Well, bless their spiritually fragile hearts, the Pharisees of the Texas legislature have mandated that posters of our nation’s motto, ”In God We Trust,” be hung in elementary and secondary schools. Unlike in Mississippi, they are not forcing taxpayers to pay for such displays; the rule applies only to donated posters. Fortunately for the souls of Texas chilluns, there is no end of people eager to donate. No child of Texas shall be confused about whether to trust the man in the car offering her candy now, unless he looks like God.
According to its proponents, this will be a beautiful affirmation of our nation’s collective devotion to a sovereign God. Well, you know. Most of our nation anyway. The good parts. And it allows God back in our schools. I say if God can get past the armed guards and locked doors, He really doesn’t require any more signage. He’s got things covered, and while he’s in there, maybe he can stick his big Finger in the barrel of the odd assault rifle now and then.
It’s an interesting fact that the use of “In God We Trust” has passed legal muster time and again against those who believe it crosses the line that is supposed to separate church and state. The legal justification boils down to “By now, everyone knows nobody means anything by it.” Why bother then? Well. You know. God.
The Texas version is called the “In God We Trust Act,” and an act it surely is. Like it or no, it’s our official national motto now. A lot of the fans of this legislation would, in other contexts and for other purposes, call themselves Originalists, and huff and puff about the Framers’ intent, but the Framers had nothing to do with this. There’s nothing Original about this motto. It’s not even as old as I am.
It was dreamed up and brandished in front of the world in 1956 and basically it meant “At Least We’re Not Commies.” It’s serving the same purpose today, but without the Commies. You can fill in your own villains and there is a plentiful supply on tap—entire think tanks are devoted to fabricating them. People who suggest that Black lives matter? Terrorists. Gays? Predators. Radical Socialists and Liberals? Hey, that’s us! We won’t even get into the atheists, the agnostics, or even the Christians who prefer to pray to their god in private, as instructed in Matthew 6:6. We can dismiss all those people, because we’ve already stated that our nation has a collective devotion to God, so anyone falling out of line is not a real American.
This sort of strutting is happening all over. It’s the opening crusade of Project Blitz, an effort by the Christian Right to ensure that God is not only All-Knowing and All-Seeing, but All Over. The goal is to codify us as a Christian nation, and not the sissy Jesus kind, either. Several states already mandate religious spectacles and require Bible lessons in public schools. Virginia is slapping In God We Trust decals on their state vehicles. I guess the seat belts can go, too. Boxes of American-flag pull-ups are on their way to South Dakota preschools. Ultimately we will achieve that ideal State, wherein queers, immigrants, intellectuals, scientists, insubordinate females, and other undesirables can finally be done away with. The template is on clear display in Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, but don’t worry—our version will be pure because our God kicks ass.
The interesting thing about “In God We Trust” is the motto it replaced. E pluribus unum: Out of many, one. That our strength as a nation is derived not from a sovereign, human or divine, but from the power of our diversity, as we come together to provide for the common good. That as much as we cherish our independence and our civil rights and freedoms, we are even stronger for banding together.
Well, that had to go. We are not about to start down that road to socialism that might result in such affronts to personal liberty as fire departments, public transit, roads, schools, security, and a better life for all. We’re not about to shell out for any of that. We’ll take our chances; we put our trust in God.
United we stand. Divided we sell the farm to pay for our cancer treatment.
Murr, I am so glad that I am old now. Mind you, aging sucks. But I have way fewer years in front of me than behind me, so with luck I will die before they come after me: a book-reading, uppity, atheist female, who prefers animals to people.
Ah, and yet you engage.
Sweet Jesus. Texas is a dreadful place. I guess if you’ve got to live there, you’ve got to have some kind of magical beliefs in the supernatural to have a little peace in your heart.
I’ve never been south of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, myself. There’s some stuff I’d love to see, but I’m not sure any of it is in Texas.
Interesting thing is, they never said what LANGUAGE that phrase had to be in. I read about a guy who’s producing these posters in many languages. His first is Arabic, but he’s getting other translations made too.
I did read about the Arabic version! Among other things, he plans to sue if they don’t hang his poster, since it’s MANDATORY. This could be interesting. Probably get all the way to the Supreme Court, where Clarence Thomas will growl that “If we don’t stop this now, they’re going to start using Arabic numerals.”
Now now, you hippies! If those kids & teachers don’t have God to put their trust in, then who else? Certainly not the 375 law enforcement officers who stood by on school grounds while that lone gunmen slaughtered 19 kids & 2 adults. Susan is right, Texas is a dreadful state. They’ve been wanting to secede long enough, it’s high time we let them.
