, and that "we have to breathe life into it" subjecting its interpretation to ever changing standards dependent on the current political whim.
They would never have gained this foothold if the Constitution had been adhered to.