"Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America."
It would appear that a combined Intelligence and Military exercise resulted in the death of someone who is none the worse for a good killing! But invoking God seems less than helpful, as it will be interpreted by radical Islamists as "Our God's better than your God". It will further fuel that fire. Wouldn't it be better to acknowledge that God takes no interest whatsoever in national and international affairs (as is borne out by history) and keep all such pronouncements strictly secular?
Seems to contradict the US stance of, "We are not at war with Islam." However, reference to god or not, there are those that will use this death as a means to rally others to their cause. No real winners here.
I agree with you, God is pretty well neutral about all the shenanigans that goes on, on planet earth!! He's just waiting for us to play out our parts, and wake up, from the dream.People want to play the vengeance game, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. They still believe their killing for God! They sure forgot about the commandment to LOVE...
So neutral, in fact, that it's hard to make a convincing case that he is there at all. hat's why it's better to leave him out of political rhetoric.
Nothing actually. The position of President is all about perception and deception. Nothing more.
"What's God got to do with it?"
Good question. I would prefer that public office holders leave God out of their public pronouncements. It strikes me as pandering to the religious right.
errr.... any Christian will tell you that God appoints those who govern us, they may be bad governors, but that's our choice in the issue.
They all answer to God for the decisions they take on our behalf.
Secularists have every right to ignore this, but it changes not one jot or tittle of Gods power.
For the record the UK is not a country that has separation of church and state, all elected governments swear allegiance to the Crown, whose head is also the Head of the official church of that country.
Limited though the Crowns powers may be, they (the King or Queen) still hold the power of veto on ANY law or decision made.
It would be extremely unlikely that they would exercise that power, in a parliamentary democracy, however it is equally unlikely that should the Queen be displeased with a particular government concept, the government would chose to pursue it, thereby causing a constitutional crisis.
Witness the fervour over this last weekend, as a huge number of people turned out to support a Royal Wedding.
3 billion people watched it worldwide.
Personally, without a body, I suspect that Osama Bin Laden (who has long been a CIA operative) is probably now in retirement somewhere quiet, never to be seen again as he once appeared, and as he is now officially dead, no longer hunted.
He served his purpose, especially propping up a defunct President by his timely death, and now they wish to close the issue.
For most Americans, the idea that a country has an official church is bizarre. Several "secular" European countries do.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_o … igions.svg
True, but these established churches go way back in history and were established mainly as political bulwarks against the power of Rome. Modern European custom and practice is for political leaders to avoid invoking God in their speeches.
I agree. I can't recall any European leader mentioning a god in their speeches.
Our Parliament still say a christian prayer before opening and invoke a god, yet we are a mainly secular society with a non religious prime minister, which I find amusing. A hangover from Westminster law.
And yet it's not odd to have a mainstream party called the "Christian Democrats" or "Christian Socialists" in several European countries.
Maybe mentioning "God" seems gratuitous in that case.
Sure, but the threat of Rome is long gone. Now having a state church is anachronistic. It seems these countries should do away with them, especially in none of them can those official churches speak on behalf of all citizens.
As a point of order, the Church of England is established in England. The Scottish and Irish churches are not. The C of E is almost absent from three of the four 'United' Kingdoms.
As for your assertion that any Christian will tell me that our leaders are appointed by God, etc. I think that wholly misrepresents Christianity. I think only a rather extreme and mercifully small proportion believes any such thing.
LET EVERY person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction], and those that exist do so by God's appointment.
The bible would seem to disagree with your belief that the number who subscribe to God given authority is mercifully small.
I would agree that most of those in Churchianity possibly are unaware this verse even exists, or like secularists attempt to ignore it, however, it's scripture and it stands, and 'mercifully' there is nothing the secular world can do about it.
The rest of the 'United Kingdom' whatever church they belong to (or none) still swear allegiance to the Queen, and as such accept the authority of Her church in their lives.
I seem to remember Henry VIII had quite a thing about oaths of allegiance, and charges of treason for refusing them.
Sorry, but trotting out a verse written by Paul in a letter to early Roman churches doesn't constitute an argument. You are also failing to distinguish between venerable customs which are hard to repeal (but are universally ignored) and modern de facto customs and practices, among which is the fact that European political leaders do not invoke God.
Just because it's hard to repeal doesn't mean it shouldn't be. If the tradition is universally ignored anyway, then shouldn't it make it easy? I'm sure the atheists, Hindus, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, and other religious minorities wouldn't object.
Yes of course, but as it is ignored anyway and as there are always many more pressing issues to address, disestablishment is pretty low down the priority list. Focusing on it might risk stirring up the dormant religious right. We can do without that!
So it's better to let the religious right have their meaningless government-endorsed symbolism, even if it annoys lots of people and is exclusionary, since there are more important things to work on.
