Pledge should omit ‘under God’
A letter to the editor recently pointed out the “correct way” to say the Pledge of Allegiance, focusing on the phrase, “under God.” As he noted, this phrase was not added until 1954. When I was growing up, in school we all recited the previous version, which properly observed the constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state, with no reference to God. I would note that the U.S. did not observe any pledge until 1942, and such a requirement is not mentioned in the Constitution. There is nothing sacred or inviolate about the pledge; it has been revised four times since originally introduced. It is interesting that the original version was written by a Christian Socialist named Ralph Bellamy. Its introduction to schools represented an intent to sell more flags and magazines to students as a celebration of Columbus Day.
In recent years, there continue to be court cases of children removed from classrooms and subjected to ridicule for not reciting the pledge, even though a 2010 appeals court decision held that saying it must be voluntary. For me, the previous three versions that I grew up with are fine and impinge on no one’s First Amendment rights. I taught my children (all raised in the military) to proudly stand and recite the pledge, substituting “under law” for “under God.” That way, they avoid the spotlight and are able to uphold our family’s spiritual belief of finding their own way to a higher power through study of philosophy, science and religion.