You’ve probably heard by now that the Supreme Court is being asked to rule on the constitutionality of having “one nation, under God” in the pledge. My position here may not be what you’d expect if you’ve been reading this blog awhile.
While I agree that references to God in government are not quite in the spirit of separation of church and state, this particular reference is not really a danger. The fact that the President asserts that God has chosen our side in a war is far more disquieting than the morning pledge. With respect to pantheists, Buddhists, secular humanists, Druids, other atheists, and most anyone else who doesn’t follow a mono-theistic faith, I like to think we are stronger than that. I scoff at Christians who think Harry Potter will corrupt their children and shatter their faith. How hypocritical would it be to now claim that the words “under God” recited robotically every morning through bleary eyes will someone transform my kid into a Christian? Any kid who’s beliefs are that tenuous is surrounded by adults who aren’t doing a very good job of passing their wisdom and beliefs along.
Now to be fair, let’s admit that it’s sheer cultural ignorance for fundamentalists to claim that the pledge’s god reference is okay because it doesn’t refer to any particular god. It still presumes the worship of exactly one god, and that leaves many of us outside that sacred circle. But culturally, the U.S. is Christian. I think it’s silly to deny that. God shows up in the Declaration of Independence and on every dollar you spend. As an iconic reminder of our culture, it’s harmless. Honestly, I wonder why the fundamentalists who are so adamant to keep the expression in the pledge are not up in arms over the use of their god’s name in vain. Asserting that it could refer to any old god seems a clear second commandment violation.
There are bigger problems on the planet. If you have unresolved hostility issues with organized religion, I suggest you spend some time here.