Sounds reasonable to me.
What was the OP about again?
It's quite difficult and wasteful of parliamentary time to change legislation. It's very easy for a speaker to moderate his language.
Not at all. As I stated earlier, there is substantial electoral benefit for an American politician to invoke God. Since politicians typically like to win elections, not lose them, then as long as this incentive exists, the practice will continue.
The exact same is the case with England's atavistic possession of an official church. It isn't about "wasting time" enacting legislation to get rid of this exclusionary vestige of history - that is what MPs are supposed to do - but rather the ugly political war that will cost politicians their jobs if they bring it up (and also remind the world that the religious right exist in England, too). They have nothing to lose by maintaining the status quo.
yes, his ratings went down! After all he was idolized as some sort of messiah, before he went into office..The people put their hopes in him...and of course he took a great fall, as all idols do He didn't know what he was doing..he was too inexperienced..
This is much ado about nothing. No one thinks that President Obama is going to invoke a holy war with Muslim states with the paltry religious expressions he invokes. And if you're right and this is something we need to be concerned about, then watching our tongue isn't going to work because if they can be provoked by such windy platitudes, they will be provoked by anything.
It's not just about provoking the militant Islamists. It's also about exclusivity. If the President wants to unify citizens around this event, he'd be better to use inclusive language.
American presidents have been invoking the Almighty since George Washington for all kinds of projects, especially military actions. The people that are put off by such comments are mostly hyper-sensitive atheists who protest every time they hear the G-word.
Besides, being "inconclusivistic" isn't an Article II function! And one factor that has been important in uniting the American people is the acknowledgment of God. This is why He is invoked so often by politicians.
And has He stepped into the fray? If yes, please give examples. If no, which is the more likely: that He is impartial in war, or that He doesn't exist?
Go back and look at your own quotes. These have nothing to do with actual actions on the part of God in relation to war. In the one, he's quoting the Pledge of Allegiance (I'm surprised he knows it) and the second is a sign off that presidents often give in speeches which boils down to "God Bless America."
You really have to be looking for a fight to think that those innocuous platitudes are going to divide the nation or launch a new phase on the ongoing jihad.
I was responding to your post, and your reference to 'all kinds of projects, especially military action'
And I was simply trying to place the president's remarks in a historical context, not make some actual statement about God's workings in US relations. The theistic references have been historically non-divisive and unremarkable.
Sometimes I get the impression, given the president's level of hubris, that his references to the Deity are references to himself, in which case, I'd be worried too.
I would ask you three questions to help clarify.
First: Do you believe that the GWOT is a religous war from the US perspective?
Second: Do you believe that the GWOT is a religous war from Al Queada's perspective?
Third: Do you believe that the GWOT is a religous war?
#1--Not in the way that historians use that term, but it does have religious dimensions to it.
#3--No, but it doesn't matter what I think. If Al Quaeda thinks it is, we may have a religious war thrust upon us, whether we wish it or not.
Your answer to #3 is key. They do see it that way. Because this is true, why should the US encourage the idea by peppering their rhetoric with references to God? Especially if it implies that God has chosen sides and that side is America. It only supplies fodder for the extremist.
Having said that, I'll say this. The speach was made by an American to Americans. In that respect, it shouldn't matter.
Yes and no. The speech was broadcast live to the World. I watched it in Qatar, on BBC World, but it was also available on Al Jazeera, CNN World, and a host of others. We're a joined up World now. US Pres can't assume a speech is purely for a domestic audience, unless it is of no Global interest, like your Medicare stuff, for example.
Good point, however context has to mean something....You can't go around trying to predict how someone may react based on how they may interpret.....I do agree with you on this particular issue regarding being secular. Not because we as Americans should not make religous references, but because in this particular instance we are dealing with people who are viewing us from a perspective of religion. Negatively at that.
I think he was aiming those closing remarks at the wild crowd that was chanting "USA!" and celebrating. You can't speak well without a clear concept of your audience, and Obama is a very smart public speaker. If those people had been Satanists he'd have said "Thank Satan for this glorious victory!" It had nothing to do with God and everything to do with pandering to his largely Christian audience.
I guess that omitting reference to a god would have the less bright half the US up in arms also.
Adding further fuel to the modern day crusade initiated by the Bush family would be totally in line with the aims of fundamentalism and the Vatican.
I also think some will lose their lives because of it.
Unfortunately Americans will not tolerate a President who leaves this sort of language out of such speeches.
Plus, it's a slap in the face to the one true god - FSM. Thankfully, Pastafarians are pacifists.
Tony Blair was the first British PM in modern times to claim God's support for UK foreign policy. It felt like a regression to the bad old days of holy wars. It's completely unnecessary and contrary to the separation of church and state.
