Why our government calls upon us to pledge allegiance to the republic "under God"

The government's addition of the words "under God" to the pledge of allegiance in 1954 was a mistake, which should be corrected. Under the First Amendment, our government has no business promoting or otherwise taking steps to establish religion.

I just came across a copy of a sermon delivered by a Mr. Docherty, which apparently was instrumental in prodding President Eisenhower and the Congress to revise the pledge. See http://iltpub.com/blog/a-new-birth-of-freedom/ Upon reading it, I had to lift my jaw off the floor. I can hardly imagine more compelling evidence of why "under God" does NOT belong in the pledge of allegiance than what Mr. Docherty says in his sermon.

The unnecessary insertion of an affirmation of a god in the very pledge that our government calls on its citizens to recite in affirmation of their allegiance to our republic puts atheists and other nonbelievers in a Catch 22: Either recite the pledge with rank hypocrisy or accept exclusion from one of the basic rituals of citizenship enjoyed by all other citizens. The government has no constitutional business forcing citizens to this choice on religious grounds. Yet Docherty made plain that he intended just that, proclaiming that any who "denies the Christian ethic . . . falls short of the American ideal of life." As if he knows.

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I'm very opposed to nationalism, patriotism, and their like, as they do more bad than good in practice (like communism and abortion bans). I'm all for getting rid of the theistic bit in the pledge 'cause it just doesn't fucking go there, but perhaps a better end--of allegiance to ideals, to peace, or whatever--could be better achieved without the positioning of allegiances to even imaginarier things in the way before we get to real work--such as to "one nation, indivisible".

Enh, screw it, let's get the deity part out of the pledge and take a nap.
You don't owe the country any allegiance "just because you were born here". You have the right to leave. You're not six anymore; you get to decide. But if you choose not to leave, then you should honor the country that feeds you more than the ones that don't.
Don,

I agree that even though the politics of it are daunting, the fight should be fought. The House passed a resolution approving the engraving of the national motto ("In God We Trust") and the revised pledge of allegiance (including "under God") by a vote of 410 to 8. Pete Stark of California was one of the eight. My email to him:

Dear Rep. Stark,

Thank you for your courageous vote against House Concurrent Resolution 131 directing the Architect of the Capitol to engrave the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and the National Motto of `In God we trust' in the Capitol Visitor Center.

The government's addition of the words "under God" to the pledge of allegiance in 1954 and adoption of the phrase "In God we trust" as a national motto in 1956 were mistakes, which should be corrected. Under the First Amendment, our government has no business promoting or otherwise taking steps to establish religion. The government certainly shouldn't be proclaiming in a motto on the money it prints for us that it--or we--trust in god. That's just not the government's role. The unnecessary insertion of an affirmation of a god in the very pledge that our government calls on its citizens to recite in affirmation of their allegiance to our republic puts atheists and other nonbelievers in a Catch 22: Either recite the pledge with rank hypocrisy or accept exclusion from one of the basic rituals of citizenship enjoyed by all other citizens. The government has no business forcing citizens to this choice on religious grounds.

Thank you,


Given the politics of the day, we can and should fight the good fight in the political arena without expecting that politicians can often stick their necks out; in the near term our prospects for success are best in the courts. We may well persuade a court that the inclusion of the words "under God" in the pledge our government asks its citizens to take affirming allegiance to the republic runs afoul of the First Amendment's constraint against the establishment of religion.
It's time more politicians show some bark on their hides and do stick their neck out more often!

I live in northeast Wisconsin and you wouldn't believe what the locals are getting away with in "punishing" this atheist for being what he's all about.

No help from the "big boys" in politics whatever. Seems they're afraid they might lose a few votes sticking up for an avowed non-theist. My my, can't have that, now can we? Votes are more important than doing what's morally and ethically right, aren't they?

