One Nation, Divisible Under God
(Top Posts - Social/Legal - 011405)

(Original post made July 1, 2000, updated January 14, 2005)

For 45 years the Pledge of Allegiance has included a mention
of the Almighty. Atheist Michael Newdow is suing for removal.


"Penned in 1892 by a socialist minister turned journalist named
Francis Bellamy, the Pledge of Allegiance originally read:

"I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the republic for which it
stands -- one nation, indivisible -- with liberty, and justice for all."


Through the years the pledge has been altered to include the
United States of America and God. The former was added in
the '20s as a reminder to new immigrants of just whose flag they
were pledging allegiance to. And in 1954, when the U.S. was
frostbitten by the Cold War and godless communists were
invading its institutions, Congress, with President Eisenhower's
blessing, added "under God."


One comment: If removing "under god" doesn't fly, how about

"one nation under religious freedom" or
"one nation with rights for all, regardless of belief" or
"one nation with rights for all, regardless of belief or disbelief" or
"one nation free of religious slavery" or
"one nation united for freedom and liberty" or
"one nation free of religious oppression" or
"one nation free of religious persecution" or
"one free nation" or
"one nation full of love" or
"one nation full of compassion" or
"one nation for humanity" or
"one kick-ass nation" or
"one nation that can't be beat" or
"one nation where freedom rules" or
"one nation that loves its citizens" or
"one nation where people come first" or
... ?

- - -

Update : January 14, 2005
Atheist Challenges Inaugural Prayers


A California atheist asked a federal judge yesterday to stop
President Bush from having two Protestant ministers say
prayers at the inauguration, arguing that it would violate his
constitutional rights to the separation of church and state.

Michael Newdow, a lawyer and doctor who has fought to
keep his daughter from being exposed to the Pledge of
Allegiance in her public school, said the inauguration is per-
haps the most public of all government-sponsored national
ceremonies. It should not provide the president with an
opportunity to make nonreligious citizens and non-Protest-
ants feel like outsiders, he said.


"This is like the Super Bowl, the Olympics. It's a civic cere-
mony like no other," Newdow told U.S. District Judge John
D. Bates. "The president will swear to uphold the Constitu-
tion and then violate the Constitution so heinously by endors-
ing these religious beliefs . . . and telling everyone this is a
Christian nation."


Newdow, a single father from Sacramento, has made it his
avocation to stamp out overtly religious references from
public, government-sponsored ceremonies and institutions.
He sued to stop his daughter from being subjected to the
phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, and he per-
suaded a the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to
ban it. But the Supreme Court ruled last year that his case
was not valid because he did not have custody of his daughter
when he filed it. He renewed the legal challenge in California
this month by naming as plaintiffs a group of parents who
have custody of their children.

This is not the first time that Newdow has targeted the in-
auguration. A 2001 suit, filed in California, was rejected by
the 9th Circuit on technical grounds. The court found that
Newdow could not show he would suffer any serious harm.

The government argued that he was going to watch the event
on television, not attend it.

This year, Newdow sought a ticket soon after Bush's reelec-
tion and obtained one in late November.

- - -