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26.3.04

Which God Will Bless America?

One frequent argument made with respect to the Pledge of Allegiance is that, if we took "under God" out of the pledge, we'd have to take "in God we trust" off our money. The implication is that "in God we trust" is obviously OK, but my reaction -- perhaps demonstrating what an out-of-touch northeastern liberal academic elitist I am -- is "what's God doing on my money in the first place?"

But I think citing "in God we trust" as an acceptable bit of religious establishment actually speaks well of conservative tolerance of other viewpoints. You often hear, with respect to things like the Ten Commandments, a variation on the argument "how would you like it if they were posting passages from the Qur'an?" -- the assumption being that Decalogueophile evangelicals would be unhappy to have another religion being promoted. But it seems to me that the Christian God -- the one who talked about "render unto Caesar" and camels going through the eyes of needles -- would be quite unhappy with being praised on our currency. So what god is it in whom we trust? I think it's safe to say that conservatives see no problem with government endorsement of Mammon.

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