Thursday, February 08, 2007

Archived commentary: Under God

From the archives:

What purpose does the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance serve?

(published 27-Oct-2003, Appleton Post-Crescent)

Most people don't know that one part of the original Pledge ritual was to raise the arm, palm up, toward the flag. After the Nazis came to power in Germany, that "sieg heil" salute became the present hand over the heart. "Under God" was inserted in the pledge to counterbalance "godless" communism, not solely to acknowledge our nation's debt to the Creator. Reciting the Pledge is not required at any time. The entire squabble is essentially about legislating manners -- and everyone is behaving badly. Most people are happy with "under God," though. It went through Congress in 1954 like grass through a goose. Now somebody's got his knickers in a knot about it and wants to force everybody else to change. It would be too simple just to omit saying the words, "under God." No, in our great democratic tradition, everyone in the country must be enjoined from saying them.

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