Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Enquirer Readers' Views: God should be optional in pledge
Thomas Amann writes in a letter:
Seems the easiest and most American way to resolve this issue over the Pledge of Allegiance would be to rule that reciting either way, with or without "under God," is acceptable. If someone doesn't want to say, "under God," that's fine with me. Just don't try to tell me that I can't say it.

Thomas Amann, Mount Washington

No one is telling you Mr. Amann that you can't say the Pledge any way you wish. What the lawsuit says is that 1) the law changing the Pledge in 1954 is unconstitutional, which it clearly is, and 2) that public school teachers/administrators (the State) can't lead children or anyone in this form of the Pledge. The original version is fully legal and actually pretty good.

The Pledge currently is optional. No student has to say it or any part of it. That is not the issue. They issue is that the law changing the pledge was a law that established a religion. That religion does not have to be an organized or an institutionalized religion, but belief in a "god" is by itself a religion. That is what most Christians, and other followers of major monotheistic religions, just don't grasp. I can worship a tree or a mountain. That is protected under the first amendment. If the government says that there is a "God," note the upper case "G" used, that would be a direct contradiction to my tree worshiping religion. I know many Christians like to think that other religions they don't know about are meaningless, but under the law they are no more meaningless than their own religion. That does not even begin to cover those of us, me included, without a religion. I honestly hope that this issue does not create the bigoted and theocratic fervor it did last year. I also hope that when it reaches the Supreme Court, that the Justices don't play politics or rely on their religious beliefs and rule in favor of establishing a state religion. I fear that monotheism will be the adopted de facto.

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