Americans who went to public school probably know the Pledge of Allegiance by heart. One person asked the internet, “Would you oppose removing ‘One Nation under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance?” Over 9,000 comments ensued.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
1: Freedom From Religion
One person thinks it’s possible to argue both cases but that keeping the phrase would represent most of America’s citizens. “Some might argue that it respects the beliefs of the majority of citizens who identify with a religious faith. This is an interesting question you put forward.”
2: Not So Devoted
It’s about the principle of it all for one skeptical commenter. “It was inserted by Congress in the early fifties as a reaction to the Red Scare. And even though the original Pledge has socialistic origins, I’m not a fan of pledging loyalty to a government. Loyalty to governments can be earned and lost.”
3: Starting Them Young
Regardless of how you feel about its phrasing, several commenters agreed that saying it ritualistically is a little eerie. “My French wife thinks it’s really creepy that such young kids say it in a monotone hypnotic voice daily. I never thought about it until she mentioned it. It was just something we did.”
4: Get It Gone
One person calls themselves an advocate for removing the phrase “one nation under God.” They say, “It blatantly violates the Establishment Clause. Just because people in favor of the addition say it doesn’t specify the Christian god (even though everyone knows that’s what it means) doesn’t make it any more acceptable.”
5: Chilling Traditions
Another commenter calls for removing the Pledge of Allegiance altogether, saying, “It’s creepy and cultish.”
6: Enforcement Issues
Some argue that you don’t technically have to say the Pledge of Allegiance if you don’t like it, but this commenter begs to differ. “You never have to say it, according to the US Supreme Court. Good luck invoking that as a ten-year-old to an uppity teacher. It’s an outdated concept, and I agree it should be removed.”
7: What’s the Point
The Pledge’s verbiage may matter to adults, but most kids admit they didn’t fully process what they were saying. “It’s a lot of words that your average five-year-old isn’t going to understand. Even into the middle school years, I didn’t know what I was doing or saying, or even why.” Another commenter agrees. “When I was very young, I always wondered what Whichit Stands was and why the Republic was for it.”
8: Words Are Just Words
On that note, one commenter argues the repetition of the Pledge basically takes away its meaning. “Religion does that quite well also. Due to frequent repetition, it just becomes words. Something you say because now is the time when everyone just intones the same thing, and you don’t even bother to think about what it’s supposed to mean.”
10: Have That Removed
One commenter dropped a history lesson for anyone who thinks the Pledge is unchangeable. “‘One nation under God’ wasn’t added to the Pledge until 1954. So yeah, it can be removed. And should be.”
11: Bad Religion
One Christian commenter takes it further, saying religious references don’t belong on public buildings and currency. “All are tantamount to government establishment of religion and violate the 1st Amendment. The Pledge is an abomination and should be entirely removed. Our country fought for its independence to be able to be free of pledges of fealty.”
12: We’ve Made It This Far
One commenter thinks the phrase has to go. “Not everyone in America is religious.” Another commenter agrees, “We went 178 years without it. It’s unnecessary and false.”
13: Free to Choose
Although they’re admittedly not American, one Christian commenter believes there should be no reference to God in a testimony of allegiance. “One can only become Christian by making a free choice to do so. This requires society to be secular. For this reason, there should be no reference to God in any such pledge.”
14: Swing And a Miss
Some commenters are more passive about the issue. “I wouldn’t be opposed to it, but it’s not something I really care about either.” Another commenter draws the line at a different tradition. “Singing God Bless America during the 7th inning stretch is an abomination. Thank God I’m a Cubs fan.”
15: Melting Pot
“America is supposed to have a secular government overseeing a pluralist, multicultural society,” says one commenter who agrees with removing God from the Pledge. “It would be great if everyone stopped forcing their religion on other people wherever and however that occurs.”
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