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Posted by Randall Terrell on November 6, 2002 18:11:30 UTC

my responses to two different questions. The first was about founding fathers and religion and living under "In God We Trust" to which I responded that this phrase was not connected to the founding fathers.

The second response was to a question about whether the story of Jesus informed the First Amendment, and I maintain that, while it may have had some influence, the primary influences were the direct oppresion of a distant King.

I did not address whether "In God we trust" violates the First Amendment. But, now that you bring it up, I do believe it does--(though the courts disagree with me). Your point that the term "God" in that phrase could be interpreted to mean a particular philosophy (as opposed to a religion) violates almost every definition of the term "God." By definition a belief in God is a religous belief. Further, if you adopt the definition of "God as philosophy" then you both contradict any argument that the U.S. is a christian or religous country and argue against the adoption of any particular philosophy through legislation. You can't argue for the adoption of "Christian" legislation and maintain that "god is only a philosophy." It doesn't work.

Either "God" is a religous term and it violates the Establishment clause, or it is a philosophical terms and the country is NOT dependent on any religious guidance.

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