As the years go on, the United States is becoming a less religious nation. Among those Americans who remain religious, fewer and fewer are accepting worship of the Christian God. The fact is that, in terms of religion, the United States is now multicultural. We aren’t united under any religious belief, much less under a trust in the Christian God.
Members of Congress, however, have found it politically useful to exploit the anxiety of the shrinking number of American Christians. Many Christians can accept the fact that their religion has a waning cultural influence in the United States, but large numbers of Christians are upset about it.
Of course, Congress can’t really do much to compel Americans into Christian worship. There have been years of official prayers in the U.S. Capitol, and over a decade of government-funded “faith-based initiatives”. In that time, American Christianity, and religious worship in general, have still been diminishing.
What Congress can do, however, is to pass a toothless resolution that gives its members the opportunity to adopt a meaningless pose, seeming to be defenders of Christian religious traditionalism while in fact doing little to help Christians, or any other religion. The U.S. House of Representatives can’t agree on any legislation to create jobs, or to provide relief from growing economic inequality, but it can pass a resolution reaffirming that the phrase “In God We Trust” is the national motto.
If there is a God, then surely, God doesn’t need the support of a congressional resolution. If there is not a God, then this congressional resolution has no point at all. The truth is that there is increasing distrust in the idea of God in the United States, and increasing disagreement on religious issues. If Congress passes any resolution on the subject, it should be to reaffirm that the government should simply stay out of religious affairs, and neither promote nor oppose any religious beliefs.
The U.S. House of Representatives couldn’t help itself yesterday, though, and so it voted overwhelmingly to pass H. Con. Res. 13, reaffirming that the phrase “In God We Trust” is the national motto. The resolution promotes one religious tradition in our diverse society, encouraging the belief that the USA is a Christian nation rather than a nation of freedom of religion.
There are no legal founding documents that in any way suggest that belief in God is at all a part of the national identity. The Constitution only mentions religion in order to prohibit government establishment of religion and other forms of religious discrimination.
Yet, yesterday, only nine members of Congress had the courage to vote against H. Con. Res. 13, and to take a stand for religious freedom and diversity in America. They were:
These few U.S. Representatives deserve a sincere and hearty thank you from the American people, for standing up for the freedom of all, rather than government cheerleading for just one religious point of view.