Wednesday, September 19, 2012

In God We Bluster

I have it on good authority that what America needs is jobs, jobs, jobs. And Mitt Romney knows where they are, are, are, but it's kind of a secret. So it's probably true, although I would argue that not just any jobs jobs jobs will do. For instance, we could totally employ a huge number of people to hand-dig us a mass grave that we can then all jump in, but that doesn't make it a good idea. Not even if Exxon Mobil and Arch Coal say it is. They've been mistaken about things before.

So one reason to vote for Romney is because he knows where the jobs jobs jobs are, and he has a plan for the economy. To wit, he, for one, is not going to tamper with the little bumpy bits on our coins. He is not only not going to remove God from our money, he is going to make sure He is right on the faces and not on the edges. This is big. I can almost feel the engine of commerce rumbling back to life. God has, of course, been on our coins even during the great recession, but He's got to be breathing a sigh of relief knowing His real estate isn't about to be yanked out from under Him. God didn't move into the paper-currency neighborhood until 1957. At that time, I was four years old and not all that productive, but sure enough ten years later I was pulling down fifty cents an hour for babysitting, so I know it works.

It's certainly a timely declaration of policy, because those coins have been carrying God around for over seventy years now, and He could slip off at any time. He's also parked in the Pledge of Allegiance and has resisted attempts to pry Him out. So far.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy in 1892 as a spare and sprightly little number, just something to dash off before your 'rithmetic drills, and it has gotten good and baubled up ever since, with one outfit after another hanging more and more trinkets off of it. By the time I learned it, it had gotten pudgy enough to require long pauses to prop it up with. Many people think that there is nothing about a simple statement that can't be improved by larding it up with more words. So the original "I pledge allegiance to my flag" became "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America" because someone fretted that little immigrant Irish kids might get confused over which specific flag required their loyalty. And later, in my lifetime, someone pasted in "under God" after the "one nation" part, in order to clear up any confusion that we were godless commies, which we by God were not. Well then. Now we've got a pledge stout enough to puff out the little chests we laid our little ten-year-old hands on. We didn't used to lay our hands on our chests, but times change. When Francis Bellamy got the ball rolling, schoolchildren raised their arms straight out toward the flag, palms down, but that little salute got the heave-ho in 1942 after Adolf Hitler ruined it, and the little hyphen mustache, for all eternity.

Theodore Roosevelt objected to putting God on our coins because  he thought, with some biblical justification, that it was sacrilegious to put the name of God on money, but modern Republicans recognize that it just makes money that much easier to worship. In God We Trust has thus become the official motto of the United States, replacing E Pluribus Unum (pluribus being Latin for "the 99%").

Nevertheless, some people still get upset about God being all over our money and our pledge, but a ruling in the sixties held that these practices were protected as "acts of ceremonial deism," which means that the rote repetition of the whole business has rendered it insignificant from a religious standpoint. Which is true: atheists still feel the prick of the word every time, like a splinter under the skin, but no one else really hears it anymore. So, legally, it is a meaningless enterprise that Romney is defending so fervently.

But times, as noted before, change, and the threat of commies has been superseded by multiple threats, from Islamists to scientists, so the pledge may be due for another implant:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, the real one who created the whole world and the sky and everything six thousand years ago and just try to get your other gods to pull off something like that, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, as long as you have photo ID.

Holy shit.

95 comments:

  1. How lucky I am to live in a secular nation. Thank you for the reminder.

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    1. Makes up for it being so hot and full of bunnies, huh?

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    2. Secular? Really? I hope John Howard's not reading this!

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    3. I hope little Johnny isn't reading this either. I really hope that.

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    4. You two talk amongst yourselves.

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  2. I loved the line about the money being easier to worship by Repubs! :) You know, we only have to deal with the queen on our money and I'm fine with that. It's fun seeing her chin sag progressively over decades of coinage.

    Here nobody talks much about religion! We are decidedly less religious than Americans. BUncha heathens living north of you!

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    1. I'm in a bit of a heathen enclave, myself. Oregon: the least-churched state in the union.

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    2. Folks who are truly Godly don't need to make a big deal of it.

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    3. You know, you wouldn't think so.

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  3. Great post! Just discovered your blog and will be back.

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    1. Excellent! I thought I recognized your picture.

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  4. I love this... So true, too funny!!!

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  5. Nice photo placements, Murr--you have God up top there, and the mustaschioed embodiment of evil, with a televangelist in between.

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    1. I do. Isn't that what that picture suggests to you? I think he's getting a message from Above right there.

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    2. I did like the juxtaposition, myself.

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  6. Wickedly funny post! For some reason, I thought of 'Arnold' and want to say, "What's you talkin' 'bout, Girl"! I well remember when 'under God' became part of the Pledge. I didn't mind saying it, but resented the requirement to say it or be expelled from school...

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    1. The part I minded was "to the Republic for which it stands," because I knew our family was Democrat.

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  7. Yep, Murr, you've not only got the gift of gab, but the gift of jab, too! Loved it!

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  8. Cannot agree more and agree with that wonderful humor you convey. I just may steal that pledge!! It is perfect. But I will add you name.

