Screw Flanders: 'Under God' detracts from unity

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

These two clauses are mentioned first in the First Amendment for a reason: They are important. They mean something to me.

As an American I expect the government to be unbiased toward its citizens. However, in state sponsored schools around America, the idea of monotheism is being promoted.

The purpose of saying the pledge of allegiance in schools is to unify the children. It is meant to bring patriotism. But how can the pledge, implying that there is only one god, unify atheists, monotheists and polytheists? If certain people do not believe in monotheism they should not have to exclude themselves from participation in something that is meant to unify people. Atheists and polytheists want to participate in the pledge, they want to be patriotic with their peers. However, because of the monotheistic implications of the pledge, they have to exclude themselves.

The pledge of allegiance was originally an easy chant to accept. As you know, it didn't include the words "under God" until Eisenhower added them in 1954.

"Millions of our schoolchildren will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty." If our nation and our people have a dedication to "the Almighty," are atheists and polytheists still part of our nation? Are they our people? YES (see free exercise clause).

Some say God is part of our history. They're right. The reason we have God all over our history is because the Puritans were a very religious people. The funny thing is that history is repeating itself. We originally came here to escape religious persecution. Because some individuals did not agree with the majority, they believed they could make a nation where one was free to believe what he (or she) wants.

From this we have the idea that congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. Using the term God in a setting such as a public school respects the establishments of monotheism and neglects atheism and polytheism. If we are to recognize monotheistic religions, we have to recognize all religions, or do the right thing and leave religion out of it.

Why not take "Under God" out of the Pledge? It has only been in there since 1954. The original Pledge was drafted by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, in 1892. It read as follows: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and (to) the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." If we want to stick to "tradition" why not say it as it was originally drafted? If we did, it would include everyone, like it was meant to do in the first place.

To fully understand the Pledge, read about Francis Bellamy; he was indeed a true patriot. He originally wanted to include the word "equality" in the Pledge, however he knew that the state superintendents and his committee would object because they were against the equality of women and African-Americans.

If you want to say "Under God," it's fine. Just don't teach it to people in public schools. Say it in your church, say it at home, say it with a friend, or even while you're at school.

Some people say that if we take these two words out than we will be promoting an atheistic way of life. NO, if we take these two words out, we will be promoting individualism and free thought (free exercise). We will not be promoting the belief in no God.

Just because I don't have a Jesus fish on the back of my car doesn't make me an atheist. Religion is up to the individual. If you need someone else to tell you what to believe, there are plenty of institutions that will be glad to help you. The U.S. government should not be one of them.




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