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Separation of church and state: Drawing a boundary

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Last week, the House of Representatives did a little voting on a pretty touchy subject here in the United States: religion. California Republican congressman Dan Lungren proposed that the words “In God We Trust” and the Pledge of Allegiance be engraved in prominent spots at the Capitol Visitor Center. Cost of the project: nearly $100,000, according to a McClatchy report.

The House, by the way, did approve it, and at an easy 410-8 vote.

Now who do you think was most upset by this? Coming in first place (and no surprise): the atheists; closely followed by the agnostics, skeptics and freethinkers, all groups that share one common belief: no God, god, gods, etc.

These groups were so upset by this event that the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation Inc. sued to put a stop to it, as McClatchy reported. Its accused Lungren of “trying to force his religious beliefs on as many as 15 percent of all U.S. adults.”

Unless there was a man with a gun in the Capitol Visitor Center whose main job and purpose was to put that gun to the heads of those walking in and make them repeat the words that have been proposed to be engraved there, then swear to uphold and believe in them, well, I just don’t see how the word “force” finds a place in the argument.

The main argument I can see against this proposal is based on the whole separation of church and state thing, which, I guess, makes some sense. However, weren’t we, as a country, founded on those beliefs? It obviously worked for us back then. We won the Revolutionary War as a bunch of farmers with pitchforks (with a little help from some Frenchmen across the pond). And looking at today, it sure seems things are less agreeable, less sound, less…united.

But, then again, there’s the money, which everything these days seems to go back to. How can our government afford $100,000 right now? We all know it can’t, we can’t as the taxpayers, but what’s $100,000 added to more than $11 trillion?

No matter what, it’s way too much.

It all boils down to what’s more important to you: your beliefs or your pocketbook.

Brittany @ July 20, 2009

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