I recently received one of those emails that get passed around the Internet like head lice or fleas. This particular email was written in response to a lawsuit to remove the words “under God” from our national Pledge of Allegiance, and it made the claim that 86% of Americans believe the United States is “one Nation under God,” and therefore the other 14% of us should be ignored. The claim may very well be true, but it neglects two very important things:
- The United States is not ruled by the whim of the majority. Not even an overwhelming majority. The United States is ruled and safeguarded by our Constitution, with supporting laws passed by Congress and as interpreted by the Supreme Court. Congress is given certain authority and forbidden all other.
- The Constitution of the United States specifically forbids having a state religion. For this reason, the United States can never be a “nation under God.”
Here’s an excerpt from the letter. I have reformatted it to work better in this space, but I have not changed the text. All typos and any other mistakes were in the original.
Do you believe that the word God should stay in American culture?
This is not sent for discussion. If you agree, forward it… If you don’t, delete it. I don’t want to know one way or the other. By my forwarding it, you know how I feel.
NBC this morning had a poll on this question. They had the highest Number of responses that they have ever had for one of their polls, and the Percentage was the same as this: 86% to keep the words, IN God We Trust and God in the Pledge of Allegiance,14% against.That is a pretty ‘commanding’ public response.
I was asked to send this on if I agreed or delete if I didn’t. Now it is your turn. It is said that 86% of Americans believe the word God should stay. Therefore, I have a very hard time understanding why there is such a mess about having ‘In God We Trust’ on our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance. Why is the world catering to this 14%?AMEN!
If you agree, pass this on. if not, simply delete. In God We TrustI VOTE to Keep it “IN” !!! ……… and tell the 14% that while we of the 86% understand that they have a right to their beliefs, this is overwhelmingly an item that is not up for debate.
Not up for debate? How arrogant can a person get?
Since 1789, the United States has never been a “Christian nation” or a “nation under God.” Neither has it been appropriate for our money to say “In God we trust.” Since 1789 we have been a nation under the Constitution of the United States of America, which clearly forbids any state religion. Without a state religion, we are not and can never be, “a nation under God.”
Unfortunately, our Supreme Court has made the ridiculous ruling that these mottos have cultural significance and are not religious, so they remain on our money and in our official Pledge of Allegiance.
The writers of our Constitution knew better than to put God in charge, because He doesn’t speak clearly so everybody can understand. As a result, just about everybody has a different idea about what God wants and even who God is. (At least 14% of Americans have concluded He doesn’t even exist.)
Many of our founders had come from Europe in the first place to flee persecution by nations that thought they were “under God.” As has been said many times before, “It’s not so much God I have trouble with, but please deliver me from His followers.”
Any nation “under God” quickly becomes literally uninhabitable for all but followers of the particular religion or denomination in control, and even those members have to be very careful what they say or do. If they say the wrong thing, they can go to prison or even face execution. Saudi Arabia may be the best current example of a nation “under God.”
Alternatively, think of the new “Islamic State.” Wherever they have power, they persecute and murder not only Christians and unbelievers, but even other Muslims who happen to be the wrong kind. The Islamic State leaders are Sunni Muslims; Iraq is 70% Shiite Muslim.
The difference between the two is about like the difference between Baptists and Methodists, except that Muslim extremists of both kinds carry weapons while only a rare 21st century Christian extremist shoots an abortion doctor. (And even the Christian extremist who carries signs at funerals saying evil things like “God Hates Faggots” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” is, thankfully, rare in this century.)
Remember back 227 to 400 or so years ago when you couldn’t even live in most of the original 13 American colonies if you were a member of the wrong Christian denomination. If I remember correctly, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island were the only exceptions. (I am not a historian, so I may have forgotten another one or two. Please feel welcome to correct this assertion.) I believe Massachusetts was Catholic. One or two of the others were Presbyterian, and I think at least one was Methodist. If you weren’t a member in good standing of the ruling church, you were not welcome. You were likely either to go to jail, be beaten, or to be expelled from the colony to deal alone with hunger, disease, and/or marauding Indians.
Rhode Island was an exception. It was founded by Roger Williams, a Baptist preacher who happened to be my direct ancestor through my maternal Grandmother. He had been run out of several colonies for being a Baptist, so he founded Rhode Island on the principle of religious freedom. If I remember correctly, the Quakers also founded Pennsylvania on the basis of religious freedom.
Even after the United States was formed under the original confederacy in 1776, this situation continued for 13 more years. Moving from one state to another was risky if you didn’t agree with the rulers of your new state about their religion. Only with ratification of the Constitution in 1789, which forbade any state religion, was this situation rectified. Since that time, we have never been “a nation under God.”
Even in spite of Constitutional protections, George Bush, Sr. was still President when he was asked something about atheists. He replied, “No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God.”I heard it and saw it live on television. This should have scared you almost as much as it did me. If he can take away my rights with a few words, yours could be next. Fortunately, we all still have the protection of the Constitution.
An atheist is just somebody who doesn’t believe God is real. That’s all. There are good atheists and bad atheists, just as there are good and bad Christians; and we have the same Constitutional rights. And yes, most of us in the United States are patriots.
The writers of our Constitution left God out of it for some very good reasons, and Congress has no right to try to put Him back into government by adding such nonsense to our money and our Pledge of Allegiance. The words “under God” should NEVER have been added to the 1954 version of the Pledge, and they should be removed immediately. Many millions of people love and pledge their allegiance to the United States who cannot, in good conscience, repeat the official Pledge as it now is. I am one of those people.