The critical thinkers who replied to my letter both falsely described the pledge as being "forced" upon schoolchildren. Wrong! The pledge is voluntary, and should remain as is. Those who disagree should be more tolerant and respect the diversity of those who wish to include "Under God."
Mary Noble's last few points to ponder are indeed amazing. She quotes Adler as if he were the final authority on the spirituality of the Nation's first leaders, yet opinions vary among theologians. Many say most or all were Christians.
She quotes Franklin, not realizing that reason supports faith. See "The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel.
Regarding Noble's Thomas Jefferson quotes, in one he was referring to the God of the Bible, who is God of the universe, and in the other, Jefferson says we should question God's existence. I agree. Anyone who doubts God's existence should sincerely ask God to reveal Himself. Jeremiah 29:13 says if we seek God with our whole heart, we will find Him.
Thomas Jefferson, architect of the immutable, impenetrable, indestructible wall of separation between church and state, acknowledged God when he wrote, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and have been endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights," in a government document called the Declaration of Independence. I guess Jefferson suffered a brain cramp that day.
On July 3, 1776, John Adams, adding a few bricks to Jefferson's wall, said Independence Day would be "commemorated as the day of our deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward, forevermore." Obviously, critical thinker Adams wanted to make sure God didn't get any credit for what the 99 44/100 pure secular state had achieved on its own.
Noble quotes Washington saying the clergy shouldn't be a part of the Government. I agree. No one wants a theocracy, and neither did Washington, but he did say, "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." No doubt he was referring to the deist Bible. And maybe God was a nickname for George's cocker spaniel, Godzilla.
Since 1789, in order to insure that the state remain a 100 percent, absolutely, positively God-free zone, chaplains have opened each Congressional session with prayer. Surely, these chaplains have all been deists, and their prayers usually go something like this: "God, we are glad that we are critical thinkers, so smart that we don't need you. We have wisely built an immutable, indestructible wall of separation between church and state. Please stay on your side of the wall. Amen."
In 1812, Francis Scott Key, knees jerking in a right-wing kind of way, wrote our National Anthem. It says, in part "And this be our motto: In God is our trust."
In 1863, in concluding the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln said "This nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the peoplem shall not perish from the earth." I guess Lincoln forgot his critical thinking cap at home that day.
In 1952, to add razor ribbon to the top of the wall, in Zorach v. Clauson, the Supreme Court ruled "The First Amendment does not say that in every respect there shall be a separation of church and state. Otherwise, the State and religion would be aliens to each other - hostile, suspicious and even unfriendly."
In 1963, in Abington v. Schemp, the Supreme Court, where the Ten Commandments hang on the wall (state side), reactionary Justice William Brennan wrote that reciting the pledge may be no more of a religious exercise than the reading aloud of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. On a bad hair day, the Court also recognized that "religion has been closely identified with our history and government."
America has the greatest religious freedom in the world because of our Christian heritage, not in spite of it. Revisionists spinning history to justify eradicating all references to God and disenfranchise the majority are the ones needing to do some critical thinking.
Guy J. Crockroft
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