Following up on an item from yesterday, the House of Representatives spent a fair amount of time ignoring the major issues of the day, and instead debating a resolution “reaffirming” that “In God We Trust” is still the national motto. The measure has no force of law, was purely symbolic, was responding to a non-existent threat, and by all appearances, was a complete waste of time.

As a practical matter, the resolution effectively declared, “Just in case anyone forgot, the national motto is still the national motto.” What a valuable use of Congress’ time.

The measure was brought up on the suspension calendar, which meant it needed a two-thirds majority to pass. As Dana Milbank noted, that wasn’t much of a hurdle.

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), leading the opposition, complained that, “although the American people are concerned about restoring our economy and creating jobs, today we are returning to irrelevant issues that do nothing to promote economic growth to put Americans back to work.”

But it was no use. The godless Democrats were crushed, 396 to 9, by an overwhelming, bipartisan majority of the God-fearing.

Here’s the roll call. Just eight Democrats and one Republican were willing to oppose this nonsense.

Also keep in mind, House Republican leaders had vowed to prohibit votes on symbolic resolutions, and even refused to consider a resolution in May honoring U.S. troops who carried out the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. And why was yesterday’s pointless posturing allowed while other gestures were prohibited? GOP leaders refused to say.

I might be slightly more sympathetic to the theatrics if there was any meaningful effort to change the national motto (which, by the way, despite what we heard yesterday, dates back to 1956, not the nation’s founding). Under those circumstances, at least pious politicians could plausibly say they were responding to some kind of organized effort.

But this was instead just a cheap charade, intended, as Milbank added, to let Republicans “tell their constituents that they are doing the Lord’s work in the Devil’s town.”

The rest of us, meanwhile, are left to look to the heavens, wondering why GOP officials make time for the national motto, but won’t work on job creation during a jobs crisis. After all, the middle class is in trouble, and the national motto is not, suggesting Republican priorities have fallen from grace.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.