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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/4/08

Let's Return to the Values of One Nation, Indivisible

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Text of Speech Given at Indivisible Day Rally, Ventura County Govt. Center, Ventura, CA, July 3, 2008 

Indivisible Day is a celebration of July 4th as the founding of our secular Republic with the fundamental promise of a government Of the people, By the people, and For the people, regardless of religious preferences, with liberty and justice for all.

These fundamental values were represented in our national symbols: The bald eagle; our flag; and our motto, E Pluribus Unum.

Among those, the most unique and successful value has been that of church/state separation.  No other country prior to the United States had ever declared itself to be secular, to be blind and neutral to all religious preferences.

There is a reason that this fundamental American value was the first value listed in our Bill of Rights. Our forefathers saw the dangers of religion promoted by government.  They noted the religious wars that consumed Europe for over 150 years after the Protestant Reformation.  They were determined to avoid that for the United States.

It is a proud and successful precedent that has served us well, and has even been adopted by most modern democracies since that time.

Nonetheless, we are concerned at the unprecedented assault that has been directed against the First Amendment over the past 50 years.  In the McCarthy era, Congress changed our civic expressions into religious oaths: They inserted “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, and they replaced our original motto of E Pluribus Unum with the motto “In God We Trust”.  And they required that this religious motto be printed on all of our currency.

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Stuart Bechman is a rationally-fanatic activist for atheism and freethought in the Los Angeles metro area, where he serves as president of Atheists United of Los Angeles. He also serves as vice-president of Atheist Alliance International.
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Let's Return to the Values of One Nation, Indivisible

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