View Poll Results: Can you say 'God Bless America'?

Voters
45. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes, I am a Liberal, I can say it

    6 13.33%
  • Yes, I am a Conservative, I can say it

    20 44.44%
  • Yes, I am a Libertarian, I can say it

    6 13.33%
  • No, I am politically correct

    6 13.33%
  • I dunno

    7 15.56%
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Thread: Can you say 'God bless America'?

  1. #121
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    Re: Can you say 'God bless America'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tashah View Post
    Some folks obviously thought it so...

    “Resolved, that there are certain essential rights of the British Constitution of government, which are founded in the law of God and nature, and are common rights of mankind. No law of society can, consistent with the law of God and nature, take those rights away.” –- Samuel Adams

    “It having pleased the Almighty Ruler of the universe propitiously to defend the cause of the United American States, and finally by raising us up a powerful friend among the princes of the earth, to establish our Liberty and Independence of lasting foundations.” –- George Washington

    “We meet this evening, not in sorrow, but in gladness of heart. The evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond, and the surrender of the principal insurgent army, give hope of a righteous and speedy peace whose joyous expression cannot be restrained. In the midst of this however, He from whom all blessings flow, must not be forgotten.” -- Abraham Lincoln

    Actually, the secular/sanitized version of US history now taught in American schools amounts to revisionist history. It is only within the last 40 years or so that the Americana heritage of God and Country has acquired a negative connotation. But even so, you can still recognize that past heritage as it lingers on today in our daily lives... God bless America, “So help me God”, In God We Trust, etc.
    I'm not sure where people get the idea that we are such a sanitized version of the US nowadays when it comes to God. Modern political figures talkabout God all the time, too.

    "And I will do everything that I can as long as I am President of the United States to remind the American people that we are one nation under God, and we may call that God different names but we remain one nation." -Barack Obama

    "Well, first of all, you got to understand some of my view on freedom, it's not American's gift to the world. See, freedom is God - is God given" - George W. Bush

    "And so, there is much to do; and tomorrow the work begins. I do not mistrust the future; I do not fear what is ahead. For our problems are large, but our heart is larger. Our challenges are great, but our will is greater. And if our flaws are endless, God's love is truly boundless." - George H. W. Bush

    I don't agree at all that the American heritage of God and country has taken on a negative connotation. If it did, you wouldn't hear so many politicians evoking god's name.

  2. #122
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    Re: Can you say 'God bless America'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    I don't agree at all that the American heritage of God and country has taken on a negative connotation. If it did, you wouldn't hear so many politicians evoking god's name.
    If my post conveyed a total negative connotation, my apologies. But this thread does illustrate a definite decline in the historical kindredness of God and Country. Our grandparents (or perhaps even our parents in some cases) would be shocked at the negativity in vogue here.

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  3. #123
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    Re: Can you say 'God bless America'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tashah View Post
    If my post conveyed a total negative connotation, my apologies. But this thread does illustrate a definite decline in the historical kindredness of God and Country. Our grandparents (or perhaps even our parents in some cases) would be shocked at the negativity in vogue here.
    Well, I know my grandparents wouldn't be all that shocked. My 85 year old great uncle, an army veteran who was drafted within a few months of coming here during the Korean war who adores his chosen country, absolutely hates religion. He's one of the most agressively atheistic people I know. He has told me stories about how his father (my great grandfather) "also thought religion was a load of ****e". And they grew up in Ireland, an undoubtedly more religious country than the US has ever been. Hell, they actually have blasphemy laws. Today.

    I think that if people like that existed in Ireland (and technically in the US via immigation) 50-100 years ago, it's not all that absurd to believe that there has always been a diversity of thought in the US on this topic.

    I think that what people view as a decline is actually just a product of being more exposed to the minority opinions today than they have been exposed to the minority opinions of the previous generations.

    This increased exposure is caused by a few things, IMO.

    First, you have the simple fact that minority views typically don't have the same degree of circulation as majority views do, at least historically. Technology has changed that a bit because anyone can share their views on a public forum such as this one. This allows people who hold minority views today to find other people who hold similar views far more easily than my great uncle could have done when he was younger.

    Next, during the cold war and anti-communism era, there was a huge negative connotation associated with being atheist. This is when God was really injected into the political arena in the US. Being a god-fearing christian was better -safer- than being some "godless commie". McCarthy was going around saying things like "Today we are engaged in a final, all-out battle between communistic atheism and Christianity" back then. Lots of atheists were flat-out afraid to say a thing. People like my great uncle could not share their views as freely back then because it would lead to demonization for them. Definitely not a good thing, IMO. But the opinions certainly existed. My great uncle was no less of an atheist then than he is today. He had the same negative beleifs about the ra ra "God and country" patriotism, he was just very wary of being an immigrant who shared those opinions back then.

