Under God in The Pledge: Why should we care?

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Liberty and Justice for All

I was recently forwarded a chain email message (“Under God in the Pledge” Chain Email | PDF) with the subject A Shock to NBC. You can follow the link to browse a PDF version of the message, but here’s the gist. It is a good thing to have Under God in The Pledge. And, it is a very bad thing to be (like me) in the “14%” who disagree.

After going on about the history of the pledge and how NBC was “shocked” by their own poll results (and numerous font and color changes), the message eventually closed with a call to action.

Why is the world catering to this 14%?

AMEN!

If you agree, pass this on.

if not, simply delete.

In God We Trust

And again I say AMEN!

Well, neither option felt right. So, instead, I replied with an answer to the question:

With all due respect, the very nature of this chain letter is designed to collect up only “yes” votes. It asks that would-be “no” voters simply delete it (and, implicitly, remain silent).

I never forward chain letters–electronic or otherwise. But I feel compelled to respond to the question:

Why is the world catering to this 14%?

The many different Churches and The State should be separated. For everyone’s sake. Our founding fathers were very clear, and very wise, on this point.

Our country was founded on the principal of liberty and justice for all.  Not all (monotheistic) religious persons. ALL.

References to any god(s) do not belong in a pledge of allegiance to which ALL citizens are expected to subscribe. Similarly, claims about any god(s) do not belong on our currency.

Every citizen should be free to believe or not believe in a god or gods, as their own heart dictates. But no citizen, or group of citizens, even if they are in the majority, should have the right to impose such beliefs on others.

It took us, as a nation, a long time to come to understand that “all” included blacks; even longer to understand “all” included women; still longer to understand that “all” included the LGBT communities. It has not yet come to understand that “all” includes the non-religious–but it will. Social change comes slowly, but it comes. And we are all the better for it.

I’ve had no further reply. Perhaps, that means we all agree. 🙂

2 comments for “Under God in The Pledge: Why should we care?

  1. Eton
    December 19, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Well, when you pick a fight you go right to the top. You would like to kick God out of the pledge and off of our currency, and out of our daily civil life altogether.
    Isn’t this in reality an attempt to impose the will of the minority (14%) upon the rest of us, and thus make the religion of no religion the official religion of the land? Of course it is!
    The simple truth is that the vast, and I mean very vast majority of Americans believe in one God, and are therefore delighted to see “In God We Trust” stand as our national motto. To tell us that it should be removed because a minority of people don’t like it really tells us that the beliefs of the minority will be imposed on everyone else.
    In the name of freedom this little group of malcontents wants to take religious freedom from the majority. Of course, their real goal is no religion for anyone.
    This fifth column has been with us for some time, but recently they’ve become bold in their words and deeds. Ironically they stand behind the same mercy and freedoms afforded them by so many religious principles interwoven into our society when they cruelly attack said principles and expressions. They remind me of the Three Stooges comically sawing off the board upon which they are standing.
    But there has been considerable resistance mounted, too. Perhaps the blowback will become severe enough that this unamerican movement will be checked, and then government for the people, by the people and of the people will not perish from the Earth.

  2. December 19, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    I would not characterize my post as “picking a fight” so much as answering a direct, unsolicited question. Specifically, the question, “Why is the world catering to this 14%? I offered direct answer to that direct question. I did not call anyone a “malcontent” or a “stooge”, nor did I suggest anyone is “un-American”, nor acting out of “cruelty.”

    Neither would I characterize removing “God” from The Pledge as imposing the will of the minority on the majority. Rather, I would characterize it as redressing the 1954 change to the pledge, by returning to the pledge that had been in place up until that time.

    I believe the 1954 change actually detracts from a fundamental American ideal, from a source of our strength. Here’s why…

    Our country is founded on a principle of inclusiveness, where diversity is not only welcomed, but embraced and protected. Our diversity is a source of strength. This philosophy was embodied in our motto and our pledge from the very beginning. E pluribus unum. Out of many, one. “One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. We can ALL get behind that.

    “All” means everyone. Not everyone that’s part of a group of some minimum size. Everyone. Every one. But I’ll also point out that 14% is about 1 in 7. That ratio is not “vast” and certainly not “very vast”. 14% is a significant portion of the population. 14% is larger than African-Americans (12.3%), Asian-Americans (5%), or Jewish-Americans (1.4%). Should we similarly discount those even smaller minority groups of Americans?

    It is easy to see that “one nation, White, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” does not work. Nor “one nation, Catholic, indivisible, …” So it is with “under God”.

    That does not mean that “White” does not describe some of us. Or “Catholic”, or “Jewish”, or “African-American”, or “gay”, or “straight”, or “under God”, or “agnostic”, or “atheist”. Each of these describes some of us. But none of these describe ALL of us.

    I advocate for a pledge that works for ALL of us. A pledge that unites ALL of us. Pledging to stand together, as one, indivisible nation, despite our individual differences. That is an American ideal. That is a source of strength.

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