Hope is a secular emotion that trumps faith every time in my opinion. Hope can lead to action, whereas faith can let people sit back and pray for someone else to take care of things. It is good to see Obama’s message of hope. I sure hope he doesn’t lean on faith as heavily as Bush appeared to have. I also hope he doesn’t continue the government supported spread of religion through Bush’s heavy support of faith-based institutions.
The article Obama’s religion-studded inauguration joins a long history speaks of the religious aspects of Obama’ inauguration. Some atheists even sued to block “So Help Me God” from the oath of office as well as trying to remove ceremonial prayers. This really irks some nonbelievers and I actually disagree with them on this one. It’s all a matter of perspective and context in regards to our religious freedoms. For example, I do want In God We Trust removed as the national motto and E Pluribus Unum restored as a much better motto representing our freedom. These words are supposed to represent us all. I want Under God removed from the Pledge since we are all expected to say it. I myself have taken some oaths and So Help Me God was optional so I was free to personally not say it. This is also true for the President’s Oath of Office.
Obama is a Christian now. He has religious freedom and should be allowed to do certain things as a part of his inauguration. I would expect him to say So Help Me God since there is meaning to that for him to swear on a Bible. If he didn’t, I’d definitely wonder why he was unwilling to swear on the Bible as the Christian he is. Now, if an unbeliever were made President I’d be very happy for his or her freedom to not swear on a Bible and I’d believe in their affirmation that they would uphold the Constitution since that guiding document doesn’t have a Bible that could conflict with the desires of the people. When nonbelievers are forced to do things of faith, then that is when I have a problem with religious freedom in our country.
The invocations and prayers in the ceremony are there for those that believe and many faiths can and are represented. Why strip that away? I don’t have to participate and believe in what is presented. I won’t be jailed if I don’t bow my head and say Amen when that optional part is going on. I would actually urge that in any such traditional government setting that as many faiths as they can are represented so everyone becomes more aware that there are many beliefs. If you only get exposed to your own over and over you may never figure out the real truths of the universe. The government showing all of the major beliefs instead of just Christianity would be more powerful than just stripping these prayers from the public square. I want to see Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist prayers every time they do these things.
I wanted to weigh in on this topic since some unbelievers do actually attack religion in the government no matter the context. We have to keep in mind that the government is made up of people and many of them do believe in their religion. They should have certain freedoms as individuals even as a part of the business of government. We need to fight anything that goes over the line of an establishment of religion and keep mindful that optional religious practices as a part of the government don’t actually hurt us.