“One Nation”: Why I Omit ‘Under God’ When I Pledge My Allegiance

You’ll probably want to sit down before you read this.

Sigh, here it goes.

I, Laura Shodall, don’t say “one nation, under God…” when I say the pledge of allegiance. 

There, I said it. And the reason may surprise you, but most of all I hope that it will make you think deeply.

I don’t omit those two little words because I am an enemy of Christianity (I’m not. I’m a practicing, baptized believer). I don’t do it because I’m a liberal yuppie (not that, either), and I certainly don’t omit them to cause contention or trouble within the church or my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s not about not wanting to “conform” or wanting to be progressive for the sake of standing out.

The phrase “under God” was not in the original pledge. It wasn’t added until 1954, when Eisenhower signed the bill allowing its addition to become a certified law. The phrase was only inserted to fuel the war on Communism during the 1950s, in an effort to rally America’s children and citizens against the “godless” communists.

I know. Mind. Blown.

As a firm believer in the complete separation of church and state, the addition of “under God” strikes me as a breach of that established separation. This nation was not founded on Christian principles, and a large Christian presence in this nation does not somehow make this fact. Numerous scholars and historians have debunked this notion, so WHY does it continue to persist?

If you have the time and patience to leaf through our Constitution, you will never find any mention of God, Jesus Christ, or Christianity. Christianity is in no way the established religion of the United States. Article VI even outlaws the required passage of a religious test in order to hold political office. If we’re really a “Christian nation”, why would we allow non-Christian to hold office on the federal and state levels of our government? Seems a bit contradictory to me.

“But what about the great and illustrious Christian founders of this great nation?!”

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it wasn’t as simple as that, and there are many holes in that argument.

Many attempt to use Washington as an example, but…it’s a poor example. Washington’s sentiments were mostly deistic. He argued that religion was the source of moral behavior, but he did not practice or believe in all Christian principles. He didn’t even agree with communion and would often forgo it. He’s what present-day Christians would call a “Cafeteria Christian”: people we hear the preacher condemn in his sermons about the danger and foolishness of picking and choosing which scriptures to follow.

John Adams was Unitarian.

Thomas Jefferson merely admired Jesus as a moral teacher.

I support the First Amendment right of the freedom of religion, and I think the forced reciting of “under God” takes that right away from many. That being said, I respect the rights of others as they proudly proclaim that this nation is under the Lord. You go, Glen Coco. You do you. I fully support you, and I in no way look down upon you for choosing to leave it intact.

I only ask that you extend me the same courtesy as I choose to omit that statement.

God Bless America.

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