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Austin Cline

God: Foundation of our National Heritage?

By September 20, 2003

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The Greene County Commission in Tennessee has decided that people must not be acknowledging God enough, so they have moved forward with a proclamation that God it the foundation of America's national heritage. Exactly what they mean by "God" is not entirely clear, however - and that's part of the problem.

According to The Greeneville Sun, the proclamation reads:

“Whereas, our Government was founded upon a trust in God, that began when our Founding Fathers proclaimed in America's first official document, our Declaration of lndependence, that our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, were not given to us by government, but by God "our Creator," the ‘Sovereign Judge of the Universe,’ and ...
“Whereas, it is fact that between 90 and 95 percent of those who drafted and signed the U.S. Constitution had a strong belief and trust in God and never ever intended that there be a separation between Him and the affairs of Government, only that each citizen be free to choose on a personal basis how to worship, or if to worship, and... “Whereas, the recognition of God by our Government was further established when Congress, in 1954, added the phrase ‘One Nation Under God’ to our Pledge of Allegiance, followed in 1956 by the official establishment of 'In God We Trust’ as our National Motto, and...
“Whereas, there is now a growing demand by some within the Judicial System to remove all visible recognitions of God from public institutions, which has recently resulted in a Federal Order to physically remove the Ten Commandments Monument from the Alabama State Supreme Court, rightfully placed there by the Chief Justice of the Alabama State Supreme court to remind all that God is central to our National Heritage, and His Ten Commandments, without question, (are) the foundation of American law, moral values, and code of conduct.
“Therefore, We urge all American citizens, to proclaim to every level of Government (Local, State, and Federal) its responsibility to publicly recognize God As The Foundation Of Our National Heritage, .... lest our nation forget Him and our children never know!”

Now, what did the Commission mean by God? The ancient Jewish God of the Ten Commandments? The Deistic God of many of the nation's Founders? Either the Commission doesn't mean anything in particular, in which case the proclamation is meaningless, or they are trying to use the government to acknowledge a particular god instead of other gods, in which case the proclamation is unethical and perhaps unconstitutional. Either way, it was stupid to do it - a peculiar Christian stupidity, borne of the idea held by some Christians that their Christianity is the only religion that should count in America.

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