Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Steve Benen writes:

About a month ago, President Obama delivered a speech at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, and included a line in his remarks that seemed wholly unremarkable: "In the United States, our motto is E pluribus unum -- out of many, one."

Of all the things for the right to complain about, they're actually raising a fuss about this.

Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus have criticized President Barack Obama for telling an audience in Indonesia last month that the phrase "E Pluribus Unum" is a good summary of the American experience.

The Prayer Caucus, led by U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), wrote to Obama today complaining that he called "E Pluribus Unum" the national motto during a Nov. 10 speech at a university in Jakarta. The national motto, the caucus insists, is actually "In God We Trust."
The Congressional Prayer Caucus' letter insisted to the president that he's "casting aside an integral part of American society," by "removing one of the cornerstones of our secure freedom." The caucus added, "If we pull the thread of religious conviction out of the marketplace of ideas, we unravel the tapestry of freedom that birthed America."

... What's more, conservative and Republican activists actually seem to care about this. Fox News ran an item, as did TV preacher Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. Conservative blogger Ed Morrissey is outraged, or at least pretending to be, asking whether "high schools in Hawaii actually teach civics."

Well, I have to ask myself whether schools in Tampico and Dixon, Illinois, taught civics back in the old days. You see -- as religion blogger Frank Lockwood notes -- Saint Ronnie himself made the same America-disdaining, religion-bashing, tapestry-uunraveling mistake:

Would Ronald Reagan, the Great Communicator, the Gipper, refer to E Pluribus Unum as our national motto?

The answer is Yes. Speaking at the National Forum on Excellence in Education, on Dec. 8, 1983 in Indianapolis, Indiana, Ronald Reagan said, and I quote:

"The motto of the United States is 'E Pluribus Unum,' from many, one."
...There wasn't a national outcry when Ronald Reagan called E Pluribus Unum our "national motto."

Lockwood also notes that the sainted George W. Bush issued a proclamation in 2001 in which he said,

In 1782, the Founding Fathers chose as our national motto "E Pluribus Unum," which means "out of many, one."

A 2002 proclamation referred to "E Pluribus Unum" as "our first national motto." In fact, it was never officially our national motto.

So send W -- and Reagan's corpse -- out for the same reeducation Obama gets!

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