Still Pitches Religion
by Jerry Billings and Cliff Walker
You look at the back of any U.S. currency and there it is:
"IN GOD WE TRUST"
Right away, you wonder:
Why do they do that?
Before Joseph McCarthy's hysterical anti-Communist era, our currency used to say:
"E PLURIBUS UNUM"
-- or "Of many, one." America is a melting pot, isn't it? They've got to realize that a lot of American citizens de facto don't trust anyone who goes by the name "God." And this advertisement cannot produce any significant results for the churchs' zealous missionary campaigns. The churches ought to do their own advertising; it must be insulting to them to think that "God" needs help from our government. Besides, the churches don't pay taxes toward supporting our government.
Next, no one wants to talk about which god is the Treasury Department talking about. (Notice that goddesses are not mentioned. One thing's for sure, it's a boy god.) So which particular male deity do they think we all trust? Maybe they think we trust Allah or Yahveh or Vishnu (I don't!). Perhaps they are thinking of an obscure god like Quetzalcotl or Osiris or Juju. I don't know; it doesn't say. It just says "GOD" -- whatever that means!
Finally, who the hell is this we bunch. It certainly doesn't include me, so why is this graffiti on the money I spend? Why do I have to spread this patently erroneous message in order to do business? Hey! If the U.S. did away with currency altogether and started requiring that an ultraviolet bar code be tattooed on people's hands or foreheads, I know of a whole bunch of people who would become viciously and vocally livid! We'd never hear the end of it from them! But no one listens when four simple and admittedly useless words raise questions about we Atheists' place as citizens of the United States of America.
Now, while I can't do much about the first two questions, I have a ready answer for the last one. It's lots of fun to use a rubber stamp (available from CRT) to amend the advertisement. The solid bar blots out the filthy language and makes my money read as follows:
-- or -- -- or --
Stamps are available for the convenient price of $10 from:
Center for Rational Thought
Another simple thing I do when I don't have my stamp handy is to take a pen and scratch out the offending words. Usually I just write "Atheist Money" or "Trust Yourself!" on it. Sometimes I'll insert a plug for the merchant I'm doing business with, or I'll plug the product I'm buying. When I have lots of time, such as when I'm sitting in a restaurant waiting for the check to arrive, I'll think of a longer slogan to make my point. It's fun to be creative, and I've found that it makes a great conversation starter for the folks behind me in line at the grocery store. Several clerks now wink and hand me a pen before I even ask.
I have been doing this for many years and I have never had a store clerk or bank teller reject my ATHEIST MONEY. Usually, I just borrow a pen from them to do it right in front of them. If lots of people did this, there would be three immediate effects.
1) It would tell anyone who sees the corrected money that an Atheist has exercized our nation's First Amendment right of free speech.
2) The money would no longer work in a coin changer and would have to be sent back to the Federal Reserve, the department which puts that offensive slogan on in the first place. Imagine what would happen if thousands of bills were returned every month from banks all over America. It's just possible that the folks in charge might come around and realize that it would be better if our money did not have this blatantly unrepresentative yarn on it in the first place.
3) I would know that I did something. I did something -- even if it is not earth shaking -- that I can be proud of having done. And that one little action rewards me a thousand fold by making me feel good -- even proud.
Oh, yes, there's not a lot we can do about the coins just now, but if people get clever, we might hear of something in the offing.