How is that promoting religion?

Actual, not figurative, out loud blurt of laughter. An American Legion post in North Carolina wanted to give the local schools a poster yelling “in god we trust” but the school board said no thank you, and a member of the Legion who is also a pastor has hurt feelings.

“We got an email from the school saying thank you but on advice of their legal counsel they could not accept the posters because of separation of church and state,” American Legion member Rick Cornejo told me in a telephone interview.

Cornejo, who is also a local Baptist preacher, said the decision to ban the posters has resulted in a lot of hurt feelings.

“It’s disappointing, it really is,” he said. “Educators are asking us for those posters so they can put them in their classrooms but right now they can’t do it – because the school board won’t let them.”

The 16×20 inch framed posters include the words “In God We Trust,” with an American flag in the background.

It reads: “The national motto of the United States, adopted by Congress, July 30, 1956.”

At the height of the Cold War, and wtf is a “national motto” anyway, and one of these days I really ought to stop everything else and make a concerted effort to get “ingodwetrust” off the god damn currency. But anyway.

 spokesman for the school district told the Watauga Democrat newspaper that “In God We Trust” was banned on the advice of their legal counsel. They feared someone could see the poster and construe the district was promoting religion.

Cornejo said that’s just silly.

“How is that promoting religion?” he asked me. “It doesn’t say anything about Jesus. I could understand if it was a Bible verse – but it’s ‘In God We Trust.’”

There, that’s the part that caused the noisy laughter. It’s hard to tell if they’re bullshitting or stupid when they say that kind of thing. “Ho yus the cross is not a religious symbol at all, it’s purely ceremonial, as any fule kno.” “Oh good heavens no, ‘God’ is not religious; Jesus is religious, absolutely, but God? Don’t be silly.”

How is saying “in god we trust” promoting religion? I’ll tell you, sport. It’s promoting the baseless claim that there’s an always-absent yet supremely important other-worldly but concerned-with-us SuperBoss out there somewhere (and also in here and everywhere) and that we trust it. If you genuinely don’t recognize that that’s a very large and very difference-making claim, then you should think harder about it. After that you should think harder about how anyone knows that, and why they should be shoving it on people when in fact they don’t know it.

The writer of the article, Todd Starnes, goes on to blame it on the liberals. It’s creepy.


  1. Anthony K says

    and wtf is a “national motto” anyway

    I dunno, but Canada’s is A Mari Usque Ad Mare (From Sea to Sea) because we’re a descriptive people (and “Fuck, long winter, eh?” doesn’t sound as fancy in Latin.)

  2. forestdragon says

    If I remember correctly, the USA’s actual motto is “E Pluribus Unum” – From Many, One. Which makes a hell of a lot more sense than trying to ward off the Commies by invoking God like Van Helsing warding off a vampire.

  3. Wylann says

    If it had “E Pluribus Unum” 1776 (ish) – 1956, and under was written ‘In God We Trust” 1956 – Present, there would at least be a bit of historical significance to a display like that, but I suspect that’s not what the (sic) good pastor wants….

  4. says

    I wouldn’t mind there being a SuperBoss (though generally I think boss fights are Bad Gaming Design), as long as they make sure they give us enough buffs and powerups to bring him down. I bet he’d drop rainbows, but his minions have SERIOUS FUCKING AGGRO PROBLEMS YOU TERRIBLE GAME DESIGNERS! Like, even try to get out a Reason Launcher, and they’re all over you with J-bombs.

    Actually, that game kinda sucks, now I remember why i never wanted to play it.

  5. says

    I’ve seen some semantic shuffling from conservative evangelical Christians before on the word “religion” – they’ll often claim that they’re totes absolutely NOT practising any *religion*, they just have a *personal relationship* with and *faith* in Jesus/God. Then they can argue with a straight face that expressions of their personal faith in publicly owned spaces are nothing to do with a religion and therefore couldn’t possibly be unconstitutional.

  6. says

    Years ago I was chosen by my school (public) to attend Girls State, which was a week long girls camp intended to introduce us to politics and government by staging a mock convention. But half of it was church and prayer crap. Always mandatory. You weren’t even allowed to go to bed and skip vespers which was held right outside our dorm rooms in the hallway every night. I complained some to our camp counselor, but she wasn’t hearing any of it. To her, that’s what democracy meant….God, with Jesus at his side draped in the American flag.

    I ranted and railed about it when I got back home, which only came off as ingratitude towards the nice folks in the American Legion who, after all, paid the tab to send me to this supposedly prestigious summer camp.

  7. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    This reminds me of the 1940s cook-pamphlet (it’s a mini book, a book lite) I own called “Meals Without Meat.” Heavily promoted for war-time kitchens, it features ground poulty loaf on the cover, and offers many delicious recipes with duck, chicken, and turkey.

    But there’s no beef.

  8. timberwoof says

    Rick Cornejo, if your posters were not actually about your religion, then why are you acting so butt-hurt about it?

    Oh, so they are about your religion. Do you get to proselytize it tax-free and with free parking for your parishioners on Sunday mornings? So why are you acting all butt-hurt about it?

  9. AsqJames says

    and wtf is a “national motto” anyway

    A few years ago Labour proposed that the UK adopt a national motto, and invited suggestions from the public…with predictable results: “smile – you’re on CCTV”, “get the kettle on”, “things can only get better” and, my personal favourite, “mustn’t grumble”. Needless to say, they dropped the idea.

    On the other hand if you must have a national motto, and it’s to be embody the ideals a country should aspire to, France’s “liberté, égalité, fraternité” is hard to beat. It’s definitely a contrast with their other effort (under the wartime Vichy regime), the dreary “travail, famille, patrie”.

  10. Pierce R. Butler says

    As an anagram freak, I want a sign that reads “IN GOD WE STRUT” – but I’d settle for “IN GOD WET RUST”.

  11. jagwired says

    Even if their god was real, why would we trust him? Would you trust the babysitter, if they kept putting razorblades in the baby’s crib? Is that any different from what Yahweh did in the Garden of Eden?

  12. says

    I remember that. My favourite was the harsh, but not entirely unwarranted, “Dipso, Fatso, Bingo, Asbo, Tesco”

    (For non UK-ians who don’t get all of that, it suggests that we are a country characterised by alcoholism, overweight, gambling addiction, anti-social behaviour, and economic domination by one large supermarket chain)

  13. dougindeap says

    Good points well put. The government’s inscription of the phrase “In God we trust” on coins and currency, as well as its addition of the words “under God” to the pledge of allegiance in 1954 and adoption of the phrase “In God we trust” as a national motto in 1956, were mistakes, which should be corrected. Under our Constitution, the government has no business proclaiming that “we trust” “In God.” Some of us do, and some of us don’t; each of us enjoys the freedom to make that choice; the government does not and should not purport to speak for us in this regard. Nor does the government have any business calling on its citizens to voice affirmation of a god in any circumstances, let alone in the very pledge the government prescribes for affirming allegiance to the country. The unnecessary insertion of an affirmation of a god in the pledge puts atheists and other nonbelievers in a Catch 22: Either recite the pledge with rank hypocrisy or accept exclusion from one of the basic rituals of citizenship enjoyed by all other citizens. The government has no business forcing citizens to this choice on religious grounds, and it certainly has no business assembling citizens’ children in public schools and prescribing their recitation of the pledge–affirmation of a god and all–as a daily routine.

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