Flogging God

November 2, 2011

The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed overwhelmingly a resolution “reaffirming” the phrase “In God We Trust” as our national motto.  The vote was 396 to 9. The need for reaffirming of this motto was not clearly stated in the resolution, but the real motivation for this resolution is both too obvious and too unseemly to warrant acknowledgment: most politicians in this God-intoxicated country want to milk God for all the votes they can get. And, from a political standpoint, who can blame them? It’s proven to be a very successful tactic.

The “whereas” clauses of the resolution—which presumably set forth the rationale for the resolution—consist principally of a few quotes from various historical figures that show that other politicians have invoked God and cites to other historical God references, e.g., in the Declaration of Independence. OK, we knew all this already. What’s that have to do with the need to “reaffirm” the motto?

There is this statement in the resolution: “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.” There are so many fallacies in this statement that I have lost count, including, of course, the obligatory coupling of religion and morality. But what’s ironic about this assertion is that it’s the theists who want to insulate religion from the “marketplace of ideas.”  We nonbelievers are in favor of a vigorous, critical examination of the various absurdities on which most religious doctrines are grounded. Of course, when we point out these absurdities, we are accused of being angry atheists who want to mock believers. The truth is the religious don’t want religion to compete in “the marketplace of ideas.” They want religion to be immune from criticism and to enjoy an unquestionable monopoly on morality and virtue.

This resolution does succeed in reaffirming one sad truth: it’s still politically prudent to treat atheists as trash. They are people who, because they don’t believe in God, can’t be trusted and who aren’t really Americans. Atheists sometimes wonder what will be the sign that they truly are accepted as equals in this country. That’s an easy question. It will be when despicable resolutions such as this one don’t even come up for a vote.

By the way, here’s a word of thanks to the nine representatives who had the courage to vote against the resolution. You may want to send them a message of appreciation: Ackerman, Amash, Chu, Cleaver, Honda, Johnson (GA), Nadler, Scott (VA), and Stark.

Final thought: if this resolution causes you to feel righteous indignation, do something about it. Come to the Reason Rally in DC on March 24.


#1 Strubie on Wednesday November 02, 2011 at 7:00am

Would I be correct in supposing that since this is a resolution, it has no legal standing to be used by justices weighing in on church-state separation matters?  Doesn’t congress have enough to do without passing resolutions, which, if I’m correct, have about as much legal effect as pissing in the wind does?  Are there truly only 9 congresspeople who have enough sense to do what they should be doing?  Can we get a presidential candidate from that small list?

#2 Ronald A. Lindsay on Wednesday November 02, 2011 at 9:23am

You are correct that this resolution has essentially symbolic significance. Legally, it requires no action by anybody.

Congress can always find time to exploit religion and dump on atheists. This takes priority over other matters.

#3 Mark (Guest) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 at 10:08am

I think we should also recognize the ~30 abstentions, what I consider the proper response. I would like know, was notorious ‘holy’ roller Bachmann too busy campaigning or was this the one vote she has made in 2011?

Kidding aside, great piece, spot-on in calling out supporters of this bill for seeking government protection of their beliefs; kinda like a theological bailout

#4 Daniel Almeida (Guest) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 at 11:27pm

Sorry for the long post- but I have a question that I have an inquenchable need to have answered. Of all the phenomena I’ve looked at, there is one in which I haven’t been able to find much data on. What I am referring to are cases in which multiple people experience a supernatural agent- such as an angel, jesus, a deceased loved one, etc. These cases sometimes include autitory as well as visual experiences. Examples of such cases can be found here:

#5 Daniel Almeida (Guest) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 at 11:31pm

diglotting.com’s review of the end of christianity part 1 (scroll down to the comments)

the book resurrecting Jesus (recalls the authors apparitional experience)
(sorry- but guests cant use URLS- I hope this isn’t too much of an inconvenience)

I am not sure how a naturalist can respond to such reports. Is there anything in the psychological casebooks that is similiar to what I have posted here? Are there other, more creative explainations that I have overseen.

Once again, I apologise for the randomness of this question. Thank you in advance for responding to me, and I sincerely thank you for your time.


#6 Thomas B (Guest) on Thursday November 03, 2011 at 7:05am

Yeah, Daniel, that is a little random, considering it has NOTHING to do with the topic!

On topic… I was channel surfing the other day and came across the “700 Club” while Pat Robertson was talking about this resolution.  He seemed to think it was vitally important mainly because President Obama had recently mentioned the original motto, “E Pluribus Unum” in a speech. 
Robertson and his co-host then had a great time laughing at the President and ridiculing “E Pluribus Unum.”  I was thoroughly disgusted.

