Do this don’t do that can’t you read the sign?

We are a nation of conflicts and inconsistencies. While Americans as a whole are kind, charitable, and welcoming of differences, they often demonstrate callous contradictory actions to their nature. There are many such examples but none so glaring as our fervent devolution into nationalism and claims of a foundational Christian religiosity.

This need to identify as an American and belief in our inherent superiority to all other nations causes us to lose sight of the connected nature of humanity. Coupled with religious fervor isolated to Judeo-Christian philosophy brings us into conflict with the stated freedoms of our constitution and the rights of all humans to determine their own destiny and choices.

Enshrined in the Constitution is the right to worship in any religion free from governmental interference. The constitution makes no mention of a specific religious doctrine, Christian or otherwise. This clearly implies two things.

First, freedom from government interference also means one cannot demand government support of religion unless that support is equally offered to all religions. That some of the founding fathers held Christian beliefs has no bearing on this freedom. Many of the founding fathers also held slaves, this hardly imbues slavery as a foundational basis for government, although it seemed so until the mid-nineteenth century.

Second, the freedom to choose which religion to follow also includes the freedom to choose no religion and to be protected from any demand, insistence, or subsidiary requirement by the government demanding you practice a religion or allow the use of tax dollars to support any religion.

Why does this matter, and how does this imply any inconsistency in the country? First, the rise of Christian Nationalism and the less sinister but equally troubling surge in demands for a return to the “Judeo-Christian” basis for this country (another misconception) conflicts with the lawful and constitutional practices and policy programs many demand of the government.

One cannot demand government support Christianity at the expense of those who hold no such beliefs or those who believe in a different deity.

This trend has risen several times in the nation’s history, but most recently began with the addition of “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance by President Eisenhower in 1954 to address the issue of the “godless” communists and the effort to assert the “moral superiority” of the American Capitalist system.

The more recent rise of Christian nationalism coincided with a remarkable decline in religious affiliation and a rise in agnosticism and atheism some may see as threat to their concept of America. The times they are a’changin’ and one cannot turn to government to stem the tide of human progress and intellectual expansion.

Most people probably don’t understand that the original writer of the Pledge of Allegiance, Francis Bellamy, was a Baptist Minister and Christian Socialist. In 2022, historians raised the issue that Bellamy wasn’t the actual author but had stolen the words from a submission to the magazine where he worked.

 The submission was part of the Columbian Exposition and Bellamy—author or not—turned the Pledge into a bit of a marketing tool to encourage “Americanization.”

“Bellamy was one of many Protestant Americans of northern European heritage who believed that new immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, many of them Catholic, were harmful to the ,”American” way of life and that they needed to assimilate.” (

Thus the striking contradiction. The Pledge of Allegiance, originally written (or stolen) by a Baptist minister and socialist who did not include the words “under god,” was used to target other Christians to make them adapt to a different Christian philosophy as their Catholicism was a threat to the “American” way.

Do this don’t do that can’t you read the sign?

On a side note, in 2002, Judge Alfred T. Goodwin—recently deceased—wrote a majority opinion for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the words “one nation under God” violated the separation of church and state. He further wrote, “in the context of the pledge, the statement that the United States is a nation ‘under God’ is a profession of a religious belief, namely a belief in monotheism.”

The ruling was later reversed by the Supreme Court, but not on Constitutional grounds. The court never addressed the constitutional issue of the ruling but found that the individual who filed the suit lacked standing.

Doug Laycock, who filed a amicus brief on behalf of several Christian and Jewish clergy urging the court to uphold Judge Goodwin’s decision, wrote after the decision,

“For most Justices in the majority, this result avoided a very difficult problem: it was politically impossible to strike down the Pledge, and legally impossible to uphold it.”

The headlines read, “Supreme Court Upholds Under God In Pledge.” The truth was a different matter. They weaseled out of deciding the constitutional issue, and thus another glaring inconsistency reared its ugly head.

Do this don’t do that can’t you read the sign?

Yet the most significant inconsistency and contradiction in our claim to be a “Christian” nation lies in our response to immigration and claims for amnesty within the United States. While among those trying to get into this country there will always be some criminals and those who mean us harm, the overwhelming majority are so desperate as to leave everything—and risk everything—for the chance at the American dream and save the lives of themselves and their families.

Wouldn’t doing everything we could to welcome them—while using our intelligence and wisdom to separate out those who are problems—be the Christian thing to do?

If we are to claim we are a Christian nation, and the fundamental tenet of this faith lies in the Bible (all several hundred versions), then shouldn’t we act as instructed?

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,

Matthew 25:35
Even the signs we post acknowledge the majority are desperate people seeking help, not murderers or rapists.

Yet, we do anything but. The state of Arizona tried to build a wall of shipping containers to keep out immigrants. Under President Trump, an even more massive wall project was undertaken. Politicians scream we are under invasion by criminals, rapists, and murderers waltzing across the borders.

I bet most Americans have never been to the border to see the truth.

Now I am hardly endorsing merely opening the border and letting in everyone. But those who would demand we are a Christian nation should adopt more than just a veneer of this claim. Instead, they should practice what they preach.

But the inconsistencies and contradictions are lost on most. It reminds me of those amateur sports enthusiasts who buy all the equipment, festoon themselves in the latest version of sports regalia, and pretend to be athletes, yet are never willing to put in the hard work and toil to be an athlete.

Until this country comes to terms with its own inconsistencies, being a “Christian” nation will have no more significance or value than calling ourselves a nation based on justice. As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said, “Courts are courts of law and not courts of justice.”

For now, we are also a country of laws. Justice may elude us for the moment, but it won’t be found in any claims of Christianity, nor should we make any effort to force it to be so.

And just for the record, I left out our inconsistency over criminal justice and gun control. Why bother when all we’ll do after the next mass shooting is shrug, sell some more Second Amendment T-shirts, and go back to our daily lives?

Do this don’t do that can’t you read the sign?

Signs (Five Man Electric Band)

And the sign says, “Long-haired freaky people need not apply.”
So I tucked all my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why.
He said, “You look like a fine, upstanding young man – I think you’ll do.”
So I took off my hat and said, “Imagine that! Huh… me, working for you!” Woah-oh-oh.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere there’s signs.
Blocking out the scenery. Breaking my mind.
Do this! Don’t do that! Can’t you read the signs?

And the sign says, “Anybody caught trespassing will be shot on sight,”
So I jumped on fence and I yelled at the house,
“Hey! What gives you the right… To put up a fence to keep me out,
“Or to keep Mother Nature in?
“If God was here, He’d tell it to your face. ‘Man, you’re some kind of sinner.'”

Signs, Signs, Everywhere there’s signs.
Blocking out the scenery. Breaking my mind.
Do this! Don’t do that! Can’t you read the signs?

“Oh, say now mister, can’t you read?
“You got to have a shirt and tie to get a seat.
“You can’t even watch, no, you can’t eat. You ain’t supposed to be here!”
And the sign says, “You gotta have a membership card to get inside.” Hooh!

And the sign says, “Everybody’s welcome to come in and kneel down and pray.”
But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all,
I didn’t have a penny to pay.
So I got me a pen and paper and I made up my own little sign.
I said, “Thank you Lord for thinking about me. I’m alive and doing fine.”

Chorus x2:
Signs, Signs, Everywhere there’s signs.
Blocking out the scenery. Breaking my mind.
Do this! Don’t do that! Can’t you read the signs?

Signs, Signs, Everywhere there’s signs.


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