Wednesday, January 12, 2005

One Nation Under God?

One of the things that startled me on my first exposure to a military chaplain was how he managed to do a benediction without calling on any specific deity of religious symbol. The benedictions at the Bush inaugurations are clearly not being handled by military chaplains. During the 2001 inauguration ceremonies for George W. Bush, he managed to piss off much of the country's religious establishment when the benediction included phrases like "We respectfully submit this humble prayer in the name that's above all other names, Jesus, the Christ."

The religious right often calls the United States a "Christian Country". There is one problem with this. That pesky Bill of Rights. The very first item in the bill starts off " Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." Dedicating a ceremony on the steps of the Capitol with both houses of Congress in attendance doesn't strike me as keeping things very separate.

The plans for Bush's 2005 inauguration next week call for the same evangelical preacher to once again deliver the benediction. This has that little alarm bell ringing in my head.


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