Religion and Government
Grassroots pressure from In God We Trust and ordinary Americans seems to be working. President Barack Obama is tempering his natural inclination to use government power to undermine religious belief in America and atheist groups are starting to complain.
“Many of the nation’s atheists believed that Obama’s election would mean the end of religion in America,” says Bishop Council Nedd, In God We Trust’s Chairman. “They didn’t expect that ordinary Americans would push back against their agenda and that Barack Obama would try to distance himself from his most ardent supporters.”
Some atheist bloggers are complaining that President Obama actually invokes the name of Jesus Christ more often than George W. Bush, the President atheists most despise.
The administration’s refusal to abolish President Bush’s Office of Faith Based Initiatives and even his nomination of Republican Congressman John McHugh as Army Secretary have thrown the atheists into a tizzy. McHugh in 2005 voted against a congressional amendment aimed at regulating religion in the military.
“Every time President Obama tries to advance the atheists’ agenda we pound him,” explains Nedd. “When he had Georgetown University cover up a religious icon before his speech, In God We Trust held him to account. When we discovered the White House staff was meeting with atheist lobbyists, we called them on it. The President is obviously getting tired of sacrificing political capital for the atheist movement.”
For their part, spokesmen for various atheist organizations have been very careful about openly attacking the President. “That’s not a battle we’re looking to fight,” said Jesse Galef a spokesman for the Secular Coalition of America in a recent magazine article about the political rift.
However, it clearly bothers many atheist activists that the White House is not immune to pressure from group’s like In God We Trust.
“I would be miffed too if I was them. Barack Obama was supposed to deliver America to the secular promised land, yet he still won’t even publicly meet with representatives of the atheist movement. Obama knows they are politically toxic,” says Nedd.
“On the other hand, I suppose the anti-religious zealots have no other choice. Without Barack Obama they would be still be stuck in someone’s basement arguing over whether Che Guevara was a more inspiring atheist revolutionary than Mao Zedong.”