2016-07-27
Washington, Nov. 20--(RNS) A Texas congressman wants to make "God Bless America" the country's national hymn, but a leading atheist watchdog group says the bill is another example of "feel-good religion" that offends nonbelievers.

Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, and 29 other House members from both parties want to give Irving Berlin's patriotic anthem official status. Green's bill, introduced last month, has been referred to a House committee.

Although Green's office was unavailable for comment, the bill has American Atheists Inc. talking, saying the job of public officials is to run the government, not "organizing or encouraging worship services." "Isn't it foolish to be calling upon `our God' to bless us when Islamic terrorists like Osama bin Laden are doing the same thing?" asked Ron Barrier, communications director for American Atheists. "We should be standing up for separation of church and state, not trying to turn our secular republic into a theocracy."

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