The Pledge Controversy
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands; one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." The Pledge of Allegiance, written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy has undergone quite an evolution. It was made mandatory in schools by the US Supreme Court in 1940 but was withdrawn three years later, was congressionally recognized as national pledge in 1942 and was further augmented with words “under god” in 1954. Originally meant to be a promise or oath of loyalty to the Republic of United States of America and an expression of patriotism, it has become a lightning rod of controversy, heated passions and lawsuits. The question is whether the Pledge of Allegiance with the words “under god” violates the protections of religious freedoms enshrined in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment? The phrase “under god” does not violate the freedom of religion found in the first amendment. This Clause dictates, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It prohibits establishment of a national religion or preference of one religion over another by the government. Many people infer that because the phrase “under god” is inserted into the pledge of allegiance it is a religious pledge hence violates the Establishment Clause and is divisive and unconstitutional. However, a dispassionate examination proves that the words “under god” neither establish a national religion nor prefer one faith to another. The phrase “under god” merely alludes to a non-denominational, universal divine presence, benevolent and compassionate to all humankind and not just United States and therefore, is a unifying instead of divisive force. It is neutral and does not refer to a specific fanatical, regional, communal, and sectarian deity. Besides, various ethnic designations of God are simply names of God in those languages....
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