It’s Time to Update the Pledge

Under God mourns the loss of the minister who persuaded President Eisenhower and Congress in 1954 to insert into the … Continued

Under God mourns the loss of the minister who persuaded President Eisenhower and Congress in 1954 to insert into the Pledge of Allegiance the phrase “under God” — an idea whose time was then.

Now, with the passing of the Rev. George M. Docherty, who died Thanksgiving Day at the age of 97, let us review why the phrase was added in the first place and why we should consider updating the pledge.

Docherty’s contribution to American civil religion came during a sermon he preached at Washington’s New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in honor of Lincoln’s birthday in 1954, the height of the Second Red Scare. As Post reporter Matt Shudel notes in Sunday’s obituary, Docherty, a native of Scotland, argued that the then-godless American pledge could just as easily apply to the communist Soviet Union.

“I could hear little Muscovites recite a similar pledge to their hammer-and-sickle flag with equal solemnity,” said Docherty. He suggested adding Lincoln’s phrase “under God” from the Gettysburg Address to the pledge. “To omit the words ‘Under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance is to omit the definitive character of the American Way of Life.”

Maybe then. Not now.

First, it isn’t the 1950s anymore. As religion scholar Will Herberg noted in his influential 1955 essay “Protestant-Catholic-Jew,” at that time 68 percent of Americans were Protestant, 23 percent Catholic, and 4 percent Jewish. (The remaining 5 percent expressed no religious preference.) “Not to be a Catholic, a Protestant, or a Jew today is, for increasing numbers of American people, not to be anything.”

According to a recent Pew report, those figures have declined to 51, 23 and 2. The remaining 20+ percent express plenty of preferences, including Mormon, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist and Agnostic. Not to be a Catholic, a Protestant, or a Jew today is, for increasing numbers of American people, to be something else just as worthy of citizenship.

Second, the greatest threat to American freedom is no longer godless communism but “godly” terrorism — people who pledge their allegiance to God. Docherty noted that even Stalin’s Soviet Union could claim to be “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Today, even a Taliban-led Afghanistan could claim to be “one nation, under God.”

In his 1954 sermon, Docherty argued that Judeo-Christian America was engaged in “mortal combat against modern, secularized, godless humanity.” Today, pluralistic America is engaged in mortal combat against anti-modern, fundamentalist, religionized humanity.

It isn’t our belief in God that makes us different. It’s our belief in the liberties (religious and other) enshrined in the Constitution. The American creed is faith in liberty for all, not the religion of most.

About

  • spidermean2

    David, lost people like you don’t know God that is why you don’t find it important in the pledge. If you take that phrase, it’s better that you don’t recite the pledge at all coz it becomes very DANGEROUS. The reason why the Taliban are dangeous is because they are GODLESS. It means they don’t know who is the true God.You may not know it but in reality, you too is a dangerous person. It may not seem so but that is the truth. By your false opinions, you let people GO ASTRAY

  • spidermean2

    David, lost people like you don’t know God that is why you don’t find it important in the pledge. If you take that phrase out, it’s better that you don’t recite the pledge at all coz it becomes very DANGEROUS. The reason why the Taliban are dangeous is because they are GODLESS. It means they don’t know who is the true God.You may not know it but in reality, you too is a dangerous person. It may not seem so but that is the truth. By your false opinions, you let people GO ASTRAY

  • bgreen2224

    Eliminating the phrase ‘Under God’ is a good start. The religio-fascists who masquerade as Christians, Muslims, Jews or whatever, take great delight in demanding everyone pledge allegiance to THEIR way of thinking and running their nation. These people are dividers and seek a completely different goal –that of the dominance of their religious beliefs over everyone else — than most US citizens.

  • bigsprgs

    C’mon, Spidey, you have posted enough here that you know you don’t have to push the button twice.

  • harveyh5

    Interesting that the decision on the Pledge of Allegiance was to insert “under God” between “one nation” and “indivisible.” It’s mostly been one nation divisible ever since. Who can sanely argue that “One nation indivisible” isn’t preferable?

  • spidermean2

    bgreen2224 “or did you want to kill a commie for Christ?”I thought communists kill people who profess they believe in God?Should atheists start thinking hard and answer their own questions? By NOT thinking, they make this world DUMB AND DUMBER everyday.bigsprgs, sorry for that but the second post was more gramatically correct.

  • thebobbob

    It was inserted during the anti-communist hysteria of the 50′s. It was a time when America was willing to throw away it’s Bill of Rights because of fear-mongering by the ideological extreme right-wing. Since then the greatest danger to has been the involvement of religion in politics, here and abroad. I want a secular, competent, civic society not a religious dictatorship. Keep religion out of politics. The last 8 years is just a small demonstration of how bad things can get when religious credentials are required for political appointments.

  • spidermean2

    Why are atheists and liberal believers SO DUMB? If America’s conservative Christians are dangerous, why is it that Europe (a liberal bastion) seems to be always the JUMPING BOARD of terrorists around the world and not America?The 911 and the Mumbai terrorists hold European passports. Why are you guys SO DUMB? Would you please start using your brains?

  • spidermean2

    Why are atheists and liberal believers SO DUMB? If America’s conservative Christians are dangerous, why is it that Europe (a liberal bastion) seems to be always the JUMPING BOARD of terrorists around the world and not America?A number of the 911 and the Mumbai terrorists held European passports. Why are you guys SO DUMB? Would you please start using your brains?

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    SpidermanWhy don’t you stop posting your silly childish nonsense; you ruin every thread with your foolishness. As long as your behavious is so childish and bratty, you are not welcome, so please go.

  • stantheman1

    Spidey – thanks for taking the time to correct the grammar in your post. I see you missed a few wee items – some needed punctuation after God, the errant construction “the reason why … is,” and the subject-verb disagreement “you too is …” – among others. You are fortunate that I am too polite to ask, as you so often do, why you are SO DUMB.And course correcting the grammar in a Spidey post doesn’t fix the fundamental disconnect with reality. Kinda like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic …

  • spidermean2

    Forget the grammar folks, concentrate on the stupidity you guys are spreading. As an engineer,I don’t need a correct grammar to invent useful devices.

  • spidermean2

    I read far worse grammatical errors from user manuals of gadgets I buy. The people who made those manuals and gadgets are far more intelligent than you guys.

  • ThishowIseeit

    “…With Liberty and Justice for all”. There is no libery or justice in the communist Soviet Union. No need to say “Under God”.

  • spidermean2

    Communists and liberal idiots define liberty and justice differently. Their (communists) goal is liberty from capitalism and God while the liberals fight for unhampered spread of lies and stupidity. Both are godless.The rest of the world don’t have a Pledge of Allegiance. You guys have a very wide range of choice which nation is best for you.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    SpidermanWe can’t help you here. Are you living at home? Can’t you go to your Mom and Dad with your problems? They could help you better than we could.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    SpidermanWhat’s the deal? Do you sometimes get mixed up and think you are God? Have you ever gotten carried away and said Jesus was stupid? Do you think you’re Jesus and you have low self-esteem and therefore you feel guilty for not liking Jesus very much?I don’t know. Just trying to figure you out.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    SpidermanWhat’s the matter with you? You’re out of your mind. Surely you don’t expect anyone to take you seriously, with your crazy rants. Even religious people would shun and you, or at least your arguments. It is one thing to have empathy for someone as mixed up and confused as you are, but then it becomes a little tiresome after awhile; you are just a worn out, told old pest.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    SpidermanWhat are you afraid of? Jesus doesn’t seem to be doing you much good. Do you worry because you are jealous of Jesus, and he might not like you because of it? Why are you so wound up all the time about the missiles, and the lake of fire, and the punishment to come? Are you really afraid that you are the one who will be punished? Just relax, and get a hobby. No one knows what will happen next. We are all in the dark. So don’t be so afraid. Buck up and get a little courage. Now let me hear you come out here with a comment that is good and positive, and doesn’t threaten anybody and don’t call people stupid or an idiot. Didn’t your mother teach you any manners?

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    SpidermanYou know there is no shame in going to see a psychiatrist. They are like head doctors, and you know you have an illness, right? There is nothing we can do here to help you, and it is pretty impolite for you to take out your rants on these threads. You need to get yourself under better control. As you present yourself here, you are not doing anyone any good, including yourself; you are just being an annoying pest.

  • stantheman1

    Ok, Ok … maybe that’s enough posts to Spidey. You’re almost making me feel bad for the guy …

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Oh SpidermanWhat are we going to do with you? You’re just running amuck, causing chaos and confusion on all these threads. Are you obssessive? Do you think about Jesus all the time? Can’t you think up some kind of hobby or interest? Have you been to any movies lately? I don’t understand why your interest in Jesus motivates you to call people stupid idiots? I mean, how does this follow? I think you are a little mixed up. You have strange or weird sentiment towards Jesus, that causes you these problems. So, what do you think?

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Oh No! Spiderman! You’ve engineered this whole sick scenerio! Now people feel sorry for you. You diabolical fiend. What next?

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    SpidermanWell, what do you know? People actually feel sorry for you. I think that you should use this good will and leverage it towards the final destruction of all your stupid enemies. What do you think? No use letting good will go to waste, right?

  • sparrow4

    this country has bigger things to worry about than whether or not we utter “G-d” with every breath we take. the debate has been going on for years. Personally, I think Rev. Docherty is no great loss- he was indicative of the mindset that has calcified today into the culture war. And I particularly resent him tying Judaism to that very Christian right mindset “Judeo-Christian America.” I realize it’s a standard reference, but in issues like this, it’s a lie.take out the words, “under G-d.” they have no place there- the Pledge sounds way too much like an invocation to that other deity-filled concept, “with G-d on our side.” And that is too often allied with the road to hell being paved with “good” intentions.

  • tom_k47

    “Under God” is an appropriate way for me to honor both my country and my Creator when I recite the pledge. I say leave it.

  • Robert_B1

    KJohnson3: “In other words, he has a perfect excuse for flouting federal law because he answers to a greater power.”You raise an interesting point here. Indeed, many Christian sects have used their devotion to the “higher law” to flout established law. In some cases, this argument is fully justified (MLK’s refusal to obey the unjust Jim Crow laws of the South, for example). In many cases, however, you are right in that such an attitude can be perverted with terrifying consequences.I prefer to take St. Augustine’s view on such questions. He wrote that so long as the laws of the secular world (the “earthly city”) do not contradict the laws of God (the “heavenly city”), then a Christian is bound to obey the secular laws.

  • norriehoyt

    It’s time to abandon and forget about the entire Pledge.A person can only “pledge allegiance” to a person or entity which can act.The flag is a piece of cloth incapable of self-generated action.You might as well pledge allegiance to the socks in your sock drawer.Pledging allegiance to a piece of cloth smacks of idolatry and should be opposed by all religions. Do Catholics pledge allegiance to the flag of the Vatican? No, they have better sense.

  • macgregorcass

    The words “under God” were not added to the Pledge until maybe 55 to 60 years ago.

  • vze2r3k5

    “under god” was added to the pledge in 1954 as a direct result of the McCartyistic purge of valid dissent. It did not exist before, and in fact never appeared on most currency until the late 1800′s.What’s funny is the ignorance of so many “americans” as to their own country’s history. Want a wake up call? Go to the internets, you know, the google, and search on “(insert name of founding father) religion quotes”. Pick one, pick any: Jefferson, Adams, Madison, etc. Read what the fathers though of organized religion. They despised it. Yes, they believed in a higher power, they were just as convinced in the complete fraud and lunacy done in the names of the world’s organized religions, and believed it had NO part in governance. You want to make this a christian Iran? Go ahead. Just don’t say you are following the wished of the founding fathers.

  • pbh912699

    Let’s not forgot that the pledge reflects the beliefs of our country’s fathers. If you don’t like it..start your own country and see how easy it is to do without God. God is inclusive of all religions. How petty we’ve become when there are much bigger threats and much bigger issues. If the Taliban were to have their way you can believe that the “God” of Islam would figure most prominently whatever government “they” allowed to rule.

  • Jenny6

    As a religious American, I will never recite the Pledge of Allegiance. My first allegiance is to the will of the Divine, far above and beyond my loyalty to any person, institution or nation.Where does your allegiance lie? With God, or with your country? How many masters can one person serve?

  • catweasel3

    My five year old hates saying the pledge at school. She didn’t even undertsand why they make her do it (they never bothered to teach her what the pledge was all about, that fell to me. Gee, talk about empty propaganda.). I told her she doesn’t have to say it if she doesn’t want to, nor does she have to put her hand on her heart when saying it. We are dual citizens, so we love our other country as much as we love this one. I do make her say her prayers every night. In my home, we worship God, NOT the US government. God made THE ENTIRE WORLD. So, you can be patriotic and whatnot, but I think my allegiance is to God, who I believe to be omnipotent and wants me to care for all his children, not just the ones in our 50 states. The US is having trouble not because of our lack of Godliness, but our insistence that being patriotic IS equal to Godliness.

  • martimr1

    This whole discussion wouldn’t exist if Americans were better educated. When reciting the Pledge, we are not pledging alliegance to the Flag, but to the nation. This is a metonymy, a rhetorical device where a related object is used to represent another, generally larger or more abstract, object. It’s the same as referring to the monarchic institution of the UK as the Crown.If everyone understood clearly how symbolism plays its part in our language as well as in our reasoning and emoting, then many fewer errors in judgement would be committed in the name of Religion, too.The metonymy should remain – and our children should be taught to understand it. “Under God,” on the other hand, should be removed. Any person who defines his conscience and ethics in terms of a Supreme Being is always acting “under God” anyway, or should be, so the words are redundant. Any person who defines his conscience and ethics without reference to any supreme being should be able to take the Pledge without lying.

  • Garak

    The Mumbai terrorists certainly would want the keep “under god” in the Pledge.

  • villarrj

    The Founders argued that the institutions of church and state be made separate. To my knowledge, they never argued for God to be separated from politics or statesmanship.

  • rightPOV

    I don’t think you have taken into consideration the greater meaning of the words “under God”. It’s political-religious sense, not merely judeo-christian. And it is to promote religion or make us a religious nation. It has the same effect as the “laws of nature and of nature’s God” and “they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable right” both from the Declaration of Independence. The foundation is this, and it’s very subtle: the rights, these rights, the life liberty and persuit of happiness, the liberty and justice for all, these rights come from GOD. NOT from the State. Why is this important? Because the Founders knew (and the Pledge follows this political philosophy) that if these rights didn’t come from God (or “A God” if you prefer) if they didn’t come from on high- then they come from the State. And if the State grants… the state can take away. If a law, if a legislator, a president, if the STATE decides you ahve the right to “freedom and justice for all” then the state can take away your right. If God grants you these rights, and the State tries to take it away, then, as the Declaration says “it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds”. And revolution is indeed justified. It’s a subtle yet VITAL distinction. The foudners rightly framed human rights as divine rights. If they are merely state rights codified in a law, then the State can take away these rights. We do not have rights granted by a sovereign or a dictator. They are “endowed unalienably” and woe to any State that tries to take these rights. King George learned that lesson. So did Louis XVI.

  • TheMazeSays

    I am neither Christian nor atheist. After reviewing the Pledge, I think the phrase: “…it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible…” as it appears in Pub L 107-293 is appropriate.And here is why. The “under God” clause reminds us that there is a transcendent aspect of reality, a mystery if you will, that is beyond and above every aspiration that we humans may cultivate.- Simple -

  • raschumacher

    The fair thing to do is to return it to its original pre-1954 form and omit “under god”. Until then it can continue serving as a shibboleth for thoughtful Americans of conscience: when reciting it they can omit the offending phrase, or replace that with “under Canada”, and teach their children to do the same.

  • lmwilker

    “they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable right” both from the Declaration of Independence.”But in this case “your creator” could be no more than your father or mother, it could be the science of biology, it could be space aliens…your creator is not necessarily some mystical, omnipotent, “God” creature.

  • themick

    How about “Gott Mit Uns” ? It’s the same “God” right? Of course in pledging “allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America; And to the Republic, for which it stands … One nation .. Indivisible,” is mocked everytime and everywhere the Confederate Flag is flown.

  • presto668

    spidermean2 wrote:Sounds OK to me. Or is your patriotism so fragile that you have to recite an official loyalty oath to keep it going?

  • raschumacher

    “The “under God” clause reminds us that there is a transcendent aspect of reality, a mystery if you will, that is beyond and above every aspiration that we humans may cultivate.”In other words, replace it with “under superstitious ignorance”? Sadly that might be appropriate.

  • Carstonio

    Waters’ conclusion is good but his reasoning is not. His article implies that “under God” would be acceptable if America was less religiously diverse. No religion’s deities or beliefs belong in the Pledge, no matter what percentage of Americans belong to that religion. Religion is an individual matter, not a matter of majority rule.

  • rcubedkc

    Spiderman,I see the electroshock therapy hasn’t worked on you.Perhaps you should just go ahead and get the lobotomy.

  • DaveCheney

    Three leaders that understood and believed we are a nation “under God” Virginia Governor Thomas Jefferson, in 1779: [I] appoint … a day of public Thanksgiving to Almighty God … to [ask] Him that He would … pour out His Holy Spirit on all ministers of the Gospel; that He would … spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth … and that He would establish these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue.President George Washington’s first federal Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789: Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.… Now, therefore, I do appoint Thursday, the 26th day of November 1789 … that we may all unite to render unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection.President Abraham Lincoln, making Thanksgiving an annual national holiday in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War: No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.

  • patmatthews

    As a practicing American Nichiren Buddhist, I always quietly just remained quiet for those two words and I am heartened that America may see that I would like to be free not be be quiet for those two words, ‘under God,’, rather than moved to ‘with liberty and justice for all.” Not sure what “under God” had to do with ‘liberty and justice for all,”perhaps except those non-believers of God are excluded from this equality of religious freedom.As a child I remeber children requesting not to say the pledge of allegiance due to these two words alone, and Ammerica did not respond to those American’s with any equality other than to question their patriotism.America is supposed to represent religious freedom. Reciting “Under God” is not religious freedom but not much different than Communism in my view.Patrick

  • IndianaSam

    I’m old enough to remember when we were getting our tongues twisted around the “new” Pledge, and sitting through discussions/lectures about the reason for the change, and frankly don’t have a significant opinion one way or the other.I would point out, however, that though it may have little to do with the specfic question, I believe many,especially Mormon’s and Muslim’s, would find the assumption underlying this arguement – that one must be “Catholic, Protestant, or Jew” to believe in God – quite offensive, let alone inaccurate.

  • alarico

    YES YES YES YES PLEASE.Take it out.I do not subscribe to monotheism, but the Pledge of Allegiance makes my loyalty conditional to this religious construct.SORRY, NO!Thou Shalt Keep Thy Religion to Thyself.Mixing religion with patriotism is a bad thing.

  • Carstonio

    “The “under God” clause reminds us that there is a transcendent aspect of reality, a mystery if you will, that is beyond and above every aspiration that we humans may cultivate.”First, we don’t know that such an aspect exists. While its existence is possible, there is no evidence for it.Second, it’s a mistake to use the word “God” to refer to such an aspect. If that aspect exists, it may not resemble a god at all. Also, most Americans read “God” as referring to the Abrahamic deity.Finally, whether that aspect exists is outside the realm of government or patriotism. Government should be neutral on such questions, and it’s dangerous to conflate such questions with citizenship.

