“Church of America” my Ass!

12 April, 2008

Michael Medved (I hate to point anyone to his column lest the number of hits go up (but my readership is small (so if you want to read the whole depressing column, click here))) wrote a column explaining to America why it would be “hollowness and hypocrisy”, a “disconnec[tion] from the People”, and would make a mockery of “Winning the War on Islamo-Nazism” if an atheist became President.  The article is, beginning to end, an attack on non-religious and atheist Americans. (Hat Tip to the Carpet Bagger)

Medved states (in all seriousness) that

the President functions as head of the “Church of America” – that informal, tolerant but profoundly important civic religion that dominates all our national holidays and historic milestones.

That’s right, folks.  This mouthpiece of the radical right in American politics (you remember, the radical right that insists they are the only ones trul faithful to the Constitution) has somehow found, somewhere, something that makes the President of the United States of America the  head of the Church of America.  The steps he takes to arrive at this bizaare statement conflates federal holidays, the Queen of England, and Thanksgiving.

Because the President is the head of state and the head of government, he combines the English Prime Minister and the Queen (now there’s a vision you don’t want at oh-dark-early in the morning).  Because the Queenister (so why did the founding fathers call the office President?) provides over “solemn and ceremonial” occasions, the President Queenister must issue, for instance,

the annual Thanksgiving proclamation. To whom would he extend thanks in the name of his grateful nation –-the Indians in Massachusetts?

(Actually, not a bad idea, since they are the ones who helped those naifs to survive in New England)  He then goes on to, of course, bring up

the Pledge of Allegiance. Would President Atheist pronounce the controversial words “under God”? If he did, he’d stand accused (rightly) of rank hypocrisy. And if he didn’t, he’d pointedly excuse himself from a daily ritual that overwhelming majorities of his fellow citizens consider meaningful.

ARRRRGH!!!  There are so many things wrong here, I don’t now where to begin.  First, there’s the old appeal to popularity.  Never mind that “under God” was put in during the Cold War to help ferret out all those nasty Commies, and prove (PROVE!) that we were better than the Soviets.  Never mind that, nowhere in the Constitution, does it say that the President must make a pledge daily.  Wait, though.  It gets better (or worse, depending on whether you consider this comedy or tragedy):

what patriotic songs would our non-believer chief executive authorize for major celebrations and observances? “God Bless America” is out, obviously, as is “America the Beautiful” (with its chorus, “America, America, God Shed His Grace on Thee.”) “My Country ‘tis of Thee” features an altogether unacceptable last verse (“Our father’s God to thee/Author of Liberty/To Thee we sing…”) and “The Star Spangled Banner” national anthem also concludes with a verse that could cause hives to the ACLU (“Then conquer we must when our cause it is just/And this be our motto: In God is Our Trust.”)

So, because patriotic songs, written in a very different time, mention a supreme being, an atheist would . . . . . what?  Ban the singing of these songs?  Change the words?  Not sing?  Apparently, the result would be much, much, much more sinister:

Skeptics may suggest that an atheist president would give the nation the long-overdue chance to purge itself of these inappropriate religious trappings in our governmental and public processes, but truly overwhelming majorities cherish such traditions. The notion of dropping or altering all references to God and faith on public occasions to avoid discomfort for a single individual amounts to a formula for a disastrously unpopular presidency. (and we know that current evangelical Christian has such a popular Presidency Queenistery)

See, there’s the proof.  An atheist would remove all references to God.  An atheist would ‘purge itself of these inappropriate religious trappings.’  Apparently, he’s afraid that America would actually live up to its own Constitution:  separation of religion and government. 

The entire article (read it, if you can stomach it) is one long appeal to religious anti-atheist bigotry and an appeal to popularity.  What is sad is that this article most likely resonates with a large part (possibly a majority) of Americans.  The idea that Christianity might have to give up its position of most-favoured religion literally scares the hell out of many Christians and, apparently, Michael Medved.

His idea that the President Queenister of the United States is the head of a Church of America and, thus, cannot be an atheist shows ignorance of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, laws and legal decisions passed and handed down in the past 220 years, and logic.  Apparently, a secular person serving in a secular office would destroy the secular soul of America — a soul which is cared for by the head of the Church of America.



  1. I always shake my head in despair when the nutters make such outlandish statements. Are they really so insecure with their faith in their god that they honestly believe the whole world will descend into anarchy and chaos if we simply said that religion has no place in government that is for the people. (That’s all the people, not just the majority). Surely such anarchy and chaos would be a sure sign of the coming of our lub and saver Jebus, bring it on baby!

  2. I read Medved’s nauseating article. I applaud you for being able to look at it long enough to analyze it.

  3. Isn’t it sad to think that their are elements of our society that are going to think this guy is brilliant?

  4. Wow! I guess it’s terribly wrong of me to listen to Bach’s Mass in B minor since I utterly and completely deny the existence of god, and angels, and demons, and fairies, and vampires. I would guess that by Medved’s light the Congress should pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting atheists from even owning such music.

    Just to add to the nausea load, there’s an interesting piece on Israel over at Shia Islam’s site.

  5. Bruce: I agree about the insecurity. I think that the fear of new ideas is a big part of that.

    Chappie: The applause is welcome. I do, however, need a volunteer to clean up some vomit, though.

    Sabrina: Yeah, that is sad. Correct, but sad.

    Ric: I thought about your comment while playing guitar this afternoon. Some of the folk songs I like to play are blatently religious, so, according to Medved, I am a hypocrite for playing and singing them (singing being a relative term — I make Bob Dylan sound good).

    And thanks for the extra load of nausea. As I told Chappie . . . .

  6. Thanks for pointing this out to me. I of course agree with your objections.

  7. Philly: I hope his column didn’t induce spleefing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: