Recently, I started noticing a few billboards on the interstate near my house. One of those “black background / white letters” signs, which we’ve got quite of a few of here in the great progressive state of Florida. So at first, I didn’t pay much attention to them. Then I was sitting in traffic and actually took a moment and read one. I saw this:
Yep. A George Washington quote alluding to the long-held conservative belief that the US is indeed a Christian nation. As a former atheist (not anymore, but that’s another story for another day), seeing this immediately made me clench my jaw. The group, NoSeparation.org, is voicing their disapproval about the ‘lie’ of the separation of church and state, the ‘war on God in America’, and other neocon bullshit that I am forced to deal with on a daily basis.
Here are two fine examples of their ‘campaign’. Now, those quotes would be all well and good if they were, you know, factual or accurate.
The first quote was never said in any printed material by Washington (if you can prove otherwise, by all means let me know).
And according to Wikipedia, the second quote was an excerpt taken from this complete quote:
The central support for the Court’s ultimate conclusion that Congress did not intend the law to cover Christian ministers is its lengthy review of the "mass of organic utterances" establishing that "this is a Christian nation," and which were taken to prove that it could not "be believed that a Congress of the United States intended to make it a misdemeanor for a church of this country to contract for the services of a Christian minister residing in another nation.
But clearly I am biased (and in their eyes, doomed to hell) so I asked someone who I thought could bring some more clarity to the situation: my father.
Why ask my dad? Well, for starters, he’s an ordained minister. Not one of the internet types, but the real deal (so yes, that makes me a preacher’s kid. Queue the stereotypes), been in the God business for over 30 years. He’s also an ethics teacher and an unabashed liberal. Which makes for interesting commentary, to say the least.
I’ll spare you the details of the conversation, if for no other reason that half of it involved either my son or baseball. But what I took away most of all was this: “Faith is critical, but don’t take this religion stuff too seriously.”
Am I going to give them much more thought? No. And I respect their right to say it, as incorrect as it may be. And thanks to Cooper over at Wonderland or Not, I leave you with this Kiekegaard quote:
“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.