The Pledge of Allegiance and Our Public School System

The controversy over the separation of Church and State has become a main topic of discussion in the past several years. The phrase “under God” which is currently in the Pledge of Allegiance has been the center of this argument. Those arguing for the removal of the statement say it impedes the article of the constitution which states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This statement has been the authority in this case; however everyone seems to interpret it differently.

However, it is undisputable that the mention of the word god is religious in itself. Therefore the reference to the word god in the pledge is against the constitution. The reason being, that it is endorsing the belief of religion over the non-belief of religion. Yet the primary reason it has been allowed to stay in our pledge is because the large majority of the United States population is religious. On further inspection of the statement it becomes evident that not only is the statement religious, but it favors a Christian god in a subtle way that most would not notice. Most other religious institutions do not use a capital “G” to refer to their god. Christianity however does use this to refer to their god, which means the state which makes students stay the Pledge of Allegiance is endorsing a Christian view. Another subtle yet breach of the constitution is that the reference to god in the pledge is singular, thus implying that there is only one god. Once again the statement is favoring Christianity or other monotheistic religions as oppose to other religions which have several gods (polytheism).

Supporters of the statement “under God” have used the argument that the statement is very broad and incorporates everyone, no matter what their religious beliefs are. On the contrary this is far from the truth. Atheists are not included in this statement. What is often presumed is that if these people have no religious beliefs then they should have no problem saying the phrase. However, how would the religious community feel as a whole if they were required to say “âÂ?¦one nation under no GodâÂ?¦” They would be just as outraged as the people are disturbed with the current pledge.

Although the “under God” statement seems like a trivial issue, it has more to do with the whole issue of religion and our government. Government should not be endorsing any religion, in any case. This includes forcing students to say a pledge which includes any religious references, religious statements printed on money, and even religious statements made in public places.

Churches are places where those with religious beliefs can gather and share their views. Everyone is free to practice what he/she wishes in the privacy of their own homes. Religion should be contained to these places of worship. Therefore the government would no longer be favoring one religious view over another. However, when proponents of the current phrase attempt to place their beliefs into government establishments they are impinging on the constitutional rights of others.

The problem with enforcing these constitutional rights is that often these rights are denied until the majority agrees with the problem at hand. Although the “under God” phrase may be breaching the constitution it is extremely difficult to remove it. There are a much larger percentage of religious individuals in the United States, than there are un-religious ones. Therefore as the case has been in much of the history of the United States, the majority will rule even if they are in the wrong. Some examples of these constitutional travesties include the enslavement of African Americans, denial of suffrage of women, civil rights for blacks, and more recently gay marriages. Yet, these problems are far more complicated than the problem of religion and government.

Although the solution to our current predicament is not an effortless one, it is one of the easier issues to resolve. The majority must be convinced that they are breaching basic constitutional rights by forcing students in classrooms to pledge their allegiance to a monotheistic god, and nudging them further to believe a Christian view as well. Nevertheless, removing the statement from our pledge is only the first step. Our government is beleaguered with references to religion. It will take countless debates and court cases to remove them all. However it is the patriotic duty of every citizen to defend our Constitutional rights for each and every citizen of the United States; for this generation as well as the generations to come.

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