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    1. Have at it. Country needs more pledgin' and testifyin'. Or so I hear.

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  9. "...as long as you have photo ID."
    PERFECT!!!!

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  10. Well now I'm definatly voting for President Obama!

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    1. And I am defiantly voting for President Obama.

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  11. I'm voting for President Obama also. Great post, funny and enlightening. Most people think "In God We Trust" has been on money since forever. Not true.

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    1. Some of it since the Civil War, though. I was surprised. I thought it snuck in during the McCarthy era.

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  12. I never understood the long pauses. It is not that I care one way or the other about the actual words (does anybody really listen?), but the rhythm of it is way off. On the other hand, maybe it is the lack of rhythm that keeps the banal, insidious message from piercing my subconscious. I'm a big fan of sweating the small stuff. At least it has paid off this time.

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    1. I think the pauses are just for the slow kids to catch up.

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  13. Yeah! And what about this taking off your hat thing while reciting, hearing or even knowing of the pledge? What has that got to do with anything? And why do we have to hear the Star Spangled Banner before every sporting event? Enough of this stuff. I'm voting for Bob Dylan.

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    1. I can just about take the anthem before every sporting event, but I've about had it with God Bless America instead of Take Me Out To The Ballgame. Installed in 2001.

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    2. Me too! I really miss Take Me Out to the Ballgame.

      Also every time I hear someone say, "Got bless America," the little nine year old self inside my head says, "and God bless the whole world!" or as Tiny Tim would say, "God bless us, every one!"

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  14. Hey Murr! I thought they stopped the youngsters from doing the pledge? A bit too patriotic and non-inclusive, or some such tosh. But thanks for the money info, I'm intrigued. I could have told you about "Annuit Coeptis, Novus Ordo Seclorum", but the newer addition of "In God We Trust" was a surprise. Thankee! Indigo x

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    1. Trust YOU to know more about America than we do.

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    2. Oh, pshht! =p I just like a bit of a conspiracy theory. Nothing says Illuminati/New World Order like "Annuit Coeptis, Novus Ordo Seclorum" - "He [God] approves of our undertaking, a new Order for the Ages." Roth x

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  16. According to Rmoney I have to quit my job, stop paying taxes, and demand the government take care of me in order to vote for Obama. We all have to sacrifice something, I guess. In god we trust, all others pay cash.

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    1. Jean Shepherd! Yay!

      I always want to comment but I'm embarrassed to when the comment is always: Best column ever!

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  17. Well, being Canadian and all and worshipping maple leaves and beavers and trilliums and that sort of thing, I have a little trouble getting worked up about pledges of allegiance. We don't have 'em. We have hockey night in Canada though and God gets mentioned a lot at those games.

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    1. Did you know I live in the Beaver State?

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  18. You nailed it again, my smart/funny/talent friend, and you've definitely got my allegiance!

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  19. Murrmurrs, this is so funny and so sad all at the same time.

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  20. Fabulous line: "it just makes money that much easier to worship". Thanks for another good snort. :-)

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  21. Sweetiepie, you out dia'd yourself

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  22. Yes she did. Thank you, Murr! These people are really pissing me off and prejudicing me against Christians. That, and the whole "homeland" thing, that is supposed to make us not miss the 4th and 5th and 1st amendments.

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    1. You mean to say "homeland" does not make you feel all warm and secure?

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    2. Us old folks know who the previous owners of the word were, and they weren't Gawd-Fearin' Murricans.

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    3. I kinda like the sound of that word Murricans, though.

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  23. We solved everything by creating a bilingual national anthem. Now nobody knows the words very well and what bit should go in where, so a lot of mumbling goes on until we hit the end bit where we all rally and belt out "Oh Canada we stand on guard for thee". No pledges, no hands on heart, just a lot of jolly confusion. As for our money, the Queen on one side and a leaf (penny), a rodent (nickel), a boat (dime, a changing panorama of things (quarters), a loon (dollar) on the other. God is rather tastefully left out of it, thank goodness.

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    1. Well, if there be one, I'd be happy to give 'im credit for the loons.

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    2. I wish we had loonies! You guys really know how to do money up there.

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    3. Let's design our own. I vote salamanders rampant.

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    4. Let us not forget our Canadian two-dollar coin, the toonie, a bi-metallic coin with a polar bear on the reverse. And while we're at it, let us hope that we don't end up with polar bears only on the toonie.

      I'm dating myself here, but in our centennial year (1967) our coins all had fauna on the reverse - the penny had a dove, the nickel had a hare, the dime had a fish, the quarter had a bobcat. This was way before loonies and toonies, so they didn't have nuthin' :)

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    5. Nice...a whole bestiary! We only have disembodied heads of dead people. I like the idea of designing some new money. I think I'm going to try it....sounds like fun!

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  24. So I gather you (like me) will not be casting a vote for Romney.
    I can remember when I was in 6th grade they said we could no longer pray in school (like before eating our lunch). My mom told us to go ahead and do our prayer of thanks silently and if they ask what we are doing, we were to say "contemplating my naval." LOL

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    1. Last I checked my scriptures (I do that an awful lot, for an apatheist), they recommended the silent, all-by-yourself prayers anyway.

