Saturday, July 25, 2015

IN GOD WE TRUST?


What! You didn’t know your country had a motto? It is sorta like a theme but not an anthem or a fight song or a bad tattoo. Seems everyone has a motto. Who knew?
 A motto (derived from the Latin muttum, ‘mutter’, by way of Italian motto, ‘word’, ‘sentence’) is a maxim, a phrase meant to formally summarize the general motivation or intention of an individual, family, social group or organization. Mottos are usually not expressed verbally, unlike slogans, but are expressed in writing and usually stem from long traditions of social foundations, or also from significant events, such as a civil war or a revolution. A motto may be in any language, but Latin has been widely used, especially in the Western world.
My family’s coat of arms bears the motto, “Vernon Semper Floret,” Vernon being a family name and the other two words signifying “always blooming”.
My state (or commonwealth) has a motto, “Sic Semper Tyrannis”, translates from Latin as “Thus Always to Tyrants”. If you are a tyrant, don’t come around here.
E pluribus unum”—Latin for “Out of many, one”—is a phrase on the Seal of the United States, along with Annuit cœptis (Latin for “He/she/it approves (has approved) of the undertakings”) and Novus ordo seclorum (Latin for “New Order of the Ages”), and adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782. Never codified by law, E Pluribus Unum was considered a de facto motto of the United States until 1956 when the United States Congress passed an act (H. J. Resolution 396), adopting “IN GOD WE TRUST” as the official motto.
“IN GOD WE TRUST” first appeared on U.S. coins in 1864 (but not as a national motto) and has appeared on paper currency since 1957. A law passed in a Joint Resolution by the 84th Congress and approved by President Dwight Eisenhower on July 30, 1956 declared “IN GOD WE TRUST” the national motto of the United States.
A phrase similar to “IN GOD WE TRUST” appears in the final stanza of “The Star-Spangled Banner”. Written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key (and later adopted as the U.S. national anthem on March 3, 1931 by U.S. President Herbert Hoover), the song contains an early reference to a variation of the phrase: “And this be our motto: ‘IN GOD WE TRUST.’”
The change from “E Pluribus Unum” to “IN GOD WE TRUST” was generally considered uncontroversial at the time, given the rising influence of organized religion and pressures of the Cold War era in the 1950s. The 1956 law was one of several legislative actions Congress took to differentiate the United States from atheistic Communism. Earlier, a 1954 act added the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. Some states also adopted mottos with religious overtones during this time, for example Ohio's “With God, all things are possible”.
“IN GOD WE TRUST” was adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956 as an alternative or replacement to the unofficial motto of “E pluribus unum”, which was adopted when the Great Seal of the United States was created and adopted in 1782. Secularists have expressed objections to its use, and have sought to have the religious reference removed from the currency.
Advocates of separation of church and state have questioned the legality of this motto, asserting that it is a violation of the United States Constitution, prohibiting the government from passing any law respecting the establishment of religion. Religious accommodations state that this entrenched practice has not historically presented any constitutional difficulty, is not coercive, and does not prefer one religious denomination over another.
“IN GOD WE TRUST” as a national motto and on U.S. currency has been the subject of numerous unsuccessful lawsuits. The motto was first challenged in Aronow v. United States in 1970, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled: “It is quite obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency 'In God We Trust' has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion. Its use is of patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise”. The decision was cited in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, a 2004 case on the Pledge of Allegiance. These acts of “ceremonial deism” are “protected from Establishment Clause scrutiny chiefly because they have lost through rote repetition any significant religious content.” In Zorach v. Clauson (1952), the Supreme Court also held that the nation’s “institutions presuppose a Supreme Being” and that government recognition of God does not constitute the establishment of a state church as the Constitution's authors intended to prohibit.
Aside from constitutional objections, President Theodore Roosevelt took issue with using the motto on coinage, which he considered to be a sacrilege using God’s name on money.
The constitutionality of the modern national motto has been questioned with relationship to the separation of church and state outlined in the First Amendment. In 1970, in Aronow v. United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the motto does not violate the First Amendment to the Constitution. The United States Supreme Court has not ruled on the issue.
What is trust?
In the social sciences, the subtleties of trust are a subject of ongoing research. In sociology and psychology the degree to which one party trusts another is a measure of belief in the honesty, fairness, or benevolence of another party. The term “confidence” is more appropriate for a belief in the competence of the other party. Based on the most recent research, a failure in trust may be forgiven more easily if it is interpreted as a failure of competence rather than a lack of benevolence or honesty. In economics trust is often conceptualized as reliability in transactions. In all cases trust is a heuristic decision rule, allowing the human to deal with complexities that would require unrealistic effort in rational reasoning.
