"Under God"

by Wayne Spencer - June 28, 2002

I think the court made the right decision. The phrase "under God" was added to the Pledge in 1954 when the Eisenhower landslide brought the Republicans to power. Interestingly then as now one of the first things they did was to start undermining the Bill of Rights.

There has been a considerable amount of "outrage" heard in the media about the decision but no real discussion. I was a teenager in 1954, but I believed then as now that when used in a public school setting that being subjected to the recitation of one nation "under God" in the Pledge is unconstitutional. Doesn't the addition of this phrase make it a prayer?

Another question came to mind today about the whole idea of the Pledge. Why is it recited every day in schools across America? Are we afraid that our children have pledged their allegiance to another country since the day before? Certainly most if not all children love their parents but we don't ask them to pledge their allegiance, or love or devotion to us every day.

While speaking to a very good friend yesterday she had some insight on this matter as well. Her point was that by having to recite the Pledge every day it trivializes its meaning. It becomes just meaningless words to our children. It should be reserved for special occasions.

One of my biggest concerns at the moment is the way the media and our congress has handled this decision. The mainstream media has blatantly taken sides in this matter without any serious discussion. In spite of this the CNN internet poll showed that 24% agreed with the decision.

The congress has also shown very little backbone in this matter. I find it difficult to believe that not a single member of congress has openly stated agreement with the decision.

Senator Byrd. in particular, has been outspoken in his opposition of the decision spouting forth the fact that congress has always started each day with a prayer and has a chaplain on staff. What he fails to consider is that people in congress are adults (so we have been told) and have accepted the custom of the opening prayer whether or not they believe in God.

However, the courts decision was based upon a teacher leading a classroom of students in the Pledge containing the phrase "under God." And in that respect I agree that the court's decision could not be other than a finding of unconstitutional.

In a broader sense, even though I have been a Christian all of my life, I am offended whenever I find religion and politics mixing. I have always been offended by the Pledge for this reason. I am also offended by certain patriotic songs such as God Bless America. I am equally offended when in church on Sunday a patriotic song of any kind is sung or the American flag is displayed there. Just as I would be offended to see a cross or other religious symbols displayed at the county buildings.

Though the framers of our Constitution began their meetings with a prayer and the Preamble to the Constitution refer's to God they were very careful to make it clear in the very first amendment to the Constitution that "Congress shall make no law establishing religion". The Preamble is not law, the first amendment is. So even though I agree with Senator Byrd on a number of other issues I think he is dead wrong on this one.

To receive Wayne's e-mail commentarys click here


Copyright © 2002 by Wayne Spencer - This article may be freely distributed with this copyright notice attached.