Recently, several state courts are hearing lawsuits seeking to ban the Pledge of Allegiance or remove the “one nation under God” portion of the Pledge. Yet, the majority of Americans still want to keep God in the Pledge, according to recent findings from LifeWay Research.
Christianity Today’s Ed Stetzer quotes these findings, stating that 85% of Americans want to keep “under God” as part of the Pledge of Allegiance. In contrast, only 25% of Americans think forcing students to say “under God” violates their rights, and only 8% of Americans want to remove it all together.
What this means, Stetzer says, is if “under God” is taken out of the pledge, “it will be by judicial fiat and not by popular vote.”
Right now, judges in New Jersey and Massachusetts’ Supreme Courts are hearing cases on the issue. The American Humanist Association is suing a New Jersey school district for its recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public classrooms. Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, says, “The current pledge practice marginalizes atheist and humanist kids as something less than ideal patriots, merely because they don’t believe the nation is under God.”
On the other hand, defendants in the cases are arguing that saying the pledge is still voluntary. What’s more, they claim that the reference to “one nation under God” does not necessarily affirm theistic belief. “It’s a statement of our political philosophy,” Geoffrey Bok, attorney for the defendants in the New Jersey case, said. “It’s the founding thing upon which our country was founded. Our rights did not come from the king or the tsar or the queen. They come from something higher.”
What do you think? Should “under God” be kept in the pledge?
Kelly Givens is the editor of iBelieve.com.