Back in 1954, when “under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance and Congress required all U.S. coins and paper currency to bear the slogan “In God We Trust,” the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments held hearings on proposal by Sen. Ralph Flanders (R-VT) to amend the Constitution to recognize the authority and law of Jesus Christ. This “Christian amendment” had been offered many times before, and was no more successful amdst that year’s religio-patriotic gore than it had been earlier.
Now comes the Christian amendment’s pallid descendant, the Spiritual Heritage bill, offered by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) as a way of combating . After a whole passel of whereases specifying examples (some dubious) of official religious words or deeds by national leaders from the Founding Fathers on, the bill resolves that the House of Representatives:
affirms the rich spiritual and diverse religious history of our
Nation’s founding and subsequent history, including up to the current
recognizes that the religious foundations of faith on which America was
built are critical underpinnings of our Nation’s most valuable
institutions and form the inseparable foundation for America’s
representative processes, legal systems, and societal structures;
rejects, in the strongest possible terms, any effort to remove,
obscure, or purposely omit such history from our Nation’s public
buildings and educational resources; and
expresses support for designation of a ‘America’s Spiritual Heritage
Week’ every year for the appreciation of and education on America’s
history of religious faith.
I guess this counts as progress.
Meanwhile, the Freedom from Religion Foundation has filed a lawsuit to prevent Congress from spending nearly $100,000 to engrave the words “In God We Trust ” and the Pledge of Allegiance in prominent spots at the new $621 million Capitol Visitor Center. Unfortunately for the FRF, Congress made “In God We Trust” the national motto in 1956, and the Supreme Court punted on the Newdow Pledge case five years ago. But this is the kind of stick in the eye of the Randy Forbeses of the world that is likely to get the Christian amendment folks going again.