Marco Rubio, a U.S. Senator from Florida and would be next president of our great nation, stated during the 2012 Republican National Convention that, “Our national motto is In God we Trust reminding us that faith in our Creator is the most important American value of all.” Although he said this two years ago, I just read the quote now, and I am sure he still believes it.
Now, In God we Trust in our national motto today, but it didn’t always use to be that way. At one time (at least unofficially) it was E Pluribus Unum, which means, “one out of many” or “one from many.” It is a Latin phrase and it is on the Seal of the United States. It’s meaning is that from many groups and nations, we form one people, one country. A “melting pot” if you will.
I think it much better sums up our nation’s history, traditions, heritage and founding than “In God we Trust”, which didn’t become our national motto until 1956. Some people have pants older than that!
In God we Trust was made the national motto when not believing in a god was not only considered communist but unpatriotic, evil, etc. It was a time when children were still forced to pray in public schools. A time when those who wanted to use the government to further and advocate their religious beliefs (such as on a motto, on the money or in the Pledge of Allegiance) could do so.
Now, 1956 was a long, long, long time after the founding of our republic, so pointing to a motto of it hardly shows intent by the Founding Fathers when it comes to religion and government.
Now, at least 5% and maybe 10% of Americans don’t have a belief in a god. They are atheists, agnostics, non-theists, etc. So a belief in a god can’t be one of their values. But Rubio, and others like them, don’t really care about people like that. They wouldn’t vote for him anyway in large numbers, and he probably wonders about their patriotism, anyway.
Some people believe in a god but they don’t have “faith” in a god. Now, you might object and say they are the same thing. No, they aren’t. Someone who has faith in a god definitely believes in a god, but someone who believes in a god doesn’t necessary have faith in one. Faith is belief based on unsupported or un-verified evidence.
Founders like Thomas Jefferson had a belief in a deist like god or entity based on reason. Of course, they lived before modern science which showed that a god isn’t necessary for life or the universe to exist.
Now, is faith, or even belief, the most important American value? That is the crux of the matter. Is it more important than free speech, press, due process, to vote for representatives? Or even the free exercise of religion? Well, no.
Of course not. Someone like Rubio would respond that Jefferson wrote of a Creator in the Declaration of Independence, but again, Jefferson didn’t have faith, but belief. and the Creator of the Declaration was a much different entity than the god of Marco Rubio.
Also, as I mentioned previously, Jefferson lived before Einstein, Darwin, Dawkins and the scientific knowledge we have today. Lastly, a Creator can be defined as nature or its’ processes, which don’t even involve a deist like god.
Finally, an American value is simply what we as Americans define it. Jefferson could be wrong, and the Creator that he speaks, is a myth. Indeed, Christians who find Jefferson and Madison not religious enough don’t have to distort them to make them out as more religious than they were, but just say they were wrong.
The founders of our nation weren’t gods and weren’t all wise. They didn’t define America forever for all Americans based on what they believed anymore than England is forever defined by the ideas of Henry VIII in the 16th century.
If you want to support keeping church/state separate (the very opposite of Rubio’s beliefs) maybe become a member of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State or Freedom from Religion Foundation.
P.S. President Ronald Reagan had said, “If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.” I will be writing on that quote and why it is wrong, soon, please check back.