God on Helium

And he was sworn into office on the Koran!

Barack Obama, not holding his hand over his heart during
national anthem, because Muslims don’t believe in God.

While researching my last two posts, I encountered articles on Helium. It’s some sort of web site where people write articles on various topics, then the users rate them. The idea is that the better articles will float to the top. I’m guessing that’s where the helium reference comes from. It appears to be a spotty system. Some of the top-ranked articles are good and some aren’t.

The page I found most recently is “Keeping the mention of God in the national anthem”. Oddly, it’s in the “Politics in the Middle & Near East” category. Of the five articles, one is about the national anthem of Kenya. OK, that fits the topic and kind of fits the category. Another is about the history of the Israel/Palestine problem. OK, that fits the category, but not the topic. That leaves three articles about the U.S. national anthem. That fits the topic, but not the category. Who’s running this dump, anyway?

Before we look at those three articles, let me throw in my 2¢. The “Star-Spangled Banner” started off as a poem. Somebody set it to music (an English drinking song!). Much later, it was canonized as our national anthem. The God reference is in the fourth stanza, which most people don’t even know about. God was (a very small) part of it from the beginning. It seems like it’s too little to get worked up over.

Contrast that with the Pledge of Allegiance. God was never a part of that. It was only jammed in there (ironically by dividing “one nation indivisible”) during the McCarthy era to tell those nasty godless commies (who surely had infiltrated our country and were plotting our downfall from the inside) that we were all good Christians (and a few token Jews). They can’t hurt us! We’re Godly!

Of course, we weren’t all Christians and Jews, even back in the 1950s. The act of inserting those two words into the Pledge not only turned it into an unconstitutional government-mandated prayer, but it told everybody who wasn’t an Abrahamic theist that they weren’t true Americans. This wasn’t their country.

This attitude was summed up by George H.W. Bush in 1988 with his famous statement:

No, I don’t know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

Clearly, the Pledge of Allegiance is the text that needs to be restored. Leave the “Star-Spangled Banner” alone.

The Helium Articles

Now let’s look at the three Helium articles posted to the topic “Keeping the mention of God in the national anthem”. The top-ranked article is from Sherry Bentley-Short. She writes two short paragraphs, then quotes the entire national anthem. Here’s part of what she has to say:

This is our national anthem and isn’t anything sacred from over touchy politically correct individuals, that have nothing better to do with their time than to try to change the way the world looks.

Just so it is said here first, next we will be petitioning France to have them put pants on the Statue of Liberty since most women don’t wear dresses anymore.

If that’s the “best” article, we’d better stop here.

But we don’t. We’re masochists.

The second article is from psycopatt:

very touchy, I am %95 percent atheist, and I could really care less about the word god in anything , it just doesn’t matter to me it’s just a word ! some people have way to much time on there hand’s and like to stir thing’s up a bit ,in this country we are all different and we all need to tolerate things we may not like ! the problem arises when you have these full fledged atheists who dont like the word god on anything ,they are very few but they have a big voice thru there civil liberties! it’s not fair to everyone else in this country , its one of those things we have to put up with! on the other hand you also have the muslims trying to change things to ,they have from time to time raised a stink over a cross in a public school ,or they havent liked the way they are treated because they wont touch pork and they work at a grocery store , the whole thing is ridiculous , just shut up and live, Im to tall , but I dont say anything when Im treated different by other people ,it doesn’t bother me , people just need to be tolerant of a few thing’s , we should actively not let these kind of IDIOTS get there way , civil liberties or not , it’s just not fair to everyone!

Enjoying the pain yet?

Finally, we have James Dulong, a high school student. The article is actually the best of the three. So much for Helium’s fantastic ranking system. The article has a few flaws, and I don’t agree with it completely, but it’s a reasonable opinion piece. E.g.:

The mention of God in the national anthem shouldn’t even be an issue. The mention of God was written into the anthem, and there it should stay. You don’t have to recite the national anthem if you don’t want to because of religious beliefs, just like you don’t have to go to a Christian church if you’re not Christian. You don’t have to go to the church, but it sure as hell wouldn’t be taken out of the town for your comfort!

The point James is missing is that the church isn’t officially sanctioned by the government, whereas the national anthem is.

Nevertheless, I agree that this isn’t a battle worth fighting over. They aren’t routinely singing the fourth stanza in schools or at government functions. As currently practiced, the national anthem isn’t routinely sending an exclusionary message that only theists can be citizens and patriots.

His patriotism never fades!

Clearly, the SUV of a God-loving citizen and patriot
(Image from Greg Bernhardt)

16 Responses to “God on Helium”

  1. Sarah Says:

    I just love how in all the articles, they tell us to basically ‘get over it’ but seriously…were it the other way around, I bet they would be the ones bitching about it.

    ‘It don’t matter so long as it ain’t my problem! Git over yourselves!’

  2. Meeee Says:

    How can you be 95% atheist?

    “I don’t believe in God. Except I do. Sometimes.”

