The American Humanist Association (AHA) is starting a new project that I can get behind. Called ‘Don’t Say The Pledge’, the project highlights the original pre-1954 Pledge of Allegiance and argues for the removal of the words ‘Under God’. The AHA is asking people to not say the pledge until it is restored to the original version and I will not be saying the pledge.
“Under God” compromises the patriotic message of the Pledge
“Under God” wasn’t part of the original Pledge of Allegiance. Those two words were added to the Pledge in 1954, when the country was in the grip of McCarthyism and communist witch-hunt hysteria.
With “under God” added, the Pledge is not a statement of patriotism. Instead, extremist preachers and politicians point to the language to validate their view that those who don’t believe in God don’t belong.
Religious or not, don’t say this altered Pledge
Until the Pledge is restored to its inclusive version, we can take it upon ourselves to refuse to participate in what’s become a discriminatory exercise. (Note: A Supreme Court case – West Virginia vs. Barnette –gives public school students the absolute right to sit out the Pledge, for any reason. Public schools might not tell you about this right, but if anyone questions you about sitting out the Pledge, contact the AHA’s Legal Center.)
Whether you are religious or not, you can make a statement for true inclusiveness. Support liberty and justice for all, and support indivisibility. Stand up for America by sitting down during the Pledge of Allegiance until the inclusive version is restored.
I’ve previously written about how McCarthyism led to the addition of God to the pledge. In recent court cases, the courts have said the pledge is voluntary so it doesn’t violate the separation of church and state.
Just because one can’t be forced to say the pledge doesn’t mean the pledge is innocuous. It treats the non-religious as less than patriotic – which is a lie. I think the religious bigotry inherent in the current wording of the pledge is a fundamental separation of church and state issue.
So I will choose not to say the pledge or stand for it until it is changed. I recommend you do the same.