This was the most unbelievable part of the whole UK end of the Iraq fiasco. I have come to believe that as a devout Catholic, Blair was directly influenced by the Pope, the same pope who, at the same time, made a proclamation deeply offensive to Muslims.
Wasn't he a closet catholic at the time? From what I remember he defected to Rome from C of E after leaving office.
I thought he was always catholic myself. I don't usually keep up much but I do tend to look new kids on the world block quite thoroughly
December 2007, he finally converted, apparently:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen … 086753.ece
Well I learn something new every day. Devout christian, war on Islam, lucky that blood on his hands can be washed off with a few words from a priest huh !
Playing the devil's advocate... (even though I personally don't like anything religious invoked by politicians)
Who's saying the US is the only nation under God?
Who's saying Christians, Jews and Muslims don't worship the same God?
Who's arguing that only the US should be blessed by God?
I can understand not liking any religious reference being made by a government leader, but I don't think that there was ever any understanding of exclusivity. Obama's made clear in several speeches that the God that Muslims and Christians pray to is the same one, even if they use different names.
..so right Livelonger!
the unity in our diversity on the whole "God" issue is what is important, not the religious dogma.
and what has God got to do with it? well, everything is of God, all energy that is and forms mater is God, so "Everything" has got to do with it!
...as long as some religious believers don't abuse the meaning, and unfortunately some have. Some have taken "One nation, under God" not to be an opinion, but a mandate that our country explicitly follow Christian values, a Christian version of sharia. (I've heard/read that many, many times)
Avoiding the language altogether would help avoid that, but there are plenty of Americans who are suspicious of Obama unless he says "God" every 3rd or 4th word.
Unlike Trump, who says "f#%k" every 3rd or 4th word.
I think even the most diehard secularists and atheists would prefer "One Nation Under God, Indivisible..." to "F you!"
One is gratuitously offensive. The other is patronising. The gratuitously offensive is easier to deprecate, but the patronising leaves a bad taste for a long time.
Secular is best.
I am not a believer. But I give respect to all that worship no matter what God they pray to. When people pray in my presencelike at diner, funerals or any other reason, I bow my head and SHUTUP! I deeply respect the words "One Nation Under God, Indivisible..." for those were the beliefs of the founding fathers of this great nation. It is also the foundation of our laws. We are the melting pot, learn to respect each others views. If congress could do that they could solve the issues facing our nation.
No, it wasn't. It was created a little over a hundred years ago, long after the founding fathers had died, and the "under God" part was added in the 1950s.
But that is a matter of opinion. There are many agnostics and atheists out there who would not concur.
...one's dogma is not always of the religious defined nature...
at the core of beliefs of what "IS" or "IS NOT", God as the order and structure of the Universe and how it works doesn't change just because any particular person says so one way or the other
You see. I would prefer to omit two words, and say:
at the core of beliefs of what "IS" or "IS NOT", the order and structure of the Universe and how it works doesn't change just because any particular person says so one way or the other.
(Because the case for God being equivalent to and also distinguishable from 'the order and structure of the Universe' is not proven.)
...but when said the way I said it, with the word God intact, I am not taking sides or saying any one side is right or wrong...your way stills says one is right and one is wrong
I don't see it that way at all. I see it as not closing an open question. We all know there is a Universe. We don't all know there is a God. So let's not enlist others into our belief systems without their consent.
...but that is exactly what is happening when God is omitted...
And is he in a position to make that assertion? I don't think political office qualifies anyone to enumerate deities. Better to steer well clear.
I agree it's a better idea to steer clear, but you do have to do the whole "God & country" thing to get elected president in this country, unfortunately.
And it doesn't matter if he's in the position to assert that Christians and Muslims pray to the same God. He's on the record recognizing it that way, so when he mentions God, he clearly doesn't mean "the Christian God, and not the Muslim God."
I know. And until that changes (and not just in America) there will be no peace in the World.'clearly' to you, as a sophisticated listener, but not to the many who will interpret 'God' to mean the Christian God of USA.
There will be plenty of war and violence even after we move beyond the whole "God and country" thing. Peace does not hinge on stopping pandering to the overtly religious and patriotic, unfortunately.
I suppose so. But those people are inclined to hear/believe what they want anyway.
I know. There are many factors. Recognising that one among them is not unique is not reason not to discourage it.
And that will never, ever change.
Thats a good point.. I was thinking of that earlier..God, being God, would love everyone equally and unconditionally!
It is an expected "kind of speech", sort of "God Bless America" and it is what people want to hear. According to the latest data, here in the US, there are 181 M out of 228 M adult population who are still believers. As of the latest census (2010), US has 308 M plus total population.