  3. Ron Britton Says:

    No. He’s %95 atheist. That’s entirely different.

  4. Sarah Says:

    Meeee: I think that has to do more so with the fact that we cannot completely disprove God yet. Even Richard Dawkins said that on the scale of 1-7 (1 Being a complete believer in God, 7 being a complete disbeliever) he was a 6 simply because of the fact that we cannot completely know for sure.

    However, most believers refuse to see the other side of the coin. (God is impossible to prove scientifically and are usually under the 1 category)

    But just because this guy who wrote the article is “%95 atheist”, he remains an unintelligent retard in my book. His article is pretty much worth nothing and being “%95 atheist” doesn’t constitute as credibility on any subject (Not even atheism).

    If he really wanted to ‘wow’ us, then he would not be giving us his opinion, but would be stating the facts about our laws (Separation of church and State, Freedom of Belief, etc) and then use those to back up his opinion.

    As for his point: “Don’t become so tolerant that you would tolerate intolerance” is the saying I believe.

  5. Parrotlover77 Says:

    In some (programming) languages “%95” means “modulo 95.” That’s an odd way to quantify one’s (a)theistic beliefs. The question I am wondering is, what is the dividend? If it’s 96%95, then he’s an atheist all the time (remainder 1). Other quantities are more confusing, such as 100%95, where he’s an atheist 5 of the time? 500%? What? what?! What does he MEAN?! It’s SO CONFUSING!

    I guess I need to be escorted back to my padded cell.

    Oh, btw, helium sounds like a poor implementation of Digg (except, I’m guessing, with “original” content instead of links?). Well, honestly, Digg is a poor implementation of Digg, but I digress. The “voting for best content” sounds all democratic and positive, but honestly, you get just about the same content we’ve been getting on the teevee for all these years: tabloid. Now, of course, Digg and Helium have topics, so presumably if you are a tech junkie, you won’t run into the latest information on Britney Spears. But, as our fearless blogger has pointed out, the topic is only as good as those voting in it.

    Well, I can’t really bash it because it’s not like there’s an excellent alternative (except blogs like BoF :-D), but it is kind of sad that those are the “best of breed” articles on the subject at hand there. I’m hoping it’s just an unpopular subject and the rest of the site doesn’t suffer quite as much from every! sentence! ending! in! an! exclamation! point!

  6. Chuck Says:

    I agree that the anthem shouldn’t be censored, but only because it’s traditionally significant. In the same way, I don’t think we should put an official post-it over the Declaration of Independence to remove reference to god just because it was decided just a couple years later that that wasn’t to be sanctioned by the State.

    However, when it comes to modernizations, I think the government should only become more separated from religion, not less. Therefore, I avidly support changing the pledge back, although I think a pledge of allegiance to anything is retarded. If anything kids should have to memorize and recite the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, not some jingoistic propaganda from the United States of Jesus.

  7. LadyRavana Says:

    I love the photo on the SUV.

    The colors on the American flag may not run, but bumperstickers do…*snicker*

  8. LadyRavana Says:

    If anything kids should have to memorize and recite the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, not some jingoistic propaganda from the United States of Jesus.

    I like this idea.

    I think maybe on some level, the Pledge of Allegiance is a propaganda tool. It was madatory for us to recite it every morning in school, drilled into us since Kindergarten. It just seemed like it was there to program us into being good little patriots, and encourage unquestioning, blind loyalty that we’re the “best” country in the world.

    But then, I am a fierce individualist, and probably too paranoid for my own good.

  9. Parrotlover77 Says:

    The pledge is ABSOLUTELY a propoganda tool. It only became massively popular (and godded) when we were in a planetary struggle for the One True Way Of Capitalism Against The Ebil Communists! Somehow, though, I don’t think the pledge was in any way responsible for Soviet communism going bankrupt…

  10. Ron Britton Says:

    Somehow, though, I don’t think the pledge was in any way responsible for Soviet communism going bankrupt…

    No. Ronald Reagan did that all by hisself!

  11. Parrotlover77 Says:

    You are right. He rode across the ocean on his trusty steed and pulled out his six-shooter and took down the damn communists single handedly! What an american hero!

  12. LadyRavana Says:

    The pledge is ABSOLUTELY a propoganda tool. It only became massively popular (and godded) when we were in a planetary struggle for the One True Way Of Capitalism Against The Ebil Communists! Somehow, though, I don’t think the pledge was in any way responsible for Soviet communism going bankrupt…

    …I knew it. I find it amusing that in my English class we used to read stuff like Animal Farm (Junior High) and Ayn Rand (10th grade) that’d tell us about the dangers of conformity, and yet we were being subtly brainwashed by “I pledge allegiance, to my evil overlords, of the United States of Capitalism, for the Republic(ans) for which it stands, one nation, under God (And Jesus!), indivisible, with Liberty (for none) and Justice (for some.)

