Restoring the Pledge & Ceremonial Deism

A federal judge in Sacramento ruled Wednesday that reciting the Pledge in public schools is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. The ruling was immediately denounced by conservative religious groups, and is certain to be appealed. U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales vowed that the Justice Department will fight to overturn the ruling. As a substantive issue, the Pledge ranks right up there with flag burning. Congress added the words “under God” in 1954 at the suggestion of President Eisenhower. This was at the height of the communist witch hunt, at which time the public equated communism with atheism. A half-century later, we might note, the chief enemies of freedom are far from Godless.
–Robert Park’s e-newsletter What’s New? 9-16-05

What’s wrong with the addition of God to the pledge? Who cares? It’s ceremonial deism, remember? It’s been recited over and over again so many times the name of God has become an empty syllable. The reference to “God” in our national motto is “a form of ‘ceremonial deism'” that has “lost through rote repetition any significant religious content.” (Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668 (1984), 716-717.)

Oops. Maybe that’s something wrong with it.

Government prayers or any government religious activity robs it of its meaning. It becomes perfunctory, like filing your income tax or paying your water bill. The mixture of religion and government damages both. It turns the government into a sub-deity of its own and it turns religion into something that stirs the human heart about as much as putting coins into a drink machine.

Stripping the name of God of its meaning is only the first problem with the current pledge.

The pledge of allegiance was rewritten in the McCarthy era of the early 50s and signed into law by President Eisenhower in 1954. The phrase “one nation, indivisible” was replaced with the more (at the time) politically correct “one nation under God.”

The Pledge needs to be restored to its original language. It is vastly more important that Americans stand united–indivisible–rather than be divided by religious issues. The founding fathers could have put references to God in the US Constitution, but they did not. They left out those references for a reason. Even back then the fledgling states were somewhat religiously diverse. The nation certainly is now. Those religious differences have the power to divide us, it fact they have the power to destroy us, and the founding fathers knew that.

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