With Flag Day approaching, I can recall back in the early 1950s, there was virtually no
controversy when it came to reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. It was an inclusive,
purely patriotic, nonreligious exercise that was readily recited by all Americans.
It was said whether you were rich or poor, black or white, believer or non-believer. It
was a pledge that fostered unity and helped bring us together during the dark days of
World War II.
That all changed in 1954, however, when under pressure from religious groups,
Congress added the words “under God” to the pledge, that effectively turned an
inclusive patriotic pledge into a religious affirmation.
The end result was that it drove a wedge between believing and non-believing Americans
that divided the country along religious lines that still persist today.
What the religious phrase “under God” unfortunately also accomplished was that it tied patriotism with a belief in God; all of which has rendered the nation divisible where citizens must either compromise their religious freedom or appear to be unpatriotic.
It is time to drop the religious affirmation and restore our original inclusive Pledge of
Allegiance and reaffirm the idea of a “nation indivisible” and a pledge that fully
recognizes the shared beliefs and common aspirations of all Americans.