Most UK folk cringe a little at the God bless America rhetoric. It comes across either as phony or as confrontational. Personally I don't see any evidence for a God, but that aside, I think many of the World's problems have come from nations seconding God to their cause.
Hi Dave, long way to go here in the US specially with the increase in the numbers of Latin immigrants which are predominantly Christians (Catholic). In fact, the number of believers in diff Christian denomination here is increasing if you compare data in three periods (the latest 2008), not a bit decreasing. In most part of Europe this is not the case. Religion, we may argue caused conflict in different times through history but its advantages lie in serving as cohesive factor in families and value formation. While of course it is debatable, it may take more time (not in our lives) for people to really move away from an organized religion. Religion put some order in societies - i.e., in forming laws (part of culture). It is a nations part of being and becoming. It is what others live for. Now when you go extremes, it is a different story. It is not religion that caused conflict, the people and their greediness.
Data - self identified religion USA - 3 different periods - US Census - http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/ … 1s0075.pdf
An interesting and valid point.
Islam guides Muslims political decisions as much as it does their private lives. Their vast differences in religious doctrines amongst their own will probably also equate to their own internal political differences. They most likely also wish to hear speeches with "Allah Bless Wherever" because that too is what they want to hear.
And, if the religious believers of America want to hear "God Bless America" then they too are mostly guided by their own internal differing religious beliefs in their political lives.
If both were true for the majority, then the Crusades and the Islamic Conquests are still very much alive and well, and evidently kicking.
That's Obama speaking to a deeply divided American people using language that appeals to his detractors, who, notwithstanding the significance of this achievement, will look for ANY possible fissure to discredit our president.
If he had failed to invoke God (in the words of our Pledge of Allegiance and the words of one of our patriotic songs -- which, btw, has been sung at the 7th inning of baseball games since 9/11), he would have been criticized soundly.
Correction: Even MORE soundly than he is being criticized for "taking the credit" (hello -- he's doing his job as commander-in-chief).
Of course, he did not defeat the entire alQaeda operation, and he has no actual "body" to present as proof, so he is still a commie failure to some critics.
Some people just can't separate the belief in God ,in America , and the fact that we can still believe in God and have a free and fair form of government not run by religions of any kind. Isn't, "One nation under God" who we are and Not! how we govern our nation.?
And, I have certain strengths , But I would find it hard to stand on the wall of freedoms vigilance and think that I was defending those who don't believe in a god or a country , especially your own country. Such are the free spending ways of atheists of all of our freedoms. No committment ,no sacrice , just the enjoyments of freedoms rewards.........
That's your issue, not mine. Whether you like it or not, atheists, agnostics, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, etc, etc - if they are citizens of a 'free' country, should be equal under the law. There are plenty of countries where this does not apply. If you've ever lived in such a country you'd understand better how undesirable it is.
Freedom means freedom. It doesn't mean 'freedom only if you think like me'.
What utter tosh!
I'm an atheist and don't need a god to have commitment to my country.
You asked ," Whats God got to do with it" , I answer anything or nothing , what does it matter to an atheist. Does it matter to you that the President is a christian? If he says "God bless America", why do you care? Had he said "Praise be to Allah" , would you question that ? I think not somehow! A little P.C. over there? Perhaps he should have said "Praise be to Ralph Nader, that would be ok with you!
Whether the President says the name "God" really doesnt matter when you are talkin abou tterrorist. They will still thik that America is bad and they are good. Im sure there are some al quada sitting at a picnic bench saying..."damn them americans, I use to like them until they said God." No they will try to harm us even if we claimed islam as our national religion!
Rachael and Livelonger - I think you're both saying that really it's all about electioneering. If so, then I do agree with you.
Mindtrapz - International terrorism is fueled by foreign policy, just as domestic terrorism is fueled by domestic policy. The answer to both is to amend policy, not to wage phony wars.
Religion is the great soother. Just think how crazy the average citizen would be without the solace it offers.
Also Christianity and the great Liberal Tradition are the only forces that prevent Western culture from being absolutely monstrous.
So why not be reminded of it in a speech...
Good answer too. In fact we're touching on a deeper point. If America, and hence its President, would style itself as the leader of the 'free' world, then it has to attune to the socio-political norms of that world, which is increasingly secular. There's no way that US will lead the West back to a religious politics. On the other hand, if US wants to be more insular, even isolationist, then it has no such responsibility to other countries. But that would be a shame.
I'm torn on the issue regarding America being the "leader of the free world" or returning to a more isolationist stance on foriegn policy. Our current economic situation seems to indicate that it would be beneficial to turn inward. However, I can't ignore the economic impact that our current foriegn policy has had on the world economy. Basically it's a decision between a interventionist and isolationist foriegn policy ideology. A happy medium might be best for now. A drastic change now could lead to a world wide economic colapse and even world war.
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