  • combat18

    First of all, Mormans are Protestants and Christians. Second, Muslims believe in God, they just do not translate it. Third, it is clear that you hate Protestants, Catholics and Jews. A tiny minority of village athiets, or the typical crank in our modern day, do not make public policy, nor do we make public policy for the tiny number of pagans. Just get used to it, we outnumber you by your own calculations, skillfully made to make it appear that Protestants, Catholics and Jews make up 75% of the population, not counting Mormons. As the liberals like you think they are clever when they call George Bush the village idiot, then you are the village athiest, and whining cranks are ususally and rightly ignored in a serious democracy.

  • rightPOV

    lmwilker : But in this case “your creator” could be no more than your father or mother, it could be the science of biology, it could be space aliens…your creator is not necessarily some mystical, omnipotent, “God” creature. ———————————-Second, and thisis why your argument is incorrect- if creator is parent or space alien- then that being can REVOKE the rights. God does not revoke rights, therefore the State cannot either. But if rights come from anything other than GOd- then they are able to be revoked, denied, etc. Again- it’s not religion. “Under God” is so much greater than religion. – it’s political philosophy. And it’s brilliant. The Founders virtually tied the hands of the State and warned them not to deny rights: and to ensure it the people have freedom of speech, assembly, petition, religion. and if the State STILL revokes rights- it justifies revolution. We shouldn’t get hung up in religion. Or Christianity. It’s a lot more than that.

  • kjohnson3

    Robert_B1,You said, “I prefer to take St. Augustine’s view on such questions. He wrote that so long as the laws of the secular world (the “earthly city”) do not contradict the laws of God (the “heavenly city”), then a Christian is bound to obey the secular laws.”In an ideal world, this would be sound advice. However, in the world we actually live in, each religion (and often factions therein) makes its own rules which it then christens the “laws of God.” Then, the rules are interpreted and reinterpreted by successive generations.A Catholic may say that it’s God’s law that women can’t be priests or have abortions or use birth control. An Arab Muslim may say that it’s God’s law that a woman shouldn’t be permitted to drive a car, show her face outside of her home, marry according to her own choice. A Baptist may say that God’s law prohibits drinking alcohol, dancing, and teaching evolution. An orthodox Jew may say that it’s God’s law that milk and meat must be eaten at separate meals, that driving a car on the sabbath breaks a commandment, and that the Jewish people historically have the only rightful claim to land in and around Israel.All of these claims to knowing “God’s law” contradict the tenets of other religions, but in each case the faithful believe that their God is the “true” God and that this “fact” gives them special license to override not only the beliefs of other faiths but also the laws of the state.Unfortunately, since “God’s laws” are open to debate and interpretation among apologists for all the world’s religions, relying on any one source as a baseline isn’t much of a solution at all.

  • amy_e

    combat18 being in the majority doesn’t give you the right to force your beliefs on the many minorities in the country. The whole point of neutrality toward religion was to prevent the government from oppressing minority views. Thomas Jefferson’s famous letter to the Danbury Baptists was meant to reassure them that their minority religion wouldn’t disenfranchise them. At that time Anglicans were the predominant denomination.

  • Carstonio

    “God does not revoke rights”Assuming you’re right that they were granted by a god, any god would be perfectly capable of revoking rights, the same as any parent or space alien. The reference to a “creator” in the Declaration is so open-ended that it could refer to an unconscious entity or even natural forces.

  • kithope

    “Under God” bothers me but then so does the whole pledge thing.When my mother was a child, they started the Pledge with right hands over hearts. At the words “to the flag” they would extend their right hands towards the flag. That was stopped during World War II because it so resembled a Nazi salute. Hmmm.

  • bevjims1

    villarrj wrote: “The Founders argued that the institutions of church and state be made separate. To my knowledge, they never argued for God to be separated from politics or statesmanship.”The exact clause in the First Amendment says:As I understand the change to the pledge made in 1954, it was done by Congress, and by acknowledging God it respects His existance and thus establishes, or at least respects, God’s existance. No matter your belief this is a clear violation of the First Amendment.But what worries me more are those who see the pledge as a way to get their pet cause recited by school children. The movement to get “under God” into the pledge started with the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic mens organization, and was pushed by religious organizations until Congress respected it through an unConstitutional law. Today some pro-life groups have promoted the addition of “…..liberty and justice for all, born and unborn.” to the end of the pledge. Some liberal groups have suggested the addition of the word “equality,” so that the pledge would read: “with equality, liberty and justice for all.” Maybe we should just say whatever we want to say, or better, say the pledge at our place of worship where we can add whatever political, special interest or religious item we want.Its time we grow up and see this nation as our founding fathers envisioned it, a secular government unfettered by religious institutions and free from espousing religious edicts, something which did not exist in their world. And they knew the pressure an American government would be under to control religion, or for religion to control government since that is how the governments of England and France were, and so they wrote it down to make sure future generations had no illusions about what they meant. To be happy that “under God” is in the pledge is to be unAmerican. To want government to establish the christian God as what this nation is “under” is an afront to all those of other religions or no religion, but it is especially an afront to Americans who value the Constitution and its guiding principles, especially those who fought and died to create this one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

  • elife1975

    Reply to Davecheny:Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

  • elife1975

    davecheny, where are you getting your quotes?- Abraham Lincoln, American president (1809-1865).

  • subs

    Please just eliminate the Pledge altogether. No other modern democracy has such a thing. Besides, for all you flag-waving nincompoops out there, it was written by a Christian Socialist in the late 19th century to celebrate Columbus Day, and wasn’t even officialized as the national pledge until World War II. The infamous “Founders” had absolutely nothing to do with it.

  • joecct77

    Don’t you think we have more important things to worry about than this?

  • subs

    Kithope wrote:”When my mother was a child, they started the Pledge with right hands over hearts. At the words “to the flag” they would extend their right hands towards the flag. That was stopped during World War II because it so resembled a Nazi salute.”Yes, it is known as the Bellamy Salute after the author of the pledge, and like the fascist and Nazi salute is based on the salute used in ancient Rome.See Wikipedia:

  • oscardg

    If you don’t like the pledge – don’t take it.

  • momj47

    Take it out, it should offend everyone. A tolerant, pluralistic society should not have a phrase like that in an “official pledge.” It’s time to move beyond our 1950′s small-minded, so-called christian mindset. It’s time to move out of the 19th century and into the 21st.

  • bevjims1

    TheMazeSays wrote: “The “under God” clause reminds us that there is a transcendent aspect of reality, a mystery if you will, that is beyond and above every aspiration that we humans may cultivate. – Simple – “And that my friend is the point. The phrase “under God” was put into the pledge through law by Congress. Therefore Congress, by force of law, is establishing a ‘transcendent aspect of reality’, and not just any transendent reality, one specifically named “God”, the Judaeo-Christian God. That is a clearly respecting the establishment of a single religious diety, and not just respecting His existence, establishing that this nation is “under” that diety. A clear violation of the First Amendment which states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.

  • bevjims1

    oscardg wrote: “If you don’t like the pledge – don’t take it.”If you don’t like the Constitution, then leave. I hear Iran has a government dominated by religion so you might enjoy living there.

  • senigma

    Given the artifice of the pledge, for it is a wholly made up thing, not part of the Constitution, but a bit of 19th Century jingoism that serves no function other than that of shibboleth. Since there is nothing in law requiring the oath, all this blather is rather pointless.

  • Jazzman7

    Well said, David, as far as you go. For those who read and understand the American pledge through their reason and logic and not through passion and patriotism, the words since 1954 are exclusive. The implication in the wording is that unless one accepts the “under God” phrase, one cannot be a true patriot of this country. Surely, religious belief cannot be a condition of patriotic citizenship. That much is clear from the founders’ exclusion of religious tests.If we are to be a people of reason (required to ensure realization of the “liberty and justice” phrase), then it is time to relinquish our fears of the absence of religion. Atheism is neither by nature amoral nor unethical. Only fear prompted the inclusion of religion in a statement of allegiance to country; perhaps enlightenment will allow us to let it go.

  • pcpatterson

    While I believe there are far more important things we should be debating, I always find it interesting that the people (i.e., right-wing politico-”Christians”) who argue the most strenuously for leaving “under God” in the Pledge or “In God We Trust” on our money seem to be motivated by a completely illogical belief that failing to include this verbiage somehow will work to weaken Christianity. If your faith is so shallow that you believe this has any impact at all (or that schoolchildren are somehow “influenced” by the mindless rote recitation of this phrase or the Pledge in general), you need to spend more time reading your Bible and less time trying to dictate that the government “acknowledge” your “faith”.If it makes any difference, I am a Christian. With children in an exemplary public school that employs teachers of all faiths, including Muslim, Judaism, and Mormon. You can bet your last dollar that I don’t want those otherwise highly qualified teachers presuming to instruct my children on matters of faith, which is why I am also opposed to “school prayer”.

  • Robert_B1

    KJohnson3: “All of these claims to knowing “God’s law” contradict the tenets of other religions, but in each case the faithful believe that their God is the “true” God and that this “fact” gives them special license to override not only the beliefs of other faiths but also the laws of the state.”Again, these are good points, and Augustine would be the first to admit that the real world often fails to achieve the ideal.However, I think we need to remember that there are two different types of laws. The first are laws that define certain activities as legal and permissible. The second are laws that compel people to act or not act in a certain manner. American laws regarding abortion fall squarely in the first category; the American government is not requiring anyone to abort their babies (unlike, say, China’s “one child” policy). The key issue here is how the coercive power of the state is being used. If the earthly city requires that the Christian engage in activities that defy the faith (like when the Romans required Christians to engage in the official pagan rituals), then the Christian must follow the “higher law” (and, by the way, suffer punishment in most cases). In all other cases, the state’s laws must be respected and followed. This is why the argument of some radical anti-abortionists that it’s OK to kill doctors who provide abortions doesn’t hold water theologically. Abortion laws don’t require abortions; rather, they provide the choice to do so or not to members of society.

  • JoeT1

    it is stunning, and sad, to see posts that ignore the factual premise of the issue – our founding fathers didn’t write the pledge at all, and the “under god” phrase was added after many of us posters were born. The original premise of the pastor was ridiculous, and the sentiment of the times led to interning the Japanese and Joe McCarthy – so how to explain the ridiculous defenses of the phrase? I am as much a fan of tradition as the next guy, but something with such a questionable history should go, if only for the reason that the phrase ruins the meter of the original verse. the three extra syllables just wreck it. we do lots of really stupid things just because they made sense once, or seemed to at the time.

  • JoeT1

    or to put it another way, if no one thought it was necessary to add until 1954, it couldn’t have been that important.

  • skramsv

    rightPOV: Everyone admits we were created from something, be it a bunch of cells in a test tube, our mothers womb, or from some dirt and the breath of the god of Abraham. Restore the pledge. Those who want to say it, can, but nobody should be forced.If you are religious, saying the pledge puts you in conflict with most religions. To use Christianity, Islam, and Judism as examples, their God commands that you not swear an oath to any other power. That you worship no idols or images. The pledge to the flag is an oath to the US government and the flag is an idol receiving worship. Can we also take In God We Trust off our money too, PLEASE. It is offensive to anyone who holds religious beliefs. US currency belongs to man, not God. Render unto Caesar what is Caesars.

  • TheMazeSays

    Wikipedia has a pretty good etymology of the word God ( Thankfully, no legislation attempts to define the word.Given this fact, I propose we change the Pledge to read, “under Allah”.

  • alarico

    Good point about the silliness of pledging allegiance to “the flag”. What the hell is a flag?I pledge allegiance to THE CONSTITUTION of the United States! Now that’s something sublime, and not a magnet for fascists!If Bush-Cheney had pledged allegiance to the Constitution they maybe would have been less inclined to rape it.

  • KeithW2

    Flip a coin to decide and move on, this is a waste of time. (That was easy!)

  • crossingubadly

    As we become smarter, more advanced, more enlightened.. the sad thing is that the human heart never changes. Just like children, we want more of what is not good for us and less of what is good. As much as we know about health, that doesn’t deter us from over-indulging in sweets, fats, cigarettes, alcohol, …. you name it. Being enlightened and free doesn’t do a bit of good without the presence of God to lead us in all truth. So, if you don’t want to say the pledge of allegiance, don’t say it, no one is forcing you. Such petty things are not on God’s radar and don’t mean anything to him. I am not going to profess to know what the forefathers believed. All I know is that God does honor prayers and believe that this country has been blessed by them, whether it was officially accepted as a creed or through a silent and deep faith.Ultimate freedom comes through God, not the God you see pimped on TV, or the God of the self-righteous religious right, nor through any form of God that uses force in any way, but through God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Humble yourself and find that God and you will be able to see the deception that the world wants you to believe. This is not a matter of a silly pledge, this is a matter of the heart. And human beings attempt to separate from God is equivalent to the notion that you birthed yourself.-”The worlds view of freedom is actually a cage, that which is held out as happiness is ultimately the embracing of sorrow.”-

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    A flag is a piece of cloth that may have a picture, design, or symbol on it, in colors that may be part of the meaning of flag. But I also suppose that it could be a drawing, photograph, or other image of this, or it could be a virtual display in a movie, or on TV, or on a computer. So, a flag really is, like many, many things in life, really pretty much of an intangible nothing of a thing, to get so worked up over. And a pledge to a flag? Even more imaginary, and non-existent.

  • FamillePetersen

    The liberty you want “to pledge allegiance to” is derived from the Judeo-Christian heritage that America and Europe was founded on; liberty tempered by personal values and self control. It remains to be seen if “secularism” can actually support freedom. At this point, it seems to me that pure secularism is going to lead to “extreme freedom”, or what eventually will be called anarchy. At that point, even the most hardened secularist are going to long for the day when people actually tried to live by the 10 commandments.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    I see the insertion of the words “under God” into the Pledge of Alleigiance as pretentious. It is a kind of proslytizing, which I see as a politically hostile practice.It would be better without it. If people think that this would hurt God, well then, there you are; that just proves my point.

  • pcpatterson

    Alarico:Actually, Bush and Cheney DID take oaths–twice–to preserve and defend the Constitution. Then they proceeded to wipe their rear ends with it….

  • rightPOV

    Creator, if capitalized, indicates a proper noun. We The People is capitalized- to denote a proper noun (person) and it is also about 6 times the size as part of noble introduction. if it is a proper noun, which proper noun is it? a place? a state? a person. That person- that Creator- is who gives us our rights. Omitting that creator puts our rights at risk- and then the State may indeed revoke those rights. In 18th century Europe, the rights came from the King. The King could just as equally revoke those rights. Henry VIII killed the Lord Counselor who arranged his marriage because the wife was ugly. The King decides, at his whim, what rights you are/are not entitled to enjoy. What the Founders in the Declaration and the Constitution did (and this is what the Pledge reflects with the addition of “under God”) is confirm that NO STATE CAN DENY YOUR RIGHTS. And when it DOES deny your rights, you have a right to revolt. The Declaration didn’t just say “King George sucks” but it explained where he went too far- and it established a new nation where the unalienable rights (grant UNDER GOD) would be honored. Again- I said this earlier- it is not RELIGION. It is political philosophy. It separates monarchy from democracy, autocracy from rule of the people. Some here also need an English lesson. The “it” in “for which it stands” seems to be confused by some. When the Brits swear allegiance to the crown- they aren’t pledging support for jewelry. Reworded in 2008 less poetic English:I pledge allegiance to the Republic of the United States of America: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all represented by this flag.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    FamillePetersen “Secularism” is not a religion or even a philosophy; it is a way of living ones life to include many activites and interests that do not fall directly under the category of being “religious.” For example, riding the bus, or baking a cake are secular activities. How can we stop being secular? It is not reasonable to expect everyone to be in church praying all of the time. You do not do that yourself, do you? And what does your phrase “hardened secularist” mean? If your intention is to insult people by calling them names, why not just call people fat or ugly?

  • Carstonio

    “What the Founders in the Declaration and the Constitution did (and this is what the Pledge reflects with the addition of “under God”) is confirm that NO STATE CAN DENY YOUR RIGHTS…it is not RELIGION. It is political philosophy.”Any claims about gods constitute religious claims. One can be agnostic on such claims and still maintain that states cannot deny rights. This is because it’s possible for gods to exist that do not grant rights, or that are indifferent to human concerns.

  • agapn9

    People who want to take the words ‘under God’ out of the pledge of allegiance make me sick. Whoever comes up with this crap ought to be fired. Godless secularists, godless and mindless atheists, godless ideological idiots – go away and come back another day.

  • mcdooley

    People who want to put the words ‘under God’ into the pledge of allegiance make me sick. Whoever comes up with this crap ought to be fired. God-crazed religionists, God-crazed and mindless evangelists, God-crazed ideological fundamentalists – go away and come back another day.

  • Robert_B1

    Agapn9: “People who want to take the words ‘under God’ out of the pledge of allegiance make me sick. Whoever comes up with this crap ought to be fired.Godless secularists, godless and mindless atheists, godless ideological idiots – go away and come back another day.”Sadly, I find nothing in your rant that adds anything to the conversation. Could you perhaps explain why these ideas make you sick?

  • ozma1

    As a committed Christian, it is my absolute conviction that the Pledge of Allegiance should be returned to its original form without reference to God. In its current form, it is primarily an exhibition of bias against perfectly patriotic Americans who don’t believe in any god, which is their absolute right under our Constitution. The notion that the government should encourage or discourage religious feeling is absolutely antithetical to the First Amendment.God is far more significant than any mere nation, including the United States of America. God is the ruler of the Universe of which our entire planet is just the most insignificant fraction of a fraction. The Christian view of God is that of a personal relationship which has nothing to do with the jingoistic partisanship to which He has been so frequently reduced to by political groups.

  • rightPOV

    “One can be agnostic on such claims and still maintain that states cannot deny rights.”No. Again, no. No. No. This is what the Foudners feared- if rights don’t come from God, where do they come from? The Constitution? Well then heck, amend it. No more rights. That is the “logic” of Dred Scott. State decides who is man. State decides who is slave. Some people are worth 3/5 of others. Some people are property. Until people realized that NO. Life is not a gift of the State. It is an unalienable right given from God. And therefore no State can take it. When they try- fight. Literally. Take up arms and fight. Bleed and die. Remember the famous “Give me liberty or give me death”? That is PH meant. If one says: I’m atheist: rights don’t come from God. Then they run the risk of rights being written in and out of existence. Sure the States SHOULD NOT revoke rights. But they do. In this political philosophy they DO NOT revoke the rights. And should they try, people have the right (almost the DUTY) to revolt. Otherwise we are all Dred Scotts. And the State is just another Monarch. Again- I really believe you need to see the Pledge along the lines of the Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, Dec of Ind and Constitution. It’s a linear thought of limiting what the State can do an recognizing that no law, no president, no congress, no king can deny what GOD has granted to humanity.

  • mcdooley

    SPIDERMEAN2 WROTE: “David, lost people like you don’t know Allah that is why you don’t find it important in the pledge. “If you take that phrase, it’s better that you don’t recite the pledge at all coz it becomes very DANGEROUS. “The reason why the Christians are dangeous is because they are GODLESS. It means they don’t know who is the true God, namely Allah.”You may not know it but in reality, you too are a dangerous infidel. It may not seem so but that is the truth. By your false opinions, you let people GO ASTRAY.”Or something like that.Born in the right country, ol’ Spidermean2 would have made a stellar member of the religious police under the Taliban, or perhaps in Saudi Arabia. Easy to picture him beating a teenage girl for wearing a tanktop. Easy. Real easy.

  • CAC2

    The founders of our country were very clear when they separated Church and State. It does not mean that we are a Godless nation, only that our government is secular and does not (and SHOULD not) answer to any religious authority. Didn’t Jesus say, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”?

