So I get an email about someone close to us sending in a letter to the editor to the local paper (there, not here of course.) I have been very busy, but something in me could not let this just go, and so I wrote one back (hard telling if it will get published though).
Let me just say to start...the slow erosion of what has been tradition and cultural Judeo-Christian values and laws in the US does not surprise me, but I do find it interesting once again how we as humans can rationalize and do whatever we want...when it suits what we want. We all do it, so I am not angry or without understanding, rather it makes me reflect on what I am doing in a similar fashion.
Here is the original letter:
Swear Obama in on the constitution
On Jan. 20, Barack Obama will place his hand on a Bible -- the one Abraham Lincoln used, no less -- and take the oath of office as the 44th president of the United States of America.
As noble and inspirational sounding as it appears, one may ask if it is the proper way of administering the oath.
Contrary to popular belief, our country was not founded on Christianity. The First Amendment of the the Constitution of the United States prohibits the establishment of religion by Congress. Separation of church and state was a fundamental statement in our Bill of Rights.
Wouldn't it make more sense for the president, as well as all other elected public officials, to take the oath of office with his hand on the Constitution, which contains the laws they are to obey and uphold?
By swearing on this revered manuscript, the president would be abiding by the secular doctrine mandated by the First Amendment with no reference to a Bible and no "so help me God."
Randall S. Smith
Here is my response exactly as I sent it to the paper (I had to keep it within the 250 word limit...not to mention not write a small book):
Reading a recent letter commenting on using a Bible for the oath swearing, is it a good idea because of the separation of Church and state, and that the USA was not founded as a Christian nation, I had the following thoughts.
If God was in fact not at the most basic levels of the government's formation...why do so many documents reference Him (including the constitution that the letter's writer would have us use instead for oaths)? Why is our national motto "In God We Trust"? (not to mention it is on our money)
The point of the freedom of religion is just that...freedom to practice whichever religion one chooses (including the belief in nothing.) But trying to say that the USA does not have Christian, or at minimum monotheistic roots (a basic belief in "God") is closing our eyes to our past, and the writings of many of those that started this whole thing...not that by acknowledging it means we permit forcing anyone to believe anything.
Some may want this to change, and many are doing their best to accomplish this, but at least let us not alter history to achieve that end.
And may the LORD our God draw each of us closer to Him, and help us to love our neighbor as ourselves.