Stop Saying “God Bless America”

[written 5-7-02, updated 2-14-03, put into my blog 8-15-05]

Stop saying “God Bless America” in response to September 11th! That is what got us in trouble in the first place.

Insert rant here. Discussion points:

  • Other, positive things that can be said
  • Religious separatism is extremely counter-productive for: our society,
    world productivity, burning personal hatred, long term personal recovery 

    example webring text: source
    Christians all over the world, please pray for America and for all
    those involved in the terrifying and horrible tragedy that took place there in
    the USA. Pray also for the service men and women who are in Afghanistan! We
    know that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the only one that can give everyone
    the strength and support…

  • Vengeful god vs. merciful god. Relate that to why we say "God Bless
    America"
  • Separation between church and state
  • Relate my personal internal pain. We’ve got to redirect the energy
    positively
  • They take their religion very seriously and literally (IE 72 virgins in
    heaven). We do well not taking ours as seriously. So let’s keep it that way.
  • How do you think it makes them feel when we say it?
  • sidebar: "Ground Zero" as unfortunate terminology for gestalt.
    Suggest "The Pile", "The Site".
  • Discuss the power that words and terminology have.
  • Conclusion: It’s bad for everyone involved. So cut it out!

I see signs all over spouting about how great God is. There is this truck that’s been sitting just off the highway in Mount Olive for several months. It has a sign draped over it with a large flag and it says “God Bless Us All”. Another volunteered sign is on Rt. 519. It’s an 8′ x 4′ piece of plywood leaned up against a telephone pole crudely spray painted with the message:

  Our Battle
Cry:

    God
    Duty
    Honor
    Country

That sign really freaks me out. Everyone is free to voice their opinion but
it really worries me to the core how caught up people are about their gods. And
I worry what terrible things my neighbors are capable of doing if someone or
something offends their sense of the infallibility of their god.

Look at that sign again… Look at the order he put things in.
"God" is first, "Country" last! So when the author refers to
Duty and Honor, that’s to his god and not to his country. It’s true that the
First Amendment of the Constitution refers to the freedom of religion, but he’s
forgotten that it’s an amendment. The Constitution itself (dry as the
text
may be) and the country founded by it comes before all of the
amendments!

I suppose the author of this sign is angry at my critical commentary. I’ve
probably offended his Honor and his God. What do you suppose Duty requires him
to do to me?

Bibliography:

  • God Bless America webring
    with 400 sites.
  • news agencies, CNN, NBC, CBS, etc

7 Comments

  1. TJIC says:

    Stop saying “God Bless America” in response to September 11th! That is what got us in trouble in the first place.

    Actually, I think it was the Islamo-fascists saying “God, please
    destroy America”, and citing as their footnote the multiple places in
    the Koran where they are commanded to make war on anyone who does not
    agree with them on religion, killing the men, and taking the women and
    children into slavery, that got us in in trouble in the first place.

    * Other, positive things that can be said

    None that have the same meaning.

    Your rant is like saying to someone: “Don’t always talk about how
    freedom of the press is a good thing. That’s divisive! Not everyone
    agrees with you that freedom of the press is a good thing. Say
    something nice that everyone can agree with, like ‘have a nice day'”.

    * Religious separatism is extremely counter-productive for: our society,
    world productivity, burning personal hatred, long term personal recovery

    * Vengeful god vs. merciful god. Relate that to why we say “God Bless
    America”

    Huh?

    * Separation between church and state

    The fact that the Constitution says that Congress shall pass no law
    establishing a single approved church somehow justifies the fact that
    no one should say “God (some God, one which I will not pin down
    directly, and which may be the God of observant Jews, or Catholics, or
    the Prime Mover of squishy New Agers), please be nice to us” ?

    I don’t see the connection.

    * Relate my personal internal pain. We’ve got to redirect the energy
    positively

    The vast majority of Americans are theists, and if you asked them, they would say that focusing on their faith is a very positive thing.

    * They take their religion very seriously and literally (IE 72 virgins in
    heaven). We do well not taking ours as seriously.

    This is sort of like a “Hitler is a vegetarian” argument.
    Islamo-fascists take religion A, which directs them to kill adherents
    of any other religion, literally. They also take it quite seriously.
    Some Americans take religions B-Z seriously. The majority of
    religions B-Z do not direct folks to kill members of any religion.
    There’s no argument that failure to take various religions B-Z
    seriously is a good thing. It may be. It may be a bad thing. It may
    be neutral. …but merely demonstrating how someone else takes an
    ENTIRELY DIFFERENT BELIEF seriously, and saying “Now, you should not
    believe your own religion. Q.E.D.” is severely lacking as arguments
    go.

