Does America need/sp/Pledge, `under God'?

Question Of The Month

April 24, 2004

I am a 77-year-old woman who attends church four or five times a week and believes that the phrase "under God" does not belong in the Pledge of Allegiance.

It wasn't there when I was in school, but I think I received a good secular education at school and a good religious education at home and in church. The year after I graduated from high school, the United States won World War II, without "under God" in the Pledge.

However, after end of the war and during the Red Scare hysteria, "under God" was inserted. Therefore, when I taught school, I felt compelled to say those words every school day, and resented it.

Although children aren't forced to say these words, some must decide between the possibility of ridicule and betraying their own beliefs or their parents' beliefs.

Let's keep the Pledge, without the words "under God"; "liberty and justice for all" is a great goal.

Lucille Coleman

Baltimore

Patriotic pledges and songs are necessary to help citizens understand what our nation stands for, respect its symbols and value its veterans and soldiers.

And the two powerful words "under God" help us acknowledge that God is the foundation of this great nation.

But our Pledge of Allegiance is currently under attack by the judicial tyranny of our federal courts as liberal judges are interpreting the Constitution to fit their own ideology.

What's next? Will they remove "In God We Trust" from our currency? Will they sandblast every government building in the United States that displays any reference to God?

Our Founding Fathers were reverent men who never intended the separation of church and state to create a godless government; their goal was to prevent any law that would establish one religion for all.

Are we to accept the dictatorial policies of some renegade judges who show little regard for this great nation and its religious heritage?

We the American people, "one nation under God," must take a stand to preserve our historical practices and protect the principles underlying our government.

Betty J. Papson

Phoenix

The phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance turns the oath into a religious proclamation that, when forced upon students, is the equivalent of state-sponsored indoctrination.

In public schools, we must foster curiosity by encouraging students to question, not ordering them to declare their patriotism.

An informed citizenry is the lifeblood of a democracy; we must not constrict these young minds, but must give them the tools to form their own opinions regarding issues such as citizenship and religion.

The Pledge is antiquated and not conducive to democracy; the "under God" phrase violates the separation that must exist between church and state.

Let's do away with both of them.

Daniel Poling

Baltimore

More than ever we need the Pledge of Allegiance, and we definitely need it to include the phrase "one nation under God."

As our men and women are risking their lives daily to protect our nation from terrorism and ensure security for those fortunate enough to remain at home, it is unbelievable that there are citizens here, enjoying the freedoms our forefathers died for, who are unwilling to place their hands over their hearts and respectfully recite the Pledge.

As a former school principal, I found it uplifting to visit a classroom each morning, and join with the teacher and children as they faced the American flag and said the Pledge.

When our children were so upset by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, they found comfort within the walls of our nearby parish church as our pastor led them in prayer.

Love and respect for our flag, our country, one another, and our God is a legacy I've inherited and certainly hope to pass on to future generations.

Barbara Coakley

Catonsville

The first clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution clearly states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

By inserting the two words "under God" into the purely secular Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, the United States was firing another shot in the Cold War with the Soviet Union and a system that we labeled "godless Communism."

But these two words are offensive to millions of Americans who do not worship the Judeo-Christian God, and they should be removed.

Ronald B. Markham

Baltimore

Adding "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance makes as much sense as adding "under God" after "We the people" in the Constitution.

In both instances, it adds a theocratic component to our tainted democracy, something the Founding Fathers strived to avoid at all costs.

What's the problem with theocracy? Look at Iran and at what may be the future government of Iraq if the Shiite Muslim majority has its way.

And, as for the Pledge in general, why do we need it?

Patriotism has, in too many instances, become a shroud in which politicians have wrapped themselves to conceal questionable agendas.

Arthur Laupus

Columbia

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