  • spro

    Thank you for this article. I have been trying for years to have “under God” removed from the pledge. As an atheist, I find it insulting. Considering the fact that my ancestors arrived in Virginia in 1640, I’m sure that I’m as American as the Christians who are posting here.

  • Carstonio

    “if rights don’t come from God, where do they come from?”How do we know that there is a single god who grants rights?

  • uberturnip1917

    I refuse to say the “pledge” because of one word, indivisible. Any state that wants out of this unGodly federation should have the chance.

  • Robert_B1

    To Cac2:Yes, the Scripture says exactly that. And, in my opinion, it’s the most politically radical thing Christ ever uttered.The distinction that Christ makes here would make absolutely no sense to any culture in the ancient world. From the dawn of civilization, secular and sacred authority traveled hand in hand. The Greco-Roman world required participation in the civic religion (which was regulated by elected priesthoods) as part of the citizen’s responsibility to safeguard the polis.The “wall of separation” concept may be a product of the Enlightenment, but its roots are located not in the classical era, but in the Middle Ages. So believe it or not, the separation of church and state is, in the end, a concept based on Christian thought…

  • blevins20061

    If under god goes, what’s next people?I am with those whose stomach turns from those who want to just throw out everything that this country was based on.Leave it alone.

  • rightPOV

    “How do we know that there is a single god who grants rights?”That is a RELIGIOUS question. UNDER GOD IS NOT RELIGION. IT is POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY. Dont’ get hung up on the word GOD as so many people here have. God is not Christian. God is not Jesus. God is not the Bible, Moses, Allah, Vishnu, Nirvanah. The Founders were smart not to say Jesus. Or Lord. Or Messiah. They did… in private. In personal speeches. In personal writings and addresses. But not in LAW. In legal documents they use Creator or God. The pledge continues this political philosophy. It’s the big difference between swearing allegiance to a King and pledging allegiance to a Republic (represented by a flag, under God). See, my interest in preserving “under God” are not religious. Others want it stricken BECAUSE of religion.

  • chkpointe

    It’s overdue for a change in the pledge. Instead of pledging allegiance to a flag which may or may not reflect justice let’s pledge allegiance to the constitution. Depend the constitution which has pretty much been shredded and burned by the last few presidents. Remember how old Ollie North wanted the constitution declared invalid as it got in the way? Nothing much has changed over the years. I won’t pledge allegiance to any flag.

  • jhbyer

    Mr. Waters is right, but trouble is those who want to impose God on us have to do it through language. Without language, God doesn’t exist, making believers more invested in keeping “God” in The Pledge than the rest of us are in replacing it with liberty, which thankfully, doesn’t depend on words to be real.

  • amy_e

    >>If under god goes, what’s next people?ummmm what? Do you really think that forcing people to swear allegiance to a god they may not believe in is essential to our democracy? We survived just fine until 1954 so why would removing references to religion from our pledge… and then… our money… HORRORS! Hey, Jesus & Paul weren’t all that fond of money, remember. And remember that the commandments aren’t fond of worshipping idols (say like a FLAG).So get over it. Religion does nothing to promote democracy. In fact, it tends to go against it.

  • Drew95

    This essay bases its entire argument on the erroneous premise that religious observance in the US has changed since 1954. In point of fact it has not. The number of serious religious attendees based on the percentage of the population in weekly attendance at church gatherings has remained amazingly constant since the 1940s. In that since then is now! What has changed is the degree of militancy by the “non-religious” who seem deeply offended by the character and history of the country they inhabit and by the beliefs of the majority of its citizens. The increased cache of the idea that imposing the religion of atheism is okay while acknowledging the believing consensus is wrong is all that’s changed. Perhaps that’s enough, but it is in fact all that’s changed, just to be clear.

  • CAC2

    Robert_B1,I’ve heard similar arguments that using the Confederate flag for “heritage, not hate” purposes should be okay, and I agree with that statement on an ideological level (I come from an old Southern family and am not a racist by an account). But the flip side of that argument is that the flag has been used as a symbol of hate, and “right” or “wrong”, if it offends or marginalizes another human being, then all the ideological arguments in world can’t morally justify its use. (And I’ve heard similar arguments for the swastika as an ancient symbol before the Nazis adopted it.) The bottom line is, if using “under God” marginalizes another human being, then being a good Christian would mean not using it. If you are truly following in the footsteps of Christ, then the selfless and truly Christian thing would be to defer the feelings of others.

  • dickmagee

    I have been anti-pledge for a long time. After serving in the military to help preserve the freedoms we enjoy, it tweaks me to no end that I’m expected to do a silly pledge to a silly cloth hanging on a flagpole. It’s just like that flagpin-on-the-lapel controversy: all of this is faux patriotism. The real patriots speak out about REAL freedom and the real patriots serve in the military when called.

  • Citizen13

    Thank you for bringing this up for discussion. I’ve always thought about how our founding fathers were so determined to keep church and state separate. And yet, over time, people have found it necessary to mingle the two together. We’ve added “under God” to the pledge, we’ve added the 10 commandments within government buildings, we’ve even added God to our currency. When will the adding stop? And if it doesn’t stop, where are we headed?

  • JohninMpls

    The athiest/theist argument here is only a part of the semantic problem presented by the insertion of “under God.” The singular diety referred to in the addition essentially eschews polytheism.This effectively institutionalizes the denigration of polytheistic religions like those of the Inuit or Native Americans – or even one of the world’s third largest faith, Hiduism, some denominations feature multiple gods.It’s just not inclusive, which makes the phrase seem to work against the concepts of unity and solidarity implied by the rest of the pledge.

  • dcwca

    True, print has been around only for centuries, but the writings of the apostles, et.al. started with scribings commencing over 2 millenia ago.>>I see absolutely nothing poignant about Rev 12:9 or any other verse in that book. Give yourself a little time. Sadly, this cynical world is even more cynical as the day approaches. Also foretold by scripture. Just as a father knows is son will err if he continues in practices that are self destructive…so we find ourselves today..and getting ever nearer to the treshold of a changeover to a new age — few realizing how wonderful it will be.

  • ScottChallenger

    It seems some would have us believe that “under God” in the Pledge is outdated. I happen to agree but with a different angle.Instead of “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty…” maybe this would reflect reality more.”One nation, under threat of hell and eternal damnation, divisible by color of skin, bank accounts and by party, with restrictions and obstruction for everyone but the rich.”Now that’s America.

  • paris1969

    This is really kind of a strange article. God is not specific to a certain religion or spiritual philosophy. All religions teach a faith in God as do most legitimate spiritual teachings. This writer’s conclusion is goofy.

  • kase

    “MAN WILL NEVER BE FREE UNTIL THE LAST KING IS STRANGLED WITH THE ENTRAILS OF THE LAST PRIEST”

  • DWinFC

    In 2008, we should be comfortable enough with freedom of religion to take religion completely out of government control and influence and leave it completely to individuals. No “under god” in the pledge and no “in god we trust” on money. Surely we are one nation under the Constitution and our old motto “e pluribus unum” is increasingly relevant.All the other comments I’ve read about “which god?” are right on target. If all the different Americans “pluribus” are to be one “unum” we need to respect all the different faith traditions (and lack thereof) as equally world views. We should respect everyone who doesn’t belong to a group that thinks its members are the only ones going to heaven.

  • emm2

    As a child, the section of the Pledge “… one nation, under God, indivisible …” made no sense to me. After all, when one recites the Pledge, one sees no punctuation. Did this mean God is indivisible, did it mean an indivisible nation? (Yes – I really did wonder about it.)Putting “under God” in the middle of the phrase is awkward and detracts from the intended message. It wasn’t until I learned as an adult that the Pledge had been changed in 1954, before I was born, that it all made sense – the original intent was that the nation was indivisible. The Pledge is directed to our flag and to our nation, not to God nor is it meant to be an affirmation of religion. I agree that it’s time to update the pledge by removing the grammatically awkward language that was put in place out of fear of the “godless commies”. For my part, I have already done that when I recite the Pledge – it is far more meaningful when I know I’m talking about “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

  • TightWhiteRight

    “aris1969 wrote:… All religions teach a faith in God as do most legitimate spiritual teachings …Not quite true. There are organizations passing themselves off as religions, such as Scientology, that do not teach any faith in any God. Scientologists believe that each man is ‘homo novus’, a ‘new master of the Universe’ … god-like individuals.So now perhaps the Pledge should be revised to read “.. one nation, under Tom Cruise” :-)Eisenhower should have left well enough alone.

  • SeaTigr

    God does not grant us rights…there are NO inalienable rights. There are only rights we grant each other. Inalienable: “not able to be taken away or transferred to another.” Let us examine the three “inalienable” human rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.Try telling a hungry lion that he can not take your life because life is an “inalienable” life. The Constitution says that American citizens can not be deprived of their life without due process. The obvious conclusion is that your life CAN be taken by the state if you are given due process. Try telling the executioner that your life is an “inalienable” right.If you commit a crime, try telling the state that your liberty is an “inalienable” right. The judge will chuckle as he/she affirms your prison sentence.Driving an Aston Martin V8 Vantage may make you happy, but try telling the salesman that charging you $117,000 for the car violates your “inalienable” right to pursue your happiness.Nature gives us no rights. “Rights” are an artificial construct. Man created rights when governments were born. The primary purpose of a government is two fold: 1) Protect the people who reside in the area where the government exercises authority from external threats, and 2) Establish rules of conduct which will allow large groups of people living in close proximity to coexist more or less peacefully.The Torah/Bible/Koran (to name the main religious text for the big 3 western religions) does command us to follow certain rules of conduct with respect to each other. It is logical, then, if you believe those documents to be the word of God, to infer that God says we have certain rights. There are plenty of cultures, however, with different belief systems that command their followers to afford each other rights which differ from those of Judaism/Christianity/Islam. Of course, even those three allow slightly different rights for their followers.How, then, do we get “rights?” Rights are established when governments are established. The people forming the government establish what are rights and what are not. Rights can change over time if the government has a mechanism for modifying its laws.Put simply – your “right” to free speech can, and will, vanish if an amendment abolishing the first amendment were to complete the ratification process. Ditto your “right” to bear arms, be tried by a jury of your peers, not self incriminate, etc., etc.

  • tmaffolter

    How about dropping the pledge altogether? That the “under God” part should go is beyond cavil. Notwithstanding the desires of the frighteningly large population of evangelicals in this country, we do not live in a theocracy (yet). But the pledge itself is so un-American. Why can’t we have a “pledge” that really reflects the spirit and values of this country–a pledge that reflects our values of freedom, strength, dissent, conscience, and the other values in our Constitution and history.

  • lostein

    First I was struck with how nice it was that “under God” phrase was taken from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Then I was struck by the notion that somehow only Catholics, Protestants and Jews had a God concept…a big surprise to Mormons and others I am sure. The tide of secularism is trying to sweep over the land and change our past. Well, as you ponder this idiotic article, ponder these words from one of our founding fathers: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams, Address to the Military, October 11, 1798

  • observer12

    LosteinHar. This has to be a joke, so har. Would those religious people be the slavers? The ones named in the US government commissioned report on anti-Jewish racism? See my last post for link.Enjoyed your post. Har.

  • sparrow4

    pcpatterson wrote:”If it makes any difference, I am a Christian. With children in an exemplary public school that employs teachers of all faiths, including Muslim, Judaism, and Mormon. You can bet your last dollar that I don’t want those otherwise highly qualified teachers presuming to instruct my children on matters of faith, which is why I am also opposed to “school prayer”.Implying that Muslims, Jews and Mormons are somehow damaged goods in terms of teaching faith? Well, worry not- I wouldn’t want a “christian” like you teaching children about faith or patriotism.

  • A-Contrario

    I believe in God and I do not belong to any religion. I know for a fact that the original pledge allegence contained zero reference to God prior to being modified out of fear of a communist takeover in the late 40′s and 50s. Good thing American’s don’t over react or anything! (lol)Personally I believe your beliefs are a personal thing between you and your God. Dumping the words “under God” should be no big whoop if your faith/beliefs is strong. I cannot speak for anyone else but I will not plunge into a pit of despair if the pledge goes back to it’s original wording. I am also a combat veteran and I see no need for a pledge in the first place. If you love America then your ACTIONS in support of this country via civil service, volutneerism, etc. should show your loyalty more than any pledge. To me a pledge is just words and words are nothing without ACTION.That is my 2 cents….

  • popcorn10

    The Constitution was written by the authors, knowing the character of mankind, framed with the morals and virtues of the God-given scriptures of the Bible. The Constitution was founded upon the Bible, like it or not. If you want to remove God from our pledge of allegiance, then we have nothing to pledge to. The flag can’t protect us, guide us, or strengthen us against our enemies; only God can. There have always been people against our country’s unity, and this will be another way to insert another divisive cut. Those of you who hate our country and all that we stand for, why don’t you just be honest and either join the ones who are planning to overtake us or leave and go to a better country.

  • sparrow4

    lostein posted:” “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”John Adams, Address to the Military, October 11, 1798″I find this a very strange quote ( but then I find John Adams to have been “strange” on some things anyway). Odd that “gallantry” is presented as a negative. Well, all I can say is thank goodness he was only one among the founding fathers or i fear we would be a theocracy now.

  • spidermean2

    “Under God” means how Jesus Christ described it and that is to love thy neighbor as you love yourself.Without that phrase, it becomes an idiotic pledge.If people think America can exist without that phrase written in their hearts, they are wrong. Doomsday will come to erase those people who oppose it.There are mnay who oppose it that is why it’s called Doomsday. Many will be erased.

  • sparrow4

    popcorn10- I strongly suggest you read up on American history and in fact, google the “Iroquois Confederacy.” The United states was not founded on the bible, as much as you want to believe it, but on democratic principles (which do not exist in the bible, by the way) which were well established in ancient Greece. Other relevant documents: the Magna Carta, the English Bill of rights, the Mayflower Compact and the writings of John Locke.Now if only we could send you to a country of the educated- at least to get one.

  • A-Contrario

    The Constitution was also crafted by Christian, agnostics and athiests that developed a system of government that could function independent of religion.The key factor is a respect of the belief of others to believe in God or not. In America athiests/agnostics are not stoned just like Christians are not persecuted. The real question here should be why do we need a pledge when it is your ACTIONS that should matter more than any words?

  • crete

    The Rev. George M. Docherty never really understood either Christianity or the uniqueness of the U.S. Jesus Christ never expressed any interest in the state “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto god what is god’s.” Adding the phrase to simply pitted weak Christians against everyone else and pits bad U.S. actions against good actions by other countries. May he rest in peace, but we still live with the consequences of his actions.

  • spidermean2

    Sparrow wrote “Well, all I can say is thank goodness he (John Adams) was only one among the founding fathers or i fear we would be a theocracy now”WRONG. Your idea about faith is so blurred. It was the Baptist who fought for the addition of the Establishment Clause in the Constitution.It is a godly law opposite to what your blurred mind thinks.

  • threeoaksgone

    Bravo, yes, dump the “under god” bit. It’s divisive.After all, the Pledge is a civic exercise – it is intended to state, and reinforce, our allegiance to the idea of the U.S. as one nation. Not only is God (assuming he’s still alive) irrelevant to that, he is actually an obstacle to it because (as so many here have noted) there are many different gods – but just one nation.

  • spidermean2

    The prophecy states that this whole world will be under God. Let’s see where those who oppose it will be found? On to mars?

  • spidermean2

    rwolf01, maybe you should go back to Germany where there is no pledge to recite. That would make both of us comfortable, isn’t it?

  • spidermean2

    “Under God” means how Jesus Christ described it and that is to love thy neighbor as you love yourself.Without that phrase, it becomes an idiotic pledge.If people think America can exist without that phrase written in their hearts, they are wrong. Doomsday will come to erase those people who oppose it.There are mnay who oppose it that is why it’s called Doomsday. Many will be erased.

  • spidermean2

    Hitler was a prime example of of that erasure.

  • 12thgenamerican

    did you notice that a godless commie has been the one to befriend the fool in iran?

  • stantheman1

    Spidey said: ” “Under God” means how Jesus Christ described it and that is to love thy neighbor as you love yourself.Without that phrase, it becomes an idiotic pledge.If people think America can exist without that phrase written in their hearts, they are wrong. Doomsday will come to erase those people who oppose it.There are mnay who oppose it that is why it’s called Doomsday. Many will be erased.”Of course America can exist without the phrase under god on their hearts. But I really am interested in how you square “love your neighbor as you love yourself” with all the fire and brimstone, you’re-all-idiots stuff. This time it was “many will be erased.” !! I don’t hear a lot of love from you …

  • 12thgenamerican

    as an american who understands the constitution,i also know that my rights come from the Creator,not the piece of paper. what is so hard to understand about that?

  • bevjims1

    popcorn10 wrote: “The Constitution was written by the authors, knowing the character of mankind, framed with the morals and virtues of the God-given scriptures of the Bible.”But no mention of God’s laws in the Constitution.popcorn10 wrote: “The Constitution was founded upon the Bible, like it or not.”And you know this because…? The is no evidence the Constitution is founded upon anything except the ideal of freedom from government that held complete control over religious law and government law. There was no concept of inalienable rights in the British Empire. You could be taxed by the church no matter what religion you were and go to prison for not paying. These things framed the minds of the founding fathers, not the bible.popcorn10 wrote: “If you want to remove God from our pledge of allegiance, then we have nothing to pledge to.”So the pledge is a pledge to God? Wow, what a stretch. You do realize that “under God” was not in the original pledge written in 1889 until 1954 when the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men’s drinking club, advocated for it? What were people pledging to up until 1954 then?popcorn10 wrote: “The flag can’t protect us, guide us, or strengthen us against our enemies; only God can.”What has that to do with the pledge? You are starting to sound like you think the pledge is a prayer.popcorn10 wrote: “There have always been people against our country’s unity, and this will be another way to insert another divisive cut.”Those that inserted “under God” against the Constitution back in 1954 were just the sort of people you talk about, putting their religious stamp on a secular pledge of government. I guess you would have been happy had it been Muslims putting in “under Allah” ?popcorn10 wrote: “Those of you who hate our country and all that we stand for, why don’t you just be honest and either join the ones who are planning to overtake us or leave and go to a better country.”Understand that what you advocate is what our founding fathers fought against. What you advocate is what the British Empire had and still has, its own state religion which it pressed upon its people. What you advocate is what brave men died to free America from. What you advocate is to tear up the Constitution and replace it with religious tyranny. What you advocate is unAmerican.

  • spidermean2

    “I don’t hear a lot of love from you …”If a car runs at 200 miles/hr speed on a winding and wet road, it’s easy to say that that car will crash and kill all its passengers.Do you think I hate those people if I shout to them “hey idiots, slow down coz you’re killing yourselves” ?

  • EnemyOfTheState

    I suggest we scrap the whole thing and make a solemn pledge to all humanity – under Reason.

  • bevjims1

    12thgenamerican wrote: “as an american who understands the constitution,i also know that my rights come from the Creator,not the piece of paper. what is so hard to understand about that?”Well pretty easy to understand, as a belief. As an atheist I understand my rights are my own, as a human being. No one can give me rights. Being human gives me rights. Our forefathers understood this as they experienced first hand the tyranny of a British government which used law to give rights, and if it did not give rights to you then you never had them in the first place.We both agree we each have these rights of our own, just not what/who is responsible for our rights being our own. But that is irrelevant to the question. You don’t need a God to give you rights, and the Constitution does not require a God to exist first before it can state that government cannot give rights. Who has rights, who can give them and who can take them away, is political philosophy, not religious dogma. In other words, such a philosophy can just as easily exist outside of any religious philosophy.

