May the nations praise you, O God. Yes, may all the nations praise you. Then the earth will yield its harvests, and God, our God, will richly bless us. Yes, God will bless us, and people all over the world will fear him.
— Psalms 67:5-7
A good friend of mine — Dustin Gist —posted this verse last week. It’s poignant, and as usual with Dustin’s posts, timely, since just a little bit before I read this I saw a post where our leaders in the House of Representatives are moving to strike the words “so help me God” from the oath of office.
Even though I’m a Christian, this is not to say I advocate one religion above another. Everyone is entitled to their own gods, and as long as they’re devout, there’s no conflict here.
But without the influence of a deity, or at least of something that acts as a moral base, what good is an oath?
Granted, the phrase only has been part of the oath since 1862, but to my mind, it signifies that the oath taker would face the wrath of a deity instead of breaking an oath. To me, it lends weight and credence to something that otherwise would be a meaningless jumble of words.
It also is a plea, one that asks a deity for the help and wisdom to be truly effective at whatever position required the oath. Nothing wrong with that, regardless of what atheists or separatists believe.
It shouldn’t matter that government offices use this tag line, since the separation of church and state really doesn’t exist in the Constitution. (Go ahead, look it up.) What matters is this gives an added weight to the office in question, and that there’s a morality that backs up the decisions made on other’s behalf.
Being a nation of laws, as well as rules and social behaviors, what keeps people adhering to those things, if not a moral code? If you don’t believe in right and wrong, if your conscience is not grounded in a philosophy that delineates good and evil, then laws or oaths become meaningless, as any action you take will be the result of whim.
When you put this development together with the myriad of other events that happen regularly, it would seem that our leaders have decided to eschew all that is good about this country and replace it with all that is expedient.
The irony of that is when putting forth arguments for the latest rounds of actions taken “for the people,” which ultimately end up with some right, liberty, money or all being taken away, morality and even Christianity are invoked.
Ultimately, it isn’t necessary to have “so help me God” as part of an oath, but it sure is a comfort to the people who inevitably will bear the costs of an oathtaker’s decisions.
Tony Farkas is publisher of the Madisonville Meteor.