A disservice to God and country

Posted: Sunday, August 04, 2002

Having let the dust settle on the matter, I think that the Ninth Circuit Court made the right choice in insisting that the phrase "under God" be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance in order for the pledge to pass constitutional muster.

The use of "under God" is actually a disservice both to the republic and to God. It falsely gives the impression that the state should be subject to a form of worship, and that the U.S. as a country should be tied specifically to the Christian God.

"Under God" implies that God is responsible for most of what our elected and non-elected officials have done, and is thus blasphemous. Don't blame God for what those weirdoes get up to. And it is part of a less than honorable misuse of the Godhead to sanctify particular political ideologies and economic theories. It conjures up disgraceful 19th century images of corrupt clerics having taken great bribes to tell their working class followers "this strike is against God" and other such rubbish.

If we must have a public declaration of loyalty in our schools every morning, I suggest we return to the original words of the Pledge as written by Frances Bellamy, a Christian minister who lost his job for having pointed out (correctly) that Jesus was probably some sort of socialist (if you doubt it, reread the Sermon on the Mount). Before these words were altered by Congress in 1954, they were rewritten by his immediate superior, who objected to racial and sexual equality. But they are the perfect pledge for the America of today, promoting unity while reflecting the reality that people of many different political, religious, and social convictions are all equally Americans.

"I pledge allegiance to my flag,

and to the republic for which it stands,

one nation, indivisible

with equality and justice for all."

Then, let's actually make a country like that.

Kenneth Burch


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