  • spidermean2

    EnemyOfTheState wrote “I suggest we scrap the whole thing and make a solemn pledge to all humanity – under Reason.”The prophecy states that it will happen. What comes next will be Doomsday coz what they would think as “reason” will actually be UNREASON.Without God, man becomes a fool.The 2 world wars were actually a creation of that kind of “REASON”. Europeans. with its Enlightenment doctrine, ended up killing each other.

  • sparrow4

    Spidey I did know that but that is one of the reasons I said Adams was strange. Compare that to the quote. I will also point out that Adams’ words have always been used to browbeat those of us who believe in separation of church and state. Perhaps the blurry mind you refer to is not mine, but theirs. (And for the record, i am happy to say at least I have a mind to be blurred. that’s more than most could say for you.)

  • EnemyOfTheState

    RE: “Without God, man becomes a fool.”

  • sparrow4

    spidey- yes, I think you hate them. You hate them because you’re afraid of them. Because you’re not all that confident of our own beliefs so you are the one to scream the loudest about unbelievers. And the loudest to shout about how they are all doomed. Only someone with so little conviction in his beliefs would have to make such a great noise to make us believe it.

  • sparrow4

    Man becomes a fool with G-d as well.

  • spidermean2

    “OK…Whose god?”That will be known a few years from now, AGAIN. Just as it was known whose God was the true one just after those two world wars.

  • medogsbstfrnd

    Why do theocrats think God cares about their government? Keep the pledge out of our lives, thank you. Putting God into it only serves calculating politicians who, like W, use God to defend their hideous actions (like invading a country that didn’t attack us. Uh, that would be Iraq for you neanderthal Christians and Moslems). If you’re going to pledge yourselves to God then be consistent and logical since you can’t serve both God and mammon. Someone very, very wise said that. Country would, in the scheme of things pledge-wise, be a penultimate allegiance. I hope the president-elect takes his oath on a box of cheerios.

  • spidermean2

    “Man becomes a fool with G-d as well.”Wrong. That can only be true if it’s a false god. There’s a wrong solution and a right solution. A true God and a false god.

  • bobster67

    Leave it be for Godsakes! I do not believe in no oganized religion. Other countries respect their own culture and religions. What is it with some people in this country who want America to be bland and neutered in everything and anything.

  • owing2

    Knowledge and opinion are not the same; knowledge is generally most displayed by facts, especially in mathematics, science, with opinion spread widely, often in political, social issues. Changing the pledge is pure opinion.

  • fiveman3

    To remove “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” would be the epitome of ignorance. I like to think that our nation is one nation, under God; not before, not above, not separated, not alien to God, but recognizing God and that we finite, imperfect, mortals and our country are indeed beneath God. It is natural humility. There are other nations that espouse to be “under God,” other peoples who seek and recognize God either implicitly or directly. That there are difference on how humanity recognizes or follows the Guidance of God throughout history does not take away from God’s existence. It is humanity that is at fault, not God. The pledge points us to the North Star, it does not get us there. What of “In God We Trust?” Would the ignorant desire to get rid of that also? What about the millions of pledges that have been made? Would they all be of no regard? Would we be required to re-pledge, and to what? Just recognizing that there is a God does not mean a person or a country has it all together. Without it though this is guaranteed. You people, yes “you people” who would divide America from acknowledging God should go back and read the Founders of our country, and then you should pray for God’s forgiveness. There is no America without God.

  • gerimay

    Hi bobster67,

  • fiveman3

    Oh, and by the way, so there is no mistake: I am Samuel Margolies of Las Vegas, Nevada, a believer in God and in America.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Yes Spiderman, you do seem to hate people, that is at least, the impression that you give. Especially now, you are talking about the “erasure” of people. That sounds personally very threatening, and might be grounds for being ejected from this forum. You seem to be pretty mixed-up. “Stupid” is not a good word to use; why don’t you retire it, and try some other words? If you don’t know the correct words to express your thoughts, why don’t you get someone else to help you? Or get a thesaurus? Why don’t you hold back from impulsive posting in reaction to people, and instead, why don’t you write your comment down on paper, and edit them a little, and then type them in? It is pretty widely recognized that you are a troubled person. No matter how hard you try, it is not likely that you are going to influence anyone to follow Jesus, if that is your goal, which I am not sure it is. But you are probably more likely to drive people away from reliigon and even an interest in religion. So, why don’t you at least think about it? I know that when I address you seriously, you almost never reply at all. So suit yourself.

  • michael60761

    Perhaps we should please the conservatives by having a “cleansing” of non-christians from this country. We could burn non-christian bodies for much-needed energy, while making Jesus happy!

  • garethharris

    I grew up saying the pledge in elementary school before the obvious unconstitutional modification. The change showed that religious people are against the liberty of americans and want to enforce a particular religion.While campaigning about anti-americanism, “real” america, etc., the right wingnuts are actually america’s greatest threat – our enemy within – and religion is their trojan horse.Our strength comes from our diversity. Conformity is our enemy and weakens us. Americans come in 31 flavors, not just vanilla. Our motto is NOT in god we trust – it is e pluribus unum – from many, one.Restore the pledge of allegiance!

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    fiveman3 Belief cannot be forced. I have said alot about that in the past; why should I say more? It is obvious to anyone who cares to consider it. All you can force from a person is an outward pretense of belief. Is that good enough, that people should outwardly pretend belief, that they do not inwardly hold? Why is that good? Why is that desirable?

  • ondelette

    I pledge allegiance,

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 wrote: “If a car runs at 200 miles/hr speed on a winding and wet road, it’s easy to say that that car will crash and kill all its passengers.”But spidey, in your world the majority of people drive at 200mph and are stupid. But maybe you are more like the granny driving her 25 year old Oldsmobile on the beltway at 40mpg yelling at everyone else passing you at 60mph “Hey idiots, slow down or you’ll kill someone!”But I’ve already pegged you spidey as a “painted bird”. If you don’t know what that is, a painted bird is a bird that when painted by someone and released back into the wild is attacked by its flock it tries to rejoin as the flock would attack any bird of another species that tried to join the flock. The bird eventually is killed as it continues to try to rejoin the flock but is continually attacked. So people who feel as though they are oppressed because they make themselves different, say by holding minority religious views, consider themselves to be like the painted birds, just wanting to fly with the flock but instead finding themselves attacked by the flock for being different.But what psychologists found during the 1960s with the “hippie” generation was people formed a hippie culture outside of society and like the painted bird were attacked by the society. Nothing unusual there. However these painted birds began attacking society. It was the painted birds attacking the flock. The hippies felt they were morally superior and had enough numbers so they did not feel completely isolated. You spidey IMHO are just such a painted bird. A bird painted by biblical belief and a bird that attacks due to a feeling of moral superiority.

  • Comunista

    God, who cares about this stupid tripe? If we don’t have ‘Under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance, are people going to take it out on those who for whatever irrelevant reason decide to include it? It’s not like people who simply skip the two words now are being condemned. Do whatever.

  • rwoodfin1

    This country was built on Christian principles. When we try to change something, we are saying it is not good enough anymore. This is not the case and is the reason why we are having many problems we face today because we do not know who we are anymore. Others can come here and worship as they choose but need to respect our guiding principles. This is how we became a great nation – Under God’s rule. You cannot go to another country where Buddist, Muslims or even Atheist are the majority and tell them to change their laws to reflect everyone’s beliefs. You will be killed for this action or at minimum jailed. To be honest, our conversation about the topic would not be prohibited if other religions were the guiding force in this nation.

  • marcedward1

    A better idea is getting rid of the pledge altogether. American ideals of freedom and justice make our country admirable, we don’t need a pledge to ‘sell’ America to our citizens. The pledge is a waste of time and an insult, as if our children are naturally traitorous and need a pledge to a flag to fix them.

  • EgregiousPhilbin

    Why all the attention to Spidey? He’s a caricature, a parody, of clueless right-wing fundamentalists. He can’t be serious, right? It’s a put-on. Even if he is serious, leave him alone, ignore him. He’s irrelevant. The issue under discussion is what matters. As for that, advocating a secular government and Pledge is not the same as advocating atheism. In a pluralistic country, no one religion should be given privileged status, as a sign of respect for all religions beliefs (or lack of them). The fact that our Constitution does not mention God–or Jesus–was not an oversight: it was intentional, the result of serious (and heated) debate on the issue. Our government is officially secular–not atheist. Let’s keep it that way.

  • Arminius

    Ondelette wrote,I pledge allegiance,My reply:I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…

  • VicVanMeter

    Curious, I think, that we have to pledge allegiance to the flag as one nation under God. Does that mean that this pledge is invalid if you don’t follow God’s rules, much less believe in him?In this sense, I do think that “under God” should be removed simply because we aren’t a nation under God, we’re a nation under our law. Athiests, neo-Paganists, Satanists, and every other religion that does not proscribe to following the complete litany of a monotheistic God are still part of our nation. They are, however, not above our law. Therefore, I would propose that we submit our allegiance to the law that protects us, not the God that divides us.Then again, why are our children stood in front of a flag in elementary school and taught to recite a pledge whose words they barely understand until the words become meaningless? I pledged allegiance to the flag every school day for years. I’ve grown up to be rather cynical of America, God, and our respect for our liberty and justice. Somehow, I don’t think the pledge itself is doing that much good…

  • observer12

    How about:One nation, that closes down Walmart which refuses any commerce with human rights organizations.One nation that stops killing innocent people in Afghanistan.One nation that provides healthcare and a decent education for all.One nation that ends tax exempt status for all organized religions, beginning with those that seek to persuade people how to vote and legislate their views.

  • observer12

    How about one nation that honors its treat obligations which are still in court to the American Indians whom Wikepedia describes as among the poorest of the developing nations.

  • winoohno

    Our Country was founded upon Judeo-Christian beliefs and references to GOD are found in the Declaration of Independence. GOD is not a Christian or Jewish GOD, but a spiritual being embraced by nearly every one on the planet in one form or another. I believe it should remain in our Pledge and in our minds lest we turn into savages. When you try to remove Religion from the world you are left with no moral compass and a declining standard of civility that will only be replaced with fear and tyranny. Yes, by all means, let us keep sacred this benign yet symbolic reference to GOD.Besides, the only group who has a legitimate gripe are the Atheists and it is a violation of the rights of the overwhelmingly majority of Americans to put the political correctness mentality of a few over the thunderous voice of the masses.

  • JackESpratt

    Go ahead. Take it out. It really makes no difference.Removing it won’t stop those wanting to include “under God” from saying it or from teaching it. I grew up with The Pledge including it and I’ll say “under God” as long as I draw breath. Hey, I might even say it louder.

  • andio76

    TO Everyone,I KNOW IT’S BEEN A LOT TO HANDLE AS OF LATE, BUT PLEASE TAKE THIS BOX OF RELIGIOUS DEBATES AS A SIGN OF GOOD FAITH.LOVE,

  • kirk2

    Fiveman3 says: ‘You people, yes “you people” who would divide America from acknowledging God should go back and read the Founders of our country, and then you should pray for God’s forgiveness. There is no America without God.’You need to do some remedial history study – you are so far off-base re: our founding fathers’ position. You probably agree with a later post that this country was ‘founded on christian principles’. Read the Constitution and our Bill of Rights. You’ll note that your god isn’t mentioned.

  • hal77

    RWOODFIN wrote “This country was built on Christian principles.”. But many of our founding fathers, like Jefferson and Franklin, were deists. They did not subscribe to organized Christian worship. This is why we have religious freedom built into our constitution.

  • fiveman3

    “Your comment has been received and held for approval by the blog owner.” So much for an open forum.

  • muskratinator

    Brilliant. Thank you for saying what many of us have been saying for years. A nation that prizes freedom and diversity is totally wrong to force a god on everybody in its pledge.

  • fiveman3

    God was implied by the Founders. When they spoke of Providence they were referring to God.

  • bikesac

    I think it is One Nation under Zeus.

  • SeaTigr

    The founding fathers believed in God (most of them, at least) – but they were very careful to leave it out of government. All of them knew what trouble could be caused by having a religious government. This makes sense when you stop to think that not all colonists were of the same sect of Christianity (with perhaps a sprinkling of Jews amongst them). All of them would be familiar with the violence in England vis-a-vis the Church of England.I don’t remember a single reference to God in the Constitution. There is one reference to religion – that the government should make no law respecting the establishment of a religion. Funny thing, if the founders were all supposed to be Bible thumpers founding a nation upon Christianity, that they would put a silly little restriction in the fine print. You’d think, if this nation was truly founded as a Christian nation, the Constitution would have plenty of explicit references to God and the Bible.

  • hyjanks

    “We must rouse in our people the unanimous wish for power, together with the determination to sacrifice on the alter of patriotism, not only life and propety, but also private views and preferences in the interests of the common welfare”"Religion cannot sink lower than when somehow it is raised to a state religion . . . It becomes then an avowed mistress.”I’m thinking that without patriotism and organized religion there would be fewer reasons for humans to kill one another. Of course, there’s money and power in both institutions, so I guess it will be a while before that happens.

  • John1263

    Under God should go from the Pledge, and “equality” should be added in between Liberty and justice.I Pledge allegience to the flag of the united States of America. And to the Republic for which it stands. One nation. With Lioberty, equality, and justice, for all.The minister who wrote the Pledge did not add God. He knew what the Founders knew. He knew what Jesus knew. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. Mixing religion and state is a recipe for conflict and dilutes the integrity of both.

  • bdunn1

    My dog’s better than your dog,Let’s do away with pledges altogether. They are mindless.

  • FredZuber

    “This country wasn’t founded on Christian principles. It was founded to get away from them.”It would be great if everyone who spouted about the virtue of Christian principles knew what they were talking about. There is no virtue in being a Christian. They’re mean, inconsiderate, and hypocritical. They break the commandments with a smile on their faces. That’s why people emigrated to America. Just because some preacher managed to sneak the words “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance during the era of the Joe McCarthy doesn’t make this country more Christian or any better. All you have to do is witness the intolerance of what they preach. Look at the likes of Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Baker, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and the list goes on. Are you really that naïve to believe that these people are a role model or worthy of crusading for “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. Don’t go ranting about Christian values and morals and principles when your leaders are the likes of what I just mentioned. The best thing you can do is throw away that mind set and just become a “good” person. That would be a challenge that most Christians couldn’t live up to. Can’t do it, can you? I didn’t think so. It’s as I said at the start: mean, inconsiderate, and hypocritical.Docherty’s gone? Quid tum. He didn’t like me, and I sure as hell don’t like him. Hasta la vista baby.

  • colinnicholas

    As far as we know there are no gods, so to pledge allegiance to some imagined skyfairy is ridiculous in the extreme, and suggests it’s time we grew up.Religion might give comfort to little old ladies and others who are terrified of dying, but to those of us who were never indoctrinated – and are thus able to think for ourselves…it is all so absurd. As far as we know…gods are the oldest fiction of all. Might as well believe in the Easter Bunny, who is just as real as gods. How about “In The Easter Bunny we trust” ?

  • DGSPAMMAIL

    Putting God’s name into a pledge is taking God’s name in vain. Putting God’s name on money is idolatry.

  • ebleas

    “And course correcting the grammar in a Spidey post doesn’t fix the fundamental disconnect with reality. Kinda like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic …”ROFL! Thank you for the good laugh – it made my day!

  • outlawtorn103

    While I like the idea of removing ‘Under God’ from the pledge, I think it is only a single step in the right direction. The best course would be to do away with the pledge of allegiance altogether. Our world is more and more quickly becoming a globalized place and nationalism will do nothing more than give people a reason to kill one another. After all, nationalism is the reason both world wars occurred.However, part of me also thinks that should we do away with religion and nationalism (our 2 most common excuses to kill one another), humanity will simply create another excuse and the blood flow will continue regardless.

  • InReasonWeTrust

    Returning to the original pledge is LONG overdue. I submit that if a 20 year old maintained in all honesty that he or she believed in Santa Claus, that person would be considered certifiable. Why is it then that being Christian is the ultimate litmus test for public office. We’re stuck with people who are either delusional or lying. I’d MUCH rather have someone who admits that dinosaurs walked the earth before people evolved (incrementally over the course of billions of years.) I’d MUCH rather have a person who believes that if people want to live in paradise then they need to get to work here on earth and get along with others and make it happen NOW. Get rid of the “under God” asap!

  • ebleas

    “As an engineer,I don’t need a correct grammar to invent useful devices.” (sic)Maybe not. But you need “a correct grammar” to describe your devices to the public, your company (assuming you work for one) and the patent office. If you cannot do that in a coherent manner, you might as well find another profession. I work with many engineers, and I can guarantee you we would never hire one that demonstrated the writing proficiency of a second grader. Communication is an integral part of any engineering profession.

  • yankeechess

    interesting the totalitarianism of this illegal pledge. Why should i be forced to pledge allegiance to a god i don’t believe in. I really don’t mind pledging allegiance to my country, but in no way do i want to pledge to a totally useless and false god. It is getting to the point that i believe the Pledge is totally useless anyway. Are we some kind of children here who feel the need to pledge allegiance to a country we live in. Give me a break. You are just going to have to trust my allegiance from my heart. I volunteered for the draft in the early 60s during Vietnam. So, I would say my allegiance is far more trustworthy then most of you Nationalists who most likely never served a day for your country, but you sure do give it a lot of lip service! In the U.S. Constitution/Bill of Rights, there is absolutely no mention of God-period! In God we Trust was not placed on coins and bills until 1920 and Under God was not part of the Pledge until 1952. And interestingly, the original pledge without Under God was composed by a minister who knew full well the importance of separation of church and state! And This Judea Christian American Nation you talk about is also false. Our constitution was drown mostly from British Common Law and even bits of it from the Iroquois Indian Nation which was more pagan then anything else at the time! Please do show me all the numerous mentions of God and religion you think are in our constitution! You won’t find any! Also, you God believers really should read the writings of some of our founding fathers of which George Washington was believed to be an atheist, as was Thomas Jefferson in his later years and even John Adams, a former church-goer became extremely anti-religious in his latter years! No, my poor God believers, our founding fathers did everything they could to keep God and religion out of public life! Please don’t be ignorant and believe everything religious zealots lie to you about to promote their greedy religious views! Open your eyes and read and you will find the real truth! And how about you all start believing in your own Jesus’ word when he talked to PP! Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. Jesus said that God’s kingdom is not of this earth! Do you all get it! So, please don’t force religion and god in to our government as it looks like even your Jesus would have been against it! We must go back to the original Pledge. And, you should also understand that the Bill of Rights was written explicitly to protect the rights of minorities, no matter how small! It is also about time we quite forcing our children to recite the Pledge, a practice which infuses nationalism which is not a healthy concept! Once a nation becomes so nationalistic, it begins treating all other nations as inferior and leads to wars! The Nazi were strongly nationalistic as were the Soviets and are the Red Chinese. And now the United States pushed by its sick conservative leanings threatens to invade any nation it feels is threatening! The Nazi would have been proud of how you all learned from “Mein Compf” to plant fear into the hearts of Americans so you can control them by making them believe your the only answer to their safety! But I say to you, I would rather take my chances with terrorist and be willing to die trying to defend myself from their hands then to give up one single ounce of LIBERTY and FREEDOM!

