Pledge of Allegiance in public schools has been declared unconstitutional by a number of judges over the past few years. Leading to rounds of Supreme Court arguments.
Most of the arguments relate to the phrase, "under God" which, it is claimed, violates school children's right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God."
The Pledge of Allegiance was composed in 1892 by a Baptist minister and socialist named Francis Bellamy. The original pledge written by him read: “I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
The phrase, “one nation, indivisible” was in response to the recent Civil War.
The words “my flag” were changed to “the flag of the United States of America” in the 1920s.
Congress added the words “under God” in 1954, when the greatest threat to the U.S. was the “godless” Soviet Union.
Perhaps the simplest thing to do would be to revert back to the pre-1952 version of the pledge, but that would merely be putting off a confrontation that must take place, sooner or later—the final settlement of the Church/State conflict as it pertains to the use of the word God.
The idea of separation of church and state rests upon these two paragraphs in the Constitution:
It is from these two paragraphs that the courts derive all the rulings concerning prayer in schools and other activities that restrict religious practices in political arenas.
However, at root here is a common misunderstanding of the term church: Our founding fathers were concerned with the establishment of a national church. They did not want it. The term church, as used in the Constitution, refers to an organization not a philosophy. But a particular religious philosophy might favor one church over another, so the courts have made their rulings to avoid this also.
We must, however, keep in mind that the philosophy of separation of church and state does not demand a separation of spirituality and state, in fact the history of our nation and of the writing of the Constitution would seem to indicate that the two a closely conjoined.
To rephrase, the U.S. must be scrupulous in keeping the policies and powers of church organizations from the activities of the state, but effective functioning of the state requires spirituality.
Now as to the word God. When we read the Declaration of Independence, it is made very clear that our nation’s founders, while they abhorred any type of union between church and state, strongly favored including God in our personal and political considerations.
And there is no problem with this because every American, without exception, believes in God. They may term their idea of deity Jehovah, Allah, Kirshna, the Great Spirit, or Our Heavenly Mother, but they do believe in deity, in God.
But, some may object, what about the atheists who do not believe in God? The writers of the Declaration of Independence clearly took them into account when they described the Creator as “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.”
Even atheists believe in the Laws of Nature and the force upholding these Laws. Whether they think of this force as a personal being or as a mindless cosmic force, it is still, by definition, God.
To repeat, therefore: Every American believes in God. The separation of church and state is not breached when the government or its agents refer to God and use the term. The breach only occurs when they clearly refer to the God of a particular church. As long as the term God is used generically there is no breach, no offense.
In fact, the argument has often been made that many of the problems currently facing this country are caused by the people not turning to their concept of God, not making room for spiritual concepts in their lives.
Write your congressman, tell him to pass a law defining the word God as including all gods and even natural law. That will bring all this to a peaceful end.
In passing: Many refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance because it seems to them that respecting the flag this way is actually worshipping the flag—a graven image. Thus, to them, pledging allegiance to the flag is a form of idol worship.
Maybe so, but why should be pledge allegiance to the flag? Should not our allegiance be made to the laws and principles upon which our nation is founded, not upon a piece of pretty cloth?
Perhaps the pledge might be rewritten thusly”
I pledge allegiance to the Constitution
of the United States of America
and to the Republic upon which it
What do you think?