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Should “Under God” Be Omitted from Pledge of Allegiance? [POLL]

John Moore, Getty Images
John Moore, Getty Images

I just took a 20 dollar bill out from my wallet earlier (which I rarely carry on me), and looked at the phrasing on the back of the bill.

And there it was: an offending phrase – “In God We Trust”!

Can’t seem to get away from it, can we.

And so it goes with the Pledge of Allegiance: the phrase “One Nation Under God!”
Are we truly a “nation under God”, or is it a nation of laws that we commonly hold dear – but some of us break on occasion?

Well, there’s a lawsuit being filed against the Matawan-Aberdeen School district by the American Humanist Association on behalf of a local atheist family. They want the phrase “under God” omitted from the Pledge of Allegiance.

According to this from the Huffington Post:

The American Humanist Association filed a lawsuit Saturday against New Jersey’s Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District on behalf of a local atheist family seeking to omit the phrase “under God” from the school’s daily Pledge of Allegiance.

The family, who wishes to remain anonymous for “fear of public hostility” and “ostracism,” views the school-sponsored recitation of “under God” as discriminatory against secular children and their families, marginalizing them as second-class citizens.

“Public schools should not engage in an exercise that tells students that patriotism is tied to a belief in God,” David Niose, attorney for the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, said in an AHA press release Monday. “Such a daily exercise portrays atheist and humanist children as second-class citizens, and certainly contributes to anti-atheist prejudices.”

Although numerous lawsuits have challenged the phrase “under God” since its addition to the Pledge in 1954 as a violation of the separation of church and state, none have been successful thus far.

Is there a simple solution to this without the taxpayers having to foot the bill to defend the practice of reciting “under God” from the pledge?

I will agree that their feeling marginalized may be justified.

Note the previous blog I’d writtenabout the atheist who wanted the vanity license plate proclaiming her belief. The MVC had turned her down, only to have her file a lawsuit claiming discrimination.

While we have no established religion – the phrase mentioning God in the Pledge goes back to the early years of the Cold War.

According to this piece,

February 7 is a notable historical day for the acknowledgment of God in modern America: it is the day that a sermon was preached before President Dwight D. Eisenhower, suggesting that the words “under God” be added to the pledge. The sermon was preached by the Rev. George M. Docherty, pastor of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D. C

On June 14, 1954 (Flag Day), President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill into law, officially adding the words “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance, telling the nation:

From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty. To anyone who truly loves America, nothing could be more inspiring than to contemplate this rededication of our youth, on each school morning, to our country’s true meaning. . . .

In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource, in peace or in war. [8]

Fast forward to today when we openly question whether or not the phrase is inappropriate.
I would subscribe to the belief that our laws and system of government is inspired by a belief in a higher power.

Call it God or whatever – the belief that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” as stated in our Declaration of Independence – affirms a belief in a supreme being.

Unless of course you prefer we rewrite history.

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