In 1954, during the Cold War, the United States added a two-word clause to the Pledge of Allegiance to separate itself from the atheist Soviet Union. “Under God” are just two simple words, yet they have stirred up much controversy recently. The Bush administration asked the Federal Appeals Court to change the decision that declared the pledge unconstitutional, but the Court refused. Only 9 percent of Americans polled believe the words “under God” should be removed from the pledge. The majority has the right idea to support leaving the “under God” clause in tact in the pledge.
No one is forcing students in schools to recite the pledge. If a student is uncomfortable during the pledge, he or she can sit down and not participate or can recite the pledge omitting “under God.” It should be a choice left to the individual without pressure from teachers.
Individuals interpret situations differently and each student has the right to interpret “god” to mean the god of his or her religion. God is a general term and can be interpreted as such. The pledge does not favor one religion over another, is not offensively worded, doesn’t harm anyone and for years has been stated without any problems. Although some atheists might feel offended that it is in the pledge, they can opt to not say it and no one is forcing anyone to believe the words.
If the courts do decide to change this, where will it end? The words “In God we trust” are printed on American currency. After the president makes a speech he states, “God bless America.” Should these things also be changed? If the decision is made that the harmless pledge is unconstitutional, this idea will snowball, continuing to alter many other situations. It would cost court time and money to change the currency.
Reciting the pledge is a long-standing American tradition. It is a patriotic ritual that has been imbedded in the culture for years and to change it now would be limiting the nation’s ability to express patriotism.
University Wire — Rutgers U.