About once a year an atheist somewhere makes headlines by suggesting that the phrase “under god” be omitted from the Pledge of Allegiance. Unfailingly such appeals are met by a chorus of protest from the pious, the uneducated and the uninformed: “What is this world coming to? These liberal atheists have no respect for history or tradition! How dare they suggest we take God out of the pledge!”
Actually, no one is suggesting that God be taken out of the pledge, merely that He never should have been inserted into it in the first place.
Too many of us have fallen for the revisionist project to create the myth that America was founded as a Christian nation. But such was not the case. In fact, one of the beefs the founding fathers fathers had with England was that it forced them to worship a named, specific God.
Here’s what the founding fathers had to say about religion:
- “(Every man) ought to be protected in worshiping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.”
- “The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.”
- “The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”
- ” Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses. . . Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.”
- “The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”
- “…an amendment was proposed by inserting the words, ‘Jesus Christ…the holy author of our religion,’ which was rejected ‘By a great majority in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohammedan, the Hindoo and the Infidel of every denomination.”
- “Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man.”
- “It is not to be understood that I am with him [Jesus] in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist” and “Religions are all alike – founded upon fables and mythologies”
- “The authors of the gospels were unlettered and ignorant men and the teachings of Jesus have come to us mutilated, misstated and unintelligible.”
- “Lighthouses are more helpful than churches”
- “If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. These found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here [England] and in New England.”
- “During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.”
- “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.”
- “In no instance have . . . the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people.”
- “I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my church… Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifiying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity.”
The Original Pledge of Allegiance
That we even have to debate this in the first place is evidence of America’s dirty little hypocrisy–that we pledge allegiance to a flag, yet reject that flag’s Constitution.
The original pledge was written in 1892, most likely by James B. Upham.
It read as follows:
That’s it! No “god.” In fact there wasn’t even a specific mention of which flag until the Ellis Island era, when concerns arose that the influx of immigrants might misinterpret the words’ intentions as a pledge of loyalty to their original flags in the Old World, thus stalling their assimilation.
The words “under god” were finally smuggled into the Pledge a full 62 years after the original had been penned. This change was unconstitutional, as it violated the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Reverend Michael Newdow explains why:
“The First Amendment states ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.’ As I understand it, this resulted from the Framers’ awareness of the persecution and animosity that inevitably accompanies state religions. With this in mind, they made the decision to ensure religious freedom by keeping the government out of that sensitive area. Personally, I think this was a good idea. And even if I didn’t, it’s one of the fundamental rules of our society. Thus, when I see our Pledge of Allegiance containing the words ‘under God,’ I see a gross violation of one of our foremost Constitutional mandates.”
President Eisenhower authorized the change anyway, undaunted by such trivial pieces of paper as the U.S. Constitution. To assuage those who did give a rat’s ass about the Constitution, Eisenhower offered this bit of propaganda:
“In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.”
Not only were Eisenhower’s actions unconstitutional; the words he used to justify them were historically and factually wrong. Most of the founding fathers were deists–they believed vaguely in some higher power, but rejected the notion “He” was paying any attention to what happened on earth, much less that he would intervene on our behalves during wartime if only we pledgd our allegiance to Him, as Eisenhower absurdly implied.
Another man of God, Reverend Barry Lynn, recounts what was really going on here:
“Back in 1954, we got a little politically correct during the McCarthy era. Everybody had to prove not just that they loved America, but that they also loved God. We got patriotism and religion confused. All the court did [Wednesday] was to say to Congress, ‘You have the right to write patriotic affirmations. You don’t have the right to take positions on matters of faith and religion because that’s up to the American people and the religious institutions of our country.’ “