The Pledge of Allegiance: One nation, under God
Schools open again today and across the nation, millions of kids will be reciting the Pledge of Allegiance:
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
It sounds harmless enough. However, to some parents, the phrase “under God” is unacceptable in schools. The parents feel that the Pledge tears down the wall of separation between church and state because it contains the words, “under God.”. The Pledge heads back to court in the very near future. How does it hurt anyone to say two little bitty words?
That isn’t the point. Kids are a captive audience forced to recite something their parents find objectionable. Can kids be pulled out? Of course. However, pulling a student out of the pledge makes them stand out–opt out programs always call attention to those who dare to be different.
So why not just remove the words, “under God?” That has been suggested. Those two words were inserted in the Pledge in 1954 ostensibly because of the Cold War. (and probably a good deal of pandering by politicians.) Communist countries were Godless so the United States had to affirm that it was a nation under God. In God We Trust was also put on money during the Eisenhower era. Eisenhower himself was baptized and joined the Presbyterian Church within weeks of his inauguration, supposedly at the prodding of the Reverend Billy Graham. It was a time of making sure God was in plain sight!
16% of all Americans claim to be non-believers. Actually the figures are probably higher. Should those non-believers’ children have to claim God anyway? Is reciting the pledge really having to claim God? Are we a nation under God? Are all nations under God, for that matter? If God is omnipresent, then it seems to me all nations would be under the same God. (But what do I know?)
Who knows what the courts will decide. This question is no stranger to the court system. It seems to me that it might be just as well to take it out of the Pledge. It has served its Cold War purpose. It sounds like a good place to separate church and state.