Wednesday, June 30, 2010

E Pluribus Unum vs In God We Trust

I'm in Chicago and doing some vacationing. There are several types of vacationers: mountain vacationers, beach vacationers, hiking through Nepal vacationers. There are also passive vs active types. The former are the relax by the pool folk while the latter are more on the go. I am more of the on the go type since hanging around the pool or beach is (for me) akin to lightly banging my head against the wall for a long time. Not only am I normally a big geek but on vacation I need to be a geek in motion. Ergo, I museum (I can use it as a verb if I want to!) quite a bit - often to the consternation of my long suffering wife.

Enough about me in general, let me tell you what specifically happened to me at the Taste of Chicago.

I stumbled into the Taste of Chicago by chance. My pasty white skin had already been out in the sun for far too long without sunblock but the smell of saturated fat rising from the Polish sausages was to much for me to resist. It was my Siren song. To buy any of the tasty goodness you have to purchase tickets and then give the tickets to the individual vendors. Fine. It seems a bit like some Orwellian system to make me forget about how much I'm spending (Hey, a beer is only 12 tickets - that's like nothing... right?). I'm in line for tickets and  pull out a twenty dollar bill and there is my old friend and war criminal (more on that in a later post) Andrew Jackson. Ick. I turn the bill over and there is the White House with our country's proud motto:

In God We Trust.

I looked around me and thought about what our friend God would do to the multi-ethnic, multi-faith food bonanza. God does not like the thought of so many conflicting ideas about divinity rubbing shoulders. It must give him a headache. If people who ran the stalls really put their trust in God then the Irish Pub stall would be blowing up the English Pub Stall. The Arabian stall would be sending out suicide bombing delivery boys. And the Indian stall would be busy persecuting it's own workers (thank you caste system!). 

I then reflected how did the faith of Christ get put on money? This is the guy who chased the money lenders out of the Temple for Christ sake! Oh, people may say, the God in the motto isn't the Christian God. C'mon, even my 8 year old doesn't buy that. 

Why isn't E pluribus unum  (Out of many One) good enough? It was our country's unofficial motto before 1956 when our selfless politicians (I'm sure they weren't pandering for votes) enshrined In God We Trust as the official mission statement of the USA (click here for link). E pluribus unum is distinctly American. We are a diverse population and only getting more so. The saying confirms diversity as our source of strength. Is that really above the heads of most Americans? Only if they've been brainwashed by a Bronze-Age faith in the Sky Fairy.

I got my tickets and went on to sublimate my anger with a Polish sausage and saurkraut.

What else are you going to do...

In Purgatory.

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