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thedrifter
01-21-05, 06:53 AM
“… so help me God.”

January 21, 2005


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by Frank Salvato

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“…so help me God.” Such are the final words of the Oath of Office as recited by second term president George W. Bush on Inauguration Day 2005. They concluded the oath that saw the president reaffirm the duties he faithfully executed during his first term in office and that he swore to perform again in his second. To President Bush these words mean something. They are the ultimate expression of his commitment to fulfill the promise that he has made to the American people, himself and, so help him, to his God.

Most people, whether religious or not, recognize that the phrase “so help me God,” emphasizes the seriousness of the oath just administered. They recognize them as confirmation that President Bush has once again promised to “faithfully execute the office of President of the United States,” and to the best of his ability, “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." These words hurt no one but instead hold President Bush to a commitment, and in the president’s eyes, a solemn commitment made under the watch of the One that will ultimately judge him. To President Bush this is more pressing than any opinion poll or approval rating.

So, it is stunning that words which express so much to an entire nation, words that hurt no one, could be so vehemently opposed.

The US Supreme Court, namely Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice John Paul Stevens, recently refused to hear an emergency appeal brought before them by Michael Newdow, the perennial cyst on the buttocks of common sense, asking the court to bar any prayer or religious content during the Presidential Inauguration. In his complaint Newdow argued that permitting religious content in the proceedings violated the US Constitution’s first amendment ban on government establishment of religion. To say the least, Mr. Newdow’s argument is such a far stretch it is reminiscent of Michael Moore in spandex.

The first amendment of the Bill of Rights states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

There is no separation of church and state mentioned in the first amendment or anywhere else in the US Constitution. To believe so is to be mistaken. In fact, the issue of there being a separation of church and state is based on a personal letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Baptists of the Danbury congregation in order to quell their fears of a widespread rumor that the Congregationalists, another denomination, were to become the national religion. He wrote:

“I contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.”

The US Constitution had 55 people working on it yet the likes of Newdow insist that the personal writings of Jefferson – although a noted member of the Constitutional Congress – somehow afford them validity when they insist that the US Constitution embraces the idea of “separation of church and state.” It does not. If anything, the intentions of Jefferson were to have the “wall of separation” flow one way, allowing the people of the United States to practice religion freely without interference from government. These intentions were shattered in 1961 when the US Supreme Court, lorded over by Chief Justice Earl Warren, removed prayer from school without precedent in the case of Engel v. Vitale.

Jefferson’s, “A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom,” enacted by the Virginia legislature in 1786 has at its core the idea that citizens may neither be obliged to worship nor prohibited from worshiping however and whenever they wish. Jefferson is quoted as saying, “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” In this statement Jefferson illustrates the importance of tolerance. Where one man may not recognize god he should defer to another’s right to practice his faith. Tolerance is born of an ideal realized through courtesy and conviction, qualities the narcissistic carbuncle Newdow lacks completely.

Common sense suggests that if one doesn’t share the same faith as another one should be strong enough in their own faith to be unshaken. If one is an Atheist and truly believes that there is no god then how can someone who prays to a god, any god, be a threat? To be shaken, threatened, because someone does not believe in the same way as you is a sign of weakness and demonstrates a lack of conviction. But in these days of Atheists wanting to ban religion (Atheism being a recognized religion) and anarchists planning demonstrations of defiance (anarchists planning anything – the ultimate oxymoron) common sense doesn’t always prevail and the facts of the matter – and their sources – seldom come to light. To that end we can only pray that common sense re-emerges before it is too late…so help me God.

Related Reading:

The Myth of the Separation of Church and State

http://www.noapathy.org/tracts/mythofseparation.html

Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Writings, Merrill D. Peterson, ed.

(NY: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 1984), p. 510, January 1, 1802.

Religious Liberty: Legacy to the World

http://www.irla.org/documents/fel/fel1998/negus.html


Frank Salvato

Ellie

HardJedi
01-21-05, 11:10 AM
WOO HOO! I do LOVE when people point out FACTS about stuff. :D

yellowwing
01-21-05, 11:17 AM
I always took the phrase "..so help me God", to mean "Even at moments when my strength runs out, I will have faith and trust that I will still do my job!"

HardJedi
01-21-05, 11:19 AM
Great way to look at it Yellowing. Personaly, whenever I have been FORCED to swear on the bible, or say words of that nature, I took it as nothing more than a symbol of my own personal promise to do the best I can as well. Had nothing to do with religion.