Who is GOD?
In monotheism and henotheism, God is conceived as the Supreme Being and principal object of faith. The concept of God as described by theologians commonly includes the attributes of omniscience (infinite knowledge), omnipotence (unlimited power), omnipresence (present everywhere), Omni benevolence (perfect goodness), divine simplicity, and eternal and necessary existence. In theism, God is the creator and sustainer of the universe, while in deism; God is the creator, but not the sustainer, of the universe. Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one God or in the oneness of God. In pantheism, God is the universe itself. In atheism, God does not exist, while God is deemed unknown or unknowable within the context of agnosticism. God has also been conceived as being incorporeal (immaterial), a personal being, the source of all moral obligation, and the “greatest conceivable existent”. Many notable medieval philosophers and modern philosophers have developed arguments for and against the existence of God.
There are many names for God, and different names are attached to different cultural ideas about God's identity and attributes. In the ancient Egyptian era of Atenism, possibly the earliest recorded monotheistic religion, this deity was called Aten, premised on being the one “true” Supreme Being and Creator of the Universe. In the Hebrew Bible and Judaism, “He Who Is,” “I Am that I Am”, and the tetragrammaton YHWH are used as names of God, while Yahweh and Jehovah are sometimes used in Christianity as vocalizations of YHWH. In Judaism, it is common to refer to God by the titular names Elohim or Adonai, the latter of which is believed by some scholars to descend from the Egyptian Aten. In Islam, the name Allah, “Al-El,” or “Al-Elah” (“the God”) is used, while Muslims also have a multitude of titular names for God. In Hinduism, Brahman is often considered a monistic deity. Other religions have names for God, for instance, Baha in the Bahá'í Faith, Waheguru in Sikhism, and Ahura Mazda in Zoroastrianism.
Or Egyptian gods….
Aker – A god of the earth and the horizon, Ammit – goddess who devoured condemned souls, Amenhotep son of Hapu – A scribe and architect in the court of Amenhotep III, later deified for his wisdom, Am-heh – A dangerous underworld god, Amun – A creator god, patron deity of the city of Thebes, and the preeminent deity in Egypt during the New Kingdom, Amunet – Female counterpart of Amun and a member of the Ogdoad, Anat – A war and fertility goddess, originally from Syria, who entered Egyptian religion in the Middle Kingdom, Anhur– A god of war and hunting, Anti– Falcon god, worshipped in Middle Egypt, who appears in myth as a ferryman for greater gods, Anubis– god of embalming and protector of the dead, Anuket– A goddess of Egypt's southern frontier regions, particularly the lower cataracts of the Nile, Apedemak– A warlike lion god from Nubia who appears in some Egyptian-built temples in Lower Nubia, Apophis– A serpent deity who personified malevolent chaos and was said to fight Ra in the underworld every night, Apis– A live bull worshipped as a god at Memphis and seen as a manifestation of Ptah, Arensnuphis – A Nubian deity who appears in Egyptian temples in Lower Nubia in the Greco-Roman era, Ash – A god of the Libyan Desert and oases west of Egypt, Astarte – A warrior goddess from Syria and Canaan who entered Egyptian religion in the New Kingdom, Aten– Sun disk deity who became the focus of the monolatrous or monotheistic, Atum– A creator god and solar deity, first god of the Ennead, Baal– Sky and storm god from Syria and Canaan, worshipped in Egypt during the New Kingdom, Ba'alat Gebal– A Caananite goddess, patroness of the city of Byblos, adopted into Egyptian religion, Babi– A baboon god characterized by sexuality and aggression, Banebdjedet– A ram god, patron of the city of Mendes, Ba-Pef– A little-known underworld deity, Bast– Goddess represented as a cat or lioness, patroness of the city of Bubastis, linked with fertility and protection from evil, Bat– Cow goddess from early in Egyptian history, eventually absorbed by Hathor, Bennu– A solar and creator deity, depicted as a bird, Bes– Apotropaic god, represented as a dwarf, particularly important in protecting children and women in childbirth, Buchis– A live bull god worshipped in the region around Thebes and a manifestation of Montu, Dedun– A Nubian god, said to provide the Egyptians with incense and other resources that came from Nubia, Geb– An earth god and member of the Ennead, Ha– A god of the Libyan Desert and oases west of Egypt, Hapi– Personification of the Nile flood, Hathor– One of the most important goddesses, linked with the sky, the sun, sexuality and motherhood, music and dance, foreign lands and goods, and the afterlife, Hatmehit– Fish goddess worshipped at Mendes, Hedetet– A minor scorpion goddess, Heh– Personification of infinity and a member of the Ogdoad, Heka– Personification of magic, Heket– Frog goddess said to protect women in childbirth, Heryshaf– Ram god worshipped at Herakleopolis Magna, Hesat– A maternal cow