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Thursday, October 06, 2005

 

Is The Pledge Really Unconstitutional

Undoubtedly you have all heard about the cases involving the Pledge of Allegiance. Spearheading the controversy is Michael Newdow, who first brought a case about the Pledge to court back in 2002. As you'll recall, that case was not surprisingly ruled in Newdow's favor by the San Francisco based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but later thrown out on standing issues by the Supreme Court. Newdow, unable to accept anything but the defeat of the Pledge, is suing again. This time, he is representing several atheist parents who are against their children saying the Pledge because they feel it violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

I find it absurd that anyone who has ever read the First Amendment to the Constitution can make any kind of rational claim the the words, "under God," in the Pledge are unconstitutional. The Establishment Clause reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." My simple question is this, what establishment of religion is Congress recognizing by placing the words "under God" in the Constitution? When the Founders first created the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, they wrote those words to keep the government from creating a national church or religion, as they had experienced under the King. The Founders were not writing those words to exclude any and all reference to God or religion from government. Don't believe me? A close look at the Declaration of Independence (which was written/co-authored by the same people that contributed to the Constitution) shows that the Founders riddled the declaration with references to God, both implied and explicit. How could the same people write one document professing God's name and then create another document with the expectation that references to God's name should cease to exist in government? It's simply a ludicrous claim.

There's no question that the Founders wanted to keep the government from establishing or promoting a religion, but the words "under God" do neither. Some would argue that the words themselves constitute recognizing a religion. If this is so, what religion is being referenced? Who's God? The reference to God doesn't constitute an establishment of religion, because it is so broad we don't know what religion that God is being associated with. Is it a Catholic God? A Puritan God? A Muslim God? The point is we don't know. The Founders were concerned with a single religion being forced on the people by the government, not references to and about religion, such as a non specific God.

To assume the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional, is as ridiculous as asking for all U.S. currency to be taken out of circulation, and destroyed, because printed on it are the words "In God We Trust." The Founders were obviously concerned about religion being forced on the citizens, but unlike Michael Newdow, the Founders didn't expect to dismantle religion, and all references to it, from government.

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