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Was "so help us God" expunged from Arlington Cemetery? (Or was that Ishtar?)

"So help us God."

Thus ended Roosevelt's speech after the Battle of Iwo Jima. At least, that is what some people believe. Was this just another lie of the religious right wing, or was the cemetery defaced? Did the government try to expunge God himself?


Someone sent me a forward because a woman felt those words, "So help us God," should have been memorialized in a plaque found at the Arlington Cemetery. Do you agree? 

According to one view, if the accusation had been true, had the government actually expunged the mention of God, it would have been tantamount expunging God himself; it would have been an offense to the Deity. This is a Christian nation, they reason, so any and all governmental mentions of God are good. And after all, the words were part of the speech. But were they? (Read to the end to find out.)

You can see below what I wrote back, although I have researched and expanded my response (more than a bit) for public consumption. Read the result as follows:


Christians should realize that Arlington Cemetery exists to honor veterans, not gods and goddesses. 

I sometimes wonder if Christians realize that they could become a minority at any time. There is no guarantee that Christianity will always be the dominant religion in America. For example, what if some other group has a higher birth rate? 

What goes around comes around: Using a Veterans' memorial as a billboard  for deities would be setting a precedent, but for what? 

For “so help us Allah,” or “so help us Krishna?” Most Christians would not go for that. Sure, many religious people would like to have their god/gods mentioned on the walls of the Supreme Court Building, in parks, and all other public places, such as Arlington Cemetery. 

Arlington cemetery, however, is the resting place for the fallen American soldiers of many different faiths. You don't have to believe in God to be buried there. For some, Jehovah is, indeed, a foreign god (or even a non-existent god), and who wants to be buried in a cemetery dedicated to a "foreign" god (or one that is not real)? 

Even people who disagree with me might want to consider whether it is best to leave well enough alone. 

Sure, let the Presidents and other politicians talk about God all they want (and they will, if it helps them get elected).  

But, Marduk be darned! I say (and you can quote me on this): "Leave the dead vets rest in peace, whatever their faith or philosophy was in this life."

What do you think: Should Arlington Cemetery be devoted to a deity?

Oh, and lest I forget to mention, Snopes.com reports that the forwarded email was ... (drumrolls) FALSE! Words were not expunged from the President's speech after all, it seems.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/memorial.asp

Why am I not surprised? 



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