God predates Christians — and us all

January 4, 2013 

You’d expect someone with Bonnie Erbe’s (Voices, Dec. 27) prominence and academic pedigree to take an enlightened perspective, but sadly her apparent glee at what she sees as the “crumbling” of the “Christian era” is snarky drivel and masks a void in understanding. But oh how she sashays her sassy, insipid lack of depth in a Scripps Howard commentary, gleefully questioning the “one Christian god” of the Pledge of Allegiance and the need for such.

There is nothing sacred about the pledge, written in 1892 for a youth magazine. Congress didn’t accept it until 1942, and a year later the Supreme Court ruled students couldn’t be forced to recite it. God didn’t join the pledge until 1954 when President Eisenhower said, “In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.”

Enter Ms. Erbe, who says it is “liberating” to be among a growing population of non-affiliated and non-Christians, though she presumes to know “clearly” what Christian church leaders see and know. She doesn’t know. Her rant bespeaks much she doesn’t seem to know. Not the least of which is that God predated Christians and is neither their supposition nor exclusive province.

Demographics can’t change history. The first Americans, who were encountered by arriving Europeans, also believed in a Creator and Master Spirit. Most tribes believed in the immortality of the human soul. They had practices and rituals to enlist the aid of the supernatural. Our Declaration of Independence clearly invokes a God and Creator. The constitution is signed “in the year of our Lord …”

Ms. Erbe, you can ban the Pledge of Allegiance if you wish and eschew those spiritual weapons the great General called our “most powerful resource,” and clack away about an “oppressively Christian nation,” but first, please learn a bit of theology, history, comparative religion and spirituality. A nod, even, at world history might give you sightings of “God” elsewhere. Your readers deserve more than your “nonaffiliated” wishful thinking.

Cambria resident Tom Cochrun has been a journalist for more than 42 years, working in print, radio, television and online media. He is a multiple Emmy winner and a 2006 winner of the George Foster Peabody award. He is a member of The Associated Press and Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame. He’s written two novels and is at work on a third.

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