We should either let them secede, or give them to Mexico. I am totally over the southern states. Maybe instead of integrating them into the “United States”, (if EVER there was a misnomer, that is it!), we should have let them go it alone. Fuck them!
There are some bastions of sanity in the South: The Research Triangle of NC, Fani Willis’s courtroom in Fulton Co. GA, and, uh – my house.
I’ll be sure to stop over there if I’m in the neighborhood! Sort of like a safe house on the underground railroad.
Testing, testing… my earlier comment didn’t take
Yes it did, Doug! Who knows where the gremlins are? Your computer, or MY WHOLE SITE? Ours is not to know…
Put me in mind of Jean Shepherd’s book. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_God_We_Trust:_All_Others_Pay_Cash
Make sure that the children learn early and often about god – which means the right one…there is only one god, right? (My favorite religious philosophy is George Carlin’s take on Frisbeeanism)
So many things to teach the young.
The second thing – I wish I could share an image of the way your blog comes up when I read it…just after the “Continue Reading” link is another link that directs one towards marvelous but sad material…there is a [READ MORE] Sponsored then a picture of Dr. Phil. After this is a “Thoughts & Parayers Go Out to Dr. Phil and yet another Continu Reading link. If Dr. Phil, were capable, perhaps he should read your musings and be comforted by “In God We Trust”! Let’s all hope that best for him!
(Yes, another wonderful article…thanks!)
Thanks! I have not invited Dr. Phil anywhere near my blog. He’s crashing it.
If you have Ad Block, you don’t see any ads anywhere. It’s lovely! Anytime a website tells me that I have to disable the ad blocker to view content, I just don’t bother going to that website.
In my opinion, religion should not be allowed in schools, nor in politics. But I live way down under the equator, so “they” won’t be taking any notice of my small voice. I am really, really sorry to hear this is happening though.
It’s bad here, but a lot of things that are bad here are being replicated all over the world. We need that pendulum headed the other direction.
Wow! This rambling nonsense sounds as if it were written by a man-hating, self’identifying-intellectual’, atheist lesbian. Hardly what we’d call the majority population in our country- but go on now, continue finding new nonsense to be enraged by. We all know it’s your only sole purpose for living!
Should I forward this to my friends in Texas?
And to all your exes also.
This post is devastating and heart-breaking and brutal funny, and I’m glad I’m really old, too.
You and me both, sister. It amazes me that people are still making babies. Seems so unfair to them. Although of course I approve fully of all babies in my orbit…
James Falkner…uhh…you already did, but thanks for asking!!!
Brutally funny, for sure, and all too true. Y’all (I’m not native but I DO like the feel of “y’all”) have probably already read that a N. Texas school district has rejected a request to hang “In God we Trust” plaques, printed in Arabic or in rainbow colors.
The request will continue, I’m sure.
We leftist/atheist/socialist/LGBTQ supporting “intellectuals” are doing our best down here. Hopefully the pendulum will swing back toward the center.
Or maybe a little beyond. Thanks for visiting!
The ‘reply’ (to this comment) option has disappeared, so I will agree with Susan too. Texas is a dreadful state. They’ve been wanting to secede long enough, it’s high time we let them.
My late brother in East Texas was enraged when they stopped his far-right fundamentalist Christian group from conducting prayer services and handing out new testaments in the public schools. “This is Mur-i-cuh!” he mansplained to me, as if I didn’t know, since I fled Texas to live in Canada in 1971. “We got freedom of ree-li-gun in Mur-i-cuh!”
“Then I guess you’re okay with the Muslims coming in and holding prayer services on Friday mornings with the kids and giving out copies of the Holy Quran?” “Hell NO!” He shouted back at me. “Freedom of ree-li-jun is fur followers of Jesus Christ, not heathens!”
Just go along the Red River and post signs that say, “You are now leaving Civil Territory”. Though to tell the truth, that cancer is out of control and I’m afraid it may very well kill what was once a reasonable democracy.
I remain amazed at the inability of some to imagine someone else’s reality. To put themselves in someone else’s shoes, such as a devout Muslim’s. An immigrant’s. A young black man’s. A voting Democrat’s. (Is anyone else offended that we majority voters are being accused of stealing an election?)
