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Should the phrase “under God” be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance?

Should the phrase “under God” be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance?. Tom LeClair Annamarie Tobia Michelle Krug Ashley Hughes. Pledge of Allegiance History 1892. Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892. The Pledge of Allegiance was meant to

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Should the phrase “under God” be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance?

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  1. Should the phrase “under God” be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance? Tom LeClair Annamarie Tobia Michelle Krug Ashley Hughes

  2. Pledge of Allegiance History1892 • Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892. • The Pledge of Allegiance was meant to • Publicize the Union and the liberty received by ALL American citizens after the Civil War. • Promote patriotism and national unity while the country was attracting thousands of immigrants. • The Pledge (as Bellamy had written it) was recited on Columbus Day in 1892. • There was no mention of God • It soon became customary for students across the US to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

  3. Pledge of Allegiance History (continued)1924 • The Pledge of Allegiance was slightly modified in 1924 by the National Flag Conference. • This was done because of the fear of “confusing” immigrants. • Many states approved legislation requiring students to recited the Pledge daily. • In 1924, after gaining popularity, the Pledge of Allegiance received official standing when Congress included it in the U.S. Flag Code.

  4. Pledge of Allegiance History (continued)1943 • This was the first time the mandatory recital of the Pledge of Allegiance was challenged. • What did they rule?

  5. Pledge of Allegiance History (continued)1954 • It was this year that Congress inserted the words “under God”. • This change was not controversial at all at the time. • Eisenhower??? Gave the following reason • The following changes occurred due, in part, to the precedence set from the Pledge decision.

  6. So where did those two little words come from? • Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address? • It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

  7. But then, where did Lincoln get them? • George Washington • Washington spent July 2, 1776 rallying troops in New York preparing them for the battles that would inevitably take place that summer. During that day, he wrote in his General Orders the following: • "The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves. . . . The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army."

  8. Why Should we remove the words “under God”?

  9. Some atheists and agnostics are offended by this unnecessary reference to God in a patriotic pledge, as are advocates of religions which may not worship a monotheistic god. • Why should they be required to back the religious guidelines of the majority? • Who is Micheal Newdow?

  10. Who is Michael Newdow? • Resident in California • California lawyer • Divorced from his wife • Does not have legal custody of his daughter

  11. Micheal Newdow brought a case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in June of 2001 challenging the constitutionality of mandatory recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public school systems because of the 1954 addition of the phrase “under God” • This court ruled 2 to 1 that to recite the Pledge in a public school setting constitutes an "endorsement of religion“

  12. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals • Much emphasis was placed on the fact that Congress inserted the words "under God" into the Pledge in 1954 as a way to advance religion at a time when the nation was engaged in a battle against the principles of “atheistic communism”. • Also, when President Eisenhower signed the bill, he stated, "From this day forward, the millions of our schoolchildren will daily proclaim . . . the dedication of our Nation and our people to the Almighty." From the Ninth Circuit's point of view, the record obviously showed that the purpose of the act was not to advance patriotism, but rather to promote religion.

  13. What happened? • After the decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the decision was “stayed” to allow the judges to determine whether or not the case should be heard “en banc”. • During this stay, the Elk Grove Unified School District, et al, appealed to the Supreme Court.

  14. The Supreme Court Decision • The Supreme Court had ruled in the past that ceremonial references to God in public places and institutions do not represent an establishment of religion. • The Supreme Court ruled in much the same way deciding that the phrase in the Pledge is not unconstitutional.

  15. So why were the words, “under God” placed in the Pledge of Allegiance in the first place? • The main purpose of the prepositional phrase was to differentiate communism (which promotes atheism) and “western capitalistic democracies” (which promotes Christianity)

  16. What does the Pledge of Allegiance imply? • There is a deity that exists • Maleness • Uniqueness • Omnipresence • Influence

  17. Why do we say the Pledge? • The United States school system uses the Pledge of Allegiance for several reasons. • Conformity • Obedience • Patriotism

  18. How would you feel? • "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under Allah (or Rama, Ron, Krishna, or the Goddess), indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." • Imagine how you would feel as a Muslim, Atheist, Agnostic who was either required to say the Pledge or who refused to say the Pledge • Belittled? Separated? Irrelevant? Different!

  19. What does it mean? • Millions of students across the United States now have to recite the Pledge, including the words, “under God” every single day. • Maybe not because they are legally forced to say it, but they are pressured, socially to say it. • Oneness • Status • Public response

  20. What now? • Can the Supreme Court now strike down "under God" without at the same time striking at the very foundations of our national existence? Or has the nation changed to the point where we no longer believe such an image to be true or, even, useful to sustain our institutions?

  21. Why should we keep them in?

  22. Is the Constitution itself unconstitutional? • Congress notes in the bill S. 2690 that under what it called the "erroneous rationale of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals," the inclusion of the phrase "Year of our Lord" in Article VII would render the entire Constitution itself unconstitutional. • These words aren’t necessary, but kept in for historical purposes. Our country was founded by Europeans that believed in God. “Under God” was added to the pledge at a time that our country needed to be distinguished from other communist countries.

