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ignoring, disrespecting the Constitution

Posted by on Nov. 20, 2009 at 1:20 AM
  • 12 Replies

Prayer Caucus Members Trust God More Than Government

Nov. 19, 2009

The Freedom From Religion Foundation's lawsuit requiring the Architect of the U.S. Capitol to honor the constitutional wall of separation between state and church seems to have upset members of Congress who appear to want a different kind of wall in the halls of government.

In July, the Foundation filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court to stop the engraving of "In God We Trust" and the religious Pledge of Allegiance in prominent places in the new Capitol Visitor Center. The engravings violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits the establishment of a religion by Congress or the preference of one religion over another religion or religion over non-religion.

Now, three U.S. senators and 41 U.S. House members, all Republicans, have signed on to an amicus brief that calls the Foundation's suit part of a "crusade, targeting religious expression in the federal government." The brief alleges the suit "serves no purpose other than to waste judicial resources at a time in our Nation's history when those resources are needed in cases involving real threats to American liberty."

The brief was filed by the American Center for Law and Justice, which was founded in 1990 by evangelical preacher Pat Robertson. The center says in its mission statement that it "does not charge for its services and is dependent upon God and the resources He provides through the time, talent, and gifts of people who share our concerns and desire to protect our religious and constitutional freedoms."

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion Nov. 10 to dismiss the Foundation's lawsuit.

Most of the 44, including Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who support the government's motion to dismiss belong to the Congressional Prayer Caucus, a Christian group started and chaired by Rep. J. Randy Forbes of Virginia in 2005.

Forbes "gathered a small group of members of the U.S. House of Representatives who began meeting in Room 219 of the Capitol to pray for our nation. The gravity of their meetings was derived from the humble sincerity of their belief that God could heal America," says the caucus' Web site.

Later, "219 Groups" were formed so that people could sign up to pray in five-minute increments, "serving as the foundational spiritual blocks to ensure around-the-clock prayer for the nation. As the number of those praying grew, these spiritual blocks began to form a powerful wall of prayer around America."

The amicus brief defends the use of "one nation under God" and "In God we trust" as expressions that "simply echo the sentiments found in the Declaration of Independence and recognize the undeniable truth that our freedoms come from a source higher than the state." And, the brief argues, "It is commonly understood that our government, its Constitution, and its laws are founded on a belief in God."

Annie Laurie Gaylor, Foundation co-president, said, "This is a very 'unfriendly brief' and an affront to the 15 percent of Americans who do not believe in God. Imagine if a Capitol engraving said 'In Allah We Trust' how many Americans would be offended, and rightly so. The U.S. Constitution is godless. There is not one mention of a god in its approximately 5,000 words."

In its original news release announcing the lawsuit, the Foundation noted that the selection of "In God We Trust" as a motto, and the insertion of "under God" into the formerly secular Pledge of Allegiance, were both adopted belatedly in the 1950s during the Cold War. The godly motto, adopted in 1956, did not appear upon paper currency until 1957. The pledge was tampered with by Congress in 1954, after generations of schoolchildren had learned the original, godless version composed in 1892. Both changes were the result of religious lobbying. The Congressional Report accompanying the 1954 pledge act, which openly disapproved of atheism, read: "The inclusion of God in the pledge . . . would serve to deny the atheistic and materialistic concepts of communism."

Despite the Foundation's legal challenge, "In God We Trust" was recently engraved in the Visitor Center, through which all visitors to the Capitol must enter. "Now we have real injury," Gaylor said. "So the lawsuit proceeds."

Religious members of Congress, and former members like Newt Gingrich and others, had earlier complained that the center didn't pay enough tribute to the supposed religious leanings of America's founders. "Our Judeo-Christian heritage is an essential foundation stone of our great nation," said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. Dan Barker, Foundation co-president, said that the Religious Right has a new tack of late, now that America is becoming more diverse and numbers of atheists and agnostics are increasing.

"They are trying to cover up their efforts to proselytize and insert church into state by claiming America is historically a Christian nation," said Barker, who is a member of the Lenni Lenape (Delaware Indian) Tribe. "Most of the Pilgrims may have been Christian, but not one Native American was. Just because some settlers were Christian doesn't mean religion gets a free ride on issues of state-church separation."

............................................................................

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., is a national association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics) that has been working since 1978 to keep church and state separate.

by on Nov. 20, 2009 at 1:20 AM
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Replies (1-10):
mamadixon
by Gold Member on Nov. 20, 2009 at 1:22 AM

Hell at this point I trust God more than our government ...and I am not a Christian.

tericared
by on Nov. 20, 2009 at 1:25 AM

Doesnt our government have better things to do? 

mamadixon
by Gold Member on Nov. 20, 2009 at 1:28 AM


Quoting tericared:

Doesnt our government have better things to do? 

Evidently not. I know some unemployed folks who might disagree however.

Della529
by on Nov. 20, 2009 at 1:37 AM

I am a Christian and I've never believed God or Jesus need our support in having their names engraved on buildings, money or especially American politics.

smcclure2005
by Member on Nov. 20, 2009 at 4:34 AM

I trust GOD over the government Hell I would trust a damn 5 year old more then I do the government. In my opinion our government is a joke and I am embarrassed by them. It blows when you cannot be proud to be an American and proud of your government at the same time.

mommibee
by on Nov. 20, 2009 at 4:37 AM

I love my country, but fear my government....I saw this as a bumper sticker and have yet to get one :)

stormcris
by Christy on Nov. 20, 2009 at 9:12 AM

When did the term Nature's God and Creator come to only mean the Christian God?  In fact I would take that to mean something entirely different. (Just commenting on the statement that God is in the Declaration)

These people could mess up a wet dream.

Raintree
by on Nov. 20, 2009 at 9:36 AM

When they decided to 'adopt' the language from the deists, I'm guessing. 

Quoting stormcris:

When did the term Nature's God and Creator come to only mean the Christian God?  In fact I would take that to mean something entirely different. (Just commenting on the statement that God is in the Declaration)

These people could mess up a wet dream.


stormcris
by Christy on Nov. 20, 2009 at 9:40 AM

Wow just wow. They need to go a step farther and adopt the whole thing then LOL. Then man's interpretation would be of no use to them and they would not be fighting over words on a wall.

Quoting Raintree:

When they decided to 'adopt' the language from the deists, I'm guessing. 

Quoting stormcris:

When did the term Nature's God and Creator come to only mean the Christian God?  In fact I would take that to mean something entirely different. (Just commenting on the statement that God is in the Declaration)

These people could mess up a wet dream.



zweedledee
by Bronze Member on Nov. 20, 2009 at 10:00 AM


Quoting Della529:

I am a Christian and I've never believed God or Jesus need our support in having their names engraved on buildings, money or especially American politics.

LOL!!

Let's raise taxes to send God some money too. I"m sure the wigs in Congress have his address.

:)

j/k

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