I am afraid that I accidentally deleted three comments. I hit "delete" instead of "publish" in the comments moderation screen, and I do not know how to get them back.
However, I have copies of their text, so let me post them here.
Because you infer more and different meaning in the words than most people do. Thus your outrage is fueled to some degree by meaning you have superimposed on the phrase. Others who read the words without the same inference won't have the same reaction.
Well, I at least have a theory. It takes a set of observations about the status of atheists. It explains it in part in terms of learned desires and aversions acquired through the praise and condemnation, which has it's greatest influence on young children. It identifies the Pledge and Motto as praising those who trust in God and who support a nation under God, while condemning as unAmerican those who do not.
One can question whether the Pledge and Motto can have these effects. However, that only causes me to ask where these effects are coming from. If you have a better theory, let's hear it, and decide from that theory how best to alter those effects.
Just consider what other facts would have to be true of a country where the majority of the people found a pledge of allegiance to "One white nation" to be unworthy of challenge. I suspect it would be a nation where a black person running for office would have to buck a substantial portion of the population saying, "People shouldn't be bating for you. You are not white."
Tell me why it must be considered wrongheaded to argue that a similar set of truths apply in a society that holds "one nation under God" to be unworthy of challenge.
Mike (A different Mike)
Not if accepting the fact that the motto means very little and the act of removal means a great deal. In a society in which "God" is used to describe everything from Jesus' dad, to an elephant with 6 limbs, to Eddie Van Halen, I'm not sure this is as big a deal as you seem to think. Working hard to take the motto off our currency would be a slap in the face to the majority and leaving it causes no real harm.
Obviously, adding 'In Jesus We Trust' would go down without the help of any group since it would be unconstitutional...even in a country with a HUGE Christian population...in fact, it's interesting to me that, while the self-identification as 'Christian' continues to decline (about 70-75% now) support for the motto holds steady at 90%.
That tells me that very few hold the view that its inclusion is outrageous.
I live in a deeply red state and I have no problem telling strangers in a bar that I'm atheist. I've had people say they are concerned for my soul, not in a condescending way, the way you'd tell a person that you care about them. Their intent is only kindness. It doesn't matter if I think it's silly, they're trying to be nice.
As for comparing our beliefs to the holocaust, slavery and suffrage...oh boy. This country does a lot more stuff that actually hurts people and you're freaked out over something that really hurts nobody - and many find indispensable...this is why nobody takes us seriously. I used to think this blog was about the philosophy of ethics without fear of final judgment...I'm starting to see it as the atheist Glen Beck.
I've never been labeled by anyone as unpatriotic or un-American (even in TEXAS!). Maybe there's something else about you that's bothering the people you run in to....like, perhaps, telling a black person you feel the sting of slavery since you are forced use currency featuring a choice of words you don't like.
Use a debit card. You can even put your own picture/phrase on many of them...
Yes, few hold the position that the current Pledge and Motto is outrageous. however, this is an ethics blog concerned with how things ought to be held, not a sociology blog concerned with how things are held. In fact, one of my arguments has been to note how frequently there has been a break between how various forms of discrimination are held versus how they should have been held, and to argue that attitudes testes the Pledge and the Motto represent just one more break.
As for the accusation that I am comparing "our beliefs to the Holocaust, slavery, and suffrage", this is a very common form of rhetoric, principally used to try to change the subject. If I were to say that a fusion bomb works like the sun, you can say, "comparing a fusion bomb to the sun! Oh boy! The sun is orders of magnitude more powerful than a fusion bomb!" Your statement would be true - and entirely irrelevant as it missed the point by a country mile.
As for your claim to have never been labeled unpatriotic un-American, run for public office. Polls show that a majority of people hold that Atheists least share American values - whether they have said it to your face or not.
If you want to show that these practices are socially impotent, then give me evidence. Show me a society in which the motto is to trust in God (or anything relevantly similar) where an atheist (or a member of the target group in general) has just as good a chance of getting elected into public office as a theist (or a member of the select group).
Show me a society with a pledge to one nation under God where the people do not use a willingness to say the Pledge as a defacto religious test for public office. Show me how, in spite of there being such a pledge, it is inconceivable that people will raise it as an objection to a person's candidacy that the candidate does not say the Pledge.
While I agree (very much) with your insightful comments, I resent your redirection of the thread back to an appropriate discussion of the relevant topic. How am I going to be able to successfully hijack a thread onto my favorite topic, namely me? I find this tactic of yours disrespectful and shrill. Typical atheistic ploy.
Humor aside, it is refreshing for me to find someone actually thinking seriously about the psychodynamics of atheism as a political movement - the topic seems to be anathema on other boards, with torches and pitchforks quickly assembled among cries of "Down with the framers!"
I think there is a form of Stockholm Syndrome in the atheist community, which seems in line to what you have said. I really do think we need our own beat cop on patrol much along the lines of Bill Donohue, except with integrity. And less foam. The successful strategy of cleaning up NYC by enforcing a zero tolerance policy for minor infringements comes to mind.
As I am currently unemployed, and noting that Mr. Donohue pulls in a a cool annual $300k for spearheading the efforts of a "League" that consists of himself, his laptop and a cat, I would be interested in the position as it seems I have real trouble pulling myself away from the keyboard as it is.