E Natura Unum

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In Nature We Trust?

My wife and I drove the Blue Ridge Parkway yesterday and hiked gorgeous green trails down to some amazing waterfalls (photo:  Crabtree Falls).  At each tumbling falls, we stood with people of different ethnicities, nationalities, ages, sizes, abilities and, no doubt, religious beliefs.  Did it matter at all?  Of course not.  Nature was the most glorious thing on anyone’s mind.  A young man passed us with a t-shirt that said, “Jesus,” but all he wanted to preach is how beautiful it was at the falls.

Leaving the parkway, we stopped for dinner in a rather depressed little town with a bit of charm here and there.  After dinner we walked the main street and saw this on the City Hall/Courthouse:

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“In God We Trust”

You know you’re surrounded and squeezed by the big leather bible belt when you see this prominent “preaching” of the so-called “National Motto.”

It made me think more (always a good thing, right?).  I remembered this divisive “motto” was added in the 1950’s when everyone was scared of the Godless coming to steal America’s God, or something.  The holy mantra was even added to The Pledge which only made us more Divisible rather than “One Nation Indivisible.”

The Department of Treasury has a little reminder for us,

“[A theme for the US Department of Treasury is] E Pluribus Unum – Out of many, one. Just as the 13 colonies came together to form our Union, the many Treasury departmental offices and bureaus operate in unity to serve the American people.

The Latin phrase E Pluribus Unum is found in the Journals of the Continental Congress, June 20, 1782, where it was used to describe the Great Seal adopted that day. From the Great Seal’s earliest depiction, E Pluribus Unum has appeared on coins since 1795 and has graced the back of $1 notes since 1935. The phrase has been required on all U.S. coinage by law since February 12, 1873.”

It would mean much more, and be more historically accurate, to put E Pluribus Unum over public doorways.  That sure seems better than “making a God statement” that just happens to make non-theists (and many non-Christians) feel like second class citizens.

Personally, I prefer “In Nature We Trust.”  But that’s because I also like “One Nation (World) Under Nature.”


btw:  the “godly” courthouse pictured is in a county where, according to Americans United, ALL magistrates are refusing to follow the law and perform same-sex marriages.  Free to believe (in discrimination) and uphold (God’s) law.

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