Sixty Years Under God

I don’t know how I missed this–Monday was a big anniversary:

Feb. 10, 2014 was the 60th anniversary of the original congressional move in 1954 that added “under God” to the official Pledge of Allegiance, and state lawmakers all over the country have introduced resolutions to mark that unfortunate moment in American history.

Given that the original, God-free version of the pledge is just over 121 years old, it seems reasonable to me to suggest that the current 60 year term is up, and it’s time to retire the pledge entirely. After all, “indivisible” and “for all” kinda imply that the godless are people too, deserving of equal treatment and respect.

Or maybe not–a school in NC can have a Christian athlete’s club, but a proposed atheist club is getting a thumbs-down from the administration (the atheist students did some reaching out, some organizations sent letters to the superintendent, and… God shut down the school with a snowstorm before anyone could comment).

It’s funny–coins and bills and pledges are all “ceremonial deism”, but it really does seem sometimes that the “ceremony” has the express purpose of marking public territory as Christian.

I pledge allegiance to the flag
At school, with all my friends
While one girl sits there silently,
And one boy just pretends
And three don’t mention “under God”,
Just roll their eyes and wait
And two more use the pledge to sneak
To class a little late.
There’s one or two who think it’s cool
To monitor the rest
To see who says the pledge; who loves
America the best
But most of us just wonder
Who this pledge is really for
And count the days till we don’t have
To say it any more.


  1. jnorris says

    I presume the reason school children have to recite the Pledge daily is because the children lose their American citizenship overnight. This loyalty affirmation is the only thing standing between Religious Tea Party normal America and complete anarchy.

  2. says

    I remember that day in grammar school
    When they brought in the change. I felt such a fool.
    An immigrant child, proud to be in this land
    I was happy to pledge, with heart and with hand.
    I had learned the words’ meanings, their cadence and lilt,
    And admired the spirit on which it was built.
    Born a true atheist, confirmed such at twelve
    I’d been smothered in church stuff but stayed true to myself.
    So when the new pledge arrived, I avoided the herds:
    I faithfully spoke it proud, just skipped those two words.

  3. bahrfeldt says

    A little late, but, how did mom and dad, both of who were in the army seventy years ago, manage to prevail (along with the rest of their “greatest” generation) in World War II, without “under God” in their pledge? When we did so well with it, twenty-five years later.

  4. Die Anyway says

    At 66 I’m old enough to remember learning the earlier version in kindergarten. Even after the “under god” version was introduced, it was a mixed bag of who might use it at various times. Now, of course, I avoid it altogether.

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