Saturday, May 14, 2011

God Bless America


The other day I was web surfing on YouTube and came across God Bless America sung by the amazing Kate Smith. It's one of my favorite songs, and it became Ms. Smith's signature song during her long career. It's truly an inspiring song (watch the video and see if you can spot a future President doing a cameo role). The song was particularly popular in the 1940s, and was rediscovered in the 1970s when it became the Philadelphia Flyers good luck charm. Every time her version of the song was played at a game, the Flyers seemed to win. As a kid, I was a big Flyers fan.

What caught my eye after watching the video, was the accompanying advertisement that was displayed next to the YouTube video screen. YouTube like many websites tries to target its advertisements to the likely viewer of the video. In this case, the advertisement was “Repeal Obama,” from a right-wing organization called Newsmax.com.

I guess YouTube and Newsmax figured that people who watch a video of God Bless America are likely to be patriotic and anti-Obama. Whatever the case, I was insulted by this over generalization. Believe it or not, Democrats, Independents, and even people who support President Obama can be deeply patriotic. There seems to be a general presumption that the Republican Party is patriotic while the Democrats and President Obama are unpatriotic. All I can say is Hogwash! 

Another thing that drives me crazy is when people say the “Separation of Church and State” is a myth and that the United States was founded on Christianity.

Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution does it mention or refer to God. In fact, it says, “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust.”

Moreover, the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Our founding fathers made it abundantly clear that the United States was to be a secular state. In fact, the U.S. Treaty with Tripoli in 1797 reaffirmed the Separation of Church and State. It was written while George Washington was President, passed with unanimous consent in the U.S. Senate, and signed by President John Adams. It states, in part, “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. . .” (US Treaty with Tripoli-Article 11.)

So next time someone tells you the United States was founded on Christian principles, you can politely tell them otherwise.

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