How do you feel about the Pledge of Allegiance? Does it both you that words have been added to the original pledge? Do you like it as it is or would you like to change it? The American Humanist Association is on a mission to remove “under God” from our Pledge of Allegiance because they believe that the current wording “marginalizes atheists, agnostics, humanists and other nontheists because it presents them as less patriotic, simply because they do not believe in God.”
The American Humanist Association claims that thirty-four percent of Americans support removing “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance according to a survey commissioned through the research firm Seidewitz Group. This percentage is very different from a recent survey by a Christian group.
The atheist group believe the difference came about because of a key difference in how the questioned was posed. Instead of simply asking if the phrase should be removed, the survey gave some background about the issue.
“For its first 62 years, the Pledge of Allegiance did not include the phrase `under God. During the Cold War, in 1954, the phrase `one nation indivisible’ was changed to read `one nation, under God, indivisible.’ Some people feel this phrase in our national pledge should focus on unity rather than religion.”
Then the survey respondents were asked if the United States should continue with the “changed version” or revert to the former version.
A survey from LifeWay Research, a Christian polling firm, simply asked the question, “Should the words `under God’ be removed from or remain in the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America?” The survey found that most Americans have no problem with the current wording with 85 percent voting to keep pledge as it is and 8 percent wanting to change it.
I was nine years old when the words “under God” were added to the Pledge of Allegiance. I remember feeling the tension coming from the Communist threat to our liberty. The pledge was changed in response to that threat. Under the encouragement of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Congress added the words “under God” to the pledge. I remember feeling excitement and wonder at the addition.
The addition of “under God” did not take place quickly. “Louis A. Bowman, an attorney from Illinois, was the first to initiate the addition of `under God’ to the Pledge. The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution gave him an Award of Merit as the originator of this idea. He spent his adult life in the Chicago area and was Chaplain of the Illinois Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. At a meeting on February 12, 1948, Lincoln’s Birthday, he led the Society in swearing the Pledge with two words added, `under God.’ He stated that the words came from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Though not all manuscript versions of the Gettysburg Address contain the words `under God’, all the reporters’ transcripts of the speech as delivered do as perhaps Lincoln may have deviated from his prepared text and inserted the phrase when he said `that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom.’ Bowman repeated his revised version of the Pledge at other meetings.”
The Knights of Columbus in New York City began including the words “under God” in April 1951. Over the next two years nationwide organizations of the Knights of Columbus adopted the practice. At its annual meeting on August 21, 1952, the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus adopted a resolution to add the wording and sent copies of their resolution to the President, the Vice President (as Presiding Officer of the Senate) and the Speaker of the House. Other organizations and individuals joined the campaign to convince Congress to adopt the change for the entire nation. Representative Louis C. Rabaut (D-Mich.) sponsored a resolution to add the words “under God” to the Pledge in 1953 after a correspondent suggested it.
No attempt to amend the Pledge was successful prior to February 1954. “On February 7, 1954, with President Eisenhower sitting in Lincoln’s pew, the church’s pastor, George MacPherson Docherty, delivered a sermon based on the Gettysburg Address titled `A New Birth of Freedom.’ He argued that the nation’s might lay not in arms but its spirit and higher purpose. He noted that the Pledge’s sentiments could be those of any nation, that `there was something missing in the pledge, and that which was missing was the characteristic and definitive factor in the American way of life.” He cited Lincoln’s words “under God” as defining words that set the United States apart from other nations.
President Eisenhower had recently become Presbyterian and “responded enthusiastically to Docherty in a conversation following the service. Eisenhower acted on his suggestion the next day and on February 8, 1954, Rep. Charles Oakman (R-Mich.), introduced a bill to that effect. Congress passed the necessary legislation and Eisenhower signed the bill into law on Flag Day, June 14, 1954.”
Eisenhower stated, “From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty…. 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 or in war.”
A Joint Resolution of Congress amended the Flag Code to incorporate the phrase “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance on
June 14, 195.
It appears to me that atheists will not be satisfied until they have taken God entirely out of public life. We have seen what happened in our schools when prayer was forbidden there. I wonder if they have any idea of what will happen to our nation when God is completely erased from our nation. At least two other nations lived on the American continent and prosper while they worshipped the God of the land who is Jesus Christ. Each of them became so wicked after erasing God from their lives that the entire nation was destroyed! I do not believe that our nation will be completely destroyed, but I do believe we will see some very rough times. I hope you and I are prepared to survive them!