POLL: Should 'Under God' Be Removed From Pledge?

A Massachusetts family will face a judge this week to ask to remove "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.

For generations, it has been a tradition for students across the country to start the day by placing their hands over their hearts and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

The controversy over the words "under God" in the pledge - added to the original text by an act of Congress in 1953 - is almost as much of a tradition as the pledge itself. Recently, a Massachusetts family reportedly asked a judge to force their school district to exclude the phrase during recitation, according to a Fox News story.

The family members, who consider themselves atheists, are reportedly arguing that the phrase violates "equal protection" laws and will face a Superior Court judge this week.

It's not the first time a first amendment case about the pledge has come before the courts: in the 1943, the Supreme Court ruled on behalf of Jehovah's Witnesses who argued forcing their children to say the pledge in a public school violated their right to religious expression (the families felt the practice amounted to idolatry).

In today's poll question, we're asking: Do you think the words "under God" should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance? Does the pledge discriminate against those who don't believe in God? 

Let us know what you think by answering our poll question and writing in our comments section.

Diana February 21, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Rolly, religious freedom means that everyone gets to practice their religion (or lack thereof) and that no particular religion is owed any special deference. Expecting people to "assimilate" shows a profound misunderstanding of the concept. I don't believe it belongs in there, and of course neither did Francis Bellamy, or he'd presumably have included it. It's just plain rude to alter a dead author's work.
Diana February 21, 2012 at 04:58 PM
That's mighty Christian of you, David.
DannyBoy February 21, 2012 at 05:04 PM
David, Your rant is really uncalled for and crosses the line.
David Marsters February 21, 2012 at 05:25 PM
To bad D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Take a hike!!!!!!!!!!!
Diana February 21, 2012 at 05:47 PM
David, take a deep breath and ask yourself what would Jesus do.
Don February 21, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Jesus knows this country was founded on Christian beliefs. He might tell you to take a hike Diane, can't fool the Lord.
Chris Caesar February 21, 2012 at 07:01 PM
What is your rationale, Kelly?
Chris Caesar February 21, 2012 at 07:18 PM
How was the country founded on Christian beliefs?
DannyBoy February 21, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Don, I have to disagree with you: there is no mention of Judeo-Christian values in the Declaration of Independence.
Diana February 21, 2012 at 07:50 PM
John 13:34, Don. I suspect that if Jesus were here, he'd ask people to stop being so hostile and claiming it's on his behalf.
Julie M February 21, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Amen, Diana!
Kelly Ilebode February 21, 2012 at 09:16 PM
I wanted to respond with an educated response so I did a bit of research....and learned a lot lol......Here is the very brief History -The Pledge has changed four times in its history and was originally written by Francis Bellamy, who was a baptist minister and Christian Socialist..."Under God" was added in 1948 and was instigated by Louis Bowman, in which "he" took it from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address (wow, learn something new everyday). The Constitution is actually a "godless" document and I believe the intent was for it to remain that way. Yet, in reading and looking at many other the government documents God is in the majority of them. Many of our founding fathers were Christian and I believe that they "built" this country based on their christian beliefs - (BUT that is my thought process. having not been able to sit and have tea with anyone of them) So, I have no basis for this but reading historical documents. That being said I am a Christian and believe with all of my heart that there is one God. I pray in good times and bad, and constantly ask "what would Jesus Do." Because of my belief, I have learned that "the greatest of these is Love" so I tolerate and respect others. ....I am in a bit of a quandary now.....THANKS A LOT CHRIS!!! :(
Chris Caesar February 21, 2012 at 09:25 PM
:) If I didn't thrust readers into existential crises, I wouldn't be doing my job.
Chris Caesar February 21, 2012 at 09:26 PM
It was my understanding that a lot of the Founding Fathers were deists and, for some, outright atheists, though I am sure there were Christians as well. Thomas Jefferson comes to mind as someone particularly skeptical of religion.
Kelly Ilebode February 21, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Well, your grace from me is that I like how you do your job - this is very thought provoking and appreciated. I love a good debate! :o) when respect is given from all sides. I agree that Thomas Jefferson was extremely skeptical but he was 1 person....in doing the review I did this afternoon (when I should have been blogging I might add lol) there were many more that out weighed Mr. Jefferson... Bottom line is that America is a melting pot of EVERY types of religions, cultures and races. We must tolerate and respect otherwise we will not be respected or tolerated ourselves. (still stand by my christian beliefs though *wink* )