BHABIT
01-21-05, 12:26 PM
I'll probably get things really stirred up here, but here goes...

The majority of the founding fathers were Masons, in which case symbolisms in oath were very important. The reference to GOD is a literal one.

HardJedi
01-21-05, 12:27 PM
what do mason have to do with God? well, ok, maybe thats the wrong question, maybe we should ask instead, " what GOD are the MASONS talking about? "

BHABIT
01-21-05, 12:44 PM
The same one you talk about... providing you're Christian.

HardJedi
01-21-05, 12:48 PM
NOPE, Most of the founding fathers were NOT christian AT ALL. wanna see?


just read the really long posts by me on this thread, you'll see :D


http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=114741#post114741

BHABIT
01-21-05, 02:02 PM
I guess, as my most favorite President said "it depends on what the meaning of "IS" is". It is true that they didn't follow the practices of a given religious doctrine, in part because the "church" at that time took alot of their views from the parent church in England which was part and parcel of the throne.

It was not my intention to be argumentative... I was only trying to make the point that unlike any one religion, to them GOD was percieved as literal without any religious connotations. This then being acceptable to all religions.

HardJedi
01-21-05, 04:17 PM
ok, I agree with ya on that then :D

cbqrr47
01-21-05, 10:19 PM
The words "so help me God" are not in the constitution, but were added by George Washington, when he was first sworn in. Washington was an active Mason and those of us who are Masons, know that these exact words have a Masonic origin! BTW, you can not be made a Mason unless you profess belief in God.

yellowwing
01-22-05, 08:19 AM
I was raised by a Mason. I was taught many things that add positively to my character today. But even as his son when I asked, "Dad, what's the deal with the Masons", all he said, "Join and find out. You won't regret it."

Hmmm.....

hrscowboy
01-22-05, 08:42 AM
yes yellowwing my brother when are you going to join us masons..

HardJedi
01-22-05, 09:26 AM
Originally posted by cbqrr47
The words "so help me God" are not in the constitution, but were added by George Washington, when he was first sworn in. Washington was an active Mason and those of us who are Masons, know that these exact words have a Masonic origin! BTW, you can not be made a Mason unless you profess belief in God.



Yes, you can't be a mason unbless you preofess a belief in god. but WHAT god has always been my weustion. any orginization who HAS to handle thier business in secret, has something to hide, and if it MUST be hidden, then there is probably something wrong with it. ( just my opinion of course)

yellowwing
01-22-05, 10:07 AM
Secret? I take the secracy of Masons as in there are some teachings that poeple are just not ready to learn.

From what I've gathered in all my 39 years, as in the Corps, Integrity is at the top of their list.

HardJedi
01-22-05, 03:27 PM
hmnnn I am gonna mail you a book of mine on the masons sometime yellowing, written by some "former members" supposedly.


pretty interestiing stuff.


according to THESE guy's ( the authors) the highest level masons are not what you would think. and the symbolism they use? research some of it, and the origins can be pretty .........odd.

yellowwing
01-22-05, 03:45 PM
Well hell, even if George Washington was a low level Mason at the time. he had the stones to say, "We can do this on our own!"

cbqrr47
01-22-05, 09:54 PM
Just a bit of triva for those of us who are Masons and members of the MCL. Gen. John A. Lejuene was a Mason and also wrote the MCL ritual. Can you guess what he based the MCL ritual on? That's right, on the so-called "secret" Masonic ritual!

yellowwing
01-22-05, 10:09 PM
Ooh-rah brefore us no enemy can stand! Beside us none will fail

Wyoming
01-22-05, 10:19 PM
Ever since I was raised I have neither seen nor done anything that would sway me away.

Yes, there are naysayers out there, as there are in any and all areas. I truly believe you just have to experience the comradere of the Masons to truly understand.


Give the following link a chance -
http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/ (http://)

To join, all you have to do is ask a Mason.

2B1Ask1

yellowwing
01-22-05, 10:46 PM
Yeah well, I'd have no probem telling my life story, it was not always pretty full of good character.

cbqrr47
01-22-05, 11:05 PM
BTW, George Washington was not a "low level" Mason. He was a Past Grand Master, sort of a Masonic CMC!

HardJedi
01-23-05, 01:25 AM
odd that washingtons entry in the official history of us presidents does not mention his being a past grand master.

