One Nation, under whatever doesn’t offend you?


A lawsuit filed by the American Humanist Association in 2010 may soon have widespread repercussions concerning the Pledge of Allegiance, effective Sept. 4. The case, against the Acton-Boxborough School District in Massachusetts, dealt with three elementary to middle school aged children feeling coerced into saying “Under God,” despite their family’s traditions and beliefs. This has been disputed previously, but for the first time, the lawyer argued that it was a matter of discrimination rather than the allegation that it “established religion.”

Although there is relatively unanimous agreement for the need for the separation of Church and State in this country, the point of the pledge is completely irrelevant to the matter. In fact, the entire existence of this case as a legitimate problem is a vanity issue that could have been dealt with in the classroom in which it took place. Instead of dealing with major turmoil and injustice, the Supreme Court is reviewing the constitutionality of such problem as this.

To begin, the existence of the Pledge in the first place is rather ludicrous. In all honesty, does the government believe that making children utter a few words every day from the beginning of their school career until graduation will make any of them any more loyal to their country? Do they think reciting the Pledge will make a child deter from being opposed to the government? How many students are really processing anything they are saying when they have been doing since childhood?

There are a few who could be considered an exception. To the general majority, the phrase “Under God” carries little to no gravity, because the prominent religion in America is Protestant Christianity. To the minority, however, religious beliefs and customs or the non-belief in religion could prohibit them from being aloud to say that, or at least be offended by feeling forced to say that.  Other than that, there are very few people who would take offense by the inclusion of the phrase.

For those persistent enough to refuse to say the Pledge, there is a simple fix. Knowing and practicing their rights: The First Amendment of the Constitution clearly states the government is absolutely incapable of prohibiting you from practicing religion, and thus cannot make laws incorporating religion. Every individual’s freedom of speech (or lack thereof) is completely protected by this. So, plainly put, if a person wishes to not say anything, there is nothing forcing them to do so.

Despite the fact that this right has existed since 1791, groups of people are still offended because their “patriotism is being brought into question” and that they are “being portrayed as second-class citizens.” Despite the fact that there is little evidence to support these claims, they have managed to establish a foothold in courts with them. Though there might be a minute population that assumes anyone who is not an exact copy of their beliefs and morals is automatically a terrorist, it is unlikely that this is due to the person not wanting to say “under God” when reciting the Pledge. As far as the “second-class citizens” allegation is concerned, it is absolutely an incorrect belief. As for those who feel truly discriminated against, the most radical solution to such a small problem would be to just remove it in general. In fact, the phrase wasn’t even added to the Pledge until 1954.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Parkway School District.