Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Congressional Prayer Caucus Barks Up Wrong Tree

When I read that Randy Forbes had complained about something President Obama said in a speech while in Jakarta, I shook my head. (Here's the text of Forbes' complaint.) It seems Forbes and the rest of the Congressional Prayer Caucus are upset with President Obama (what else is new?) because Obama said that the National Motto is E Pluribus Unum (Out of One, Many). It's not, of course. The National Motto of the United States is One Nation Under God. So the Congressional Prayer Caucus got upset, using the stage as a chance to get another gig in on their political rival.

I have to believe Obama simply had a slip of the memory. We're talking trivia here, not strategic policy, economic planning or military operations. Forbes and the Congressional Prayer Caucus are barking up the wrong tree.

And they are being a bunch of hypocrites, too.

Frank Lockwood points out on his blog that none other than Ronald Reagan made the same statement, saying E Pluribus Unum is the National Motto. 


Of course, the Congressional Prayer Caucus wasn't around when Reagan said it, but I can't see them sending a complaint letter to The Gipper about his gaff. Maybe they would but I seriously doubt it. 

This is the same group that complained when President Obama omitted "God" from the "correct" interpretation of the Declaration of Independence when he used a summary statement and said that our rights are endowed but left off the phrase by their Creator.

First, Obama was paraphrasing and generalizing --- like we all do.

Second, the Declaration of Independence says Their Creator, not The Creator. (Yes, the emphasis is important.) Everyone has a different concept of god/spiritual things and for the State to decide which God(s) or even if there is a god is beyond the State's competence.

And, third, the Declaration of Independence is referring to the God who is like a clockmaker, not the Biblical, intervening God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and certainly not the New Testament Jesus of a divine nature who became flesh and walked among us. The understanding of "god" in the 18th century by most educated people was of a god who started this mess but doesn't intervene in the affairs of men. 

But, hey, never let a good righteous cause with a chance to score a political brownie point by manipulating the emotional whims of the faithful and gain a few votes stand in the way. (Where is my extreme sarcasm emoticon?) 

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