One nation under God

Thoughts from Behind the Pressline

No other country in the world enjoys the freedoms and the prosperity that we do in the United States. The grand experiment, launched so many years ago, was to create a country free from tyranny with each person free to pursue life, liberty and happiness under the self-evident truth that all are created equal and endowed by their creator with unalienable rights.

The concept that we are “One nation under God” continues to be challenged by groups offended by the concept that so many hold dear. One such group is the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). This group has skillfully used the freedoms we enjoy to create an educational, watchdog organization that is made up of “free-thinkers,” agnostics and atheists that aim to keep church and state separate through what they claim is “persuasion and education.” Recently it forced the leaders in the city of Steubenville, Ohio with the threat of a lawsuit aimed at changing their official logo because it included a silhouette of a cross from the Franciscan University Chapel. Despite the fact that the Franciscan School is one of the leading employers in the area and one of the most recognized entities in the city, the fact that they are religiously based apparently means that their contribution to the community should not be recognized. Organizations like FFRF are now taking advantage of cash strapped communities and governments who fear lawsuits while struggling with ever-shrinking budgets.

Most recently, and without discussion, Essex County New York Board of Supervisors Chairman Randy Douglas decided to abandon the practice of prayer before the board’s monthly meetings after reading a newspaper editorial suggesting that prayer had no place in government. The editorial was responding to recent discussions in Washington County, N.Y. over the wording of the prayer offered by their official chaplain, causing the New York Civil Liberties Union to threaten suit. In this case, without NYCL even asking, chairman Douglas led the retreat to abandon prayer, instead of investigating other modifications so as to make it acceptable.

Dan Alexander is Associate Publisher of New Market Press. He can be reached at at dan@newmarketpressvt.com.

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