The continuing uproar over the decision of the 9th
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that found the "under
God" phrase of the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional is
much ado about nothing.
The decision was the logical extension of the fight to extend
religions freedom to all Americans – not just Christians.
After all, how can we have freedom of religion if children are
indoctrinated into believing in God from the early years,
throughout their education?
The original version of the Pledge of Allegiance (believed to
have been written by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and
socialist) did not have the words "under God." They
were put in the pledge in 1954 following a campaign lead by the
Knights of Columbus, an extremely religious group and one that I
had the privilege to be a member of throughout my childhood.
We celebrated at the local Knights of Columbus hall, across
from our Catholic Church after many important rites of life
including Baptisms, Holy Communions, Confirmations, and
Marriages. They were good memories that held family and country
in high esteem, and God took a back seat at the parties. God was
in the mix, but somehow wasn’t a big part of our lives. We
were convenient Catholics – religion gave us an excuse to get
together and party. And it turns out we weren’t that different
than the rest of the county.
In fact, studies have shown that most people who do believe
in God, do so without certainty. Most people’s faith is not
that strong, bowing to the more practical reasons for religion
including community involvement, dating, family pressure, and
the desire to give children a moral foundation. Kiergegaard’s
"The Big Bet" theory states that most people believe
in God "just in case." Just in case there is a God and
a Judgment Day they try not to sin in order to get eternal
life. This too, cannot be construed as true faith.
With all this wishy-washy faith in this country why do we
have so many people and politicians up in arms about the
decision of the 9th Circuit to get rid of "under
God" from the Pledge? Politicians, of course, would be
committing political suicide if they weren’t totally disgusted
by this ruling. After all, they have nothing to gain (but a few
true atheists’ votes) if they were to agree with the court.
How would a young, confused atheist boy in second grade feel
when everyone is praying and pledging their allegiance to God?
Left out, and "weird." We must not allow this
persecution to occur, or we would be no better than the Islamic
terrorists that demand you believe in Islam or die. We cannot
allow ourselves to become a closed-minded, religious-fanatic
country. It is enough we have the Christian Right spreading
their hatred and intolerant views on TV and radio. We must stop
the spread of this disease that seeps into our children’s soul
and teaches them the same poor morals that the Reverend Jerry
Falwell and others like him possess. Often times these men do it
for financial, political, or some other personal gain. This, and
not atheists, will be the downfall of American ideals and
In such patriotic times, when our country needs the strength
of God most, how could anyone dare suggest that there is no God?
The fact of the matter is, most people do not really believe in
God as the Bible tells them to. So let’s stop being so
hypocritical and let’s practice true freedom of religion –
including the freedom not to believe.
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