Raina Fisher

Through the Looking Glass

From the ash of great strife and out of the ravages of Civil War comes the rise of “In God We Trust.”

There can be no comfort like Divine Providence to walk with when the Reaper raps on the door. The devout people of our republic would weave these words for us to live by.

A letter, which a preacher from Pennsylvania penned to U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, implored him to give credit to the Almighty on our coins, lest a generation in the future write them off as a country of heathens.

Congress passed an act for the mint to inscribe “In God We Trust” on the 2-cent coin. The legislation in the years that follow holds for all gold and silver coins struck to bear the pronouncement.

It did fade from the 5-cent piece for a spell, but came back to stay when they cast the 1938 Jefferson nickel (U.S.Treasury Department, 2011).

President Eisenhower approved the Joint Resolution of the 84th Congress in 1956 fortifying the U.S. motto as “In God We Trust.”

In 1957, the one-dollar silver certificate is the first paper money to brandish the hallmark of this union. It’s as tried and true as the stars and stripes of our red, white and blue standard.

We etch it in the keystone when we erect our government institutions. We engrave it in the bedrock of all our public structures, which includes the foundations of our schools.

It’s spelled in gold on the wall behind the U.S. House Speaker’s rostrum. Yet this fool in the House, Rep Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., thought it clever to invoke the Hindu god Brahma while he prayed for the Lord to protect the new assembly.

I hear an echo of blasphemy bounce off the chamber walls.

With a crown, he tops the end of his petition off with amen and a-woman, all in the name of gender neutrality, though the utterance of amen means so be it; thus, it has zilch to do with men.

 In spite of the man in Brahman, this is the gender-neutral idol, Meh, so he conjured the male deity; tə-MAY-to, to-MAH-to.

It doesn’t come as a massive surprise to hear this UMC minister mix his deities up. Now, to get wind of him trying to summon one at all — this is the bit that’s disconcerting.

In the space of three days, we watch the outlets broadcast a motley crew trying to scale the Capitol Hill wall. Then soon, the news breaks in. We see images of blood splattered on the floor of the People’s House flash on the TV screen.

One might think it’s a stretch to link his prayer to the ambush which took place in the span of a week. But can we chalk it up to a coincidence?

All the while, none of us can say with certitude what He thinks about this. Be that as it may, one need not be a prophet to predict that the Creator may have a bone to pick with those who make Him share the spotlight with a false god. And who’d blame Him?

He’s the One who we turn to in times of trouble. We lift our eyes to heaven and ask Him to forgive us. We bend a knee for Him to bless us. And raise our sick up for Him to heal them. We pray that He will guide our leaders, beseeching His protection for our country.

This is just the vantage point of a believer. I wasn’t so steadfast at one stage in my life. Rain, sleet or snow, it was compulsory for us to go to worship, so trying to duck out wasn’t going to fly.

By no means did this thwart me from grumbling at the injustice of going to school on the weekend. At the same time, a mother who rules with the threat of the dreaded spoon can bask in saintly patience.

I’d found a way to quell the angst of a friend who came with me on my last trip to Sunday school. No church could cast a girl out for being too poor to buy a dress.

God didn’t give two hoots if she came clad in pants. I’d often wonder how it’d play out if we’d been the same size.

The teacher didn’t just embarrass us with her didactic lecture. She’d teach me a lesson which shook my faith, and single-handedly bolt the door shut for years to come.

In her book, a female in slacks — let alone one who’d dare to cross the chapel threshold in them — had to be a special kind of sinner.

My memory for her precise words reads more like a tatty file than a SIM card; yet in the same vein, the sting of her waspish mien still lingers, though 38 years may have passed. That’s fire-and-brimstone fear, not love.

It’d take a decade to set out on my quest to track the Lord down. I’d search for Him in churches, chapels and temples. Consult psychics, consort with strange cats and stray down the crooked path.

The robotic ritual of the empty-eyed stranger bowing and waving me to a seat on the pew on the fourth row gave me the creeps, but it didn’t faze the flock. It dawned on me that this is what it’s like to step into the Twilight Zone.

Drawing a mental map to hatch my escape, I’d make a bee line for the door, blazing a trail to my car. I whipped down the drive, tires screeching. I’d note the Scientology sign on the way out — the one I missed going in.

Only when His hand reached for mine to pull me from the ash did I grasp that He’d been here all along.

The devil didn’t put in long hours to snare me in his net when he had his hooks in me. But now, he works time and a half trying to tempt and lure me from the glory of God’s grace.

We should not give an inch or fall to the traditions of man. And yet prayer in public school is part and parcel an old-fashioned paradigm, one which we let pass by long ago, just as we did the pledge of allegiance.

Though to be blunt, there are students today who will fare well to call to mind the days when they’d go to their room and not head to class.

For one to be wrong is not a tell-tale of him or her being bad. What’s more, they can be right, yet it isn’t a sign of good. The journey to unite as a people begins when we each strive to take the first step of being a better person.

We ought to lean on God for our moral core, and not the government. It’s a travesty to hold a candle to them as a sort of beacon which will light the way for young hearts and minds to follow.

By and large, this is not merely a flaw in judgment on our part. But for us to look to the dross that we scrape off the bottom of the bucket as a role model — that’s what you call a farce.

The robber barons come to conquer and seek to divide. There is a salve to heal the soul of our nation. And it isn’t Joe Biden who’ll save us or our land. Nor is Donald Trump the one who’s going to deliver us.

There is one true Savior. He’s come to set us free. Will we be there to open the door for Him when He knocks?

 

RAINA FISHER is a child activist, writer and psychologist writing a memoir on parental alienation. She lives on County Home Road near Paris; her email address is rainafisher@hotmail.com.

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