Tuesday, February 03, 2009


So, there's a poll being conducted on MSNBC asking people to vote on whether or not "IN GOD WE TRUST" should be removed from U.S. currency.

To vote you can go here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10103521/

But the reason I'm posting is because of the tone of the email that's circulating the poll, and also because of the limited phrasing of the "choices" provided in the poll.

First of all, the message in the email essentially says "if you're Christian, forward this to everyone you know to keep this on our money -- and, by the way, this is not up for discussion, so don't write me back."

The questions on the polls are essentially: 1) remove from our currency as it is a violation of church and state, or 2) leave in for its historical value.

And both of these issues bother me for very similar reasons. Yes, there is a historical religious context upon which this country was founded. But there is also a patriarchal racially-intolerant context upon which this country was established that we, as a progressive and, well, thinking society, realized was ass-backwards and wrong, and have been working to eradicate for, like, ever.

So, the it's-the-way-it's-always-been argument just doesn't sit well with me, and really, as a supposedly forward-thinking superpower, actually hinders our own spiritual growth and undermines our global credibility by leaps and bounds.

And the other argument, the implied one, the one that says "if you're Christian, don't let them take this away from us" is one that I'm less comfortable writing about because I know how many of you will take offense to this. But this isn't about YOUR being Christian, it's about everyone else in this country (and that doesn't just mean the atheists) who don't believe in your SAME idea of God -- because maybe they believe in multiple gods, or spirits, or higher powers, or, yes, even nothing -- and who are, therefore, automatically disenfranchised, excluded from the theoretical protection of an almighty power watching over our financial establishments and our witnesses swearing on bibles and our political officials taking oaths of offices.

Because if they don't believe in exactly that, and if they believe in something different, then where does that leave them? Does that mean they believe in the power and freedom and opportunity this country offers any less than you do? Does that mean they're just a bunch of liars on the witness stands? Does that mean the only honest politicians are the ones who believe in God? Really? Do we want to go there?

And why is that ok with the rest of you who insist on God being included in everything? Why is it ok that by insisting on that that you're automatically telling a significant portion of the population (people who have worked just as hard as you to contribute to their communities, to raise good children, to help our flailing economy, who have good work ethics) that they don't belong here?

How is this any different from segregation? How is it any different from homophobia?

To exclude anyone from anything simply on the basis of their not fitting into your box, however you define that box, is discrimination.

And that just doesn't have a place in this world anymore. Does it?

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