Wyoming
01-23-05, 01:51 AM
Originally posted by HardJedi
odd that washingtons entry in the official history of us presidents does not mention his being a past grand master.


Here are a couple of links to put things on the level.

http://www.gwmemorial.org/Chronology.htm (http://)

http://www.ycsi.net/users/reversespins/masons.html (http://)

yellowwing
01-23-05, 04:12 AM
Okay, GW was a Grand Pooh-Bah Mason.

HardJedi
01-23-05, 08:48 AM
huh. the links won't work for me. anyone know why?

cbqrr47
01-24-05, 10:49 PM
George Washington was Grand Master of the Virginia Grand Lodge and Harry S. Truman was Grand Master of the Missouri Grand Lodge. Whoever compiled the"official" history didn't know or care to mention that GW was a Past Grand Master!

HardJedi
01-25-05, 12:04 AM
yeah the truman one was well known. as far as washington? well, like I said, not in official history, kept by the us government, the truman one is. either way, not really the point of the whole thread is it?

hrscowboy
01-25-05, 04:32 AM
hardjedi i would love to read your book and see what these former members have to say about the masonery. I am a 5 th generation mason and if i thought for one minute that this organization was doing anything that i thought was wrong i would resigned my position in a heart beat. i think if most of you will check it out you will find that almost all the presidents have been masons. and if you do some more checking there are also alot of masons in the congress. Masons are a band of brothers just the Marine Corps we look out for each other.

HardJedi
01-25-05, 08:31 AM
I'll try and get it to you pretty soon Cowboy, if you really wanna read it. ( gotta get it back from another friend of mine first though, it may take a few weeks)

hrscowboy
01-25-05, 08:56 AM
that would work for me brother i can meet ya across the river when ever you like...

BHABIT
01-25-05, 10:06 AM
I should have followed my own advise... "Politics and Religion are personal convictions and don't lend themselves to calm public debate". For this I apologize.

Hardjedi's quote:
Yes, you can't be a mason unbless you preofess a belief in god. but WHAT god has always been my weustion. any orginization who HAS to handle thier business in secret, has something to hide, and if it MUST be hidden, then there is probably something wrong with it. ( just my opinion of course)

With all due respect... within our own beloved Marine Corps we handle our business in secret. I personaly find nothing wrong with that, there always exists a "Need to Know" doctrine in all parts of life.

My life, as is everyones here, is no ones business but mine; but I will share this... as is my service in my beloved Marine Corps, for the most part, secret; so are my Masonic vows I took 34 years ago. To betray either one would be a betrayal not only to myself but also everyone else that is associated.

HardJedi
01-25-05, 01:35 PM
Hmnn. Well, to each his own. I myself keep nothing secret . Throw it all out there for everyone. I feel that secrets do nothing but sow the seeds of discord and misunderstanding.

With regards to military operations, of course things MUST be kept secret, for a time. ( BEFORE they take place) after that? I see no reson for it.


People may think because of some of the things I have posted that I do NOT believe in god, and there is nothing farther from the truth. I do, very strongly believe in god. It's just certain orginazations within religion that I have problems with.

As far as secret oaths? Like I said, well, I admire your commitment and convictions, as well as your honor in doing what you said you would do by keeping the secrets. I can't really ask any more than that from another person.

Lastly, I will only say this, I do not trust ANYONE, ever, who keeps something secret from me. ( can you tell I have ALOT of trust issues in my life? :) )

BHABIT
01-25-05, 03:40 PM
Rodger that...

I also have a lot of trust issues in my life... BUT the truth still remains! If you feel as strongly as you do then I suggest you make a gut check for our Marine Corps... because I promise you there are things that happened many years ago that YOU or anybody else that wasn't there will NEVER know about.

I know you have trust issues... however if that is the benchmark for your life... you need to start mistrusting more people and agencies than you do.

I could tell you incidents that would absolutely test your moral fibre... but then... as the old saying goes...

jo1753
01-25-05, 06:29 PM
I can't quite figure out just way people can't tell the difference between GOD and religion.

Most of these so called religions say they have some sort of exclusive on GOD but most people know better.

I'm a believer in the old saying " live and let live " in other words if someone isn't hurting anyone in hes/her beliefs. Then let them practice it. After all isn't that what we all went and fought for. But these people who want to turn our freedoms against us really kill me. In some other countries if they'd do some of this crap. Thay'd be hung.......But thay know thay can take our own constitution and use it against us.........GO FIGURE...!!! Semper-Fi