    Funny I never spotted the irony of it until now. :p

    I like my “edited” version. It’s more honest. *snerk*

  13. Helena Constantine Says:

    1. Helium is a scam site where they lure people who can’t write (if they could they would have blogs) that they will share in the advertising revenue it generates.

    2. Much as I loath Reagan, he was responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union. His military spending program spending program had to be matched by the Soviets, putting both countries in a race to bankruptcy, which the weaker Soviet economy reached first.

    3. Why do so many people on the internet think it a devastating form of mockery to replace any letter in an objectional word with a ‘b’ (‘ebil’ here but more commonly ‘Jeebus’)? It isn’t.

  14. Parrotlover77 Says:

    HC –

    1. I can buy that! Similar to Poetry.com, it sounds.

    2. The Soviet Union was going bankrupt without Reagan. They had fracking wooden fake bombers for years to “fool” satellite photos of their air fields. The only thing Reagan did was maybe speed it up a little bit (and I’m not convinced about that). End result would have been the same. It was not Reagan that ended communism, it was Gorbachev and his supporters. I’m not saying the USA should have done no military spending, but we overdid it again and again and again. So the defense contractors got rich, the nation got in MASSIVE debt, and our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will be footing the bill. But we can thank COMMUNIST CHINA for loaning us money in the meantime. Deep Thought: Does that mean communism actually did win?

    3. Apparently you do not follow any internet memes. It’s not supposed to be “devastating mockery,” it’s just fun with blog language, where misspellings and lousy grammar are very frequent.

    Praise to the Lulz!

  15. Ron Britton Says:

    Helena:

    I’m sorry to break it to you, but Ronald Reagan is no more responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union than was Jimmy Carter.

    I read an article a few years ago (I can no longer remember where), that credited Eisenhower with the collapse. It was Eisenhower who instituted the massive military spending program that was continued by every president since.

    The Soviet Union collapsed on Reagan’s watch, but that doesn’t make Reagan the great conqueror any more than the quarterback who scores the winning goal in the last seconds of the game is the reason a football team wins. If it weren’t for the hard work of the entire team, that one goal at the end would have been meaningless.

    That also doesn’t change the fact that this was an extremely dangerous game to play that almost led to nuclear disaster on several occasions. It also accomplished the near-bankruptcy of the United States.

    Further, let’s not forget that Ronald Reagan is the reason the world still has an overabundance of nukes, and that many of Russia’s nukes are still pointed at us. Mikhail Gorbachev proposed total nuclear disarmament at the Reykjavík summit. Maybe that wouldn’t have led to total disarmament, but it probably would have led to much lower levels than we have today. We’ll never know. Reagan flat-out rejected the proposal without any consideration at all. He should have at least pursued the negotiation to see where it would have led. If any country on Earth ever detonates a nuke as an act of war, you can thank Saint Reagan for making that possible.

  16. Chuck Says:

    Yeah…Reagan was pretty much an incompetent leader…which makes it even more sad when you think about the fact that he and Dubya are the shining stars of the neocon hall of fame. I mean, seriously, do you REALLY believe that a movie star did a better job of running a country than a Rhodes scholar?

    Some of the biggest reasons the US won the (not-so) Cold War are:
    1) We were rather not-fucked after WWII, compared to everyone else, which leads to
    2) our almost-constantly-active military industrial complex having a HUGE advantage over any would-be nemeses, which Eisenhower (or at least his advisors) realized and took full advantage of, not to mention our
    3) amazingly resource-rich homeland, ESPECIALLY compared to Mother Russia (they wouldn’t even have had enough food to feed themselves without taking over the Ukraine and Poland – the breadbasket of Europe, and coincidentally (?) where the PIE culture settled).

    I mean, as Ron pointed out, Russian Communism was doomed by itself, not by us. Their biggest mistake by far was alienating Mao and (later) other East Asian countries – can you imagine how fucked the neocons would’ve been if the USSR had had the CCP’s factories behind it? Most probably the neocons wouldn’t have been able to keep up their charade for so long, and the emergent fascism that we see in this regime would’ve surfaced long ago, causing at least serious economic repression and loss of international holdings, eventually spiraling into the defeat of Western unity (e.g., NATO) and the loss of our Western European allies’ sovereignty. Basically, Mao’s pompousness and refusal to place nice with the other kids led to the defeat (or at least set back of) Stalinism, while, as Ron suggested, it appears the CCP is going to succeed us as the dominant force in the world economy.

    All your neocons are belong to Deng*.

    * – For those ignorant of modern Chinese history, Deng Xiaoping was Mao’s economic adviser, and the (de facto) ruler of China after Mao. He’s the reason that cheap labor and economic partnerships with China exist today, as well as the mastermind of more liberal economic policies (e.g., special commercial districts like Hong Kong and Shanghai, which are allowed to be slightly autonomous and thus can be quicker on their feet to seduce foreign investors than the more faithfully-communist provinces) – basically, no Deng = no Wal Mart –> Americans getting off their asses –> Americans not complacently destroying the world whilst under the spell of consumerism