      You know, I know there are a lot of people out there who plan to vote against Obama. I can't imagine anyone voting FOR Romney.

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  25. Loved every moment of your blog, Murr. Enjoyed the thoughtful and hilariously sacrilegious comments almost as much. The God in the top illustration looks more to me like a depiction of Wilde's north wind who conjured hail. And speaking of hail, the little dictator with the hyphen-mustache doesn't quite do himself justice as an embodiment of pure evil in this photo while the image in the middle appears to be smugly weeping before God and his sheep-like 53% electorate that he must be President for he alone is of great worth; not to mention that being a Mormon is so much better than being Muslim. I am NOT, this term or ever, voting for the televangelist cause all they ever want is yer money; all you got; and it is not, as recently stated, this one's business to be concerned with salvation of the 47% or, I am sure, the sheep. CK

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  26. You make many good points of which I am going to extract only the one that no one's really mentioned so far:

    The dude's hard to look at.

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  27. I learned the Pledge as a pre-K student. Public The next year on the first day of school, we were taught the new version with "under God" added. In my 5 year old mind, I thought this was because we were in "real" school now and were big enough to memorize more words. Every public school day opened with a reading from the Bible, the Lord's Prayer, and the Pledge. The Catholic kids were allowed to skip some words not part of "their" Lord's Prayer, which even then struck me as odd and may well have sowed my earliest seeds of doubt about religion. This was in New Jersey, not exactly the Bible Belt. Well, I'm here to say that despite the early efforts at indoctrination, none of it took on this non-believer.

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    1. I love how children's minds work, though. You got the Big Kid pledge!

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  28. I am so relieved they added the photo ID.

    I was watching the PBS special, Death and the Civil War, and realized I had forgot a few words or the order of Lincoln's Gettysberg Address, so I need to work on that one a little bit.

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    1. If anyone at the polls says I look like my photo ID, I'll slap 'em.

      Of course, we send our ballots through the mail here, easy peezy. Our signatures are verified and that is that.

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  29. Wowee. I didn't know that about the hand sign. Very interesting. I still use it to salute people in the parking lot. I thought it meant. "Whoa. I'm driving where you're walking." Maybe Mitt's assistance policy will be tossing some of those "In God We Trust" coins at the riffraff as he drives by in his Rolls.

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    1. Naw. I'm pretty sure he's rocking a Ford F-150 pickup for the campaign. With a roof rack.

      Interesting about that salute, huh? Evidently they started the pledge like that, and then at the end, they turned their palms up. Seems kind of elegant.

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  30. Wonderful post - as always. It reminded me of this quote:

    "We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate.

    All are free to believe or not believe, all are free to practice a faith or not, and those who believe are free, and should be free, to to speak of and act on their belief.

    At the same time that our Constitution prohibits state establishment of religion, it protects the free exercise of all religions. And walking this fine line requires government to be strictly neutral."


    Who said it?

    Ronald Reagan.

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    1. Of course, RR wasn't near pious enough to pass muster now. By the way, I'm getting darned irritated at how sensible some of the people who I know for a fact were pure evil are sounding now. It ain't right. Can't we go a little forwarder?

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  31. I think we should lock all the Republicans in a big room together and make them define that god they all claim to worship. And don't let 'em out or allow them to vote until they do. They'll never stop bickering about whether the Mormon Republicans believe in the real Jesus. By that time the rest of us may have cars running on water, women will own their uteruses, and climate change will be a thing of the past. (hey, I can dream ...)

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    1. Got me dreaming too. I'm going to run my own uterus on beer.

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    2. Excellent. And of course pot will be legal.

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  32. I thought this was the new pledge:


    I pledge allegiance to the flag
    of the corporate states of America.
    And to the stockholders, for which they stand,
    one nation, under Mammon, socially divisible,
    with liberty and justice for some.

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    1. Nobody ever throws in references to Mammon anymore. I think it's a pity, and I salute YOU.

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  33. So you're Jerry's cousin. Known him for 40 years or so and didn't realize the whole family was equally distinguished. Think I'll follow along for a while, since you have a pretty fine-minded group of commenters. Holy shit, indeed.

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    1. I was going to say probably no one has ever referred to Jerry or me as "distinguished," but then I realized you didn't. You just said we were "equally distinguished." Welcome!

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  34. I remember having to learn to add "under God," and not liking the fact that it interrupted the flow. Never knew about that salute. Learn and Laugh at Murr's Place.

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  35. It just makes money that much easier to worship - you sure said it.
    When and where I went to school, there were only Catholics and Protestants so the Lords prayer etc was no problem. All schools were "Christian" schools. Now with so many races, creeds and religions, it makes sense to drop it. and now "Christian Schools" are run by nut bars who teach non-science.

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    1. We at Murrmurrs, Inc. are science fans.

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  36. Thanks so much for this blog. I've lived 70 years not knowing that having God on our money made it easier to worship. Without you, I could have died not knowing.

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    1. Even then, they put coins on your eyes, so you'd still have a crack at it.

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