J and D's Corner

From the Letters Archive

To:    AV Press

Date: 06/2002

Re:    Pledging Yourself (and everyone else) To Your God




I had a lot of trouble back when they changed the Pledge by adding the words "under God".  I kept stumbling over it, it disturbed the fine rhythm of the time-tested pledge I grew up reciting daily in school.  But there is a factor involved which is much more important than just my own annoyance.


I try to keep my letters-for-publication light, but I couldn't find a humorous way to present this.  Some things are too important to treat lightly.

If you are among the tens of millions of Americans who adhere to a non-Christian/non-monotheistic religion or are non-religious, any impulse to speak out locally on Christian matters is sure to produce great angst. There is always the risk that your closest friends and neighbors may take mortal offense, and for this reason most remain silent. I certainly feel this pressure, but in spite of it I think the following should be said.

It bothers me greatly that in the firestorm of indignant opinions from the Christian community over the 9th Circuit Court's Pledge of Allegiance decision, virtually none show any awareness or understanding whatsoever of the principal being decided. They seem to feel it is an attack on their religion, but it is not.

For a Christian to understand the court's decision, he or she must understand and accept that, contrary to what so many Christians keep saying, a founding principal of the Republic to which we pledge allegiance is that it does not have, and must never have, a State Religion of any kind. This is precisely what the Constitution guarantees all of us, and it does not mean merely that our government cannot advocate Baptist over Presbyterian, but that it cannot through word or deed selectively promote Buddha, or Vishnu, or God, or Zeus, or some belief structure such as Atheism or Scientology. Government must remain strictly neutral, and having kids pledge on a daily basis their allegiance to a particular deity (via the Republic) is not neutral.

Every American, regardless of religion or belief, should understand this principal and treasure it, because it's value is beyond price.