    * How do you think it makes them feel when we say it?

    Uhh…quite seriously, who gives a flying !#$% ?

    Even if I did care, Muslims acknowledge the Judeo-Christian God and
    most of the Judeo-Christian prophets.

    Why exactly would they be offended by a Christian saying “God (that
    was described in the Torah, Bible, and Koran), please bless land X” ?

    And even if I did care, and it did foreign Muslims upset, why,
    exactly, should we allow someone else’s homicidal behavior to control
    our speech?

    To my way of thinking, we all have the right to free speech, and no
    one has the right to kill anyone else over their free speech…but
    everyone DOES have the right to defend themselves from murdering
    assholes, so if someone announces “I’ll kill you if you say ‘God bless
    America’ again”, I’m in a great position to do two things:

    (a) kill him first, as a defensive measure

    (b) then say ‘God bless America’ while taking a long piss on his corpse.

    Our Battle Cry:

    God
    Duty
    Honor
    Country

    That sign really freaks me out. Everyone is free to voice their opinion but
    it really worries me to the core how caught up people are about their gods.

    Most of humanity has always taken it’s ethical codes from their gods.
    It’s a relatively recent and statistically aberrant trend to assert
    that morality can be independent of theism. I’m not criticizing that
    stance, I’m merely asserting that it’s novel.

    Now, given this, to 95% of humanity, the sign reads like this:

    God (who gives us a moral code)
    Duty
    Honor
    Country

    And to the minority of folks who are not theists, and are perhaps even made nervous by theism, the sign reads like this

    God (who has nothing to do with morality)
    Duty
    Honor
    Country

    So you’re reading the sign using definitions other than the ones that were used when it was written.

    Look at that sign again… Look at the order he put things in.
    “God” is first, “Country” last!

    Rewriting that as “The source of a moral code” first and “Government” last, I entirely agree with it.

    All of the hugest problems in the last 100 years have come when States have arrogated to themselves a position of dictating morality, acknowledging no higher authority.

    Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, Maoist China acknowledged no moral constraints on action. If it was good for the State, it was Good.

    They each killed tens of millions of people.

    So when the author refers to
    Duty and Honor, that’s to his god and not to his country.

    You’re just making things up out of thin air now. If you’re going to debate Red State folks, you at least owe them the courtesy of understanding what they’re saying.

    I’ve heard lots of folks say this sort of pledge or creed, non-ironically, and I know exactly what it meant: duty is duty not just to God and his moral code, but to all duties that THEY PERSONALLY have voluntarily assumed…including things like oaths of office, comissionings in the military, etc.

    These oaths include things like “support the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic”.

    What the pledge means is that morality comes first, followed by assumed duties, followed by one’s own personal word and honorable behavior, followed by government.

    It makes perfect sense to me, and I agree with it 100%.

    It’s true that the
    First Amendment of the Constitution refers to the freedom of religion, but he’s
    forgotten that it’s an amendment.

    You’re making things up again.

    I suppose the author of this sign is angry at my critical commentary.

    I identify with the author of the sign, but I’m not in the least angry. I’m sad that you’re so polarized on this issue, and are painting red-state folks as buffoons, by using your definitions, assumptions, and baseless conjecture against them (e.g. “based on my wildly speculative reading of his pledge, I assert with out evidence that some person I’ve never met forgotten that there’s a First Amendment”.

    I’ve
    probably offended his Honor and his God. What do you suppose Duty requires him
    to do to me?

    Given that he’s probably a Christian, his Duty probably requires him to love you as a neighbor.

    Maybe I’m wrong, and it requires him to strap on a belt of explosives and kill a bunch of school children.

    …but I think I’m right.

    Members of all religions (and atheists and agnostics) go wrong and commit crimes.

    …but, to a VERY good approximation, Muslims are the only ones who murder people over religion.

    Last I checked, the New Testament doesn’t have much in the way of
    Jesus being a military warlord and commanding his followers to cut off
    non-believer’s people’s heads…but that’s EXACTLY what the Koran is
    packed full of.

    The problem isn’t American’s saying “God bless America”.

    The problem is Muslims killing innocent people in airplanes, office buildings, and malls.

  2. Lee says:

    Thank you for engaging! It’ll take me a little time to get back to you but I most definitely will! This was posted in my blog via a timed release, I didn’t write it recently so it’s not all fresh in my mind. Subscribe to the post. I might not get to a response it til mid-September.

