[Vision2020] One Should Have Right To Object To 'Under God'

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Mon Sep 11 12:44:47 PDT 2006

Donovan et. al.


In adding "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, Congress intended
to put religion in public school. As President Eisenhower said in signing
the law, from "this day forward, the millions of our schoolchildren will
daily proclaim, in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse,
the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty." Since students
were praying daily in many public schools, the new Pledge language was not
subject to an immediate constitutional challenge. Courts had not yet
recognized the rights of minority faiths to be free of religious coercion in
public schools.
I recall in a 5th grade public school in North Carolina in 1961 starting
every school day with the Lord's prayer... The pledge of allegiance's "under
God" phrase was then a minor issue!

The words "In God We Trust" on currency are not a pledge that I am compelled
to recite with my hand over my heart.  The pledge of allegiance is, or was
when I was in the public school system.

The out for those who defend the pledge of allegiance with the words "under
God" continuing in public schools, despite the apparent state promotion of
specific religious beliefs (monotheism over the State), is that any student
can refuse to recite it without being officially compelled to conform, or
officially punished.  The student can legally opt out of saying the pledge.
It is not "forced" on any student, technically speaking.

The pledge, to be more religiously broad, might read "under whatever God,
Gods, Goddesses or other forms of spiritual beings or powers, or the lack of
them, that prevail" to avoid state promotion of specific forms of religious
belief, but this is cumbersome and wordy for a pledge.  And the reason the
words "under God" were placed in the pledge during the 1950s was not to be
open minded about including different religious beliefs, but to send a
specific message to the atheists of the godless Communist Soviet Union, and
other communist nations, that the USA was a nation under God, a specific
sort of God.  The words "under God" added to the pledge are thus a legacy of
cold war politics.

I find the argument that the words "under God" are spiritually generic,
and can refer to all forms of spiritual belief, and thus are not state
endorsement of a specific religion, disingenuous.  I heard this exact
argument from a federal lawyer working in the federal court in Boise, a
lawyer who knew the justices involved in the 9th US Circuit Court who ruled
that the pledge's "under God" was unconstitutional.

Given the pressures young students face to be popular, accepted, to conform
to the dominant values of their peers and adult leaders, odds are many
students will recite the pledge anyway, even if they object, or don't
understand the meaning of the words they parrot.

The pledge does amount to state sponsored promotion of a specific form or

Ted Moffett

On 9/11/06, Donovan Arnold <donovanjarnold2005 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> More BAD NEWS for people that are offended by the word "GOD" being
> incorporated into the state. It is now also on some of your printed
> currency. That is right, George Bush is having the words "In God we Trust"
> printed on your money. He is violating the constitutional separation of
> Church and State, AGAIN!
> You can protest this violation of separation of church and state, and tell
> GEORGE BUSH, NO, by looking through all your coins and bills and sending
> every one of those unconstitutionally BUSH branded with this religious
> propaganda to me.
> Every dollar I raise will be a petition to the US Congress on how much you
> disagree with BUSH and his forcing of religion on the people.
> Please send this unconstitutional BUSH currency to:
> Donovan Arnold
> 325 Main Street
> Moscow, ID, 83843
> Best,
> _DJA
> *Paul Rumelhart <godshatter at yahoo.com>* wrote:
> I'd rather just fight this thing from a religious equality angle.  I,
> personally, could care less if it's idolatry or not.  I'm more-or-less a
> pagan (it's complicated), and the term "God" appears to mean the
> judaeo-christian "God" and not just any old "god".  I don't like the
> implication that our nation is "under God" in that sense, especially when
> we're forcing our children to recite it at school like some kind of
> 1984-esque loyalty pledge.  It sounds too much like brain-washing to me,
> anyway.
> I don't understand why Christians care so much about those two words
> belonging in the Pledge, especially in a country with express freedom of
> religion and that was built in part by people who were escaping religious
> persecution and who wanted to ensure that the same thing didn't happen to
> future generations.
> Paul
> Taro Tanaka wrote:
> Sins can be committed in ignorance, and the fact that they were committed in
> ignorance doesn't cause the sin to just disappear, but God in His mercy does
> cut us all a great deal of slack for our manifold sins committed in
> ignorance. At the same time, the effects of sins committed in ignorance
> don't just magically disappear, and when we start to feel those effects
> strongly enough, sometimes we put two and two together and realize we have
> an issue that we need to repent of.
> -- Princess Sushitushi
> "keely emerinemix" <kjajmix1 at msn.com> <kjajmix1 at msn.com> wrote:
>   I would not say that a Christian who does recite the pledge is
>  committing
> idolatry; I am saying that I would be if I were to violate my own
> conscience in this matter.
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