September 16, 2005

One Nation, Under Gods

Here's how the Christian Coalition is covering the lawsuit which is challenging the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance (a 20th century construct) in classrooms in Sacramento, California. This will be a case that newly confirmed Chief Justice John Roberts will undoubtedly decide on.

The basic claim mounted in defense of the pledge is that those two words ("under God") do not "establish religion" which is, under the Constitution, the litmus test. In defense of those two words, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's words are used to support their position. She said that eliminating references to divinity in the nation's symbols, songs, mottos, and oaths "would sever ties to a history that sustains this nation even today."

Mat Staver, of Liberty Counsel, is quoted saying this: "If the Pledge established or tended to establish a religion, then that would have happened during the past 50 years of its existence." According to Christian Coalition story, Staver goes on to cite "that despite the fact the Pledge has been recited in classrooms, private meetings, and public events, not once has it tended to establish a religion."

Of course, that is exactly what it has tended to do. Repeated referral to what everyone understands as the Christian divinity "God", in classrooms, private meetings, and at public events, is designed specifically to advance the goals of Christian organizations in this country that are working to imbue the American government with Christian tenets and values, as defined only by them. If it doesn't serve their purposes in establishing a religion, why are they so vehemently defending its use? If it is not the Christian God referred to in the pledge, then which God is it? Who added those two words to the pledge? Muslims? Not even close. It was the membership of the Knights of Columbus (hardly a non-sectarian organization) that strongarmed Congress to make the change in 1954.

I have a modest proposal which would test their proposition that the pledge of allegiance is not intended to advance any religion. Let's amend the pledge to read "under all Gods" and see how they react to that.

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