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Sunday, July 01, 2007

For God and Country


"I do solemnly swear..."
"Hear O Israel the Lord our God,
the Lord is One."

"...that I will faithfully execute..."
"I believe in God, the Father Almighty
...
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary..."
"...the office of President of the United States..."
"There is no God but Allah
and Muhammad is His prophet."

"...and will to the best of my ability..."
"This is suffering;
this is the origin of suffering;
this is the cessation of suffering;
this is the path to the cessation of suffering.
"
"...preserve, protect and defend
the Constitution of the United States."

SO, HELP ME GOD.*
*comma optional

SO HELP ME GOD: Washington, DC is not Jerusalem.
SO HELP ME GOD: The Constitution is not the word of God.
SO HELP ME GOD: The President of the United States is not descended from the House of David.

Meanwhile, the evangelical voice of the U.S. charges forward
with a programmed zeal, droning in an Orwellian trance:

Sunrise in America. It's another chance to face the light.
Why wouldn't you want to? Who wants to keep walking in darkest shadows
when one need but turn around to change direction and go toward the light?


Honestly, I hate that drivel. It is presented as if we are all bats in the shadows, flitting through the darkness after sinful and misguided prey. Sadly, they fear us, because to them, we operate hidden in a veil they cannot penetrate. It's like on those cop shows, where the suspect is interrogated in a bright room behind one-way glass, while the minions watch from a darkened space. We can see them, but they can't see us. We could be corrupting their children, and they wouldn't know it. We could be sinning and they wouldn't be able to see us, that they might save us.

I suppose it bothers them that we are blessed (you should pardon the expression) by the Constitution with a right: the right to choose how we live our lives. The door to the church is just as accessible as the door to the bar (though only relatively recently on Sundays).

With all the talk recently about the three branches of government, it is still somewhat comforting to know that Theocracy is not the fourth. Citing God as the "creator" in the Declaration of Independence does not automatically mean that we have been deified. I know there have been many polls recently that have dealt with Americans' beliefs about the existence of God. The Founding Fathers believed in God too. That doesn't mean that they wanted to establish a holy and sacred country.

In fact, the founding principle is that God loves the entire creation, that we are all imbued with rights by virtue of being a piece of that creation. The architects of our republic understood that the moment we begin to raise ourselves, to declare ourselves as better in the eyes of God and first in the heart of Destiny, we will no longer tolerate the possibility of God's blessing in others.

These days, other countries, their regimes and their people are non-grata unless and until our government bestows a "most favored" knighthood upon them. The result: what our leaders hope is setting the devil to quivering in his boots, is actually a descent into global resentment.

Humility. You were wondering how we counteract the resentment? Humility must replace blind Texas machismo. It also happens to be the one quality that defines Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and Buddha. Truth and strength will out with just a little introspection. Otherwise we're just big gorillas with small guns and lots of money.

-PBG