    And the final factor with this idea that there is a "decline" is pure nostalgia. People remember their childhood unrealistically. I have a friend that is totally convinced that it was safer here in Chicago when we were kids than it is today. Nothing will ever change his mind of that (trust me, I've gone over every fact and figure, it's pointless), but the fact of the matter is that Chicago's crime rates have dropped dramaticaly since the 80's and early 90's when the two of us were growing up. But crime reporting has increased dramitically as well. Just as the claims that there is a decline have increased. If something false is believed by enough people, and repeated by enough people, it eventually becomes a popular myth.

    So my belief is that the views about god and country haven't really changed at all, at least proportionally speaking. The ability for people who hold negative views to share those views has changed, and I perosnally think that is a good thing. People should not have to fear sharing their opinions because of the intollerance of others.

    That goes both ways, though. There is a big problem today, but it is not with the decline in positive regard for religion and country. It is instead with the aggression of intollerant atheists. It certainly is not to the point where people need to fear sharing their religious opinions in this country, but it certainly makes it less appealing for many to do so. And, perhaps even more importantly, it triggers an aggressive reaction from religious people. Ultimately, it is this aggressive, intollerant form of atheism that leads to the kind of intollerance towards that McCarthy displayed becoming a popular position.

    It leads to more aggresive attempts to incorporate religion and politics. If for nothing more than to tweak the noses of the intollerant atheists (I've actually heard this given as a reason to support certain types of religious displays).

    So, IMO, the real issue is intolerance, regardless of which side it comes from.

  4. #124
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    Re: Can you say 'God bless America'?

    I'm not even Christian, and yet even I can see a profound difference from when I was a youngster in Virginia.

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  5. #125
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    Re: Can you say 'God bless America'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tashah View Post
    I'm not even Christian, and yet even I can see a profound difference from when I was a youngster in Virginia.
    But is that profound difference actually evidence of a decline, or of an increased awareness of the less mainstream?

  6. #126
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    Re: Can you say 'God bless America'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    But is that profound difference actually evidence of a decline, or of an increased awareness of the less mainstream?
    I can see the decline in each mode... comparative and virtual. But then again, each of us has differing origins and experiences.

    That said, I do think your analysis has a good measure of validity.

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  7. #127
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    Re: Can you say 'God bless America'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tashah View Post
    I can see the decline in each mode... comparative and virtual. But then again, each of us has differing origins and experiences.

    That said, I do think your analysis has a good measure of validity.
    Do I take it from your posts that you believe that the decline you're talking about is something you put down to the declining dominance of religion in society?
    "The crisis will end when fear changes sides" - Pablo Iglesias Turrión

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  8. #128
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    Re: Can you say 'God bless America'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andalublue View Post
    Do I take it from your posts that you believe that the decline you're talking about is something you put down to the declining dominance of religion in society?
    Its once lofty place as one of the binding fabrics of American society? Yes.

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  9. #129
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    Re: Can you say 'God bless America'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tashah View Post
    Its once lofty place as one of the binding fabrics of American society? Yes.
    See, I would argue that the idea that religion was once a binding fabric of American society was never real. It was a binding fabric for the large segment of society that agreed with religion, but American society has always been more than just those who agree.

    I would also say that is remains as a binding force, but that the difference these days is that the proportional segment of society that is serves to bind is smaller than it once was.

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    Re: Can you say 'God bless America'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tashah View Post
    Its once lofty place as one of the binding fabrics of American society? Yes.
    You might not be surprised to learn that I'd have a somewhat different analysis, obviously not based exclusively on US society, but certainly on predominantly Anglo-Saxon civilisation. I think that the decline in some 'traditional' values of respect, toleration, and politeness can also be seen as a consequence of the increasing individualisation of society resulting from the huge upsurge in the influence of radical protestant, particularly Calvinistic, Christianity. A theology that is based on a personal relationship with God, and which relegates ideas of congregation, community and family to being merely by-products of faith and not essential components of it will necessarily encourage a self-oriented attitude in its believers. Now obviously, not everyone follows such faiths, but sufficient numbers do for those individualistic attitudes to pervade the wider society. Strangely enough, those social movements of the Sixties such as feminism and gay liberation are also, in part products of that trend - to my mind, they are the positive products of it, but I would say that, wouldn't I?

    The decline of a more communal approach to faith, family and co-existence to me appear to mirror precisely that shift away from the pre-eminence of church towards the pre-eminence of a 'personal faith'. Faith has become something to be shopped around for, a commodity that is now offered in a multitude of different brands just like other consumer durables. I don't know whether statistics exist to prove or disprove this, but I wonder whether religious affiliation is transferred from generation to generation as it used to be, so that your choice of church, mosque, temple and synagogue is now a matter of personal and considered preference rather than a cultural heirloom, passed down from parent to child, to grandchild. I suspect not, but that's speculation.

    Anyway, those are just some thoughts, some ideas that have occurred to me over some time, and that I would offer as a hypothesis to explain the changes you mentioned.
    "The crisis will end when fear changes sides" - Pablo Iglesias Turrión

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