  • mema26

    This country is going to continue to remove God for all areas until we no longer have a country worth living in. We are already to the point where there are no morals, drugs are available any time to anyone, children murder parents, and this is only a small part of the current world problems. Why don’t we just turn the country over to the non-believers and see how much more damage they can do.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    So why are we arguing over the silly Pledge of Allegiance, anyway? When I was a little boy, in grades 1 through 3, we said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning in school. So, of course, I have it memorized (except I said “invisible” instead of “indivisible.”) But in the fourth grade, we didn’t say it anymore. We just had plain old school. And I have never, since then, even one single time, been in a group where we were asked or instructed to say the Pledge of Allegiance. So, just what is it for, anyway? I bet most people don’t even know how it goes, especially the “under God” crowd. It is a silly and worthless pledge designed by pompous people who seek to control other people. But the only people they can force to say it is very little children, who do eveything that adults tell them to, anyway. So, it is not even good for forcing on other people. Just what is it for, anyway?It is just some little something to argue about so we can avoid talking about real stuff, but really no one cares, even the people who REALLY care a whole lot, they don’t really care either.

  • observer12

    I meditated on the pledge. Move on, please, David.

  • yankeechess

    hey memA26, you are an idiot. And I would definitely like to have all the non-believers take over this country! We would be far more fair and righteous then you believes. In our country everyone would be truly equal with no religious sinning idiots trying to force their sick morals on everyone else! How about following the words of your Jesus “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” So, even by the words of your own Jesus, please keep your religious views to yourself and keep it secret just between you and your God, and quit trying to force your beliefs on everyone else! We may be a nation of mostly Christians, but we are not and have never been a christian nation!

  • Trakker

    “Under God” should never have been added to the pledge in the first place. Christians added it as a way to give the finger to the Commies.Remember the Commies? The Commies scared the Christians in this country so bad back in the 50s that we had to develop all kinds of nasty killing weapons to protect our country from those scary Commies because their God wasn’t strong enough to protect us from them.

  • sparrow4

    “This country is going to continue to remove God for all areas until we no longer have a country worth living in. We are already to the point where there are no morals, drugs are available any time to anyone, children murder parents, and this is only a small part of the current world problems. Why don’t we just turn the country over to the non-believers and see how much more damage they can do.”Well, interestingly enough, we are at this point because of the believers, not the non-believers. You should take responsibility for the problems of your own creation. I’m tired of seeing drug dealers wearing enormous gold crosses around their necks and TV preachers using the services of prostitutes. But by all means blame the “non-believers.”

  • donnolo

    I haven’t said the Pledge of Allegiance since the words “under god” were inserted.

  • dm100

    The “under God” part isn’t what we should be upset about; it’s the outrage that schoolchildren are being coerced into reciting a loyalty oath — to a flag of all things.I love my country and the Constitution, but it distresses me that the vast majority of Americans see no problem with forced indoctrination of children in public schools.

  • dragondancer1814

    As a Wiccan, I’ve never said the words “under God” when reciting the Pledge, and I never plan to because I’m swearing allegiance to a country, not a religion that I don’t follow. I’m not going to be a hypocrite and invoke a deity I don’t believe in. I’ve been saying for years now that we need to get rid of the words “under God” because they’re not part of the Pledge’s original manifest and serve only to divide this country that counts religious freedom as one of its rights. And while we’re at it, restore the original motto “E. Pluribus Unum!” That is truly the best motto for what this country was based on…many people of many cultures and faiths coming together as one nation.Oh, and when my oldest daughter came home from school last year and recited the Pledge for me, I had to explain to her why “under God” is wrong, and that was so much fun (NOT). I told her that since we believe in a Goddess and a God, and since people in this country follow many different faiths, that she could fit in and still be true to ours by saying “under GODS” instead! One little letter that makes a world of difference until she’s older and there’s less fear of repercussions from the children of the Religious Reich that seem to permeate where we live. Until those two words are once again removed, that’ll have to do!

  • pig_skins

    FredZuber said:“…There is no virtue in being a Christian. They’re mean, inconsiderate, and hypocritical. They break the commandments with a smile on their faces… Hasta la vista baby? Wow!! That was pretty mean and inconsiderate, and I’m pretty sure you typed it with a smile on your face, which pretty much makes you a hypocrite. Does that mean you’re a Christian?

  • observer12

    FredZuber:”There is no virtue in being a Christian.”The heck you say. Christians kill at Walmarts, stampede pregnant women. And then there’s the Walton family of Christians who exploit third world peoples everywhere and refuse any commerce with human rights organizations.And you forget eternal Jew hatred.

  • kjohnson3

    All of this is moot anyway because the pledge to the flag is utterly idiotic. People can pledge their allegiance to their country of citizenship, to their fellow citizens, to the principles on which the country was founded, or to the leaders who govern or rule it. But one cannot swear allegiance to a flag — any flag.The flag is an inanimate object with no intrinsic meaning. It is invested with meaning by individual citizens — differently from one person to the next. Pledging allegiance to the flag is roughly equivalent to pledging allegiance to a picture postcard of Mount Rushmore.Of course the “under God” phrase should be struck from the pledge; it should never have been added. But, more importantly, saying the pledge should never have been instituted, as it is an empty and meaningless gesture.

  • elife1975

    We need to drop the god reference from our currency as well.Whenever I picture spidey, it’s always as the Golum (sp) character from Lord of the Rings, hunched over a laptop somewhere in the Ozarks, sneering away as his hopes for the rapture continue to fade.My pretty…

  • elife1975

    Sorry,My precious…

  • Robert_B1

    The “one nation under God” portion of the Pledge presents an interesting conundrum for me. As a Christian (Roman Catholic, if anyone cares), I have no real problem with letting it stand. I tend to interpret the phrase not as requiring everyone to worship, but rather as a reminder that the state should *never* be elevated above basic moral laws.On the other hand, I would have no problem with its removal, either. My faith in God is strong enough, I think, to not require sanction by the state either in this form or in any other form (religious displays on public property, Ten Commandments being posted in public schools, etc.) It’s sad to see that “political Christians” like Spiderman need that crutch.In the end, I guess that I would support a serious effort to remove the phrase, if only to preserve the separation of Church and state (which has its roots, by the way, in Western Christian theology).

  • kjohnson3

    Robert_B1:You said: “I tend to interpret the phrase not as requiring everyone to worship, but rather as a reminder that the state should *never* be elevated above basic moral laws.”This is interesting because it stirs up the whole timely question of presidential candidates being evaluated on their religious beliefs.If your country’s creed is “one nation, under God,” then you’re saying that God does, indeed, run the show. Further, if our nation’s laws are “under” God, it means that God’s “law” technically supercedes the Constitution and all national laws emanating from it.And, of course, highly religious people tend to believe that their “God” is the real god.Ergo, if a candidate is deeply religious, he’s going to feel that, no matter the laws of the land, what “his” God says necessarily requires him to follow the dictates of that “higher law.” In other words, he has a perfect excuse for flouting federal law because he answers to a greater power.Suddenly, the foundations of our democracy go down the toilet.

  • ebleas

    From The words “under God” were added in 1954 by then President Eisenhower, who stated at the time, “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 and war.”How can there be ANY doubt that the reason to add the phrase “Under God” was due to religion? Note the phrase “religious faith in America’s heritage and future”.

  • ebleas

    ctjayhawker wrote: “Its (establishment clause) purpose is to keep the GOVERNMENT out of RELIGION.”But government is ALREADY involved in religion. It’s called tax exempt status for religious organizations. So, if you do believe this, do you also advocate removing this tax-exempt status?

  • sparrow4

    dummypants- I remember you. Advanced degree (supposedly), claiming to be a whiz on the constitution and rights, yet let me point out a few grammatical errors to you that lead me to believe you couldn’t possibly hold a degree:necesarrily (should be necessarily); soceity (society); harrasing (harassing);On top of this you insist that civil unions are just marriage under a different name. they aren’t. they are different in every state and do not confer the same benefits or rights to the partner as marriage. they are not “good enough”, they do not represent a compromise- they are a sop thrown to a group of people who many in this country do not think are equal. You’re right- “good enough” isn’t the constitution, but “equality” is. And it begs the question, “good enough for whom?” The bigots? You think we should compromise with bigots, then. Sheesh- talk about dumb and obnoxious. You certainly are.

  • dolph924

    Of course these words should be deleted. This nation was founded on the rock of freedom OF and freedom FROM religion. Those who want to handle snacks and light candles and chant and whatnot can do so if they choose; those who want no part of that nonsense are every bit as “American” as the superstitious.

  • gaijinsamurai

    Spidermean, it’s so fortunate for us that you, in your great wisdom, are here to show us the *right way* to follow the *one true god.* Surely when HE inevitably anoints you as his newest prophet you’ll be certain to establish a worldwide enlightened Christian theocracy which will ensure that nobody strays from the minutely narrow path of true righteousness by forcibly preventing us from the perilous practice of exercising our own free will – at gunpoint if necessary. After all, surely that’s what God really meant to do – give *you* the weighty responsibility of interpreting his intentions while allowing the rest of us the privilege of carrying out your glorious plan (which is His plan too, naturally). It must be really hard on you, being responsible for showing everyone else in the world how wrong they all are, especially since they’re clearly not capable of taking responsibility for their own souls. We’re all so fortunate you’re here to free us from that burden.

  • kevdude001

    The percentage drop, portrayed by the article, in Americans claiming a religious affiliation acknowledging God is misleading. I would point out that Mormons and Muslims pray to the same God as Christians and Jews, so the percentage of Americans praying to the God of Abraham may still be upwards of 90%. It would be interesting to know the percentage of Americans made up by Muslims and Mormons so that we can see an accurate count of Americans who acknowledge God to see if it really is slipping. If you are going to back your facts with statistics, at least make them accurate. The author actually contradicts himself on this point- on the one hand grouping Muslims in with those who would presumably be opposed to “Under God” and then in the next paragraph pointing out that they are overly-religious- which is it?I would also point out that Athiesm is technically a religion in and of itself, so I often wonder why the views of this vocal minority need to be imposed on the vast majority of Americans who do believe in God.

  • LibertyLady1

    BEVJIMS1 wrote: “The Constitutionality of a law has nothing to do with the will of the majority.”Oh, but my friend, it does. You assume that the determination of the constitutionality of a law is static, permanent and not subject to change; but we do not have an objective standard in our government for determining consitutionality. Our Supreme Court justices are appointed by, guess who? Presidents, who were elected by MAJORITY CONSENSUS. By definition then, at any given time in US history, any particular ruling on any particular law has been a subjective interpretation of the law’s application to the Constitution given by the majority of justices then sitting on the bench. It is quite a direct connection then to understand how the constitutionality of a laws is influenced by politics. It is a naive assumption that S.C. Justices or any judges are always the most thoughtful, impartial people to rule on the application of law. They are only human and have the same weaknesses and are subject to the same influences as all of us.Let’s not deify the process: unjust concepts can be ratified into unjust laws, and just laws can be declared unconstitutional. It happens, regardless of who we put our trust in. Just as our Constitution is not our nation’s bible, those who interpret and determine its meaning for us are not godlike. We are simply “a government of the people, by the people, for the people.”Again, a tribute to the genious of the Founders to set up a process for us to govern ourselves with as much fairness and impartiality as we can muster.

  • asoders22

    From my European viewpoint: Good idea. Take that phrase out. Godly people have pressed their ideas on everybody for too long.

  • JudgeAlan

    the reason UNDER GOD is in the pledge is because of a SCOTTISH ministers sermon with eisenhower in the church.

  • uncoveror

    Whether or not it says “Under God”, why is there a compulsory loyalty oath in an allegedly free society? Loyalty oaths are something despots force upon their subjects.

  • DanaB1

    “The reason why the Taliban are dangeous is because they are GODLESS. It means they don’t know who is the true God.”Um, no, godless means without a god or not believing in a god. And the Taliban claim to be Muslim…are you really so ignorant you don’t understand that Muslims and Christians worship the same god? They just disagree on some theology and that little divinity of Jesus issue, that’s all.

  • heybebeh

    Some of these comments are so frustrating.Our government is secular, which means it is not directly connected to religion. That’s not the same as atheist. It just means the government doesn’t promote religion, or one religion over another, and that religion doesn’t directly inform government affairs.Also, a lot of you seem to think atheism is a religion. Let’s make this clear. Atheism comes from the Greek, it means “without God.” While the word “religion,” as it is defined in the dictionary, can be construed to include atheism (i.e., a religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, etc.), atheism isn’t really a religion in the sense that others are. It is a decided lack of a belief in anything supernatural. There is no purpose to the universe, there is no god, and there is no “set of beliefs,” there is NO belief.So to call atheism a religion is disingenuous.

  • TomHartman100

    As a committed Christian myself, I say that any time you try to cram religious belief down people’s throats you are engaged in blasphemy. Belief in God can no more be commanded than can belief in the tooth fairy. That God exists and the tooth fairy does not makes no difference in this regard. TAKE THE BLASPHEMOUS PHRASE OUT.

  • presto668

    spidermean2 wrote:I wonder if you realize that the original pledge (without the under God part) was written by a Baptist minister, who presumably should have known whether he wanted “under God” in there or not.

  • spidermean2

    Atheism is a religion coz it competes with and try to undermine other religions. When something talks about God or “no god”; the mere fact that it mentions God, that constitutes a religion.In a basketball game, if you try or allowed to block a player shooting, it means you’re part of the game or part of the competing team. VERY SIMPLE.

  • presto668

    rightPOV wrote:Eh, not necessarily. Capitalization was rather haphazard back then. The Declaration of Independence starts “When in the Course of human Events…”. Are “Course” and “Events” proper nouns in the modern sense?

  • spidermean2

    If we take away the “under God”, it becomes unconsttutional because it means the government is favoring the atheists’ religion. VERY SIMPLE.

  • graydonstephenson

    Leave the pledge alone.”One nation, under God, indivisible” accurately reflects our national desire.Throughout our history, including today, our people have wanted God to protect us. We also believe that we must submit ourselves to God’s wishes.There are a small number of people who scoff at this idea. While there right to object _must_ be protected, they do not represent the will of the people.That this topic is even discussed is a huge victory for a very small (however loud) special interest group.That we should be a secular nation does not represent the requirements of our Constitution, the intent of our people, or the history of our great country. In fact, the contrary is true.The pledge was enacted within the legal system. If those who want to change it, let them use the legislative system to change it.I think it would be wonderful to have a national referendum on the issue. I think I know what the result would be, too.

  • presto668

    dummypants wrote:Sure, and if the blacks can’t compromise and drink out of a different drinking fountain that carries the same water as the whites’ drinking fountain, then maybe they don’t deserve anything either.If it carries the same rights, then why have a different name? What if we just had civil unions for everyone?

  • presto668

    spidermean2 wrote:So before 1954 the pledge was unconstitutional, but now that is contains “under God”, it’s perfectly legal? Gotcha. Hmm, all those hundreds of laws that Congress passes every year that don’t mention God must be unconstitutional too!”VERY SIMPLE.”Yes, yes you are.

  • graydonstephenson

    Leave the pledge alone.”One nation, under God, indivisible” accurately reflects our national desire.Throughout our history, including today, our people have wanted God to protect us. We also believe that we must submit ourselves to God’s wishes.There are a small number of people who scoff at this idea. While their right to object _must_ be protected, they do not represent the will of the people.That this topic is even discussed is a huge victory for a very small (however loud) special interest group.Depicting ourselves as a secular nation does not represent the requirements of our Constitution, the intent of our people, or the history of our great country. In fact, the contrary is true.The pledge was enacted within the legal system. If those who want to change it, let them use the legislative system to change it.I think it would be wonderful to have a national referendum on the issue. I think I know what the result would be, too.

  • spidermean2

    presto668, “under God” became necessary when it became clear that communists (the arch enemy of America) can also recite the Pledge with equal vigor.

  • MaryAnnEvans1

    Sparrow4, Spelling (or errors to be corrected during proofreading such as reversing two letters when typing) is not grammar. Grammar, usage, and spelling are just a few of many components to be addressed when proofreading written language. Now how does it feel when someone criticizes you for something that’s not important? I too have an advanced degree and spell poorly, but I know grammar and usage quite well and can congugate with the big girls. I do agree that careful proofreading has its place. When writing in school or professionally, one should take the time to proofread carefully. Sorry about this petty criticism but spelling police on online forums bother me because knowledge of specifics such has how to spell is at lowest level of intellectual function (Source “Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives). I confess that I’m overly sensitive to this because I also spell poorly and don’t take the time to proofread what I write on forums such as this. On to synthesis–as the time “under God” was added to the pledge I was disappointed, and I remain so. The right to believe or not to believe in God is in my opinion one of our liberties. Those who wish to force religion on the rest of us subvert liberty and justice.

  • spidermean2

    It (under God) was inserted to counter STUPIDITY and not to favor any religion. VERY SIMPLE.

  • supercollider

    As an atheist, I’ve always said it the original way. I taught my kids the original pledge, too, and that’s what they say. Do whatever you like. This is America, after all — land of the free, including freedom of religion and freedom from religion. There’s no reason to think we’re under one person’s god and not under some other person’s deities or non-deities. All the hyperbolic comments here just reinforce my negative views of a certain type of religious person. To all the reasonable people, you’re just great ^_^

  • spidermean2

    “To all the reasonable people, you’re just great “Thank you coz we are the REASONABLE PEOPLE. We have reasons why and how we existed. You guys are still searching and are going nowhere from your search.c ya later

  • presto668

    spidermean2 wrote:So if I understand this, what you are saying is that Communists are congenitally incapable of uttering the phrase “under God”, so we can use that to identify them. And then I suppose we can make them wear a big scarlet “C”.

  • Ray68

    Leave the pledge alone.It is just fine the way it is.

  • sirach

    The nation would be betters served if we ditched the entire Pledge and substituted, on occasions when it has been used, a public recitation of the First Amendment.

  • johng1

    A pledge pin … on your uniform! Sig heil!

  • brian_scva

    I’m a little confused by some of the comments. I thought that “In God We Trust” on currency denoted that the dollar was our god. And I have no problem with a pledge that refers to One Nation under the Dollar.

  • hesthe

    By all means, remove the phrase “under God”. And while we’re at it, let’s rewrite the Declaration of Independence, changing that troublesome phrase about the truths we hold to be self-evident, “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights …”.But wait a minute, if those rights do not come from God, they can be revoked by the government, or by a majority of voters, or by the U.N. Hmmm….

  • DontWannaMyPostID

    This country is run by people who believe in the Judeo-Christian-Muslim God (yes, they all believe in the SAME god from the Book of Genesis). For them to blame the problems of our country on non-believers is the ultimate case of denying one’s responsibility. Religion is one of the ultimate dividers of society (along with race and socio-economic status) — maybe it’s time to do what the Constitution does and be blind to someone else’s personal beliefs.

  • Mstrdiver

    Without getting into a lengthy religious debate about the insertion of two words into the Pledge, the meaning of which only implies the name of a supreme being. Does it really matter what name is ascribed to this supreme being? The major point we must all take away from the discussion is that the Pledge is not being said in schools for the most part. To me, the Pledge meant that I was a part of something good and that I, as a citizen of this country, would do my part to support it and be a good citizen. We now have citizens who demand lots of entitlements without paying into this nation, either by supporting or serving. This all starts with the little things as we grow up. To have this country continue to grow, to continue its leadership among nations and include all citizens under its flag, we must pull in one direction as a nation and not as a loose confederation of individuals. It is like trying to sail a boat without a rudder. You might get there but the journey is not easy, takes much longer than is necessary and our goals will remain unfocused.

