Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Historic Roots


On the same morning the massacre in Orlando, Florida occurred, Roger Jimenez the pastor of the Verity Baptist Church is in Sacramento, California posted a video of his Sunday sermon online entitled: “The Christian response to the Orlando murders.” 
He said: “People say, like, well, aren’t you sad that 50 sodomites died?  Here’s a problem with that, it’s like the equivalent of asking me, you know, what if you ask me, hey, are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?  No, I think that’s great.  I think that helps society.
“You know, I think Orlando, Florida, is a little safer tonight now that 50 - you know, the tragedy is that more of them didn’t die.  I mean, the tragedy is – I’m kind of upset he didn’t finish the job.
“If we lived in a righteous nation and righteous government, then the government should be taking them.  There’s no tragedy.  I wish the
government would round them all up, put them up against the firing wall, put a firing squad in front of them, blow their brains out.”
Faith is the antithesis of skepticism, distrust, and objective truth.  Most religions stifle freedom of thought, and blind the faithful to the role faith plays in perpetuating human conflict at home and abroad.
The Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy a Baptist minister in 1892.  He structured it for public school programs and had considered placing the word “equality” in his Pledge, but knew some state superintendents were against equality for women and African Americans.
In school, I recited the original pledge which didn't include the seemingly innocuous words “under God.”  In 1954, Congress added those words after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus.  Thus, the pledge became both a patriotic oath and a public prayer.
Undermining the separation of church and state doctrine reached a peak in the 1950's, when President Eisenhower inaugurated the prayer breakfast.  Congress created a prayer room in the Capital and added the words "In God we Trust" to all paper money.  E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many One) was considered our motto, until 1956 when Congress passed an act adopting “In God we trust” as the official motto.
The 1960 Supreme Court decision in Engel vs Vitale ruled it unconstitutional for public schools to allow prayer, even though the prayer was non-denominational and students were allowed to abstain from the exercise.  President Kennedy understood many people were angered by the ruling, and suggested "a very easy remedy -not a constitutional amendment but a renewed commitment to pray at home, in the churches and with their families."
The historic roots of the deep division we’re now facing in our nation began when Congress added “under God” to the pledge.  Today, Republican politicians continue to weave piety with patriotism, while pandering to religious zealots. 

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