David Waters makes a novel case for removing the phrase “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. The person who’s credited with the idea, Presbyterian minister George M. Docherty, has passed on. And so too has the era which elicited adding the phrase to the Pledge. In short, it’s an anachronism, no longer relevant in today’s pluralist society.
Of course, I agree. Atheists have long supported removing the phrase for the very reasons Waters cites. But I believe the Pledge itself is an anachronism. It’s unnecessary for those who agree with its words, and irrelevant to those who don’t. It’s not a pledge that makes America worth living in and fighting for, but the ideals that founded it. We would do better to educate fellow citizens why those ideals make for a superior society, rather than force them to memorize words and kid ourselves we’ve strengthened the country’s foundations somehow.
The website Fundies Say the Darndest Things! (linked to the left) is a treasure trove of absolute batshit crazy statements from the religious faithful. While being stupendously funny, they’re also a mite sobering when you realize that they’re made in full seriousness.
While perusing through this month’s entries, I read the following gem:
11. Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?
Sarah Palin: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.
Sarah Palin, in case you’ve been buried in a cave for the past week, is John McCain’s recent choice for running mate, and potential Vice President (not to mention President…). The “oopsie!” is of course not the obvious grammar mistakes, but the fact that the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance was not added until 1954. And it was not written by the Founding Fathers, but by a Christian socialist minister in 1892. Curiously, the source page for the above quote was deleted, but nothing ever truly disappears off the internet. A simple search of the page on Google retrieved it from cache.
Frankly, it doesn’t much surprise me that the evangelical Christan Palin holds this mistaken view of American history. Ask any such Christian, and they’ll offer up a wholly revisionist history of the country’s founding, claiming, among other things, that it was established as a Christian nation (it wasn’t) and that the Ten Commandments inspired American law (sorry, no good there, either).
Palin holds a worldview that doesn’t seem all that dissimilar from the current president’s. Is that a good thing? I guess it depends on your view of how the past 8 years have gone.