As most guilty people do, it seems that republicans are accusing democrats of the very things that they’ve committed. Dems were “stealing the election,” when Trump was the one insurrecting all over the place! Back when Clinton was president, all the republicans were up in arms about him — GASP! — having extramarital sex in the White House! And yet Newt and the rest of them were doing it, too. (Maybe not in the White House, but where else is the president going to have extramarital sex? Motel 6?) They’re all for “freedom of religion”… but what about freedom FROM religion? They are just a bunch of hypocrites.
Many many years ago, due to a combination of supremely bad luck and supremely poor judgement (both on my part), I lived for several years with a psychopath — that’s not the common metaphorical hyperbole, that was the real thing. One thing I learned was that when a psychopath accuses you of something you wouldn’t even consider doing, it’s a lead-pipe cinch that they are planning to do it to you, or perhaps, unbeknownst to you, already did. (I learned some other things too, but that’s for another post.) In subsequent years of observing the political scene, I noticed that the behavior of fascisti in the public sphere and that of psychopaths in the private sphere are pretty much identical.
I am absolutely sure you are correct. Still want to hear about the psychopath, though.
Jeremy, I read a really excellent book entitled The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout PhD. She says that roughly 10% of people are sociopaths, which is defined as people who lack a sense of guilt and empathy. They are able to act the part of a loving person when it suits them, but they do not actually feel it.
I hope that the person you lived with was a sociopath rather than an actual psychopath, as those people are COMPLETELY out of touch with reality and may kill you.
I suspect that the 10% who are sociopaths are all republicans, and the psychos are not only republicans, but the extreme right crazies like the proud boys, etc.
Mimi — Many years ago I read that the sociopath has standards of only a small group, like a gang, and rejects those of society, while the psychopath’s standards are all in her/his own head, which is as good as none at all as far as the rest of us are concerned. Years later I heard a medical student say it was just the reverse. Then I talked with someone who helped write the relevant parts of the DSM-V, and I can now say that I have no idea anymore — everybody seems to have their own definition. But thank you, I may check out that book.
Hooray! The ‘reply’ option is back! Maybe it intuited me ‘thankin’ (in my Native ex-Texican parlance) and quickly removed the reply option – but I know my way around a comment section. Republicans seem to have almost completely cornered the market on both hypocrisy and irony. The problem with the Democrats is a lack of the razor-edged tongue when needed. Too much gentlemanly behaviour is a an anchor around one’s neck in politics. I don’t know about anyone else but I am greatly enjoying watching DJT squirm and sweat right now. Great political theatre my dears. Hand me those opera glasses, I think his eyes are rolling back in his head and I want a good look!
Absolutely! The Democrats need spellbinding firebrands, but the party does not support such people, and among the TV talking heads, the Republican “never-Trumpers” and ex-Republicans seems to be the only ones we can always count on to tell it like it is. I have a theory that Democrats secretly fear that all Americans are, in their hearts, Republicans…
Back in May, right after I finished reading Annette Gordon Reed’s excellent Juneteenth, I realized I was soon going to be in Austin for a conference. YIKES. Have to admit I was somewhat horrified. Along with mad, angry, disgusted. Debated whether I should pack my Planned Parenthood scarf, and/or bring the whole HandMaid robe and hood, but since it was already hotter than hell (hmm, wonder why), I decided against it. I’d have to find some other way to stage my own personal protest. Yet, there was that one moment, at the State Capitol ( I mentioned to the staff that I had some issues I’d like to discuss. Any chance the governor was in residence? No? well okay), in the gift store, where I bought the prominently displayed book “How to WIN a Fight with a Conservative” and thought – okay – so there must be a goddess.
Next time you’ll have to pack your Planned Parenthood tube top.
I wonder if the same author has since written “How to WIN a Fight with 100,000 Heavily-Armed Fascisti Calling Themselves ‘Conservative'”?
See, I knew I should wait to read. Killer comments on a killer post.
Those words “In God We Trust” never used to bother me. I felt they were actually inclusive because they were generally saying “God” and not specifically Jesus or Allah or Vishnu, etc. So, as a Jew I was ok with that- I believe(d) in God. But now, the phrase has become tainted and I have become afraid, and I am now bothered quite a bit. I know I am not alone. I have enough like-minded friends and follow enough level-headed people on social media to know that. But are we (like-minded people) willing and able to stand up to these monsters? I do hope that I am long gone before it comes to a call for arms. As for my daughter, I worry, but she has a gun cabinet, training and a bad-ass attitude to go with it! I know she won’t go down with out a fight! But for my one daughter, I know those “Christians” are breeding 12 and swaddling them in the American flag.