In God we trust; politicians are
In the near future, Billy will go off to school. When he arrives, he will sit in the back of a classroom packed with 50 students presided over by just one teacher.
He doesn’t learn much because the money for the extra teachers his school needs isn’t in the budget. And his teacher is not at her best because her minuscule salary hasn’t experienced a growth spurt in several years.
Then, there are, or should I say, were, Billy’s extra-
curricular activities. Billy used to like to play the saxophone and chess, but music programs and games just aren’t important in a budget crunch year.
Billy, however, is going to be fine because he knows God is with him. He knows when he walks into his classroom in the morning and when he leaves at night, he will see the “In God We Trust,” plaques posted throughout the school, and everything will be peaches and cream.
Leave it to a Republican to come up with House Bill 1128, which was recently passed by the Colorado House of Representatives.
The bill requires – read this as “forces” – public buildings in the state, including classrooms, to post donated plaques bearing our national motto, “In God We Trust.”
Now, before I launch into this tirade – and trust me this is going to be one hell of a tirade – let me say right now that I do not find our country’s motto “In God We Trust,” even minutely offensive.
Granted, a country founded on the ideal of separation between religion and politics should probably have a different motto. Maybe a motto that’s different from every other country and fringe group wanting to wage a holy war against the United States would have been more appealing, but that’s neither here nor there.
Still, I’ve never once winced when I’ve pulled a $1, $5 or $10 bill out of my wallet and saw the inscription on the back. (I’m a writer for a newspaper, so no denomination higher than a 10-spot has ever even passed by the front of my billfold.)
Even though the motto doesn’t upset me, the sneaky, low-down, scummy way the Republican pinhead party wants to stuff its religious beliefs down the public’s collective throat tees me off to a degree bordering on explosive.
And yes, it was a Republican that introduced the bill, and yes, I know Democrats voted for it. So they get to share in the blame.
For years, these Bible-
thumping, narrow-minded politicians have been attempting to put God into our public schools with a barrage of school prayer bills, all of which have failed to pass. But now, simply by terrorizing other politicians with the possible label of “unpatriotic,” they’ve worked their religious fanaticism magic, and HB 1128 passed the House.
And supporters of the bill believe there are plenty of religious organizations chomping at their crucifixes just waiting to donate as many signs as are needed to put God in front of every child in the state, whether the students or their parents like it or not.
These groups have money to do this, by the way, because they don’t pay taxes like the rest of us for the privilege of participating in the democratic process.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If a religious group wants to play in politics, then it should have to pay taxes.
You shouldn’t be able to play the game if you don’t pay the price for the ticket.
What makes me almost as angry as government-
sanctioned religion, however, is that our elected officials wasted time proposing, discussing and passing this bill.
Don’t Colorado politicians have enough to do worrying about a state in the midst of a full-blown drought, which is coming into what might be the worst wildfire season in history and that has a budget as unbalanced as Jerry Falwell?
Since our elected officials seem to have so much time on their hands, maybe we should find them something else to do.
We could possibly lend them out as extra teachers to help alleviate some of classroom size problems. They would work pro bono of course.
In the end, I might feel better about this bill if it had an attachment that forced any religious organization that wanted to participate to also purchase textbooks for our students or to contribute to a teacher’s salary along with buying a plaque.
But it seems our children’s education doesn’t matter as long as they have God and the Bible all wrapped up in the American flag.
Columnist Andrew Gmerek appears on Friday. In that, we can trust.a different story
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