In G-d We Trust plaques in Florida Schools?
- Subject: In G-d We Trust plaques in Florida Schools?
- From: Michelle in Nevada <5alive31@CHARTER.NET>
- Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2002 11:15:40 -0800
- In-reply-to: <B88C0517.8ABCfirstname.lastname@example.org>
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
I had to share this exchange that happened when I forwarded the Florida law
stuff to my Orthodox Jewish listserve. This is how the argument went, and
it was so good, I thought I would share it with you!!
. . . the whole argument started when one person argued that our money says
"In G-d we Trust" . . . The first person's arguments are in the quotations,
the second, interspersed with the quotes, are in answer to them.
> The motto has been in use for about 200 years.
Well, not that old. A version of it ("in G-d is our trust") first
appeared off the pen of Francis Scott Key in 1814 -- in a verse
of "The Star Spangled Banner" we don't sing anymore because it is too
embarassing. (The previous line says, "Then conquer we must, when our
cause it is just".) It was not until 1864 that the motto appeared on
coins, and it did not appear on paper currency until 1957! (Source:
US Treasury web site http://www.ustreas.gov/opc/opc0011.html
> looked it up to make sure :)). I'm actually more concerned at the
> to be so politically correct that mentioning G-d becomes taboo. Was
You've GOT to be kidding! Every major and minor politician in America
today, with the exception of Jesse Ventura, seems to be going out of
their way to show how religious they are. Many Presidents in the 19th
century did not have any religious affiliation at all as an adult;
the only one in the 20th century for whom that was the case was
Richard Nixon, a lapsed Quaker.
(One could argue that Nixon would be a good argument for that is what
happens when one loses ones religious roots, but what about John
Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Abraham Lincoln?)
> anyone following the breuhaha about Joe Lieberman mentioning G-d in
> campaign speeches? I find it disgusting that our society would try
Anti-Semitism is not dead. It was perfectly ok for a Methodist like
George W. Bush to make a big deal of his personal religious practice,
but not for an observant Jew like Lieberman to do so.
The thing that depressed me most about that campaign was the number
of Jews who objected to Lieberman running for Vice President -- many
of them Orthodox! It showed me that even observant Jews can be self-
hating. (I do have to say I have a bias here. Lieberman was one of
the inspirations for me to become an Orthodox Jew myself. I lived in
Connecticut for six years and am a great admirer of his although I
think is positions are awfully conservative at times.)
> force G-d into being a dirty word that should only be used behind
> doors, away from children. IMHO the Founding Fathers must be
> their graves.
Not all of them. Jefferson was bitterly opposed to officially-
mandated religion. He was on shaky ground for much of his adult life
because had the authorities wished to, they could have been stripped
of their civil rights for not following the official church. (When he
BECAME the authority -- Governor of Virginia -- he convinced the
legislature to get rid of any official church before he could be
impeached for his heresies!) Eventually And check out Tom Paine, who
was downright anti-religion in a way that would make any Israeli
secularist proud. Adams, Franklin, and Rush would also qualify as
heretics; Franklin and Rush were lucky to be from one of the few
colonies not having an official, established religion.
And there is nothing wrong with teaching religion in public schools.
What the courts have objected to is the forcing of children to be
indoctrinated into specific religious practices and of having
government employees do that indoctrination. Prohibiting government
employees from doing the work of religion is precisely what
separation of church and state meant. You are right that it has done
religion very well. In particular, it has meant that Jews have been
able to be full US citizens with no official disabilities for almost
200 years. Why mess with what works?
Finally, note that few Jews -- and very few Orthodox Jews -- live in
areas where this is an issue. Most of us don't have any contact with
the folks who insist, despite 200 years to the contrary, that the US
is a "Christian Country" and that all the problems we have would be
eliminated if we just went back to Jesus. Their vision of America
does not include us. And almost none of us have families who were
here back in the bad old days when religious non-conformists were
disinherited, deported, or hanged. Yup, just like what happened to
Jews in much of Europe over and over again. Why mess with what works?
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