Driving down the road, it is possible to see every kind of bumper sticker. Does it offend me, a non-Christian, to see a "God Bless America" sticker on the back of someone's car? Absolutely not. People have the right to think whatever they want, and to express their beliefs in whatever way they want to. I will defend that principle to the end, whether you want to have "God Bless America", "The Name of God is Allah", "Zeus protect us", or "All gods are make-believe" on the back of your car. Our Constitution gives us that right. I will fight for that right. And as much as I defend that right for others, I also insist upon it for myself.
Does it offend me that someone in Congress has proposed that our national motto be officially changed to "God Bless America", and that our National Anthem be changed from "The Star Spangled Banner" to the song "God Bless America"? Yes, absolutely it does! I do not want the government making such a statement on my behalf. I think it is absurd and I have no belief in it. Nor do I want my president telling me to take a 'day of prayer', nor do I want "Under God" inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance or "In God we Trust" stamped on my currency. The phrase "Under God" was a late alteration to the Pledge of Allegiance, just like the currency motto "In God We Trust". Acts of Congress established them both during the scary 'McCarthy Era' of the 1950's. Contrary to being expressions of free speech, these alterations are violations of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment- violations of the principle of church/state separation. When the government does things like this, it is making claims of religious opinion on my behalf-- something it has no business doing. The government is an entity, not a private citizen, and therefore it does not have the right of free speech; it does not have the right to have a religion of it's own. On the contrary, it is supposed to uphold the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. It is supposed to protect unbelievers like me from those in the religious majority who would take away our rights. The government should never promote religion over non-religion, or one religion over another.
We don't "trust in God", we trust ourselves. When our kids get sick we take them to the doctor, not to a priest. When we want to improve the quality of our lives, to increase our health, well-being and knowledge, we look to science and technology, not to religion.
Our national motto is "E Pluribus Unum", which means that 'the many make up the one'. That is a great national motto-- one that expresses the most important thing about our country: that our country is not made up of just one kind of people, that everyone matters and has an equal voice, no matter if it is a man or a woman, a white person or a black person, a protestant, catholic, muslim or atheist. To change the motto to "God Bless America" or "In God We Trust" would divide us. It would cut out everyone who doesn't believe in god or is not sure whether they believe or not. It may also offend those who believe in multiple gods. It could only cause problems.
You may be thinking now: "So what! I don't care if they're offended. This country was founded on Christian principles!" First of all, no it wasn't. This country was founded on Deist principles, not Christian principles. But an even more important point is this: what if our positions were reversed? Imagine if the national motto was going to be "There is no god", and that phrase was going to be stamped on the money, and said in the Pledge of Allegiance. How would Christians feel? How would you like your children to have to make that statement every time they said the Pledge in school? Or how would you feel if your kids had to sit out in the hallway while everyone else said it? How comfortable would you feel if the government made that declaration on your behalf? Christians wouldn't stand for it! It would run contrary to what they're trying to teach their children, and every time they heard "there is no god" as the official position of their government, they would get all twisted up inside, full of anger and resentment. They would feel offended, excluded, and slighted.
What's the answer? It is to keep government and religion completely and utterly separate.
Three points on "God Bless America" and "In God We Trust":
Point one: The existence of a god has never been proven. It is not a certainty, it is a guess. Personally, I am unconvinced. I think most believers are probably good people, but they are mistaken. For the government to endorse religion is to say that the government takes for granted the existence of a god-- something that is far from proven. I will dispute the point with anyone, including the U.S. Government.
Point two: The "God Bless" thing... what is it? Is it a plea for safety? Begging for prosperity? If so, what about god's scheme for us that he has already planned? I thought the God of Christianity was supposed to be unchanging, and so presumably he wouldn't change his plans if we asked him to. So, what is the point of asking god to bless America? He either would or wouldn't, and asking Him wouldn't make him behave any differently. Praying doesn't make any sense.
Point three: If there is a god, why didn't he/she watch out for us on 9-11? Weren't we blessed before? People prayed enough. Why should we have to ask for blessings? Doesn't god know what's in our minds? If so, what is the point of praying? Didn't God know ahead of time that we were going to be attacked? For sure, people said: "God Bless America" before 9-11, and they said it a lot. They even sang the song of that title. What is the point of asking further, if He isn't going to answer? Why didn't god listen? Is it simply because the skies have no ears to hear? Is this 'blessing' business supposed to protect us from future terrorist attacks? If so, then we can dispense with all the security precautions and so-called "Patriot Act", and just pray instead. Let's see how far that takes us. Get on your knees and beg god to keep the terrorists from setting off bombs and cutting off the heads of our soldiers. Pray until your lips fall off. Do you honestly think it will make any difference?
Begging for blessings is pointless. It is, as Robert Ingersoll states, "a useless agitation of the air."