This Is So Last Week,

Wednesday, July 03 2002

This is so last week

, but I needed to make a comment.

"A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is an unconstitutional ‘endorsement of religion’ because of the addition of the phrase “under God” in 1954 by Congress."

The common argument I’ve been hearing and reading supporting the ruling almost always includes the phrase “separation of church and state”. The argument usually goes further to suggest that “separation of church and state” is a constitutional right.

The term “separation of church and state”, or anything even remotely resembling that phrase appear no where in the United States Constitution, and that includes the Bill of Rights, and the 11th through 27th ammendments.

Thomas Jefferson used the phrase in response to a letter from the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut dated January 1, 1802, nearly fifteen years after the Constitution was signed.

The First Ammendment to the Constitution (ratified in 1791) states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Given what I know about the Constitution, I can’t see how the word “God” in the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional. No one is forced to utter the Pledge, and furthermore, using the word God in the pledge does not prohibit the free exercise of religion, threaten freedom of speech, or discourage the right to peaceably assemble.

You can believe in no God and retain all of the rights granted in the Constitution. Uttering the phrase does not reduce your right to be agnostic or atheist. It might seem stupid and pointless if you don’t believe in God, but it doesn’t threaten you in anyway. Taking offense to something you don’t believe in is like me taking offense to Martians. I don’t believe they exist, but boy do I get offended if I read a book or see a movie with Martians.

That’s my rebuttle against the “separation of church and state” argument, and whether or not it’s unconstitutional. How do I feel personally?

I believe in God, and I believe in one Nation under God. I would, however, prefer that that phrase not be uttered mindlessly at city council meetings. The second commandment prohibits taking the Lord’s name in vain, and to me, this includes using the word or any form of it as an exclamation, profanity, or in something like the Pledge, which in and of itself has lost it’s importance because of mindless, rote repetition.