Morals are insufficient policies

We need goodwill.

To represent us, we need bright, eloquent, vigorous and warm hearted relations around the world. We want others to know our fine intentions and our requirement for a positive and peaceful way of living together.

We appoint goodwill ambassadors to help lift respect for our nation. When an Egyptian leader asked Karen Hughes, the Administration’s Goodwill Ambassador, why President Bush mentions God so often in his speeches, she retorted by probing whether he was aware that previous American presidents have also cited God. She told him, “Many people around the world do not understand the important role that faith plays in Americans’ lives. Our Constitution cites ‘One nation under God.'” [Salon]

Injecting religion into global relations is not honoring the spirit of our nation.

“Wow ‘Em With Untruths” is a post at theAgitator illustrating the unkempt thinking we allow.

‘One nation under God’ is not in the Constitution. Our Framers took great care to exclude such language. ‘One nation under God’ was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 during the Cold War.

Francis Bellamy of the National Education Association composed the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892. His original wording was, ‘I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’ Bellamy wrote about choosing the words:

“It began as an intensive communing with salient points of our national history, from the Declaration of Independence onwards; with the makings of the Constitution…with the meaning of the Civil War; with the aspiration of the people….

“The true reason for allegiance to the Flag is the ‘republic for which it stands.’ …And what does that vast thing, the Republic mean? It is the concise political word for the Nation – the One Nation which the Civil War was fought to prove. To make that One Nation idea clear, we must specify that it is indivisible, as Webster and Lincoln used to repeat in their great speeches. And its future?

“Just here arose the temptation of the historic slogan of the French Revolution which meant so much to Jefferson and his friends, ‘Liberty, equality, fraternity.’ No, that would be too fanciful, too many thousands of years off in realization.

“But we as a nation do stand square on the doctrine of liberty and justice for all….”

In the 1920s, the National Flag Conference of the American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution changed ‘my Flag,’ to ‘the Flag of the United States of America’. Bellamy wrote that he disliked this change. A Catholic campaign by the Knights of Columbus added ‘under God’ in 1954 altering the pledge toward a public prayer. Bellamy stopped attending church because he disliked inequality and racial bigotry that was too often ignored by religion.

Our Founders would urge us to quit promoting morality and religion in civic life.

We fail to execute the deeds of earth when we encumber ourselves with the needs of heaven.

It’s not that faith is unimportant nor should be. It’s that faith is not the task of governments. We need governments for the purpose of getting things done in our world.

Morality is the zeal that faith propels and morality is too often promoted by the immoral. It places people in positions of power. Nietzche warned about the rise of the Nazis when he noticed that morality is the ‘easiest way to lead people by the nose’.

It not that faith isn’t important. Faith is potent. Thus it must be separate from power.

What warning in today’s world will help us see our leadership more closely? Recent political leaders are first and foremost opportunists. We all know opportunists will say whatever we want to hear. What we fail to recognize is the pathology that follows. Folks that spend their time to fool you are generally greater fools.

We are not only determining good versus evil when we vote. Our leaders must convince us not merely of their morals but of their honor. This is the civic challenge that is so much different than the calling of the church.

Honor is a task of great skill that is much more than promoting conscience from a pulpit or a podium. When we look for leaders, we are determining good sense, good manners, good wit – requirements of truthfulness, fairness and vision that create good practice.

Original sketch of the proposed face of the Great SealThere’s excellent policy guidance for our government shown in this early sketch of the face of the Great Seal of the United States.

First in official heraldry, there’s no top on this pyramid but Divinity.

Our symbol easily points out that the American government isn’t joined to God. Government is not from Heaven, nor can be connected to it. Instead, it shall be shaped by the Constitution and restrained to the tasks of the world.

Since 1776, we are never again to be put upon by human authority acting as if God or godly. With divine approval, Annuit Cœptis, we are each bricks in the wall upon a green and pastoral earth. While through the ages, no other order is required.

America’s founders carefully and courageously wanted to provide us a very great freedom for our belief and our practice. Government was not to be involved.

Government is not to make our morality, nor to make rules from our morality, nor preach or promote our morality, nor to represent God in its relations.

Government is to be greater than that: Our government is to leave our God to us. Now, that’s Divine.