  23. Another government reference to God or a supreme being… • The first paragraph of the (1776) U.S. Declaration of Independence states: • "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

  24. A quote from Washington • “Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar stature, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." • Washington in his farewell address, first published 9/19/1796 in Philadelphia's American Daily Advisor

  25. How it all began • "Christopher Columbus was motivated by his Christian faith to sail to the New World." One example of this can be found in his writings after he discovered this new land. He wrote, "Therefore let the king and queen, the princes and their most fortunate kingdoms, and all other countries of Christendom give thanks to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who has bestowed upon us so great a victory and gift.

  26. The religious heritage of the United States • November 11, 1620 Prior to embarking for the shores of America, the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact that declared: `Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and the advancement of the Christian Faith and honor of our King and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia,'. • "The Pilgrims clearly stated that they came to the New World to glorify God and to advance the Christian faith." It could easily be said that America began with the words, "In the name of God. Amen." Those were the first words of our nation's first self-governing document--the Mayflower Compact.

  27. Puritans… • The Puritans determined to anchor their liberties on the written page, a tradition taken from the Bible. They created the Body of Liberties which were established on the belief that Christ's rule is not only given for the church, but also for the state. It contained principles found in the Bible, specifically ninety-eight separate protections of individual rights.

  28. Education of Early America • “The education of the settlers and founders of America was uniquely Christian and Bible-based." Education was very important to the founders of this country. The New England Primer was used to teach colonial children to read and included the Lord's Prayer, the Apostle's Creed, and the text of many hymns and prayers.

  29. Declaration of Independence • July 4, 1776 America's Founding Fathers, after appealing to the `Laws of Nature, and of Nature's God' to justify their separation from Great Britain, then declared: `We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness'.

  30. Heritage cont’d. • In 1781 Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and later the Nation's third President, in his work titled `Notes on the State of Virginia' wrote: “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God. That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

  31. May 14, 1787 George Washington, as President of the Constitutional Convention, rose to admonish and exhort the delegates and declared: “If to please the people we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterward defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair; the event is in the hand of God!”

  32. Heritage cont’d. • July 21, 1789 On the same day that it approved the Establishment Clause concerning religion, the First Congress of the United States also passed the Northwest Ordinance, providing for a territorial government for lands northwest of the Ohio River, which declared: “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

  33. September 25, 1789 The First Congress unanimously approved a resolution calling on President George Washington to proclaim a National Day of Thanksgiving for the people of the United States by declaring, “…a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a constitution of government for their safety and happiness.”

  34. Heritage cont’d. • November 19, 1863 • As mentioned before, it is debated whether or not Lincoln referred to God in his Gettysburg Address

  35. Why was the phrase added? • The nation was suffering through the height of the cold war, and the McCarthy communist witch hunt. Influenced by Rev. George Docherty (1911 - ) who preached a sermon that was attended by President Eisenhower and the national press corps on 1954-FEB-7. His sermon said in part: "Apart from the mention of the phrase 'the United States of America,' it could be the pledge of any republic. In fact, I could hear little Muscovites repeat a similar pledge to their hammer-and-sickle flag in Moscow."

  36. The Pledge was for the purpose of "solemnizing public occasions, expressing confidence in the future, and encouraging the recognition of what is worthy of appreciation in society." Lynch, 465 U.S. at 693

  37. Censorship • The censoring of “under God” out of Pledge of Allegiance could be compared to the teaching of Darwinism. Not everyone believes in Darwinism, but it is still introduced into school systems. • Is this a battle between censorship and freedom?

  38. Some opinions of people supporting the Pledge of Allegiance • "purposeful discrimination against religious exercise" violates both the free speech and free exercise of religion clauses of the First Amendment. • American Center for Law & Justice

  39. More opinions… • “…its recitation is no more a religious act than pocketing a coin imprinted with 'In God We Trust.' The administration's brief says both are simply patriotic acknowledgments of 'the nation's religious history' and of the 'undeniable historical fact that the nation was founded by individuals who believed in God,' an empirical statement that poses no threat to the separation of church and state.” -New York Times

  40. Just another patriotic exercise… • The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) states on its website, as of 3/24/04: • "In response to the September 11 terrorist attacks on our country, a number of public school districts have instituted a campaign to strengthen and encourage patriotism among out citizens, especially our youth. Various public schools have put up 'God Bless America' or 'In God We Trust' signs and have encouraged patriotic exercises such as reciting the 'Pledge of Allegiance' ... the 'Pledge of Allegiance' is entirely a patriotic exercise expressing loyalty to our nation."

  41. Congress added the phrase "under God" to the pledge in 1954, meaning to distinguish clearly between the religious heritage of the United States and the atheistic principles of Communism. As one lawmaker stated in 1954: "Our American government is founded on ... the belief that every human being has been created by God and endowed by Him with certain inalienable rights which no civil authority may usurp. Thus, the inclusion of God in our Pledge of Allegiance ... sets at naught the communistic theory that the state takes precedence over the individual."

  42. References • http://www.probe.org • http://usgovinfo.about.com • http://www.religioustolerance.org • http://www.washtimes.com • http://www.probe.org • http://usgovinfo.about.com • http://history.vineyard.net • http://www.undergodprocon.org

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