  • lidiworks1

    I remember back in the late 80′s that many schools on the East Coast started making the pledge of Allegiance optional for sudents to say in order to accommodate aetheists or people who actually felt like it was a violation of their religion to pledge allegiance to anything other than their God. So, although the addition of “God” to many Government icons and institutions (including our system) was done in many cases for political reasons, the founding fathers of what is now called the U.S. also came from a Christian background (regardless of how hypocritical they themselves were or denomination)and did believe, like many other cultures around the world that by invoking their beliefs or their faith in their spiritual guide or God would endow them with the power and strength they needed to maintain against and overcome their “enemies”. On top of that, outside of aetheists, most people here regardless of background or religion still worship or acknowledge some sort of deity, regardless of the name it may go by. So I see no need to change the pledge. Changing it actually shows the lack of understanding that a lot of people here have about the true nature of what America is suppose to be. One can be generic and all inclusive, without sacrificing the essence of their values.

  • buddhabreath

    Remove it! It offends me that my children have to recite this irrational and evil belief in a supernatural fairy tale. The terrorists have indeed demonstrated what happens when you mindlessly pledge to GOD. God damn it.

  • Imarkex

    What do you IDIOTS want it to be One nation under Obama.

  • Carstonio

    “That is a RELIGIOUS question. “I actually see it as a scientific question, determining the nature of the physical universe.”Dont’ get hung up on the word GOD as so many people here have. God is not Christian. God is not Jesus. God is not the Bible, Moses, Allah, Vishnu, Nirvanah.”Then what, in your view, does “God” mean in political philosophy? If it has nothing to do with religion, then why use the word at all? SeaTigr is correct – no rights can be inalienable in the absolute sense, because the only absolute in human life is the finiteness of life.

  • diesel_skins_

    Let’s remove it. But wait! “Under God” doesn’t denote a specific religion. Before we get to that, we need to root out all the specific Christian references in our government. Let’s see: San Francisco is a Catholic saint. Gotta go. Corpus Cristi, Texas? Gotta go. Saint Paul, Minnesota? Gotta go. Those are so offensive to so many non-Catholics that I demand those cities be immediately removed from the country and sent to (Godless) Canada. Once we purge those cities, fix the pledge, and burn all the dollar bills with “In God We Trust” printed on them, suddenly everything in our society will be fine.

  • Mt112830

    To the Godless:If you don’t like the words “Under God” in the Pledge, then find a different country to infest.Good Riddance to you.

  • ebleas

    “SeaTigr is correct – no rights can be inalienable in the absolute sense, because the only absolute in human life is the finiteness of life.”Nope – taxes too ;-)

  • nuke41

    While we argue over silly issues such as this, our enemies conduct weapons and explosives training, with the point of ending our soft way of life once and for all.

  • villarrj

    bevjims1:I’m not convinced that an invocation of God constitutes an institution of religion. The Founders themselves made numerous appeals to God in a number of ways, but it was always clear through their political philosophy that men owe their natural rights to Nature and Nature’s God. Moreover they saw little danger in crediting the benevolent effects of religion (and speaking out against the harmful ones) in the public sphere. In Federalist No. 2, John Jay expresses his pleasure in observing “that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people — a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government…” This certainly is in line with the Latin motto “E Pluribus Unum.” The Founders, I think, would have debated in favor of the merits of a melting pot, even if it meant speaking favorably about the societal benefits of a common religion. But expressing one’s opinion is far from establishing a government religion. Multiculturalism and a well-meaning, but overly cautious, suspicion of religion have found themselves infringing on the right to public speech.As for the Pledge, I don’t view it as a necessary linchpin to American patriotism, although I can see why many citizens, afraid of a cold secularism alien to the Founding principles, would cling to it. I’m sympathetic toward their fears. At any rate, “under God” is no more an establishment of a government religion than “of Nature and of Nature’s God,” or the many other public and poetic invocations of a supreme deity. I’m not a religious person, but if I had to choose a side on which to align myself, it will be with those who believe in a higher power.

  • bevjims1

    hesthe wrote: “But wait a minute, if those rights do not come from God, they can be revoked by the government, or by a majority of voters, or by the U.N. Hmmm….”You and a few others here obviously do not understand the Constitution and how it protects our rights. The majority cannot just make any law they like and violate rights or take them away. Many laws are passed only later to be struck down as being unconstitutional. That means the law in question, no matter how popular it may have been, violated the Constitution and cannot stand. That is why we in this nation have protection from a tyranny of the majority. The majority cannot pass laws that violate the Constitution and the stated rights of anyone, even a minority.Now this is not absolute. The Constitution is a document that has been modified over the years through amendments and so could be modified to restrict rights. Prohibition is probably the greatest example of the Constitution being modified to restrict rights. Before Prohibition was established via the 18th amendment of the Constitution, laws could not be passed on alcohol sale and transport except where it endangered public welfare. Remember, the government does not grant rights, it can only regulate rights we are born with within Constitution guidelines. So through popular vote the 18th amendment established prohibition making the sale and transport of alcohol illegal (you could still make your own alcohol to consume such as bathtub beer or gin, you just could not transport it or sell it). The 18th Amendment was the first case of our Constitution limiting rights, and we saw how long that lasted. So the majority can take away rights, as the 18th amendment proved, but it is a very hard thing to enact an amendment.And the only reason the Constitution protects our rights is because we as a nation allow it to. We could, through revolution or by voting the Constitution away through am amendment nullifying it, form any government anyway we like. God does not protect the Constitution or the rights it defends. It is the people of America who have fought for that Constitution and died for that Constitution. It is its leaders who swear to protect and defend it though some in recent years act as though it is just a piece of paper they do not have to protect or defend. But others have protected it even against the most power in this land. It is the people of America that enable our rights, not God or the Constitution itself. We The People use the Constitution to maintain our rights. God never even mentioned such a wonderful idea in either book of the bible, koran, or any other devine book attributed as God’s word. Even Christ said to give to Ceasar what he demanded. He never said people have rights given by God or by just being human. And God allowed slavery in the old testament, even admonishing slaves to be loyal. America and its Constitution have gone way beyond what Judaeo-Christianity teaches. Any nation under God would not have inalienable rights for its people and would not have laws that could be struck down based on a violation of those rights. Under American law, man is freer than he would be even under the kingdom of God, where God rules as an autocrat, making law by fiat, and man having no rights to protect him from the ruler. America is free *because* it is a nation *not* under God.

  • coloradodog

    Who’s God? The neochristian God of intolerance, exclusion, gay-bashing, capital punishment, pre-emptive war and torture?The problem is intolerant evangelicals, Black Liberationists, Mormons and Catholics all want to define God for the rest of us.I always wondered when I pledged allegiance to the wall, who defined the God it is talking about.

  • dandrbelf

    I have never understood why we need a pledge of allegiance at all. In particular, the people who most often recite it are schoolchildren, the very individuals that should be shielded from political indoctrination. Those who think my point of view is unpatriotic should examine their own reasoning for promoting a pledge. Could it be, possibly, that they don’t have enough confidence that the inherent virtue of their country could inspire loyalty without requiring a ritualistic oath to seal the deal?

  • jrosemarie2007

    Why is it that all of the sudden people are trying to remove “God” from everything? Its ridiculous. This is country that was built on a foundation .. a foundation that is slowely but seemingly surely falling. If you don’t believe that is your thing, but who are you, the non believers, to push your beliefs off on those that do believe? Look at what is going on in this world … slowely breaking down … people killing and raping other people, their children, their spouses. We need MORE GOD in our lives …. not less ..

  • msiddiqu

    I have never seen so much of God bashing. OK, enough, now leave the pledge as is.

  • kaycwagner

    At 78 I have wittnessed many changes, the women’s movement, civil rights, Roe v Wade, the decline of the Catholic Church and it’s power to dictate the behavior of its members from cradle to grave. Now it is past time to eliminate this remaining belief determined by others, i.e., an asumption that everyone does or should believe in God. I may not live long enough to see it but change is coming and it gives me hope for the future.

  • gzilla

    Here we go again – equating saying “Under God” to the Taliban and Islamic terrorism. Your hatred for America couldn’t be more obvious.

  • spidermean2

    Change is coming but NOT the way you think it will come. The pledge will remain and those who oppose it will be erased BY GOD.

  • spidermean2

    This Bible verse is yet to be fulfilled. It’s understandable that many people oppose to the Pledge coz for whom then this verse should be fulfilled upon?”And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts:”

  • knivesanddemons

    Christians make me so happy that I am an atheist. I love my country and pledge allegiance to it, not some sky man. We just picked the skinniest God in our country – it’s not the country’s fault.

  • bevjims1

    villarrj : We need to be careful about thinking that what the Constitution restricts is the “establishment” of a national religion. What it actually says is “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion”. Politicians can invoke God in their speaches all they like. They can claim that abortion is a sin against God and therefore should be prohibited under law. They can say that God wants people who commit child rape to be put to death. They can *say* anything they want in order to rationalize what a law should be. But they cannot codify into law the religious principles behind the arguments since that would be “respecting the establishment of religion”. In other words, it respects that a religion is established within government. So though we have read here how politicians have evoked God’s name in speaches, none of that has anything to do with the first amendment’s prohibition against government establishment of religion through law since speaches are not laws.The problem with the pledge is not what is said when it is read. The problem is that the words “under God”, referring to the United States, was placed into the pledge by Congress by law. That flies in the face of “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion”. By placing the words “under God” in the pledge via a law, Congress made a law respecting the Judaeo-Christian religion as established. It seems very clear to me that it violates the Constitution. The problem of “under God” in the pledge is like the problem of tobacco and smoking. Its obviously harmful and should be prohibited, but what are you going to do with a nation full of addicts when you take it away? Do we live with a wrong or do we stand up for what is right and face the backlash from the religious nuts who put country second and God first?

  • GregCleveland

    If we’re “one nation under God” we are divided by religion. Give me back “one nation, indivisible.”And Spidermean, Iran and Saudi Arabia are perfect examples of “one nation under God.” Even there, it’s more appropriate as those nations don’t even claim to have religious freedom. You claim they have the wrong God. That concept is un-American.

  • bevjims1

    Spidermean2:Can you explain what Christ meant in Mark 13:30 ?

  • spidermean2

    Bevjims, you should not quote any Bible verse coz of this verse :”neither can he know (or understand) them (the Bible), because they are SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED.” (1 Cor. 2:14)If all are believers, who then shall be doomed? This is just a fulfillment of the prophecy that we see many unbelievers today.NOW YOU SEE THEM, and a few years later, NOW YOU DON’T.

  • FredZuber

    Answer to pig_skinsNot mean. And it’s only in consideration of Docherty’s being selective in those he included or excluded. If he were a “real Christian” he would embrace everyone. But he chose to exclude atheists. When I typed my comment it wasn’t with a smile on my face. It was more of anger at the bigotry of “real Christians” and how they only want to embrace only those who are like them. And I’m not a hypocrite because I’m telling it like it is, not like I want it to be, which is how most “real Christians” operate. Isn’t that true. Not reality, but fantasy. There’s nothing hypocritical about wanting my own beliefs, whatever they are, without some god-pusher trying to shove some immoral religion down my throat. I have yet to see a moral religion. That animal doesn’t exist, only the animals who follow the religion. And they are not sheep, they are lemmings.

  • spidermean2

    “neither can he (the unbeliever) know (or understand) them (the Bible), because they are SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED.” (1 Cor. 2:14)

  • EDAB2

    YES “under God” should be removed because it was suggested by a Christian minister. Let’s be realistic, most people in this country are not as religious as they would like to believe. A truly religious person is humble about his/her faith. A ‘godly person’ does not need a pledge to confirm their faith. Religion has always been used as a method to control populations with the promise of infinite paradise for its devout followers. So, if you’re a self-proclaiming religious American, who is actually a guilt-ridden individual struggling with the ‘immoral’ actions of his past and present and who enjoys pressing his belief upon others–and in doing so supports COMMUNISM and HITLER’S favorite themes –then by all means say “under God” when you recite the pledge.

  • bevjims1

    Well spidey, that’s why I’m asking *you* to explain Mark 13:30.

  • DoubtingDavid1

    What a relief to read an article reaffirming the secular nature of our society, and of our values. And good to see most of the comments supporting this point of view.

  • sunnie2

    Fortunately, for most who have posted comments, God has allowed you to have free will of making fun of, cursing, calling Him an idiot, calling anyone that believes in Him stupid,etc.

  • spidermean2

    “this generation” means our generation. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. So let’s wait. WW3 is just around the corner. Let’s wait and see if nukes will be used or not.

  • tonynelson1

    I think it should be removed as well–except we should replace the words with “under government”. That way, our pledge would accurately reflect the current belief that government will be our salvation.

  • mdembski1

    I find some of the comments that God will take care of things to be interesting. Is that the Jewish God, the Muslim God, or one of the Hindu Gods?

  • arjay1

    ‘Under God’ might have been an expression that an individual is offering to be altruistically more than the singular narcissistic ego he was born with. One of the fundamental failures of a person is that he grows up expecting all the rights, privileges, resources and democracy infrastructure created by OTHER people without contributing any value beyond his glorious self. The current ‘pledge’ is to a flag rather than to a commitment to citizenship that has responsibilities to the nation and humanity. It is the continual acts of humanitarian citizenship that a person should take a vow to uphold. Perhaps the following pledge, which is a combination of the Congressional Oath of Office, armed forces pledges, and the citizenship allegiance pledge of several western societies would be more appropriate, especially if the pledge is a legally binding contract between citizens.

  • Ed1M

    Religion and Territory have been the main causes of murder and war througout history. People’s religious beliefs shoud be kept silently to themselves. The comment about Taliban = Godlessnes. Proves my point. It is okay to murder them because they are “Godless”.

  • jstric2608

    The Pledge as it is written today would also work in Iran, Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia. It is exclusionary rather than inclusive.

  • spidermean2

    This is what EVOLUTION has done to our country. The people has began to think like animals,… like idiots. Where in the world did they get the idea that eyes can develop and be able to see just from a mere explosion (Big Bang) many years ago?NO mathematics can explain that but idiots believe it anyway. Doomsday is coming folks to take with it the FOOLS of this world.

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 wrote: “”this generation” means our generation.”So Christ, while talking to four of his apostles, tells them that his prophesies of doom shall happen before “this generation” passes, but really meant the generation 2000 years from then when spidermean2 is around? Wow, how special you must feel. I think Christ was right in 13:30 and I think he was thinking of you in 13:21-22. I’ll take Christ’s words over yours anyday.

  • dryrunfarm1

    Rather than delete the phrase, “One nation, under God,” its full history and meaning out to be taught and emphasized in schools.The persecution of people of faith played a role, sometimes exaggerated, in the European colonization of this continent. For millenia before then and until today, theists have been denied every human right the world over, from modern day Saudi Arabia’s refusal to admit Jews on their territory, to torture and murder by the most horrendous means. If there are other freedoms we enjoy in the United States that are equal to the freedom to embrace the notion of God one chooses, there is at least no greater freedom.Suggestions, such as those Mr. Waters advocates, threaten to diminish the importance of this freedom, and its exercise. Slowly but surely, Americans of faith are being pressed to conceal their beliefs. First, the very real and included faith of this nation’s Founding Fathers is being erased from all public expression, from what is taught in schools to recognition of their moral compass, the Ten Commandments, in public spaces. Theistic belief is assailed in public schools as anti-science, and the extreme crimes of a few theists are used to justify the indictment of all theism. There are two, supporting syllogisms the anti-theists use in this regard: 1) All the world’s religions can be read literally, literal readings of religious texts defines fundamentalism, therefore, all the world’s religions invite fundamentalism; and, 2) Religious fundamentalism inspires zealots to violence, violence cannot be tolerated in this or any society, therefore, religious fundamentalism cannot be tolerated in this or any society. Given that all religions, “invite fundamentalism,” it follows, if “religious fundamentalism cannot be tolerated in this or any society,” religion cannot be tolerated in this or any society.This is not what the US was created for, and it is not something that we, as a nation, should allow to occur.It is not the motive for evil that we should even try to remove from society. We could not if we would. We need, instead, to teach our children that the only provocation worth fighting for is an assault on liberty – your neighbor’s right to do as he will, so long as it does not result in demonstrable harm to yourself or others.The test of freedom is not when one does what is agreeable to yourself, but when others tolerate one’s choices, no matter how disagreeable, so long as they do no harm.A proof, and an important one, that we are still free would be the public acceptance of the phrase, “One nation, under God,” not because we all agree with it, but precisely because we don’t all agree with it.

  • gaijinsamurai

    No spidermean, what evolution did to our country is allow its inhabitants to walk upright. Something to which you evidently take offense. Perhaps you, in fact, do not.I’m inevitably amazed by the depth of arrogance of the aggressively religious. No respectable scientist would ever make the kind of outlandish claims that creationists and the religious regularly do without evidence, and yet *we’re* the ones accused of being arrogant and intolerant for pointing out things like “evolution is a process that can be found both in modern species and in the fossil record which appears to be the means by which new species appear.” Lots of room for God in there, not that you’d notice given all the irrational fear and hatred you see aimed at it from the right. Might as well be afraid of photosynthesis.

  • spidermean2

    The science of probability says it is in OUR GENERATION. It is that simple. Those H-bombs are yet to be used on live “specimen”. All things have a reason why they are created and allowed to be created by God. Unbelievers too have a use. And that is to be the “specimen”.

  • vmhwp

    Next we should have that “pursuit of happiness” nonsense stricken from the constitution. That’s exactly what religious people think they are religious for. Idiots. It is despicable that we are burdened with all this religious mumbo jumbo in our founding documents.

  • spidermean2

    “Might as well be afraid of photosynthesis.”As if you EVOLUTIONISTS know how photosynthesis actually work. If you do then replicate them and make your own food. The fact is you don’t. IDIOCY has been your god.

  • sparrow4

    maryevans1-since you do not know the history of dummypants and myself I suggest you butt out. If there was a point you were making it is simply that you did the same thing you say I did. Dummypants also claims to have an advance law degree with a specialization in constitutional law. Can’t tell from either his writing or his thinking. Civil unions are the same as marriage? Not by a long shot- even us non-lawyer types know that. But he thinks gay people should either accept being second class citizens or go away. Because that would mean they are dumb and obnoxious. So yes- he just sooooooo deserves your sympathy.I wouldn’t be proud of poor grammar or spelling. No poster has to be a master of English but when you’re claiming to be writing a paper that won an award on constitutional law, it’s a sad commentary on our educational system that you aren’t. When you make presentations, write articles, send letters, that poor command of spelling or language makes you look unprofessional and unqualified. Look at spidey who claims to be an engineer- would you ask that man to build a coffee table, let alone a bridge based on his writing? Nah…didn’t think so. So maryevans- have a nice day or a cow- your choice.

  • chicks04

    Getting rid of “Under God” would not diminish religious freedom but embrace it. Part of having religious freedom is the freedom to choose not to practice any religion. As an atheist I feel that I cannot pledge the allegiance to our flag and country if I have to pretend to believe in something I don’t to say it. Also, “Under God” leaves out Hindus and other polytheistic religions.

  • dotellen

    I think we should throw out the whole pledge to a piece of cloth and pledge allegance to the CONSTITUTION of our country. It is a piece of paper, but the words written on it are significant.I do object to the “under God” phrase, as this entrie world is under God and it is self-righteous and sinfully prideful for us to declaim that we are somehow better than any other of God’s children– and that IS the main problem with religious organizations, their pride and claims of superiority.

  • Rich393

    I remember quite well the 1954 addition of “under God” to our Pledge of Allegiance. I was in the 3rd grade in rural Virginia. Every morning we “prayed” the Lord’s Prayer and saluted our Flag while saying the Pledge. Every morning I said nonsense words for the Lord’s Prayer to avoid punishment for not participating. I recited the Pledge with pride until that day the teacher announced the change. My pride remained but I never said those two words and never will.At 8 years old, the Presbyterian and Baptist Churches had tried to brain wash me and all other children into their religious beliefs. Though forced to go to Sunday School by my parents, I had, at that early age, realized all religion was a farce. Why? God-fearing adults constantly bended the words of the Bible to suit their personal needs and desires.Religion is the biggest farce of all time. It’s a free country. Believe if you want. But I’m FED UP with it’s tax-exempt status which in effect forces me to support religion with my tax dollars.