#7 gray1 on Thursday November 03, 2011 at 8:11am

I’m sure that many of the congressmen who voted for this actually feel good about this action while certainly all of them realize the value of pandering. Apparently they had to express some capacity of trust since obviously most don’t trust each other,the Executive Branch or the voters.

#8 Daniel Almeida (Guest) on Thursday November 03, 2011 at 11:00pm

I bet nobody even looked at the material I cited. Unbelievable. Whatever happened to a fair trial? All I’m trying to point out is that some miracle stories deserve more attention than they are getting. As an Atheist- I find it really hard to sleep, knowing that an honest and skeptical blogger like diglotting could make such an outstanding claim. That he and his family saw AND heard a supernatural entity not once, but multiple times.

I honestly dont think this can be explained naturally. Cases of Pareidola dont include audio hallucinations. Altered states of conciousness dont effect multiple people. And nither explain why they saw the entity multiple times. Did he lie? I am open to it- but I think a little evidence would be nice to support it. Plus, iglotting stood to gain nothing from lying. In the end, this theory just seems ad-hoc.

Maybe the secret to these group sightings so commonly mentioned in the apparitional literature is locked somewhere in our consiousness. Maybe Persingers Tectonic Strain Theory has something to do with it? Maybe our consiousness overlaps somehow as we experience strange hallucinatory experiences like a waking dream. My explaination may be bad- but at least it’s a thaught. Nobody else seems to want to look at these claims. It seems like you “skeptics” would rather bury your heads underground and pretend they dont happen.

So there you go. I honestly dont know how anyone could carry the title of “freethinker” and not be at least a tad bit curious about what I have just showed you. And you know what the sad part is? The sad part is that someone is gonna respond, saying “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”, and they will avoid even trying to account for the source of the belief altogether.


#9 Thomas B (Guest) on Friday November 04, 2011 at 6:44am

Yes, Daniel, some “miracle” stories do deserve attention, the same as UFO sightings and “abductions”.  I’m just saying this particular topic isn’t the place for it.

Tell you what you do… Look up at the top of the page where it says “Forums”.  Click on the link.  Register over there.  I guarantee you’ll get a lot of responses.

#10 Mark (Guest) on Friday November 04, 2011 at 7:37am

@Daniel (aka troll), I leave you with words of David Hume :

When anyone tells me, that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself, whether it be more probable, that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact, which he relates, should have really happened. I weigh the one miracle against the other; and according to the superiority, which I discover, I pronounce my decision, and always reject the greater miracle. If the falsehood of the testimony would be more miraculous, than the event which he relates; then, and not till then, can he pretend to command my belief or opinion.[5]

#11 Daniel Almeida (Guest) on Friday November 04, 2011 at 7:17pm

Thank you for suggesting the forums, Thomas B. I am relativley new to this whole ghost hunting thing, so I’ll check it out.

Mark- I didn’t realise that I sounded like a troll. I’m not- I’m actually an Atheist as well. Sorry.

Andrew Mark Daniel Almeida

(PS that’s my whole name believe it or not)

#12 SocraticGadfly (Guest) on Friday November 04, 2011 at 8:40pm

@Daniel; first the blog you cite is NOT “a skeptical blogger.” He identifies himself as an Xn in his “about,” including this:

>>Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God; the man who said fully ‘Yes’ to God and through whom God said fully ‘Yes’ to man by resurrecting him from the dead as Lord.<<

On a link off that page, he says:

>>Because I believe and hope that God really did resurrect Jesus from the dead, and I do not find the historical evidence to be incongruous with such a belief.<<

Sounds like a garden-variety Christian theist to me.

Ergo, per Mark, I’d have to say: “You’re a troll.” Or else, “You’re an idiot,” or “you’re clueless about the word ‘skeptical.’ ” (Take your choice; not all options are mutually exclusive.)

#13 slowe on Saturday November 05, 2011 at 6:46am

Well said Ron, Thank you.
I hope CFI will officially write and thank those not voting YES on this Resolution on behalf of all of CFI members.
We should be sure to alert our members in these 9 Congressmember’s districts to especially thank their representative. 
As for action, will the REASON Rally include any coordinated visites to Congressional office to lobby for our issues?  With such a crowd in town it would be a shame to miss this opportunity to “testify” and represent our issues to our lawmakers.

#14 Daniel Almeida (Guest) on Saturday November 12, 2011 at 2:53am

I meant skeptical as in not credulous. Perhaps you should actually read diglotting’s posts. He’s quite liberal in his beliefs. For example, he doesn’t even believe in hell (as traditionally understood)

btw: No need for name calling.

#15 Gina (Guest) on Sunday November 13, 2011 at 10:23am

Daniel, one quick phrase should answer your question-“They’re up in their nighties.”

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