Before all the right-wing crazies who frequent this column start writing in with their rants regarding the constitutionality of The Pledge of Allegiance, I would like your readers to know some facts:
1 – The Pledge of Allegiance WAS NOT written by “our founding fathers.” The pledge did not even exist when the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written. There was no such thing as a Pledge of Allegiance when this country was founded. The pledge was not invented nor put into practice until the United States was engulfed in World War II. As a show of patriotism during this war, the Pledge of Allegiance was adopted in 1942. It was not, nor has it ever been, part of the “foundation of this country” as many right-wingers would have you believe. We did without the Pledge of Allegiance from 1776 to 1941 and we did just fine.
2 – The words “one nation under God” were NOT part of the original pledge written in 1942. Thus, these words were also not written by “our founding fathers.” Congress added the words “one nation under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954. This reference to “God” was added by right-wing radicals like Sen. Joe McCarthy (ever heard of McCarthyism?) to distinguish the United States from the “God-less Commies” whom McCarthy was trying to black list at the time. Again, the right-wing radicals would want you to believe that the words “under God” have been part of the national framework and part of a pledge for over 200 years, but this is not the case.
When the Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1942 it did not mention “God” anywhere, and it did not need to. Why? Because the pledge was an oath to your country, the great United States of America, not some recognition of a religion or a god. The pledge was a patriotic stance, not a religious one, and those who wrote it in 1942 knew that, so the pledge was written without a reference to “God.”
It was only in 1954 that right-wing fanatics like Sen. McCarthy unconstitutionally forced this “God” reference into the Pledge where it has remained until now.
I hope your readers understand the above facts before all of the right-wing religious fanatics start their rants and their letters about how we so desperately need to keep the “God” reference in the current Pledge of Allegiance.
We did not even have a pledge for the first 150 years of our country, and when we finally did get a pledge in 1942, it did not contain the word “God,” so why is it again that we just so absolutely need to keep that word in the pledge in 2003?