Of course, the words "under God" is the promoting of religion. And an Abrahamic one too, for all intents and purposes. Who's kidding whom? Does anyone actually believe that going back to the pre-under God days is going to make the United States any less ethical and moral? Our country is in the dismal state it's in thanks, in large measure, to the religious, "family-values" crowd who proved they were a sham, a bunch of hypocrites lacking in character, integrity, and morality. The words "under God" didn't enoble them one bit, did it? It was the "greatest generation" that defeated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan without the words under God in the pledge. Seems we can get along without them just fine, doesn't it?
Greywolf,

I agree we need politicians to stick their necks out more often. They should, at the very least, stand up for the principles of equality and separation of church and state. Beyond that, they should publicly treat atheism with the same respect they accord theism and stop pandering to theists with all sorts of nonsense about theism providing the basis for morality, law, etc.

We can practicably expect only so much from politicians though. After all, a politician who "goes too far" for his or her particular district won't be a politician for long. (Of course, some issues or fights are worth risking reelection.) Important as our politicians stepping up as much as they can is each of us doing what it sounds like you are doing--stepping out and making our views known. The more that we, as citizens, do that, the easier it will be for our politicians to follow suit and support our views. We need to give them support and cover--as well as occasionally kick them in their back ends.
I was surprised to read that atheists are parasites. First, because it was the sermon my daughter was offended by at her mega-church as she was becoming atheist in the past year. Secondly because they would have the nerve to call anyone a parasite being the biggest parasites of the world.

I want there to come a day when their propaganda will stop making me so angry. Though, on the other hand, the fact that it makes me so angry is what gives me the courage to speak up about it.
E Pluribus Unum or Out of Many, One

It was the first U.S. Matto and represented the idea that was our country.

Replased by In God We Trust as a preventative measure to protect us from communists it should be readopted and replace the repressive In God We Trust because it represents what the U.S. should always gear towards and it's citizens should aspire to.

In God We Trust is just another christian sign that is there to continue their propaganda.
"One nation under god.." implies this is the only nation under god. Are all nations heathen?
"government calls on its citizens to recite", "forcing citizens to this choice": The government does neither of these. The pledge is entirely voluntary notwithstanding situations involving social pressure. Some citizens in some circumstances are called on, or required to swear an oath to "defend and uphold" the Constitution but there is no reference to god in the oath. Otherwise, there is no requirement for any citizen to do anything with regard to expressing loyalty to the country.

However, "under god" should be removed from the pledge because it promotes and supports the attitude that one cannot be a patriot unless he believes in god. This attitude offends non-believers who, in turn, react (or over-react) by adopting anti-American politics or just generally hate their country.
You are correct to note that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is voluntary. That observation hardly contradicts the facts that (1) by adopting the pledge, the government has established it as the officially sanctioned way for citizens to affirm their allegiance to their country and has, in that way, "call[ed] on" its citizens to recite it and (2) by adopting the pledge, the government has "forced" nonreligious citizens to the choice of reciting it with rank hypocrisy or accepting exclusion from this customary ritual of citizenship and patriotism.

Nor is this a question about whether some are offended and somehow over-react. We’re not talking about the freedom of individuals to say or do something others find offensive. We’re talking about the government weighing in to promote religion. Under our Constitution, our government has no business doing that--regardless of whether anyone is offended. While the First Amendment thus constrains government from promoting religion without regard to whether anyone is offended, a court may address the issue only in a suit by someone with "standing" (sufficient personal stake in a matter) to bring suit; in order to show such standing, a litigant may allege he is offended or otherwise harmed by the government's failure to follow the law; the question whether someone has standing to sue is entirely different than the question whether the government has violated the Constitution.
Reading the sermon it is clear that, as expected, anti-communist hysteria was used to undermine our constitution. A false dichotomy was broadcast, you were either a god-fearing American or an atheistic communist. To stop communism you had to believe in god like all good Americans.

It was sick, it was wrong. It should have been declared unconstitutional 55 years ago.

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