  • jrm1

    Pledging allegiance to a piece of cloth is silly. Allegiance to the Republic is fine. I’d get the flag and God out of the pledge, as these symbols dilute the nature of the pledge. How about, “I pledge allegiance to the Republic of the United States of America, one Nation, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” Simple and clear. It is hard for me to imagine any patriotic American having a problem with saying these words.

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 wrote: “The science of probability says it is in OUR GENERATION. It is that simple.”Could you explain that a little? Probabitily is a science but it alone is not a cause. What is the equation for this probability? “I’m here therefore God’s talking about me”? “If I don’t exist nothing important can happen”?Probability would say that when Christ stated that the gloom and doom he spoke of to his apostles would happen within “this generation” he was actually refering to “this generation”, the A generation of the 1st century. All you are proving spidey is your ability to take the bible and twist it into anything you want it to be. But hey, if you got some math to prove your point, lets see it.

  • fiveman3

    Thank God “under God” is part of the pledge. Those of you who do not like it can move to one of the atheistic countries.

  • ScienceTim

    To VMHWP:That “pursuit of happiness” nonsense is in the Declaration of Independence, which laid out the argument for why a revolution could be deemed necessary and morally and ethically just. It is not part of the Constitution.

  • spidermean2

    There should be two Pledges. One that states “under God” and another which states “under the magic of EVOLUTION”.That would suit all people I guess.Happy Thanksgiving. Im just puzzled. To whom are idiots thankful for? Do they celebrate thanksgiving too? Do they thank “the Big Bang”?

  • spidermean2

    Bevjims, please consult the scientists and mathematicians why they tuned the Doomsday clock 5 minutes before midnight. It’s all about probability.

  • AIPACiswar

    There are a lot of psychologically disturbed people in this country, and one of the more wide ranging afflictions has some people thinking they, “know god.” They don’t. Worship of deities is an invention of the mind searching for relief from reality. It’s a fantasy. Not so bad, as most who, “believe in god” have no idea what they mean except that they “go along” with mainstream culture. Pressed on the issue they’d give up for lack of intellectual investment.But, the hard core zealots who are believers are indeed seriously mentally ill. The proof of it is in their behavior. They’ll rock the society, make war, & create laws that oppress. American Christian zealots are just American Taliban.

  • [email protected]

    fiveman3, I wasn’t aware that a god, or any god, has anything to do with the country. Is if ok to say “under allah?” Is it ok to say “under shiva?” I don’t need to move to an “atheist country,” because I already live in one where I don’t need to acknowledge YOUR god. What’s good for you and your family doesn’t offend me, but don’t abridge my right to disagree.RE: fiveman3 : December 3, 2008 10:25 AM | Report Offensive Comment

  • Arminius

    Bevjims1,Spidey never answers questions, he only accuses you of being stupid and tries to change the subject. He obviously is an internet troll, as gaijinsamurai put it so well. He is filled with hatred and walks in darkness.

  • sparrow4

    Unfortunately people like fiveman abound. It’s either their way or the highway. Those who need to have “under G-d” in the Pledge need to ask why is that more important than the unity of this country and equal rights for everyone since they are the ones who are the most vocal about gay marriage, teaching “intelligent design”, and claiming this is a Christian nation despite historical fact and the Constitution. Perhaps they are the ones who should leave, seeing as they don’t believe in that document.

  • AIPACiswar

    Certainly couldn’t pledge allegiance to our Republic under Bush, that would be immoral. Hile Hitler comes to mind.I would pledge allegiance to the Constitution, with the caveat that if 2/3s of my mind decides I’d like to amend it, I can (like the states.) That’s as far as I’ll take pledges oaths etc. They are just more psychological fantasy for nationalists and macho men who think they empower themselves with this rubbish.

  • DeepClue

    “Docherty noted that even Stalin’s Soviet Union could claim to be ‘one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’” Really??? The Soviet Union could claim liberty for all? That’s news to me.

  • bevjims1

    spidermean2 wrote: “Bevjims, please consult the scientists and mathematicians why they tuned the Doomsday clock 5 minutes before midnight. It’s all about probability.”No, you said probability states that Christ meant “our” generation when he told his apostles “this” generation in 30 AD. How does probability change Christ’s meaning? Either Christ was wrong, or his prophesy came to be, as many scholars agree, and we are today living in the world Christ promised would exist after the doom and gloom He spoke of. If you look around you can see that things have improved since the 1st century AD and much evil has been removed from the earth and the gospels have been taught to all nations. But if living with the idea that God is in your pocket and the rest of us are just so much dust, and no matter what the bible says you twist its meanings to be whatever suits your dream of wishful disaster, well, I feel sorry for you. Christ told us about you in Mark 13:21-22:

  • AIPACiswar

    You’ll never get logic out of one of these Christian god worshipers, because they are psychologically disturbed, like a man in a paranoid delusion. They’ve bought into this invention of early man, “the god,” and they are stuck. The utility of people “believing” in god it that it is generally allayed with believeing in “good.” Those who believe in god before the greater good are just American Talian.I have to laugh at the, “godders” who tell us to move. That’s the mental patient telling the psychaiartrist how to practice.

  • spidermean2

    gaijinsamurai wrote “evolution is a process that can be found both in modern species and in the fossil record which appears to be the means by which new species appear.” Humans and monkeys have been existing for many years already and yet no new specie came from them.When will this stupidity end? Doomsday will end this stupidity.c ya later guys.

  • AIPACiswar

    The Bible is toilet paper.

  • AIPACiswar

    We really need to improve education in this country, people like spidermean2 don’t even understand how old the Earth is. I’m sure he zooms right past NOVA to watch Nostradamus on the History Channel, family and children right beside him, become more deluded every episode. No well educated person believes in God past the level of strong faith, which is just wishful thinking anyway. Very important in foxholes.

  • gaijinsamurai

    @ spidermean (again)Had you looked, you would see that it’s set by a narrow subset of scientists – nuclear physicists. Who tend to be the most religions of scientists, incidentally. And had you read their statements on the subject, you would see that they did so due to the breakdown of the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction, the impending worldwide resource shortage, and the rise of *Tah-dah!* religiously-inspired violence.********There should be two Pledges. One that states “under God” and another which states “under the magic of EVOLUTION”.*****Because, of course, there’s nothing magical about an omnipotent and omniscient being who takes a personal and supportive interest in *you,* spidermean.**********That would suit all people I guess. Happy Thanksgiving. I’m just puzzled. To whom are idiots thankful for? Do they celebrate thanksgiving too? Do they thank “the Big Bang”?*******Wow. Where to start? First, it isn’t about suiting anybody, the first amendment that protects your right to be a militantly religious troll also protects my right to think you’re a fool. Second, don’t wish people a happy anything if you don’t mean it. An alleged patriot like yourself shouldn’t drag a national holiday into an internet flame war. Besides, you’re clearly just trying to set up a regurgitated argument you heard some some right wing talk-show host or clergyman give last week. And finally, please, please go read another book. You might try one on evolution, or the big bang, since you’re so fond of these topics. But try to read one by an actual scientist, who will explain that “the big bang” and “evolution” are not science-speak for “our god, who isn’t your god.”

  • DeepClue

    The phrase should be removed and the old form restored because it is imposing something a significant part of Americans do not share: the belief in “God.” Unfortunately, some people defend this notion by attacking religious beliefs, which in turn alienates some believers.This discussion is NOT about religion; it’s about a pledge that should serve every American. Just because something isn’t there it doesn’t mean it is being despised. Is that so hard to understand?

  • theartbrifl785

    Enough of this silliness. We are talking about our heritage, our traditions, our history, our culture. We have done enough over the years to tear down all the meaningful elements this nation was built upon.We were built as one Nation, under God, going back to at least Abe Lincoln. We need to preserve one Nation, under God as part of the pledge as that is one of the foundations our nation was built upon and sustains today. It is because of those foundations that people want to migrate to the USA. They know, here, we are a majority country of Christians, circa 75%, and they are free to exercise their religion, no matter what religion they follow. That is because we are one Nation, under God. Enough. Preserve our heritage, traditions,history and culture. People come here because of those attributes. We are, one Nation, under God, to all peoples of all religions, race, gender.

  • abcxcba

    The word “update” is misleading. I was in the fourth grade when the phrase “under God” suddenly appeared in the pledge, and I was unhappy with it. It seemed to jar the rhythm of the original. And though I was too young to know about the separation of church and state, I thought my classroom had been made a little too much like my “Sunday school.”

  • AIPACiswar

    theartbrifl785You talk about YOUR heritage, not the nation’s heritage. Completely foolish.

  • AIPACiswar

    I’d like to see a massive investigation, “under God” to finally bring to justice every white Christian racist who ever participated in a lynching, “under God.” If they are dead them take their property and toss their descendants out on the street, “under God.” Thousands were lynched, there is no statute of limitations, and of course, God knows who they were!

  • saami

    The original pledge was created to help sell American flags (now that’s a real American idea for you.) There was no mention of God when I first learned the pledge and when we were cowering in our boots during the McCarthy era they added under God. Take out under God. This country is founded under the rule of separation of church and state and that includes the protection from religion as well as prohibiting the establishment of a state sponsored religion. I would be just as happy to get rid of the pledge all together. Spiderman, get a life.

  • ChoKum

    I also remember when The Pledge was changed, that I did not like it then, and detest it now.”I pledge allegiance to the Flag, and the Nation for which it stands, with Liberty and Justice for ALL.”This nation was founded and grounded in the hope for all peoples to be guaranteed freedom under the law. Freedom of religion is assured by the Constitution but NO religion or assembly of fundamentalists was given the right to impose their beliefs on other citizens.

  • AIPACiswar

    God is delusion, religion is bs, the Bible is toilet paper, and Christian fundamentalists are just American Taliban. Have I missed anything?

  • SeaTigr

    Uh, Spidey, the decision to move the hands of the Doomsday Clock is based on the opinions of the board of directors of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and not on mathematical equations – unless you’re claiming that God or the Holy Spirit exercises divine influence when the board meets, but that wouldn’t be math, now would it?Perhaps we should focus a little less on organized religion. It’s brought us many things, but among the most noted are the Crusades, the Inquisition, Protestant/Catholic strife, Middle East strife, India/Pakistan tensions, etc.BTW: Science and God are not mutually exclusive. I’ll never understand people who claim scientists are atheists, or trying to negate God, etc. Maybe some are. But I know a lot of scientists who believe in God. Why is science deemed a threat to God? If I were God, and designing a universe, I would design the universe to operate under a set of rules. Why? So I don’t have to constantly intervene to prevent the universe from falling apart.

  • gaijinsamurai

    @spidermean (yet again)****Humans and monkeys have been existing for many years already and yet no new species came from them.****Ah, but both the fossil record and genetic cladistics show that humans and monkeys are descended from a common ancestor (not quite so closely as chimps, of course, with whom you and I both share upwards of 97% of our DNA). And if you weren’t convinced that the earth was 6000 years old, you might notice that we haven’t been watching species change for very long, and we’ve still seen it happen a couple of times (there was a well-documented complete speciation event in the late 1940′s up in the northwestern Rockies involving two brand new species of wildflower deriving from two older ones, and another in progress right now among ground squirrels living along the continental divide).@bevjims1Honestly, I’ve never seen this argument before, and I think it’s quite compelling. It’s a great illustration of the fact that there is a lot of wisdom in the bible, if you don’t skip over it to get to the parts about stoning rape victims and burning witches.

  • AIPACiswar

    “This nation was founded and grounded in the hope for all peoples to be guaranteed freedom under the law.” Right, except for people who: were female, owned no land, or were black or any other minority. This nation was founded on property rights, ie wealth. As soon as we were wealthy enough to kick out the English we did. And it has been a struggle to wrest control from the rich ever since.

  • sparrow4

    No, theartbrifl785, we are not a nation under G-d. we are a nation united (supposedly) by our belief and trust in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (yes, the BOR is part of the C., I mention it for emphasis), the documents and agreements (or contracts, if you will) that bind us as a nation. Your last line is very telling- “to all peoples of all religions.” So what happens in your one nation under G-d to the atheists, the agnostics, the non-believers? Or those whose religions don’t believe in G-d? They aren’t Americans? they don’t exist? they have no rights? This is where the “godders” go wrong everytime. Take it out- what defines us as Americans is a contract that is based on the golden rule of do unto others. And for that you don’t have to believe in G-d- you have to believe in humanity. If you don’t follow the golden rule here, in this life, it doesn’t matter how much you prate about G-d, and push your religion. G-d won’t believe in you.

  • gaijinsamurai

    APAIC, that’s not entirely fair or accurate. Many of the framers of the declaration and constitution wanted to ban slavery and extend citizenship outside the narrow group of white landowners. They were overruled at the time by the economic interests of rich southern planters and the necessity of cobbling together a unified group to stand together against a common enemy. I think they did pretty well all the same – after all, they managed not to explicitly exclude anybody, which meant that the door was open to add them in later.

  • vsheehan

    Leave it in. Most of us now (and at the founding), Christian, Jew, Muslim and most others, even many agnostics, believe. This is just another attack on my faith and that of most of us.PS. Merry Christmas

  • DCTom1

    “Perhaps we should focus a little less on organized religion. It’s brought us many things, but among the most noted are the Crusades, the Inquisition, Protestant/Catholic strife, Middle East strife, India/Pakistan tensions, etc.”Those may be the most notorious, but hardly the most noted. Organized religion brought us the university, advancement in art, architecture, music, literature, philosophy… in other words, learning in general. As you yourself noted, science and religion are logically not mutually exclusive. I won’t say that science had progressed because of religion, but the culture that religion has provided allowed learning to expand in the sciences. In fact, famous examples notwithstanding, many early scientists were priests and monks who published their work with the blessings of the Vatican. Who knew?

  • deacon777

    Two points:1) Religion removed from rational thought equals fanaticism. Healthy religion is not fundamentalism.2) The writer of this article states – “It isn’t our belief in God that makes us different” – Oh but it is. While we are all humans, I can’t think of anything more profoundly “different” than two different world-views of “God” or “No God”. It is the main premise upon which everything else is deduced – and it is no surprise that it produces people who cannot understand the “other” sides’ view of reality – or should I say ultimate reality.I might also point out that the “under God” phrase in the pledge simply syncs up with the Declaration of Independence phrase – “we are all endowed by our Creator”. That document was the rational for declaring our “liberty” from England, stating that no King, state, person, or group could assert their will over us because our rights came not from man – but were endowed by our Creator – i.e. natural rights. It seems to me it is not the pledge that grates on people, it is the historical national assertion that “America” was more than just a human invention. Perhaps it is the Declaration of Independence that they really want to change.

  • ChoKum

    *** AIPACiswar: ” ‘This nation was founded and grounded in the hope for all peoples to be guaranteed freedom under the law.’That’s true, but it was the Constitution and the promise of the Pledge that made this evolution in law and rights possible. As a 2nd generation American married to a naturalized citizen of a different race I have immense pride in this!

  • EdMurray1

    It strikes me that too many of us believers put far too much stock in God’s need to be included in our political life and language. Why do we need to describe ourselves as a nation “under God?” At best, believers might want to say “…struggling to be under God.” We are not a nation under God. No one should know this better than a believer! We fall very, very “…far short of the kingdom of God.” So we ought not claim it. Christians, particularly, should think twice about bringing God into a public document. St. Paul seems, throughout his writings, to be against this kind of thing. A Christian fully alive with the life of Christ within does not need a legal fiat (or social pressure!)to declare his/her fidelity to God in Christ. So why would we insist that our public pledge contain, by law I assume, the phrase “…under God?” Doesn’t this force people whose belief is different to lie in order to pledge their allegiance.

  • gaijinsamurai

    It’s remarkable to me how many comments say something like “leave it in, I’m Christian and I’m feeling persecuted,” or, “leave it in, I learned it that way as a kid and I’m emotionally attached to it.” Neither of these goes beyond a purely egocentric argument to address this issue on an intellectual or constitutional basis. And seriously, given the dominance of Christian rhetoric in America’s political life, how can an American Christian possibly feel threatened by an attempt to produce a pledge that all Americans can recite in its entirety and still honestly mean every word? It isn’t like changing this will do anything besides adjust the pledge to apply to more people who are indisputably American.

  • ebleas

    gaijinsamurai wrote: “Ah, but both the fossil record and genetic cladistics show that humans and monkeys are descended from a common ancestor (not quite so closely as chimps, of course, with whom you and I both share upwards of 97% of our DNA).”Even more compelling than the percent homology between human and chimp DNA is the finding that human chromosome 2 is a fusion of two great ape chromosomes. This was demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt when it was shown that human chromosome 2 contained telomere sequences (defined sequences that repeat found at the ends of a chromosome) at exactly the fusion point. It also neatly explains why humans have one less chromosome pair compared to chimps and the great apes. Short of invoking the “that’s just the way God did it” explanation, there is no plausible way to explain this finding from a non-evolution perspective.

  • dogbacchus

    I’m for doing away with the pledge altogether. The whole idea of pledging allegiance to a flag (and what it represents) is kind of silly and has become meaningless to the millions of schoolchildren who recite it mindlessly each morning.

  • sparrow4

    DCTom1- I think Galileo might disagree with you on that.I think you would also find that much western learning in the Middle Ages was based on the remnants of ancient learning- they didn’t call it the dark Ages for nothing. It was the Arabs who preserved that ancient learning, which the Crusaders then “rediscovered.” The church condoned knowledge insofar as it could be construed to uphold church doctrine. Gregor Mendel, the father of modern genetic, became an abbot. On his death the succeeding abbot burned all his papers. vsheehan- removing the phrase is no attack on anyone’s faith. You’re free to feel that way of course, but you’re wrong.

  • baddabing1

    It is a supreme error of thinking to believe that one must worship a deity in order to support personal liberty, private property and representative government. I can remember so-called leaders spouting about “godless Communism” and not saying one mumbling word about the true evils of totalitarian dictatorship – the stifling of dissent, elimination of checks and balances and the utter betrayal of their people’s interests in the name of their own power. No, for them it all came down to God. Personally I think the whole Pledge is wrong-end up. Pledge allegiance to the FLAG? To a piece of cloth, a mere symbol, and not to the nation? Indivisible? Come on, folks, the Civil War ended over a century ago – divisibility is a dead issue. Liberty and justice for all – what ought to be first – coming in third, like a mere afterthought? We need to give our loyalty to principles, not symbols. Maybe if we had that kind of reminder we could make this country into what it is supposed to be – the light that shows the world that “liberty and justice for all” is truly the best path for every nation and every human being – instead of just another example of the Orwellian all-too-truth that the object of power is power.

  • bevjims1

    vsheehan wrote: “Leave it in. Most of us now (and at the founding), Christian, Jew, Muslim and most others, even many agnostics, believe. This is just another attack on my faith and that of most of us.”You do realize don’t you that by saying that changing the pledge is an attack on your faith, that you have just defined the pledge as a religious statement, proving that it is unconstitutional. Thanks for that.

  • gaijinsamurai

    I still think those of the Christian faith who want to understand the viewpoint of others on issues like this should substitute “Satan,”"Shiva,” “Buddah,” or “The Gods” into any sentence where the word “God” appears and reread it. The emotional reaction you just had is identical to the reaction of most non-Christians to the text as it currently stands. This is, I find, a productive exercise when confronting some of the knee-jerk preconceptions of my highly religious in-laws.

