Nevermind J. What Would R Do?

When the Christian Right is criticizing Barack Obama, I don’t ask myself whether Obama is behaving like Jesus. Why not? Because Jesus was never President of the United States, never ran a modern-day democracy with the world’s most powerful military, never used a Teleprompter, never had to deal with Helen Thomas, etc.

Comparing Jesus and Barack is comparing twenty-first century apples and first-century oranges. It’s more logical to compare and contrast Obama and, say, Ronald Reagan.

So when the Congressional Prayer Caucus lambastes Barack Obama for referring to E Pluribus Unum as “our national motto” [when it’s actually “In God We Trust”], WWJD is the wrong question. WWRD makes perfect sense.

And instead of leafing through the Scriptures, it makes more sense — in this particular instance — to rely on Google.

Would Ronald Reagan, the Great Communicator, the Gipper, refer to E Pluribus Unum as our national motto?

The answer is Yes. Speaking at the National Forum on Excellence in Education, on Dec. 8, 1983 in Indianapolis, Indiana, Ronald Reagan said, and I quote:

“The motto of the United States is ‘E Pluribus Unum,’ from many, one.”

As far as I can tell, there wasn’t a Congressional Prayer Caucus around in 1983 to scold Mr. Reagan for calling E Pluribus Unum the official motto of our nation. [Turns out, that latin phrase is the official motto of our nation’s seal] and the official motto of the president’s seal, but not the official seal of the good old U.S. of A.]

There wasn’t a national outcry when Ronald Reagan called E Pluribus Unum our “national motto.”

In addition to Barack Obama, such luminaries as Dwight Eisenhower (WWDD), Jimmy Carter (WWJD), and Pope John Paul II (WWJPIID) have referred to E Pluribus Unum as the nation’s motto.

In more recent days: WWWD — What Would W. Do? Well, George W. Bush issued two separate proclamations (here and here) referring to E Pluribus Unum as the national motto.

Neither claim unleashed an avalanche of letters, press releases and condemnations. Did Bush’s gaffes simply escape the attention of the Congressional Prayer Caucus? Or is the prayer caucus a Republican attack machine denouncing President Obama for political purposes?

Updated: December 7, 2010 — 1:37 pm

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  1. Don’t waste your time, Frank. These hypocrites don’t care what previous presidents said; the former presidents were not Muslims.

  2. Regardless of his religious affiliation, he is still the President of the United States. If people don’t like what he’s doing, Mexico has room for you, so does Canada. It amazes me of the blame put on this man.
    Boys, the Civil War is over and yes we have a black President, and yes he is smarter than you.
    I’m sorry the totalitarian thing didn’t work out for but life is like that!

  3. Hmm, Frank, no comments on his Declaration failure? You do remember when he failed to correctly recite that? He left some key phrase out, something to do with… gosh, I can’t remember, can you?

  4. I believe you’re referring to the Oath of Office, but Chief Justice Roberts, the one administering the Oath, was the one who screwed it up.

  5. Perplexed is absolutely right. These folks are, first and foremost, racists. Racism is a poison that runs far deeper in our society that anyone wants to imagine. If a white person had said any of the things they attack Obama for, they’d never have been mentioned.

    And, more importantly, these folks are not being honest. They represent or are employed by businesses and economic entities whose pockets will be made less golden by Obama’s policies. And they will do anything to discredit Obama. Who do you think is paying for all these right wing smear campaigns? It’s not the Klan, it’s the chambers of commerce.

    The whole thing disgusts me.

  6. Great point, Caleb, this is all really ugly racism. Just compare politicians of the opposite race. No one ever makes fun of a white politician, like Dan Quayle, George Bush, or Sarah Palin, who says something dumb. When will the racist double standards stop?

  7. Calling people racist, even if they are, will get you nowhere these days. Many people will see the alleged racist as the victim of a taboo epithet. Your strategy needs revision.

  8. Justin, buddy, if you believe the severity and racial nature of the attacks on Obama are in any way similar to the attacks on white politiians, you aren’t paying attention.

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