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January 18, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Not Over or Under God
Mike Cubelo
September 27, 2005

Is the Pledge of Allegiance meant to be act of patriotism or of religious faith? A recent Greenville News editorial believes that it should be both. However, the "founding father" of the Pledge of Allegiance, Francis Bellamy, did not include "under God" in his original version and he was a Baptist minister. You would think that if Rev. Bellamy wanted us to express our faith in his pledge, he would have done so.
The sermon-like News editorial claims that "under God" was added to the pledge "to reflect a national heritage" where "liberties come from a higher power than any man or government." A more practical historical view is that politicians used religion in their propaganda battle with "godless communism" during the 1950s. It was part of a political trend that even put "In God We Trust" on our dollar bill.
A half century later, the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union are gone, but we still hold on to the communist-era relics of "under God" and "In God We Trust." These obsolete propaganda terms appear to be risky now, especially during these terrorist times of religious fanaticism that claims God is on its side and not ours.
The Greenville News fails to understand that our national heritage is really one of struggle in trying to bring citizens of different cultures together. Rev. Bellamy wrote the pledge soon after the Civil War, and he wanted us to pledge that we are "one nation, indivisible."
Adding a religious element to the pledge divides Americans and echoes our heritage of bigotry towards others. A public school teacher is a government employee who should not be conducting an organized allegiance of faith, be it a pledge or a prayer. That is a practical endorsement and establishment of religion by the government in our public classrooms. All children should be able to join their teacher and classmates in a pledge of national allegiance just as Rev. Bellamy envisioned. Let's keep the pledge what it was intended to be -- an act of patriotism and not an act of faith.

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First of all, the Pledge--complete with a straight-arm, Nazi-style salute--was written by a self-proclaimed national socialist who openly espoused what he called "military socialism." Second, there is nothing "patriotic" about pushing children--as young as 4 or 5--to pledge their allegience to a government and country that they don't even have the faintest conception of. . . .

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