“In God We Trust” Engraving

July 20, 2009 at 5:43 pm Leave a comment

Yahoo! News reports:

A California Republican congressman wants to do a little writing on the walls of Washington’s newest federal building. If Rep. Dan Lungren gets his way, Congress will spend nearly $100,000 to engrave the words “In God We Trust ” and the Pledge of Allegiance in prominent spots at the Capitol Visitor Center.

Lungren’s proposal drew only a whimper of opposition last week when the House of Representatives voted 410-8 to approve it. Now, however, Lungren finds himself tussling with a national atheists and agnostics group.

The Wisconsin -based Freedom From Religion Foundation Inc. sued this week to stop the engraving, accusing Lungren of trying to force his religious beliefs on as many as 15 percent of all U.S. adults. That comprises “atheists, agnostics, skeptics and freethinkers, none of whom possess a belief in a god,” according to the lawsuit.

First of all, $100,000 on this is a waste, especially since the country is in debt. I don’t think it is right to spend money on things the country doesn’t need. It’s that simple.

“It really is a Judeo-Christian endorsement by our government, and so Lungren is wrong,” said Dan Barker of Madison, Wis. , a co-president of the foundation. “Lungren and others are pro-religious, and they want to actually use the machinery of government to promote their particular private religious views. That is unconstitutional, and that’s what we’re asking the court to decide.”

I agree that “In God We Trust” is an endorsement of God and I don’t think that for the government to keep plastering it everywhere is the right thing to do. Although I believe individuals can say or right anything they choose, the government should not endorse a religion.

Lungren said that the phrase “In God We Trust ” had a long history and was consistent with the beliefs of America’s founding fathers. He also said that the Declaration of Independence referred to rights given by a creator.

Lungren, a former California attorney general, said that while the proposed engravings incorporated religious references, they didn’t violate the Constitution.

“What we’re doing is making a specific historical reference to the beginnings of this republic,” he said. “To ignore this or to forbid this statement or something like it to appear is to distort history. . . . We’re not trying to change history. We’re trying to enshrine history in the Capitol Visitor Center .”

There is a long history of the phrase and the founding fathers may have had these religious views but the phrase itself is not a historical reference. “In God We Trust” has nothing to do with the past. Is has a past, yes, but it is about us trusting in God now, not in the past or the future. And by not allowing it to be put around the Capitol is neither ignoring the phrase nor forbidding it. It is simply separating religion from government, which is how it should be.

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