Friday, August 04, 2006

In God We Trust

Bush declares the 50th anniversary of In God We Trust as our National Motto although we've imprinted it on our coins since the Civil War.

Note we say we trust in God; we don't say God's with us.

A good read as to why we made that distinction (and Unitarians and Universalists were part of it) is Harry Stout's Upon the Altar of the Nation: A Moral History of the Civil War
In this bayonet charge on romantic notions of the Civil War, Yale religious history professor Stout addresses a difficult historical question--What is the source of the unique "civil religion" of American patriotism?--by attempting to answer an equally difficult and potentially painful moral question: Was the American Civil War a "just war?" --from Brendan Driscoll's review on Amazon
I think Kennedy got God's place in politics just right in his second inaugural when he ended with,
With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.
I don't think Bush out-of-step with Lincoln or JFK's thinking on this one. Not at all. It's our Civil Religion forged back in the Civil War.

cross posted at Pfarrer Streccius

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