goddess, Horus– A major god, usually shown as a falcon or as a human child, linked with the sky, the sun, kingship, protection, and healing, Hu– Personification of the authority of the spoken word, Iah– A moon god, Iat– A goddess of milk and nursing, Ihy– A child deity born to Horus and Hathor, representing the music and joy produced by the sistrum, Imentet– An afterlife goddess closely linked with Isis and Hathor, Imhotep– Architect and vizier to Djoser, eventually deified as a healer god, Ishtar– The East Semitic version of Astarte, occasionally mentioned in Egyptian texts, Isis– Wife of Osiris and mother of Horus, linked with funerary rites, motherhood, protection, and magic, Iusaaset– A female counterpart to Atum, Khepri– A solar creator god, often treated as the morning form of Ra and represented by a scarab beetle, Kherty– A netherworld god, usually depicted as a ram, Khnum– A ram god, the patron deity of Elephantine, who was said to control the Nile flood and give life to gods and humans, Khonsu– A moon god, son of Amun and Mut, Maahes– A lion god, son of Bastet, Maat– goddess who personified truth, justice, and order, Mafdet– A predatory goddess said to destroy dangerous creatures, Mandulis– A Lower Nubian solar deity who appeared in some Egyptian temples, Mehit– A lioness goddess, consort of Anhur, Mehen– A serpent god who protects the barque of Ra as it travels through the underworld, Mehet-Weret– A celestial cow goddess, Meretseger– A cobra goddess who oversaw the Theban Necropolis, Meskhenet– A goddess who presided over childbirth, Min– A god of virility, as well as the cities of Akhmim and Qift and the Eastern Desert beyond them, Mnevis– A live bull god worshipped at Heliopolis as a manifestation of Ra, Montu– A god of war and the sun, worshipped at Thebes, Mut– Consort of Amun, worshipped at Thebes, Nebethetepet– A female counterpart to Atum, Nefertum– god of the lotus blossom from which the sun god rose at the beginning of time, Nehebu-Kau– A protective serpent god, Nehmetawy– A minor goddess, the consort of Nehebu-Kau or Thoth, Neith– A creator and hunter goddess, patron of the city of Sais in Lower Egypt, Nekhbet– A vulture goddess, the tutelary deity of Upper Egypt, Neper– A god of grain, Nephthys– A member of the Ennead, the consort of Set, who mourned Osiris alongside Isis, Nu– Personification of the formless, watery disorder from which the world emerged at creation and a member of the Ogdoad, Nut– A sky goddess, a member of the Ennead, Osiris– god of death and resurrection who rules the underworld and enlivens vegetation, the sun god, and deceased souls, Pakhet– A lioness goddess mainly worshipped in the area around Beni Hasan, Ptah– A creator deity and god of craftsmen, the patron god of Memphis, Qetesh– A goddess of sexuality and sacred ecstasy from Syria and Canaan, adopted into Egyptian religion in the New Kingdom, Ra– the foremost Egyptian sun god, involved in creation and the afterlife, Raet-Tawy– A female counterpart to Ra, Renenutet– An agricultural goddess, Reshep– A Syrian war god adopted into Egyptian religion in the New Kingdom, Renpet– goddess who personified the year, Satet– A goddess of Egypt's southern frontier regions, Seker– god of the Memphite Necropolis and of the afterlife in general, Sekhmet– A lioness goddess, both destructive and violent and capable of warding off disease, Serapis– A Greco-Egyptian god from the Ptolemaic Period who fused traits of Osiris and Apis with those of several Greek gods, Serket– A scorpion goddess, invoked for healing and protection, Seshat– goddess of writing and record-keeping, depicted as a scribe, Set– An ambivalent god, characterized by violence, chaos, and strength, connected with the desert, Shai– Personification of fate, Shed– A god believed to save people from danger and misfortune, Shesmetet– A lioness goddess, Shezmu– A god of wine and oil presses who also slaughters condemned souls, Shu– embodiment of wind or air, a member of the Ennead, Sia– Personification of perception, Sobek– Crocodile god, worshipped in the Faiyum and at Kom Ombo, Sopdu– A god of the sky and of Egypt's eastern border regions, Sopdet– Deification of the star Sirius, Ta-Bitjet– A minor scorpion goddess, Tatenen– Personification of the first mound of earth to emerge from chaos in ancient Egyptian creation myths, Taweret– Hippopotamus goddess, protector of women in childbirth, Tefnut– Goddess of moisture and a member of the Ennead, Thoth– A moon god, and a god of writing and scribes, and patron deity of Hermopolis, Tutu– An apotropaic god from the Greco-Roman era, Unut– A goddess represented as a snake or a hare, worshipped in the region of Hermopolis, Wadjet– A cobra goddess, the tutelary deity of Lower Egypt, Wadj-wer– Personification of the Mediterranean sea or lakes of the Nile Delta, Weneg– A son of Ra who maintains cosmic order, Wepwawet– A jackal god, the patron deity of Asyut, connected with warfare and the afterlife, Werethekau- A goddess who protected the king, Wosret- A minor goddess of Thebes, Yam- A Syrian god of the sea who appears in some Egyptian texts
Or these….
