A few weeks ago David Brooks said in The New York Times that the culture war is essentially over in this country -- but that's starting to seem a bit like George W. Bush's declaration that "major combat" was over in Iraq. In Knox County, Tennessee, commissioners are apparently going to vote on Monday on this resolution:
Whereas, our government was founded upon a trust in God, that began when our Founding Fathers proclaimed in America's first official document, our Declaration of Independence, that our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, were not given to us by government, but by God 'our Creator,' the 'Sovereign Judge of the Universe'; and
Whereas, it is fact that between 90 and 95% of those who drafted and signed the U.S. Constitution had a strong belief and trust in God and never ever intended that there be a separation between HIM and the affairs of government, only that each citizen be free to choose on a personal basis how to worship, or if to worship; and
Whereas, the recognition of God by our government was further established when Congress, in 1954, added the phrase "One Nation Under God" to our Pledge of Allegiance, followed in 1956 by the official establishment of "In God We Trust", as our National Motto, and
Whereas, there is now a growing demand by some within the judicial system to remove all visible recognitions of God from public institutions, which has recently resulted in a federal order to physically remove the Ten Commandments Monument from the Alabama State Supreme Court, rightfully placed there by the Chief Justice of the Alabama State Supreme Court to remind all that God is central to our National Heritage, and His Ten Commandments, without question, the foundation of American law, moral values, and code of conduct.
Now therefore be it resolved by the commission of Knox County as follows:
That the Knox County Commission hereby urges all American citizens, to proclaim to every level of government (local, state and federal) its responsibility to publicly recognize God as the foundation of our national heritage, lest our nation forget and our children never know!
Be it further resolved, that this resolution is to take effect from and after its passage, as proved by the charter of Knox County, Tennessee, the public welfare requiring it.
As the Knoxville News-Sentinel reports, the National Council of Christians and Jews is saying what needs to be said:
The United States of America was more precisely founded as a haven from the divisive mix of church and state such as the one promoted in this resolution. As a result, our founders studiously left God out of the constitution for the new kind of nation they envisioned, and enshrined prohibitions meant to keep matters of God and governance separate....
There are perhaps no more than two or three of the Biblical commandments codified in American law (such as prohibitions against stealing and murder), and these are universal to any faith, including those which do not recognize a deity.
...While trying in vain not to directly promote a religion, [the resolution] is asking our citizenry to demand the same state sanctioning of religious ideology, and in particular, it perniciously asks this from all citizens, without respect to the great diversity of beliefs or unbelief which our Constitution seeks to protect.
The News-Sentinel suggests that proponents of the resolution don't really give a rip what the NCCJ thinks:
Commissioner Ivan Harmon, a sponsor of the resolution, said he will not withdraw the resolution. "I'm sticking to my guns. This doesn't force anything on anybody."
The resolution appears likely to win majority support, hysterical capital letters ("HIM") and exclamation points ("lest our nation forget and our children never know!") intact.