Few words are as inspiring as those that rallied patriots in 1776:
When in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness -- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed...
Rights endowed by their Creator ("Nature's God") and secured by government?
That doesn't exactly sound like yesterday's news or today's understanding of God and government.
Consider these two headlines from just this past week: "NBC dumps 'under God' from Pledge at U.S. Open" and "New York Atheists Angry Over 'Heaven' Street Sign Honoring Sept. 11 Victims."
In November 2005, an MSNBC poll asked, "Should the motto 'In God We Trust' be removed from U.S. currency?" In March 2004, a CNBC poll asked, "Should the words 'under God' be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance?" Then, despite the fact that more than 80 percent responded in the negative to both of those questions, NBC twice omitted the words "under God" from a patriotic montage in which children recited the Pledge of Allegiance during the start of the recent U.S. Open golf tournament. NBC later apologized for the omission after nationwide outrage, but the damage already had been done.
Similarly, Fox News reported last week that some New York City atheists are demanding the removal of a street sign, newly dedicated to honor seven firefighters killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. They say the new street sign, "Seven in Heaven Way," which was posted in Brooklyn outside the firehouse where the firefighters once served, is a violation of the separation of church and state.
Posting a street sign with the term "heaven" on it is a violation of the separation of church and state?