Can ‘God’ be said in public forums?

By Christina Flood
October 1, 2009

Lately, there has been much controversy about saying “God” and “Jesus” in public forums. Although it is my belief that private citizens should be able to say what they want in public forums, I do understand where people who are not Christian or do not believe in any higher power are coming from.

At President Obama’s inauguration, atheists were outraged that two Reverends were praying aloud in public and decided to sue them.

This past summer, there was some controversy in Lodi, Calif. about ending City Council meetings with the phrase, “in Jesus’ name.”

One could say that it simply goes against everything American to censor the words “God” and “Jesus” due to the first amendment. However, one could also make the argument that people such as atheists, Muslims, Jews and other religions make up the United States population as well. They probably feel disconnected from fellow Americans when they hear the use of “God” in speeches and the Pledge of Allegiance.

I think that because of the first amendment, speakers should be able to mention God if that is what they believe in.

If there happened to be a speaker who was Muslim, and they wanted to refer to a higher power, then they could speak of “Allah”, which means “God” in Arabic. Someone who is atheist simply would not mention God if they were speaking.

It is a good thing for people to have their own opinions and views and to share them with others. I believe that it is okay to use “God” and “Jesus” in public forums because speakers are not forcing their beliefs on anyone. Like the Reverends, they are simply sharing what they believe in and this is no reason for people with different beliefs to become upset or offended.

Speakers should be able to disregard the current controversy. Someone of another religion could easily give a speech and mention their belief of a higher power other than God and people would have to accept it.

We live in a free society and freedom cuts both directions. Anyone can refer to whatever religious beliefs they have in public and therefore it should not offend anyone when people speak of God, Jesus and Christianity.

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Christina Flood

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