June 14, 2016

Hillary Clinton: This is One Nation Under God

Hillary Clinton thinks we are one nation under god

Maybe I'm not being sufficiently charitable in how I read this. I'm sure whichever member of Hillary Clinton's campaign staff tweeted this was trying to project a message of unity and inclusion. No matter how one looks, who one loves, or how one worships, we're all human, etc. That was almost certainly the intent.

The thing is, this comes off as unnecessarily divisive to me. The U.S. is not a nation under any sort of gods. We are a secular democracy...okay, maybe more of a secular oligarchy. The point is that lots of us here don't believe in any gods and don't worship anything. And so, the first part of this message (i.e., that we are "one nation under God") seems inconsistent with the "for all" tacked on at the end.

What about those of us who recognize that there aren't any gods and are not interested in wasting our time pretending to worship something that doesn't exist? What about the atheists? Are we part of this country or not? And if we are, then why must so many politicians running for office go out of their way to exclude us with the god talk?

To make matters worse, this is a candidate that had (and may still have) ties to a powerful and secretive Christian extremist group with anti-democratic tendencies. Despite whatever strengths she may have, this is already enough to make some secular voters concerned about the degree to which she values the bedrock principle of separation of church and state. Messages like this one, even if unintended, do little to dispel those concerns.

I don't know who is going to win the upcoming election, but I imagine that it might end up being a closer contest than some have predicted. It seems to me that Clinton should not make the mistake of alienating atheists and others who desperately want a president who truly values church-state separation and reality-based policies.