Aphrodite- Goddess of love, beauty, desire, sex and pleasure, Apollo- God of music, arts, knowledge, healing, plague, prophecy, poetry, manly beauty, archery, and the sun, Ares- God of war, bloodshed, and violence, Artemis- Virgin goddess of the hunt, wilderness, animals, young girls, childbirth, plague, and the moon, Athena- Goddess of intelligence, skill, peace, warfare, battle strategy, handicrafts, and wisdom, Demeter- Goddess of grain, agriculture and the harvest, growth and nourishment, Dionysus- God of wine, parties and festivals, madness, chaos, drunkenness, drugs, and ecstasy, Hades/Pluto- King of the underworld and the dead, and god of regret, Hephaestus- Crippled god of fire, metalworking, and crafts, Hera- Queen of the gods and goddess of marriage, women, childbirth, heirs, kings, and empires, Hermes- God of boundaries, travel, communication, trade, language, and writing, Hestia- Virgin goddess of the hearth, home and chastity, Poseidon- God of the sea, rivers, floods, droughts, and earthquakes, Zeus- King and father of the gods, the ruler of Mount Olympus and the god of the sky, weather, thunder, lightning, law, order, and justice.
IN GOD WE TRUST
The separation of church and state is a description for the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state. It may refer to creating a secular state, with or without explicit reference to such separation, or to changing an existing relationship of church involvement in a state (disestablishment). There may also have been disputes between church and state. Most meetings were held in the church. As that was the “place” governments met to discuss policy. Finally the church needed their sanctuaries “back” for religious purposes only. Therefore, the separation as governments built their own “town hall” meeting places.
Although the concept of separation has been adopted in a number of countries, there are varying degrees of separation depending on the applicable legal structures and prevalent views toward the proper relationship between religion and politics. While a country's policy may be to have a definite distinction in church and state, there may be an “arm's length distance” relationship in which the two entities interact as independent organizations. A similar but typically stricter principle of laïcité has been applied in France and Turkey, while some socially secularized countries such as Denmark and the United Kingdom have maintained constitutional recognition of an official state religion. The concept parallels various other international social and political ideas, including secularism, disestablishmentarianism, religious liberty, and religious pluralism. Whitman (2009) observes that in many European countries, the state has, over the centuries, taken over the social roles of the church, leading to a generally secularized public sphere.
The degree of separation varies from total separation mandated by a constitution, as in India and Singapore; to an official religion with total prohibition of the practice of any other religion, as in the Maldives.
In English, the exact term is an offshoot of the phrase, “wall of separation between church and state”, as written in Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802. In that letter, referencing the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Jefferson writes:
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.”
Jefferson was describing to the Baptists that the United States Bill of Rights prevents the establishment of a national church, and in so doing they did not have to fear government interference in their manner of worship. The Bill of Rights was one of the earliest examples in the world of complete religious freedom (adopted in 1791, only preceded by the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in 1789).
So my country has a motto, like a vision and a mission, and to remind us it is printed on every dollar in my pocket. I will wave our stars and strips and pledge alliance to the flag ‘under God’ and sing the Star Spangled banner and hope whatever God(s) we trust will pull us through another day without bombs dropping on our heads or fires burning down our forests or bridges folding under lack of maintenance or being shot watching a movie or that value of that dollar in my pocket is still worth a dollar at the end of the day.
And as the president says, “May God(s) bless America”

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