FOX News Equates Religious Proclamations With Patriotism

05 November 2007

In 1822, James Madison explained the Constitutional separation between Church and State when he wrote that, "Every new and successful example, therefore, of a perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance; and I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together." At the time, our national motto was E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One).

In 1956, a Communist-fearing country chose to ignore James Madison's words and distinguish ourselves from the USSR atheists by adopting "In God we Trust" as our new "national motto."

Today, "In God We Trust — America Inc." (not to be confused with the Dead Kennedys album "In God We Trust, Inc.") has a referendum on the ballot in California where voters will decide whether or not to put the phrase "In God We Trust" in their public school classrooms. Not surprisingly, FOX News has a predictably awful column in which they equate the measure with an act of patriotism.

Let's examine one sentence from the story:

And she believes that most Americans have faith in God, so having the national motto posted in school shouldn't offend anyone.
Her argument: Most Americans believe in God, therefore no Americans will be offended if we use the United States government to promote a religious belief that 15% of Americans do not share. That conclusion most certainly does not follow. But Sullivan merely replies: "Sometimes you have to go with the majority." Nevermind the significant minority.

Let's examine another:
The councilwoman, who said she is a registered Republican and a Christian who attends a local Baptist church, told that she has neither a religious nor a political agenda in pushing for the measure. "It’s not political. It’s not religious. It’s patriotism," Sullivan said.
But let's take a look at how she defines "patriotism."
"American patriotism is love of God and love of country.
No. Patriotism is love of country. Religious belief is love of God. They're two different things. Something James Madison thought abundantly clear, and necessary to separate for the sake of both.

Also to nobody's surprise, there is not a single critical word of the proposal in the entire FOX article. Just a long story about why some people love it and think it's important, while "
Other Bakersfield residents said there's nothing wrong with posting the nation's motto on classroom walls — even if it does mention God."

There is just one sentence, near the end, that reads: "
Two other members on the five-person board have said they do not support the proposal." You'd think that the journalists at FOX would at least maybe include the reasons why.

All in all, I think that measures such as these trivialize religion, do nothing to promote patriotism, make non-believers out to be un-American (see George H.W. Bush: "
I don't know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation under God"), and ultimately just promotes a view that confuses ecclesiastical and civil matters.

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