Editorial: Pledge causes division

While patriotism is running at an all-time high due to Sept. 11 and the approaching July 4th holiday, students in nine western states may have to stop saying the Pledge of Allegiance. A Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday that the Pledge, which includes the words, “one nation under God,” endorses monotheistic religions and therefore is unconstitutional.

No one wants to admit that President Eisenhower may have crossed the line in the sand between church and state in 1954 when he added the words, but the truth is, he did. Whether the United States is a great nation does not depend on Jesus, Buddha or Mohammed. The United States is a political entity based on military and economic might, and has nothing to do with religious affiliation. Removing the offending words from the pledge will insure that the separation between church and state is observed.

Centuries ago, when America was founded, it was decided that religious freedom would be a bulwark of its society, and it is wrong to require children or teachers to recite a pledge that may not mesh with their personal beliefs. The separation between church and state is part of the Constitution, and the phrase under question is in direct violation of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, according to a Associated Press article Wednesday.

However, it could be months before the ruling takes effect. The appeals process may be long and tedious, as lawyers try to convince various judges that all Americans should acknowledge that only with God is the United States a great nation. That may or may not be true, but it is wrong to force children, and education professionals, to profess a monotheistic faith they may or may not feel. By recognizing diversity and freedom, the United States will continue to be a great nation.

Let people make their own choice on what makes America great. Whether it’s religious belief, military might or economic boon, America can be great, with or without God.