To the Editor: Opposes new decals

At the recent City Council meeting a motion passed 3-2 that will add decals emblazoned with the American flag and the words “In God we Trust” to our city’s police cars. Although some said it was not religiously motivated it was painfully obvious that that was not the case; a few even quoted scripture.

More than once, speakers (including councilmembers) suggested that the decals were as much a sign of patriotism as anything. I’m sure I’m not the only one who sees the irony in this.

When the U.S. adopted the draft in 1917, it included a clause that permitted Conscientious Objector status. Ever since then most conscientious objections have been based on one’s religious beliefs: those people, one might argue, who truly “trust in God” and follow the commandment “Thou Shalt not kill,” e.g Mennonites, Amish, et al.

Fortunately, from a military standpoint, anyway, these people were in the minority. Otherwise, we might have a situation such as depicted in a poem by Carl Sandburg where a young girl at a military parade says, ‘Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come.’ Heaven forbid!

If “In God We Trust” were actually a measure of one’s patriotism, could you imagine a future world where the conscientious objector is one who refuses to go to war because he doesn’t believe in God? Lock him up!

Many young people who went off to war, myself included, believed we were doing so for “patriotic” reasons. Perhaps there were some who saw it as a crusade to save the world from the ungodly hordes although I never personally heard anyone say that. Religiously inclined or not, the people I met believed they were fighting for freedom. They were patriots, and patriotism is not synonymous with religion!

So, here we are in 2019 with some city councilmembers trying to convince me and others that their true intent was patriotic. If that were the case, I think a decal of the American flag would have sufficed. Who could argue with that?

Finally, it was suggested at this same board meeting that the city council adhere to its secular mandate, i.e. ensuring a future water supply, paving streets, etc.

You already have a full plate. Leave the proselytizing to the churches!

Bob McDiarmid

Story First Published: 2019-09-27