By Anna Gleason
God. Not a bad guy, I guess. I don’t really know; I’m not a religious person. So why then do I have to say, “one nation, under God,” in the Pledge of Allegiance, or have to see, “In God We Trust,” on the U.S. dollar bill?
Now, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to have to say the word “God,” not in the slightest. I have no problem whatsoever with religion, but to me, it doesn’t seem fair for everyone to have to say the same thing.
Look at it this way: when the pledge was originally written in 1892, the words “under God,” were not included. It wasn’t until 1954, during the McCarthy era and the “red scare,” that Congress felt it pertinent to add this little tidbit to the pledge. The last time I checked, however, the Soviet Union has been dissolved and the Cold War is over. So why are the words still there?
I mean no offense, but making people say something that they may not believe in kind of seems a bit like intolerance to me. Couldn’t there be an alternate pledge? There is a different oath you can take when you’re sworn in if you’re an atheist. If they don’t make you put your hand on the Bible and “swear to tell the truth,…so help you, God,” so then why should we be forced to say the word “God” when saluting our flag?
At present, Congress has said that the pledge is unconstitutional, but the ruling won’t be put into place until it goes through an appeal system, and it will only be good for certain states such as California, Arkansas, Arizona and others.
Religion is a very touchy subject, and there are a slew of different religions being practiced in our country today. But it appears as if we aren’t tolerant of them. America is a melting pot, a field of dreams where people come to make it big, fulfill their destinies, or even flee from horrible circumstances.
With the exception of Native Americans, no one here can really say they are a “native” because we aren’t. None of us have roots that go all the way down in the soil; most of us have ancestors that came across an ocean or two to get here. So, we should all be treated with equality, whether it be in religion or other areas. And correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t most of these ancestors come to our country to get away from authority figures who were forcing them to see things their way and practice their religion?
All I’m saying is that different people believe different things, and the pledge that we say at baseball games, in school, and at so many other events should be tailored to everyone. The current pledge only has roots in Catholicism. It was the Knights of Columbus that pushed to have the words put in the pledge in 1953. That’s right, sorry to burst the bubble, but it really was only one religious group that backed this proposal.
So then, why not go back to the way things were? The pledge seemed to have worked just find without this phrase for the first 62 years of its use, and things were a lot more conservative back in those days.
It’s time to mesh, meld, mold or whatever you want to call it. Stop being “different” and start being one. More than likely, there will never be a day where everyone agrees and believes the same things, but we should at least be sensitive to what others believe. Who knows, you might learn something if you take the time to find out about someone else.
By Shannon Patrick
America has incredible diversity of religion. Many of these religions have some sort of God. I believe that putting “In God We Trust” on all American currency is simply a reminder for some our greatest people in American history, such as Abraham Lincoln.
The saying on monetary bills, “In God We Trust,” started out on coins in the 19th century by popular demand from U.S. Christians. In 1956, legislation made it mandatory that all currency, both coins and paper, were to display this saying. The president approved a joint resolution of the 84th Congress in 1837 to allow the phrase to be on the currency.
Having “In God We Trust” on American currency is just one way of expressing our First Amendment right to free speech. As an American, I do not want someone telling me not to believe in or trust God. I found a recent poll online that claims 90 percent of Americans approve of having the saying on our currency. It would thus be hard for the remaining 10 percent to try to have the motto taken off.
Even though God is mainly seen as a Christian belief, there are many other religions that I’m sure have some sort of belief in a god.
Now there remains the fact that some people do not say “one nation, under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance. People who do not believe in God often do not want to say that line. However, there is no obligation or law saying that they must utter it. I don’t think it should be taken out simply because of my religion and personal beliefs.
If someone doesn’t want to say the pledge of allegiance, including saying the phrase “under God, one nation” then they shouldn’t be forced to. They can just sit down, or skip repeating the line.
“Under God” was put in the pledge by the Knights of Columbus, who thought it was appropriate since it was taken directly from President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
Of course, I wouldn’t want to insult one of America’s greatest presidents, nor do I have a good reason not to say the Pledge of Allegiance.