“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy, and as a student in the 60’s I was required to stand for the recitation of the Pledge.
In 2004, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals held that students aren’t required to stand for the Pledge, but I wish it would be outright banned in public schools, because it’s against our democratic principles to compel children of diverse religions or no religion to recite a pledge affirming the existence of God.
In 1954, in response to the Communist hysteria of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the problematic words “under God,” creating the 31-word pledge we recite today.
Only two words but they undermine our secular and pluralistic democracy, and make a mockery of the First Amendment. It’s anathema to compel our vulnerable and impressionable children to recite a pledge that in some cases goes against their religious beliefs. There are millions of schoolchildren whose families believe in religions that worship many deities, and there are millions who are taught by their parents that there’s no God. The Pledge honors a monotheistic deity, and seeks to render invisible citizens who belong to polytheistic religions and atheists and agnostics.
We don’t live in a theocracy, and we aren’t a Christian nation, and it’s an outrage that in 2021 we are still reciting this Pledge in our schools, in Congress and public gatherings.
We are not one nation UNDER GOD, and there won’t be liberty and justice for atheists, agnostics and members of polytheistic religions until the objectionable words “under God” are stricken from the Pledge of Allegiance.