February 12, 2011

Idiot of the Week: Rep. J. Randy Forbes

Rep. ForbesRep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA-4th District) is determined to put his god in our nation's public schools, but that is not enough. He also wants to send a message to all Americans that ours is a nation under his god. I realize that Rep. Forbes started his efforts to get Congress to reaffirm the absurd "In God We Trust" motto last month, but things have been heating up, and it is time to grant him the recognition he deserves.

H. Con. Res. 13 goes beyond reaffirming "In God We Trust" as the national motto of the U.S. It encourages public display of this motto in all government buildings and public schools. You can read it for yourself here. And after you have done so, I encourage you to read this letter sent by the Secular Coalition for America to the House Judiciary Committee.

Quoting from the Secular Coalition's letter:
The resolution’s passage out of the House Judiciary Committee would continue to alienate millions of Americans from their government and encroach further on the nation’s tradition of separation of church and state.
I think that Alonzo Fyfe (Atheist Ethicist) is exactly right when he characterizes the message of this resolution as follows:
WE trust in God. Do you want to be one of us? Then trust in God. Do you not trust in God, then you are not one of us.
That is indeed what is happening here. Regardless of whether Forbes himself sees this as mere pandering or something far more sinister, the impact is divisive. As Alonzo says,
This says to the world, "Of all of the things we value - of all of the things that identify us as Americans - we hold the principle of dividing citizens into classes based on their religious beliefs to be the most important."
Defeating the proposed reaffirmation of this motto is important, but really, the motto itself needs to be relegated to the dustbin of history. Rep. Forbes may be an idiot, but we who allow this sort of thing to continue must accept at least some of the blame.

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