Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, rallied the right-wing Christians yesterday when he posted news of the atheist group who has filed a lawsuit to have the phrase “In God We Trust” removed from U.S. money. The argument for the case filed by attorney Michael Newdow is that the phrase is unconstitutional because it violates separation of church and state. Graham’s fans were extremely bothered by such a proposition and called for everything from deportation of all atheists to banning them from using any money. One commenter suggested, “If atheist don’t like OUR money have them use their credit cards and give all the money to the church!!!”
Because clearly, that suggestion is firmly rooted in reality.
Of course, those were just the extremes. Most people just cried out about Christian persecution, the lack of prayer in schools and the view that the devil is at work pushing everything further towards the apocalypse. Which many are excited about and look forward to – because we should celebrate the end of the world? Is that not a bit twisted?
Really, it is likely that the phrase is unconstitutional – whether the courts rule that way or not. Having the word “God” on the currency of the land certainly lends itself to the assumption that God exists. Which deity it is, is certainly debatable but the phrase at the very least acknowledges the existence of a god which is contradictory to the “faith” (or lack there of) subscribed by at least two segments of the American population – atheists and Buddhists.
But, that’s not really what I’m going to argue. As an American atheist, nothing would please me more than to see those words removed from our currency, but I’m doubtful we will see that truly happen anytime soon. Politics will dictate where that decision goes and we just aren’t there yet.
So I will accept that perhaps the good Christians of our country actually need this reminder on their money. Truthfully, based upon their actions as of late – it’s likely far better for all of us if it is there.
What is God? For most of these people it is a judgment figure. One to be feared and an enforcer of morality. A figure that shows favor to the chosen few in the many “blessings” and one that will wreak vengeance upon the rest of us heathens that view the world differently than they do. So perhaps it’s time to hold their feet to the fire. They are correct, the United States of America has not been doing a very good job at upholding the values and teachings of Jesus Christ.
Dear Christians, you are right. You need to keep your “In God We Trust” on the money. Obviously, this is a reminder you feel you and your ilk need. But here are a few of the demands that some of us atheists have for you:
1. Stop Killing People
So, you have these ten commandment things and one of those happens to say “Thou Shall Not Kill.” The last I checked, there wasn’t a little star or any footers or subtext providing us exceptions to this rule. So, sorry Texas, it’s about time you stop executing record numbers of convicted criminals. Oklahoma, your little lethal injection fiasco is quite the embarrassment. Just stop even attempting to kill people, ok?
Hawkish Republicans asking for even more money for the military, you do realize the already ridiculous amount of money spent, right? So, on that request for more money – umm, how about NO. We don’t need to spend any more money on the tools of human destruction.
You trust in God, right? It’s right there on the money. Trust in that and let’s leave the bombs in the warehouse.
2. Take Care Of The Poor
Which takes us to feeding the hungry. Jesus was all about feeding the hungry – turning water into wine – multiplying loaves of bread. All that money we save from not spending money for military offense we can spend on feeding, housing and clothing the poor.
Heck yeah! Now those words on that money are starting to mean something.
3. Get Rid Of Your Guns
While Jesus Christ allowed his apostles to have weapons (a sword), he said, “All who live by the sword die by the sword.” Considering gun violence in our country is absolutely out of control, I’d say Christ may have been on to something with this one.
The trust is in God, anyway, right? That trust should replace the fear mongering of the right-wing. Enough is enough.
4. Start Regulating Extreme Wealth
“And I tell you it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Oh, errr, well, this is awkward. With the motto printed right there on the money, it seems this scripture should perhaps be there as well. Listen up money hoarders, “we” trust God in the United States of America – so your greed that harms our country is no longer tolerated. See, we have this motto – “In God We Trust” and for that very reason – your greed is now illegal.
5. Stop Prosecuting People For Victimless Crimes
With this newfound trust in God, shouldn’t we stop prosecuting individuals for crimes that don’t harm others? Perhaps we should emulate the compassion of Christ. Let us not just lock up people and throw away the key but actually put money and resources towards helping people. Decriminalize drugs. Provide mental health treatment for things like addiction and abuse, rather than handing out jail sentences. Imagine the difference we could make in the lives of people! Hell yeah!
If punishment is needed, that should come from God anyway, right? We are trusting that he will take care of all of that later. Why the rush?
Certainly, we will still need things like prisons for those that pose great risks to society – murderers, rapists, politicians who allow water to be tainted with poison and handed out to little children for the sake of profits. . .
Ok, you get the point – this list could be substantially longer but to avoid any more risk of TL;DR I’ll stop there.
So, when it’s ruled that those words “In God We Trust” belong on the currency of a country that celebrates the separation of church and state – I look forward to the improvements that shall come with all these liberal, Christ-like principles that will drive the state of our union for years to come.
Featured image via Flickr/ChrisYarzab