I received an advertisement from a conservative organization for a sign celebrating the 4th of July. The sign said "God Bless America." To which I replied:
Unlike countries in the Middle East, America is not a theocracy! Including God in expressions of patriotism, suggests otherwise. Let's keep the emphasis where it belongs -- on political freedom, not on religious faith.
After all, an atheist, as much as a theist, should be able to honor America for its political freedom and individual rights, but the sign "God Bless America" excludes him from its patriotic sentiments. It's as if a Christian were to promulgate a sign that said "CHRIST Bless America." Such a sign would exclude all those who were not Christian. It would exclude Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Unitarians, deists, agnostics and atheists.
America should recognize that it's unique value lies in its respect for all individuals, not just for those who believe in God. July 4th, after all, celebrates the Declaration of Independence, which refers to political freedom, not to religious worship and obedience to a higher authority.
We need a new (non-religious) sign. How about "Blessed Is America, Land of the Free"!