I Get Emails

I have some dear friends back in Texas, two people I went to high school with. Call them Donna Sue and Billy Ray.

Billy Ray was rodeo people, rowdy and bawdy as hell. More than once I saw him breeze through the front gate of a rodeo arena on a Friday night and 15 minutes later breeze out the back with one of those little poured-into-her-jeans Texas cowgirls, headed for the nearest horse trailer for what Lonesome Dove’s Gus McCrae would call a “poke.”

After Billy Ray and Donna Sue got together, that part of Billy Ray’s wild days ended, but other stuff, equally wild, went on for a bit.

So I was kinda surprised, a few years back, when I found out they’d suddenly gotten all goddy.

They were very good friends, generous friends, way back when, so I never got into the subject of atheism with them.

And I probably never will. I’d like to see them at least once more, for old time’s sake, next time I go back to Texas, and I know that won’t happen if the subject comes up.

Doesn’t mean I can’t talk about the multiply-forwarded emails Donna Sue sends me. Like this one:

Subject: Fw: Shock to NBC this Morning

This is not sent for discussion. If you agree, forward it. If you don’t, delete it.

I don’t want to know one way or the other. By me forwarding it, you know how I feel.

I’ll bet this was a surprise to NBC….


Do you believe that the word God should stay in American culture?

NBC this morning had a poll on this question. They had the highest Number of responses that they have ever had for one of their polls, and the Percentage was the same as this:

86% to keep the words, IN God We Trust and God in the Pledge of Allegiance

14% against

That is a pretty ‘commanding’ public response.

I was asked to send this on if I agreed or delete if I didn’t …

Now it is your turn. It is said that 86% of Americans believe the word God should stay…….

Therefore, I have a very hard time understanding why there is such a mess about having ‘In God We Trust’ on our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Why is the world catering to this 14%?


If you agree, pass this on , if not, simply delete.

In God We Trust

The thing appeared to be signed by John D’Angelo, Ph. D., Professor (Retired)

Which is a little bit strange, since the email may be as old as 2004, according to a piece titled God Poll on Snopes.com.

I’m not even sure there is an actual John D’Angelo, Ph.D., but if there was, I’d say to him:

Well John, if these are your sentiments despite not being your words, I have an easy time understanding why there is such a mess about having “In God We Trust” on our money, and God in the Pledge.

It has to do mainly with two bedrock American principles: One, the principle of equal rights, the other the principle of separation of church and state.

What I don’t understand is those people who don’t understand that things like that are not subject to opinion polls, or even votes.

Giving the minority equal right to speak their minds, or to live in society, or to enjoy the same protections as the legal majority, is not “catering to” them. It’s respecting their rights – which are “rights” because they’re NOT subject to majority vote.

Grieving Mother Mistreated by Heartless Atheists
Goodness and Guilt on the Dark Edge of Life
Looking Past the Bright Sun of Crazy
Reimagining the Conceptual Foundation of Atheism
  • Charles Sullivan

    Yeah. That’s why they call it the tyranny of the majority. Thank dogs that the founding fathers were smart enough to write a constitution and bill of rights to prevent this kind of tyranny.

    I’m glad those founding fathers were not like today’s politicians. Or we’d be completely screwed.

  • Gordon

    “simply delete.

    In God We Trust”

    Now that’s good advice!

  • Yellow Thursday

    The part that really bothers me about this email is how opposing viewpoints are quashed. If you don’t agree, we don’t want to hear from you. Or, in other words, we can’t defend our position so we refuse to debate it.

  • machintelligence

    In the interest of ecumenism (and to piss of the fundamentalists), I propose adding a single letter to the phrases “under god” and “In god we trust”. The letter is s.
    Think about how much more inclusive it would be to say “one nation under gods” and “In gods we trust”. ;)

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    This is not sent for discussion. If you agree, forward it. If you don’t, delete it.

    I don’t want to know one way or the other. By me forwarding it, you know how I feel.

    I love this intro. In other words “If you agree with me, please say so loudly so that everyone can hear our sentiment. If you disagree, then SHUT UP! Your views should not be heard!”

  • Gordon

    Changing it to “Gods” would soon show how hollow the claim of “ceremonial deism” is!

  • Didaktylos

    Democracy starts to fall apart as soon as it is possible to accurately refer to “the majority”.

  • Chris L. Robinson

    A few years ago, I lost a good friend after she sent me one of those chain emails arguing that God allowed Hurricane Katrina to happen because America had turned its back on Him.

    I told her to make sure that she never sent me anything that stupid again and that IF she worshipped an all-powerful god that drowned little kids in Louisiana because he didn’t like homosexuals in New York that she should find a new god to worship.

    One of the few emails that I’ve written in a white heat that I don’t regret.

    • otrame

      Had a similar thing happen to me. An acquaintance stated tha AIDS was God’s punishment for gays (this was in the mid 80s, when AIDS was still relatively new). “White heat” is a good description. I told her “So when you get in a car accident and your son needs a transfusion and gets AIDS as a result, you’ll still think this method of punishment is acceptable? You’ll still be worshiping that God, will you? Aren’t you a Christian? Didn’t Jesus say ‘Judge not, lest you be judged’? Damn it, gay people are PEOPLE. Just because you think they are sinners, I remind you that ‘ALL have sinned and fallen short of the grace of God’. Your casual dismissal of them, claiming they DESERVE this disease… Just remember that Jesus said ‘What you have done to the least of these you have done to me’. Just think about what you have just done to Jesus.”

      She sputtered, “You don’t even believe in Jesus.” and I said, “No, but you do.”

      In a way it wasn’t fair because I took out my fury that people were going around saying shit like that on the one person who said it to my face.

  • P Smith

    “Cater to”? “Only” 14%? The jews make up 2% of Americans, blacks make up 13% and hispanics make up 16%. I suppose the nutbags “think” no one should “cater to” those people either.

    The rightwingnuts don’t want to “cater to” 50% of the human population. They want all women to be barefoot, ignorant, pregnant (by rape, if necessary), and completely obedient and subservient to men.


  • Slaughter

    Y’know, most people don’t have a clue about the origins of “In God We Trust” in the pledge, and we I tell them, they’re usually quite surprised. I’m often mild-mannered, but I can be like Chris L. Robinson and otrame. I guess it just depends on my mood (and the depth of the other person’s ignorance and/or intransigence). Nearly happened in a parent meeting at school last month, but I bit my tongue.

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