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Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Nashville Chapter
PO Box 210005 . Nashville TN 37221


"Under God" In Pledge Indoctrinates Youth
written by Charles Sumner

It is not proper for the nation's 29 million atheists to be regarded as second class citizens and to have their children told from the age of kindergarten that this is a nation "under God." This is a nation for people of all beliefs.

Recent polls show that the vast majority of Americans do not object to the inclusion of the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Most would probably object if the phrase were "under Vishnu" or "under Allah" or "under no god." Why do separationists protest "under God"? Why do many religious leaders join in this protest?

Our schools are the places where the Pledge of Allegiance is said most often. In this land where we have the right to any beliefs it is not proper that we indoctrinate children from kindergarten age with a civil religion. One does not have to hold the beliefs of the majority to be a patriotic citizen. Speaking about the Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments, Thomas Jefferson said that religious liberty belongs to "the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination."

There have always been religious extremists who have advocated that our government should acknowledge God and the lordship of Jesus Christ. They villified Jefferson for his liberal views. During times of national crisis they have had some limited success in gaining ground. That is how "In God We Trust" got on our money during the Civil War and how "under God" got in the Pledge during the struggle with atheistic Communism. There are active groups now which advocate a theocratic government.

The purpose of inserting "Under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance is described very explicitly in the statement made by President Eisenhower when the inappropriate wording was added. On June 14, 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Joint Resolution of Congress (Public Law 396) adding the phrase "Under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance.

"From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty. To anyone who truly loves America, nothing could be more inspiring than to contemplate this re-dedication of our youth, on each school morning, to our country's true meaning... In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource, in peace or in war." - ---- [President Dwight Eisenhower]

The court decisions on the issue thus far seem to ignore the blatant religious reasons for the change.

People would do well to remember the Golden Rule. It is a concept of many religions. If you were an atheist, humanist, Ethical Culturist, Unitarian, Hindu, would you want your child to be indoctrinated by teachers in someone else's religion from a tender age? Do unto others as you would have done unto you. Government for ALL the people is required to be neutral toward religion.

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