by Lincoln Sayger
The news recently has been filled with discussion of a court decision declaring the words "under God" in the American Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional. I have a question, and a few thoughts.
If our government decides to remove the reference to a higher power from the Pledge, what will be next? Our money? "In Daschle We Trust"? It is an interesting question. Perhaps "In Congress We Trust". I know many merchants would never accept such coinage. They don't trust Congress.
To look at this matter in a more serious light, we must consider several factors: the actions of our Founding Fathers, the matter of what constitutes "God", and the logic behind calling the phrase in our Pledge an establishment of religion.
When I say the actions of our Founding Fathers, I am not discussing their intent. Many say we don't know the intent of the Founding Fathers. We do know from the Federalist Papers what the intent was, but that is another matter. The philosophy is clear from the wording of the documents themselves. This nation declared its independence with, among others, these words: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights," and continues, stating that governments are established to protect these rights. The philosophy was that rights are not ordained by governments but by God. The Founding Fathers chartered the government of the united sovereign States under the concept that rights come from God.
Which God was it? That point is not settled by the Founding Fathers, which is why the first amendment they made to our Constitution dealt with government's relationship with religion. Since they chartered the government with the prominent inclusion of God, it seems illogical that they would then remove God from government in the Constitution. No, the First Amendment says "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion," that is, establishment as a nominalization of the verb establish, not as a noun naming an entity. The amendment denies Congress the power to establish a national church like the one in England at the time. The word God applies to several religions, so the clause cannot be construed to promote a specific religion, and therefore doesn't violate the establishment clause.
What is God? I, and many others, would define a god as the thing that has the influence to tell a person what to do; the thing that a person will obey. Under this definition, everyone has a god. A person's god may be Jehovah, money, Jesus, sex, Buddha, another person, Allah, or power. Even atheists have a god. If nothing else, a person's god is self. Me, Myself, and I controls what someone does. Some gods control people's behavior because the people love the god, while others control people's behavior by threatening to withdraw from them or hurt them. Everyone has a god.
What is the logic behind having God removed from the pledge? It is an attempt by a very vocal, very small minority to push their beliefs on the majority that does not agree with them. It is the spread of the secular humanist philosophy -- nay, religion. The logic behind this effort is a lie. This is not the Constitution versus religion. It is one religion trying to suppress the thoughts of all other religions. The popularly accepted estimate is that ninety-five percent of Americans believe in some sort of higher power -- a god. Why, then, should five percent of the population be allowed to tell the rest of the nation not to mention God? Since every person serves something, self if nothing else, why can't we say God? This is not about protecting the rights of atheists. It is about suppressing the rights of those who believe in God.
What can we do about this action? We can, of course, write our congressmen and women. Will this work? Perhaps. Public opinion is a driving force in government these days. Write or call Congress, if you so desire. What else can we do? We can remind Congress and the minority that wants to remove God from the nation that we are here. Wake up, you great silent majority! Wake up and speak up! Whenever the pledge is recited, use your free speech rights and say those words, loudly if necessary. If you want to send a stronger message, you can do this: Every time you write a letter or email, don't sign it with Love or Sincerely. Sign it this way:
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