Should "Under God" be in the Pledge of Allegiance Essay Example
Once upon a time, in a land called the United States of America, there was a communist threat. This created confusion upon the land. An unwanted point of view arose, and it was that god would get rid of the communist threat. However, this could not be possible. To deal with the event, a once-great pledge was changed. The pledge of allegiance was altered, and it was not for the better. The pledge was originally written by Francis Bellamy on September 8, 1892. He wrote it to commemorate the nation’s first Columbus Day celebration, and he planned to publish it in the famous magazine at the time, Youth’s companion. The original pledge did not include the phrase “under god”. It was “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." In 1954, President Eisenhower convinced Congress to add the phrase “under god” to the Pledge of Allegiance in response to the communist threat of 1954. So, since 1954, it has been “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” (Greenberg, Slate). The phrase “under god” should not be in the Pledge of Allegiance because it violates the Constitution, divides rather than unites Americans, and does not include all US citizens.
The first reason “under god” should no longer be used in the Pledge of Allegiance is because it violates the Constitution. A contributor to the Washington Post, a national newspaper, explains, “Though the Supreme Court in 1962 ruled that there will be no mandatory prayer in school, the Pledge directly goes against that law. When the words “under god” were introduced by President Eisenhower, he proclaimed: “millions of school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our Nation and our people to the Almighty.” What Eisenhower was saying was that every day, students would be praying to god.” (Greenburg, The Pledge of Allegiance). The addition to the pledge was added as a response to the communist threat in 1954 (Click, Communist Control Act of 1954). However, freedom of religion was added to the US Constitution in 1791. “Our country's founders -- who were of different religious backgrounds themselves -- knew the best way to protect religious liberty was to keep the government out of religion.” (Sullivan, Your Right to Religious Freedom). A communist threat should not have the power to overturn the Constitution and the ideals America was built upon. The reason the United States is so prosperous is that every citizen has freedoms that no one can take away. But by making a connection to god in the pledge of Allegiance the first amendment is being compromised. One of the best things about the United States is that it contains a wide variety of individuals who may have different religious feelings from what the Pledge of 1954 offers. The wide variety of individuals across all fifty states have contributed to the success of the US. The impact of compromising the first amendment in this way is that it might separate the United States by religion and individuals’ points of view about religion.
Another reason the phrase “under god” should not be part of the pledge is because it divides rather than unites Americans. According to Debate Wise, a platform where distinguishable authors such as Yale professor Amy Hungerford contribute to, “In a recent survey conducted by Pew Forums, it was found that around 70.6 percent of Americans are Christians including Catholics, 5.9 of Americans believe in another religion other than Christianity, and 22.8 were atheists. That means nearly 89 million people may get offended by the Pledge of Allegiance every day.” (Zhang, DebateWise). Using the words “under god” means that a god must be accepted by Americans. Since not all people believe in god, it does not provide consolation and unity. Instead of uniting people, it splits, because the pledge does not support people who disagree with the religions it endorses. America's people should be free to choose whatever they believe in. They should not be excluded simply because they don’t believe in god, or believe in a different form of god. Barry Lynn, an advocate for the separation of church and state continues, “Back in 1954, we got a little politically correct during the McCarthy era. Everybody had to prove not just that they loved America, but that they also loved god. We got patriotism and religion confused.” (Lynn, Patriotism and the Pledge). This proves the point that the connection to god is not relevant because patriotism and religion are two different topics. Patriotism is the love for a country, and religion is the love for god. The two should not mix because there is no need to. The love for the United States of America is what helped to get over the fear of communism, not the love of god.
Some might argue that including “under god” in the Pledge of Allegiance is part of the “American way of life.” An article from the Washington Post included a statement from George Docherty, a reverend from a presbyterian church who has a very strong opinion on whether or not “under god” should be kept in the pledge. He said, “To omit the words ‘under god’ in the Pledge of Allegiance is to omit the definitive factor in the American way of life … If you deny the Christian ethic, you fall short of the American ideal of life. (Siegal, The Washington Post). ” The American ideal of life is not simply one group’s ideal. There are multiple people of different ethnicities, religions, and genders that live in America. A possible reason the opposing side has a different viewpoint is because of how powerful the United States is. Because of the successes in previous wars, some may believe that we should not change, even if it is for the better. It is no longer the 1950s when the phrase “under god” was added to the pledge. There are now immigrants who are helping improve America. So if there are Americans who are not Christian, then the “American way of life” should not include only Christians. To further explain why the phrase “under god” should not be in the Pledge of Allegiance, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reminds us, in a volume titled, Your Right to a Religious Freedom, “Our country's founders -- who were of different religious backgrounds themselves -- knew the best way to protect religious liberty was to keep the government out of religion. So they created the First Amendment -- to guarantee the separation of church and state” (ACLU, 2020). There is no valid connection between Christianity and the American way of life. The original Americans were Native Americans and they were not Christian. The settlers from Europe who first came to North America were not the first Americans, therefore not making their religion a part of the so-called “American way of life”. There should not be a specific religion attached to the American way of life because people of different religions, ethnicities, colors, and more have contributed to the success of the United States. The Pledge is a pledge of allegiance to the United States, not to god. While god is important in the eyes of some Americans, a pledge to god should be a private act and not one that is expected in a tribute and affirmation of patriotism. “Under god” should no longer be in the pledge of allegiance because it violates the Constitution, divides rather than unites Americans, and is not inclusive of all US citizens.