  3. Mark says:

    Lee: Sing it Brother! :)

    Travis: As I mentioned on your website:
    “…but, to a VERY good approximation, Muslims are the only ones who murder people over religion”

    Really? Tell that to the folk in Belfast. Christianity has a long, honored tradition of killing people over religion. I don’t see it as different from Islam in that regard except (currently) in quantity.

  4. TJIC says:

    Note the word “approximation”. A few thousand deaths over a few decades, in one corner of Christendom, in the pursuit of political ends, while being entirely terrible, is hardly the same thing as the regular terrorist attacks that take place in almost every country with a noticeable Muslim population.

    Lebanon? check.
    Israel? check.
    Iraq? check.
    Pakistan? check.
    Egypt? check.

    When you show me that 2/3 + of all officially Christian nations have annual (or more frequent) terrorist attacks on non-believers, BECAUSE of their religion, you’ll win this one.

  5. Mark says:

    Well, the 5 you name are hardly 2/3+ of Islam nations, but that’s not really the point. As I said I see a difference in quantity not quality. I could add in (in the present day) the Balkans, parts of various formerly-Russian Republics and a handful of African countries.

    My point here is that I see all religion, soon or later, moving into a persecution/murder-the-unbeliever phase. It might be true that the Christianity is largely out of that phase now, but even less than a century ago they were murdering American Indians, south americans, Mayans etc. Given another century, Islam might be in the same quiescent state, but if history is any guide such states are metastable at best and sooner or later degenerate into convert-by-force.

    Christianity is really no different from Islam or the others in this regard. They all eventually come down to “because I say so” and shortly after that to societal violence.

  6. Lee says:

    Ok Trav, I’ll admit it. I ran out of energy to try and answer this one. There are some points worth discussing but there’s not enough time in a day.

  7. James Cross says:

    Wow, what to say, you guys have really roused up a lot of emotions in me, so that means that ure atleast educated, which means ure better off than a lot of folks. Meaning you should feel blessed. The bottom line of it all is that the lord works in mysterious ways, we cant possibly know everything about his nature, there are things about him that is unfathomable to us as humans, meaning if we were meant to understand it, we would. Is it hard to know that something bad has happened as a result of your sin’s, or a group of people’s sins, ofcourse it is. Which goes back to the old saying, The Truth hurts. Is it easier to think were in control over everything, sure it is, but the buck stops with God, and whatever he wilts, will come to pass, he’s not in the business of lying. Furthermore, people give things a bad name when they do the things they do, if theyre are affiliated with any group of people or religion or even if they come from a good home, people always are looking for somewhere to point the blame. Someone could be raised in a bad home and do good, and Good and do bad, so is it the parents faults? To an extent, more so in certain situations than others. Point being we have Bad Apples, and Wicked Apples. The bad apples are saved, simply because they are fortunate enough to realize they are BAD. For if I thought I were all Good, i doubt god would save me for the BAD things Ive done. The wicked are lost, they act for the most part out of pain, pain that we all have to endure, but they Chose to breed more pain by rejecting christ, and takening it out on others, where as they should grow from it. So you say, not all people are as strong as you, Im not strong, I simply built my house on the rock, and because of that, Christ will not let me fall……..point being since some misrepsent god ( little hint – we all do because we all fall short the glory of god ) we should not therefor blame god, and say that boy wouldnt have been so crazy had he not read the bible. Its quiete simple, people who dont believe in Christ’s exsistance, seem to have little regaurd for human life. A martyr – someone who is killed for because of their believe in god. Something every believer wants because the reward is great. However, in the KORAN – which falls short of the King James Bible…..it is misrepsented by extremists as KILL in my name, however, if u kill someone who does not believe in christ uve robbed them of their future, a future in which they may or may have not turned to christ…….there for u didnt save this person, you brought him to his damnation. Someone like me on the other hand, who strives to speak the truth, will probably be killed in shape form of fashion because why, because I believe in God, and because its my duty to point people in his direction, a direction which many wish not to go, so to culminate their pain, they may decide to end my life. Be not decieved, though u may have the power to piss on my grave if u so like, I am not dead, for I can drink of poison and never taste of death, u simply robbed me of being able to enjoy the few pleasures of Earth. If that day comes, it was meant to be, does it make me crazy? No. Does it mean that I have a death wish? NO. Does it mean many will hate me because of my fathers name? YES. if you dont believe me, turn on the Television next time you get a chance. Bout the only thing you need to realize is that, if you chose not to decide, you still have made a choice, only thing is, u dont get to take pride in it.

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