Diana February 21, 2012 at 09:34 PM
I'm sure that the founders varied wildly in their religious beliefs. After all, millions of people identify as Christian (or Jewish, or Muslim, or any other organized religion) and vary wildly in their beliefs! Presumably some of them were genuine believers, some were "Christian" in the sense of it being the prevailing cultural norm of the time, and some were non-believers. What they very clearly and demonstrably WERE is against the establishment of a state religion. "God" is not a religiously neutral term. If we tried to replace it with "Yahweh", "Allah", "Krishna", or "Flying Spaghetti Monster", then the meaning would be changed. That means it fails the establishment test.
Diana February 21, 2012 at 09:43 PM
I'd like to give a shout to Liz Whitelam's outstanding post on the Reading Patch site, noting that when we get all hung up about whose chosen deity should be referenced, we not only lose sight of, but actually defy the spirit of the really important part of the pledge: "indivisible, with liberty and justice for all"
Kelly Ilebode February 21, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Actually "Yahwewh and Allah" would work for me as a Christian as they are names for God :o) ( not so much the Flying spaghetti Monster.) Not sure if links are allowed in this chat but Great article that I found today from the New York Times Magazine....titled How Christian were the Founders http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/magazine/14texbooks-t.html?pagewanted=all
Diana February 21, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Kelly, you're right, those all refer to more or less the same deity. But suggest changing it to Allah. Go on, I dare ya. ;) And of course it wouldn't solve the problem of marginalizing people who believe in Krishna, FSM, or any number of other deities, and the people who don't believe in any. Personally, I'm a huge fan of links. :)
Kelly Ilebode February 21, 2012 at 09:57 PM
And actually I have to say that my "belief" is that Religion is a teaching and traditional (I am not religious) - I am a Christian which is NOT a religion but more of a way of life - through the teachings of Jesus....not sure if that makes sense...which is why I appreciate Chris posting this question, because it reminded me of who I am...
Kelly Ilebode February 21, 2012 at 09:59 PM
"indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" 100% agree Diana!
Kelly Ilebode February 21, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Toooo Funny Di :o) - Could You imagine what these posts look like if Chris asked how people felt if we changed it to Allah!!!! (pssssttttt - You go first....I will be right behind you!!! lol ) NOT!!! (hehehehehe)
Diana February 21, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Oh, I certainly can. :) Chris, does your job come with riot gear? ;)
DM02148 February 21, 2012 at 10:19 PM
I've got nothing against God....it's his fan club I can't stand. The Pledge of Allegiance is an expression of loyalty to our flag...to our country! The mere fact that the word 'God' poses a dilemma to any American citizen in regard to their willingness to partake in such a pledge warrants its removal. Furthermore, Francis Bellamy's original work should never have been modified; by all accounts, it was written as a simple campaign for patriotism, not for or against any religion. I believe, too, that Jesus would likely not be very pleased about this argument 'in the name of God,’ and I’d also be willing to bet that Mr. Bellamy would be equally upset about his artistic work having been butchered. Where lies the ‘separation of church and state’ that our country’s forefathers so sovereignly revered?
Chris Caesar February 21, 2012 at 10:23 PM
No riot gear, but my fifth hospital visit is covered for free! I kind of disagree - I think referring to the Abrahamic God still reflects a certain predilection toward the western religious tradition. If we imagine it as "One Nation, under Vishnu," I think people might flip out about that, too.
Diana February 21, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Thank you Kelly! Again, my post was just a (poor) paraphrase of Liz's, which is very much worth a read.
Diana February 21, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Personally, I'd be a huge fan of a change to "one nation, under the Constitution". I think we should all be able to agree on that.
Nizzi Digan February 22, 2012 at 06:16 PM
It is a historical fact that this country was founded in. Why remove something that is in the DNA of what United States was all about from the beginning?
Chris Caesar February 22, 2012 at 09:35 PM
It was only added to the pledge in the 1950s, though.
brendan February 24, 2012 at 03:20 PM
founded on religouse freedom, witches (pagens) burnt on a stick in europe, isnt that why we came to america... to escape that?


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