July 01, 2002
Just Sittin' on the Fence...
I am the ultimate devil's advocate in the whole Pledge of Allegiance/Under God debate. I am at odds with myself over the issue, go figure.
- I disagree with changing it because I have used this pledge all of my life.
- I agree with it as it was put into the Pledge in 1952 as a small cog in the Cold War to show up "those godless Commies." It really is not a long-standing tradition and was put there to endorse a specific religion. This last bit IS unconstitutional.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
- I disagree with it because I was raised in the church and still believe in God, though not in the same manner as my parents.
- I agree because I don't think God cares what is in a pledge to a country. In the Bible, Jesus tells the disciples to give to God what is God's and give to the nation what is the nation's. That's paraphrased, of course. The Pledge belongs to the country. Everyone here should pledge allegiance to his or her nation. God's pledge should never be given as part of an empty ceremony. If someone says it in a pledge to a nation without believing it, God has no use for it in the first place.
- I disagree because I don't want God removed from this Pledge for purely selfish reasons. I mean it when I say it.
- I agree because I also don't agree with people thanking God for awards and sports wins. That insinuates that God was against the people who lost. If our nation is "Under God" what does that say about our opinion of other countries?
- I disagree because one person is using my tax money to remove two words from the Pledge of Allegiance. It just seems wasteful to me for a thing that seems so small.
- I agree because I have heard others on my many frequented web sites expressing a desire to not have it there.
- I disagree because I am worried about where it is going to lead. Our currency has "In God We Trust" printed on it. Our Declaration of Independence has God in its first section:
"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."
How far are we willing to let it go?
- I agree because, as I stated before, these things were mostly inserted for political reasons in the 1950's. The obvious exception being the Declaration of Independence. I seriously doubt that anyone is attacking that document anytime soon.
So, I will just sit on this fence and enjoy playing tennis with myself using the special devil's advocate court that has been set up for me by Dwight Eisenhower, one man in California, a court of law, the combined might of the American media, and all of you out in weblog land.
Posted by at July 01, 2002 09:41 AM
Speaking as someone who has my mind clearly and strenuously made up on this issue, it's nice to see someone giving so much thought to making up his mind. I appreciate your ability to see both sides of the fence.
One thing I would say about your points is that I don't think the Declaration of Independence is an appropriate document to discuss in this context. Yes, the Declaration mentions God, but it isn't really a state document. It's a document of ideals, and its purpose was to say, "Hey! We're not going to take this any longer, and this is why!" There was no United States of America at the time the Declaration was written.
The Constitution, on the other hand, is a document laying out the law of the land. The Constitution says, "This is the United States of America, and these are the laws and regulations by which our country will be ruled." That document was crafted specifically with no religious references.
Just to clarify, that bit in the last paragraph about what the Constitution says was obviously a major paraphrase.
Thank you for the praise. I make a habit of playing devil's advocate with myself on issues. most of the people I know are so certain about their opinions, I just have to be able to make them think about them sometimes.
I have to disagree about the Declaration of Independence. I feel that it was the first official document of the U.S.A. It is more an a letter to the king detailing grievances. The document declared the intention of the colonists to form a Union and gave vague details as to the nature of that Union.
Granted, it was written before the groundwork was laid for the country, but I feel that is was the cornerstone that set the foundation in place. YMMV, IMHO, etc...
Yes, while the Declaration is exactly what it is named, it was only the opening salvo. It took how long before we had the Constitution? 13 years? Something like that? (I'm pre-caffeine, still.)
One interesting Founding Father is Franklin -- he was quite a religious man who was basically told to keep it at home when it came to the creation of the country. That he willingly did so shows that many of those men felt the country was greater than their personal beliefs. That those beliefs helped form this great country is something we shouldn't dismiss outright, but then, morals can be distilled without the lens of religion.
If you don't like the under God part then skip that section and don't say it, nobody is forcing you