  • Loeff

    EdMurray1, outstanding comment.Where under the Christian new covenant does Paul or any other teacher insist that believers fight tooth and nail to gain political advantage or for position regarding the government?Christians have been filled by the spirit of God and therefore the love of God. I encourage fellow believers to stop wasting time and energy feeling persecuted and go share God’s love with someone.Take a look at China and the many world dictatorships to see real persecution of Christians. Christians are not persecuted here in the USA.

  • DavidCurrier1

    I agree. It should go. I too remember how I disliked the change when I was in my one-room grammar school. And as a child I was very religious, but I recognized that there was something wrong with this. Today I recognize the value of the separation of church and state – my brother is one of those fanatical “Christian” ministers that wants everything to have God in it; he’s lost the ability to reason. And I have no use for religion.

  • LibertyLady1

    At first I wanted to exclaim how lucky we all are to live in a country that permits us to have such a free flow of ideas as in this forum, but then I realized, luck has nothing to do with it. This blogosphere, as the US government, was created in a particular manner quite intentionally. Their purposes may be different, but the framework is similar.So, within the bounds of our own government then, each of us is entitled to express our ideas and have the opportunity to persuade others to believe the same in the pursuit of an ideal; but what currently alarms me is the virulent lack of tolerance that many seem to have for opposing viewpoints. Our own Founding Fathers bitterly debated and feuded over ideology and theology in trying to create the fairest form of government they could; even in disagreement it seems that even they had an underlying respect — if not for their opponents, then for their opponents’ right to express an opposing viewpoint. This is the very crux of our government, and the foundation of our liberties. Therefore, I hope (and pray, actually) that this ideologically fascist storm surge calms itself and a reasoned public debate ensues. A quote I heard recently made me laugh: History is not one damn thing after another — it’s the same damn thing over and over! As a point of comparison for me to this debate, is the recitation of the Texas pledge in our public schools here in Dallas. I was not born and raised here, but my children were, and are expected to say the pledge to the Texas flag after the U.S. pledge in school every morning and at school functions. Whenever I have been present for this ceremony, I stand silently out of respect, but have never been able to muster any allegiance for it. Ok, truthfully, I actively resist. But, I have never discouraged my children from its recitation. I just have a visceral, deep-seated resistance to being expected to say it! Don’t know what THAT’S about!

  • NYScribe

    A belief in God doesn’t keep a person from acting like a “savage”. Indeed, some of the most grotesque, barbarous, uncivilized and violent actions in recorded history have been perpetrated in the name of God, by those who claim to believe in God. Taking religion out of our public sphere will only invite more people to participate in our institutions. Americans will still be free to believe whatever magical superstitions they choose – they’ll just have a more difficult time tyrannizing others with those beliefs. After all, our laws were designed and intended to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority.

  • ctjayhawker

    Wow. I am amazed by the rancor and downright biliousness I see in some of the comments here. I will endeavour not to contribute to them.First, it seems that most people here are, willfully or not, misinterpreting the Establishment Clause. This was not intended to keep religion from “polluting” government. Else, there could BE no government, since everybody (yes, even the atheists) is religious in one way or another, whether they admit it or not. Its purpose is to keep the GOVERNMENT out of RELIGION. Remember, in Jolly Olde England (pip pip!), the State ran the Church, and the monarch was considered to be such by Divine Right. The FFs wanted to ensure this could never happen in their fledgling nation.Now, the Pledge. Leave as is, or “restore” (implying that it was somehow better before)?

  • sparrow4

    Great post, LibertyLady- maybe that last statement is a reflection of true American grit :-)Not only were the founding fathers geniuses in the government they created, they also made sure that it would be a government not just of majority consensus, but the protection of minority rights as well. Prop8 shows how easy it is for a majority to bully a minority. The constitution was also written to protect the rights of the few against the bullying of the many (I’m paraphrasing but can’t remember who said it).

  • AIPACiswar

    ctjayhawker,Gotta love the way you cry against rancor them offer a tidy solution that fits your view of the world perfectly! Hilarious! It is YOUR TYPE that causes the rancor! People don’t want your bs beliefs splattered all over their lives! Get a clue! We are serious, take your frigging God and shove it up your stink hole where the sun don’t shine!

  • mmace1

    “Liberties enshrined in the Constitution” were so enshrined by groups of men and women, thirteen to be exact, barely separated, and scarcely more pluralistic than the sublte variances in Christian traditions. In declaring their independence from Britian, these men and women then declared, and tell us now what sets us apart. “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” Yes, our sacred liberties were eventually so enshrined, but sacred because there then existed a belief, which endures, that these liberties have divine origins. We can no more separate the divine from liberty, than liberty from the divine. The debate is far more complex and far more critical to our national identity than the wishes of a dying man expressed hundreds of years after the root principle was first declared. Focusing the debate on a pledge, rather than our national declaration is the type of dangerous oversimplication that tends to transform fundamentalism into fanaticism. The last evolution our nation can endure is that one. True, religious fanaticism has saddled the world with a perilous and dangerous reality. But we entered the world arena following the above declaration and we would do well to remember that. Also true, the time for national introspection has arrived, but let us focus the introspection correctly. We were not founded in 1954.

  • ebleas

    SeaTigr wrote : This is true. While it does take into account nuclear (or “nucular”, as GWB would say) weapons, it also factors in other non-related technology such as Biosecurity. But it is a subjective measurement that has no strict formula. It’s also very telling that the hands have been LESS THAN 5 minutes to midnight at four other times since the clock was started. And we are still here last time I checked ;-)

  • radrianse

    Time to get rid of the pledge altogether? I would also move to get “In God We Trust” from our currency and the Office of Faith Based Initiatives de-funded.

  • bevjims1

    LibertyLady1 wrote: “The genious of the Founding Fathers is their ability to create a document that is general enough, and yet specific enough, to allow a vast, diverse populace to learn to govern itself through almost any imaginable contingency, while still allowing a considerable degree of personal freedoms.”Hmmm, well, the second amendment does not seem to be clear enough and has lead to a continual disagreement on what it means. Of course back then handguns were not around. But they should have made that a little clearer.LibertyLady1 wrote: “Clearly, as a country we still struggle everyday with knowing how much freedom is too much. ARE we as a country free to add God to our pledges, our currency, our public edifices? (Personally, I’m still debating, though I strongly believe in separation of church and state as a matter of policy.)”The answer is no. The Constitution is quite clear on this in the first amendment.LibertyLady1 wrote: “Is one segment of our citizenry free to insist that we do add it? Yes. Is another group of citizens just as free to oppose it? Yes. Will the form of government with which we entrust our way of life allow us to use due process to make this decision? Absolutely. Because in THIS country, the only ABSOLUTE is that we rule by majority consensus.”Well, not really. I assume you read about provisions of the Patriot Act that were ruled unconstitutional, Florida’s law against gays adopting children was ruled unconstitutional, and many other laws, passed by elected legislatures or by popular referendum, ruled unconstitutional. If we ruled by majority these laws would still be law. But in this country NO majority can overrule the constitution, except by changing that constitution. If you make a law that violates the constitution, it can be struck down by the courts. That is why America is such a stong nation. It sticks to its principles, not the views of the majority which change from week to week. And one of those core principles prevents the Congress, through law, from respecting an establishment of religion, as the law placing “under God in the pledge does.

  • Nevermore53

    “spidermean2 : That will be known a few years from now, AGAIN. Just as it was known whose God was the true one just after those two world wars.”Spidey — You are the most arrogant, discombobulated, uneducated, bigoted, and pompous IDIOT of all!!!Your GOD will deal with you and the likes of you first. Remember, he is going to wipe out EVIL because the rule of peace begins.

  • AIPACiswar

    God out of the Pledge, off of the money, and please please muzzle the idiot preachers they have blathering prayers of ignorance before every session of Congress. Height of stupidity.

  • SeaTigr

    Did the Church sponsor a lot of science? Yes, but only science which the Church felt was not threatening to Christianity. For about 1,000 years the phrase “Ipse Dixit” (He said it) was used to suppress anybody who disagreed with Aristotle – such as daring to suggest that the heavier of two objects dropped from an equal height would not hit the ground first. Honestly, how does gravity contradict Christianity? Although you note this as an exception, I am compelled to point out the Church’s persecution of Galileo for daring to suggest that the Sun does not revolve around the Earth. How about the fervor which the Church fought against the theory of evolution? Should we even get into how the Church held back the advancement of medicine in Europe?There are only three benefits I really see organized religion providing: 1) giving people a sense of community. See Maslow’s hierarchy. 2) urging people to help those less fortunate (which was not tithing – that was the Church taxing people in order to increase its own wealth) 3) forwarding the idea that we are ultimately accountable for our actions during our life. While the third reason is not exclusive to organized religion, OR has been very effective at spreading this idea.Personally, I think the third reason is the single greatest benefit of people believing in a diety. If we are not accountable for our actions, then there is no reason to do anything beyond looking out for ourselves. If somebody has something you want, kill them and take it. Unfortunately, organized religion has proven itself incapable of remaining in the spiritual realm, and insists on meddling with the secular affairs of governance. It’s one thing to allow your religious beliefs to influence your behavior. It’s another thing when your pastor says you’re not a good Christian/Jew/whatever if you don’t vote for a particular candidate, or if you do vote for a particular candidate.

  • ebleas

    ctjayhawker wrote : From Wikipedia:Using reason 2, what is the secular purpose of having “Under God” in the pledge?

  • kengelhart

    spidermean2: “Communists and liberal idiots”Dimwit!

  • bevjims1

    ctjayhawker : “First, it seems that most people here are, willfully or not, misinterpreting the Establishment Clause. This was not intended to keep religion from “polluting” government. Else, there could BE no government, since everybody (yes, even the atheists) is religious in one way or another, whether they admit it or not. Its purpose is to keep the GOVERNMENT out of RELIGION.”Well, maybe you should read it before telling us what it says. It says that “Congress shall not make a law that respects the establishment of religion”. It keeps government out of religion by preventing government from respecting the establishment of any religion, and it keeps religion out of government since no laws can be passed respecting the establishment of any religion.ctjayhawker : “Now, the Pledge. Leave as is, or “restore” (implying that it was somehow better before)? Personally, I say leave it. Am I a Christian? Yes, and proudly so (though not TOO proud. That would be sinful ;-). And, so the latest surveys say, is a good ninety percent of the country. Seems I’m in the majority.”So? The Constitutionality of a law has nothing to do with the will of the majority.ctjayhawker : “If you have an objection to the pledge in its current form, or just an objection period, your child is already NOT REQUIRED to say it.”I hope you realize children have been suspended from school for not saying the pledge and villified by teachers and principles. It is compulsory in almost all school districts. All you need to do to understand this is to go to school and see your child praising Allah as the divinity that protects America. Then maybe you would begin to understand a little how those non-Christians in this country feel. Our ancestors came to America fleeing religious persecution. Forcing children to define “God” as the diety this nation is under on a daily basis in front of school authorities and their peers is religious persecution. Its unconstitutional pure and simple as it clearly violates the first amendment.ctjayhawker : “If you’re one of those idiots who think your kid’s brain will somehow be contaminated by hearing it, no matter the precise phrasing, I submit that you are guilty of just as much “intolerance” as those of us who think it’s just fine the way it is.”Its effect on my child is irrelevant. The validity of a law is not just determined on its effects, it is determined on its constitutionality. Simply being in the majority gives no one the right to violate the constitution. The pledge is unconstitutional. Bring back the original pledge and get rid of this law that respects the establishment of the Judaeo-Christian God as the diety our nation is under.

  • WildWest1

    31 words meant as an expression of patriotism and respect for the United States of America, not religious faith, originally its wording omitting references to God and interestingly, the United States. You can’t force patriotism, reciting the pledge doesn’t guarantee patriotism or faith in a god; “under God” was inserted for the express purpose of endorsing religion and claiming a Republic under the Divine providence of God.The founders kept the Constitution free of references to God, the document mentions religion only to guarantee that godly belief would never be used as a qualification for holding office. Founders made erecting a church-state wall their first priority when they added the Bill of Rights to the Constitution. Benjamin Franklin proposed during the Constitutional Convention that the founders begin each day with a prayer to God for guidance, his suggestion was defeated.Requiring people to recite a pledge and judging those who choose not to recite it, as godless or unpatriotic is simply another avenue for extremists within society to divided a nation and create a false opposition to their extremist ideology that needs relevance.Why not a renewed commitment by Americans of faith to pray at home, in their churches, and with their families and live there personal lives within the guidelines of there chosen faith. If we want freedom to worship and live our lives as we wish, then we can not restrict others rights to do the same without being hypocrites.

  • gaijinsamurai

    Spidermean wrote:****Atheism is a religion coz it competes with and try to undermine other religions. When something talks about God or “no god”; the mere fact that it mentions God, that constitutes a religion.In a basketball game, if you try or allowed to block a player shooting, it means you’re part of the game or part of the competing team. VERY SIMPLE.****Oh come on, spidermean. Atheism doesn’t compete with other religions – there’s no official atheist anti-pope, and many atheists don’t even agree on what constitutes atheism. Atheism is a belief, a preference, not a religion organized around central tenets. I believe that Michelin tires are the best tires widely available in the consumer market. It doesn’t necessarily follow that I worship the Michelin man, or that I have established a tire-based religion by doing so.And as for the half-baked notion that mentioning god constitutes the establishment of a religion is, well, idiotic. [I *know,* I used your favorite word against you! How unfair. Although I made it into an adjective - let me know if you're confused by that.] If, on the other hand, what you’re trying to point out is that Atheists commonly define themselves by the lack of a belief in a Deity, than you have a point, albeit an obvious one. I prefer not to become involved in the debate over the existence of god(s) due to the complete lack of credible evidence on the subject. That’s why I rarely identify myself as an atheist (or more accurately, an agnostic). I simply say I’m not a Christian, which is both accurate and spares me the necessity of having to pigeonhole myself or sit through yet another clumsy and tedious attempt to “save me.”

  • DavidEB

    Some years ago, I read a long article about the origin of the pledge of allegiance, probably in The Atlantic magazine. I was surprised to find that the pledge was not written to embody American ideals, but was written generically so that citizens of any country could recite it for their own flag. When the U.S. adopted it, with some modifications, the originator became indignant at the changes in his language. We’ve been reciting this pledge so long that it feels eternal and somehow part of our national identity. It was never intended to be that way.

  • CivicHumanist

    How about – - -”one Nation under the Constitution”?!As for the so-called “naked public square” imagined by R J Neuhaus & his fellow evangelical & vaticanist fundamentalist neo-cons, have they counted the number of churches in their respective towns & cities? Doesn’t look at all “naked”!!! In fact, it looks exactly as one would expect a “civic republican” square to look – a home & hearth expressive of a plurality of religious “faiths”. And it will be more so – as it may & should be – with the erection of an increasing number of places of Islamic & Hindu religious expression. Of course, that will not be pleasing to the “evangeloids” who treat the Evvangelium as a warrant for authoritarianism & intolerance.

  • bogleech

    “Thank you coz we are the REASONABLE PEOPLE. We have reasons why and how we existed. You guys are still searching and are going nowhere from your search.”WRONG. Scientific understanding grows exponentially. Every single day, more proof of evolution is uncovered all around the world – in exactly the forms and locations that evolution science predicts – and the process itself is completely observable.Physics can completely explain how we exist with no holes, flaws or contradictions whatsoever – no matter what ignorant, unread religious fanatics would have you believe.I doubt you understand even the basic definitions of what you’re talking about, you just repeat whatever internet myths you’ve caught wind of.Also, non-believers are the least dangerous people in America. If you believe that there is no afterlife – that this existence is all we get – then you are the LEAST likely to commit crimes or live unhealthy. It’s common sense.

  • bogleech

    -I must add, however, that the existence of evolution does not IN ANY WAY serve as evidence against the existence of God, and no real scientist thinks that it does.Charles Darwin himself believed in God for over 13 years after he published his discoveries. He lost faith over personal tragedies within his family, not over science. He never once intended evolution to be atheistic. It’s just a part of nature, and if you believe God created nature, then he also created evolution.I’m just saying that yes, science CAN explain how we would exist without him. I’m not saying it’s evidence against him, just that it’s not an unfillable hole.

  • A-Contrario

    How about we chuck the pledge since it is WORTHLESS anyways.1. Any moron can recite a pledge and a pledge should not be used to determine anything because they are JUST WORDS.2. ACTIONS are the true measure of just about everything. I joined the military over 17 years ago and I believe my ACTIONS over that time period speak volumes more than the pledge I took. People will look at my body of work and NEVER question my love of country or my belief in God.3. Pledges are for do-nothing people who crave/need symbolism. I believe in God and my faith is strong enough so I do not care what is said in a dumb pledge.

  • bogleech

    Exactly, atheists are not unified and they don’t go out of their way to attack or oppress religion. They’re just everyday people who don’t believe in anything. That doesn’t even necessarily mean that they actively *disbelieve*….I’m not unreligious because I have anything against religion, but because I see no logical reason for me to believe in something just because other people claim it exists. I don’t see the difference between any of the major religions out there.I don’t care what other people believe, and I wouldn’t tell anyone to their face that I consider their beliefs flat-out wrong…not even a scientologist.

  • mikeynones

    Christianity – The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree…

  • mikeynones

    It was only when I finally decided to read the Bible through from beginning to end that I perceived that its depiction of the Lord God, whom I had always viewed as the very embodiment of perfection was actually that of a monstrous, vengeful tyrant, far exceeding in bloodthirstiness and insane savagery the depredations of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Attila the Hun, or any other mass murderer of ancient or modern history.

  • fairydreams25

    If you research the origins of the pledge, you’ll find that not only has it been amended three times (1923, 1924, 1954), it was not written just to “inspire patriotism” but as a marketing tool to sell flags to public schools across America.

  • bogi666

    The pledge. First, god is not a religion, but is used by the churchianity-religionists for nefarious purposed to bilk their congregations of fools out of their money. “Under God” should serve to remind us of that their exists ideals which should be greater than mans. The religionists have made god in their image and the spirit of the pledge was not to transcend human failures but to enhance the religionists blasphemy. I have to side with the 7 Day Adventists on the pledge, that it impedes my spiritual freedom of worship. The Adventists were persecuted for their refusal to recite the “Pledge” which was legally mandated and subject to law enforcement with jail sentences until 1943 when the Supreme Court agreed with the Adventists.Since we’re on the subject, let’s talk national anthem and its worship of war. The anthem should be America The Beautiful, not the Star Spangled Banner which glorifies Satan.

  • timplausible

    Having Under God in the pledge is in the same spectrum as making Jewish citizens wear a Star of David. It divides the country into “Us” and the evil, other, and de-humanized “Them”. The Pledge equates those who don’t believe in god with those who reject liberty and justice for all. This isn’t just an idea out of sync with the times. It is bigotry. The Pledge in its current form is routinely used as a weapon. People who object to “Under God” are drummed out of office at various levels of government, for no other reason then standing up for their rights as American citizens. People of all faiths and no faith at all fight and die for this country, yet the Pledge lumps them in with supporters of tyranny and rebellion if they do not share the majority’s belief in a nation under god.I applaud the sentiment in this article, but it must be pointed out that “Under God” in the Pledge is not just an anachronism. It is an immoral implementation of state-sponsored prejudice and bigotry. If we are truly to live in a nation with liberty and justice for all, we should not be reciting a Pledge that divides us into factions and slanders a segment of American citizens.

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