Many people think the battle over the words “under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance is over. They remember that some extremist judges struck the words down saying they violated the now deified “separation of church and state,” but they also vaguely remember the Senate passing a resolution in support of the Pledge and the more than 100 House members gathered outside the Capitol reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in a spectacular show of support.
That display made us feel really good, but there’s just one problem: it did nothing to protect the Pledge of Allegiance.
That was June 26, 2002, believe it or not, and still there has been no resolution on the lawsuit that started the whole controversy. Worse yet, we are still waiting for our lawmakers to back up their rhetoric and pass a bill protecting our religious freedoms by protecting the words “under God” in our Pledge.
While nothing is done to protect the Pledge, the forces attempting to remove any mention of God from the public square keep going and going and going like the Energizer bunny.
“We the people” are partly to blame for this because we’ve let them get away with it. We allowed ourselves to believe that our representatives had listened to our outcry and that the matter would be taken care of when that decision came down.
What a foolish thing to think. Some say curiosity killed the cat; I’m thinking it was the cat’s naiveté.
But we are not an irrational people, and we have to learn from our mistakes. It is clear we cannot stay “asleep at the wheel,” blindly trusting that those men and women elected to carry out the will of the people will do the right thing. We have to stand up and protect our religious freedoms or we will continue to loose them bit by bit.
The Pledge of Allegiance case is one of those bits, and we need to demand that it be protected.
The Pledge of Allegiance case involved devout atheist Michael Newdow, who brought suit against everyone he could think of: the United States, Congress, the President, the State of California, Elk Grove Unified School District and its superintendent, and the Sacramento City Unified School District and its superintendent. Newdow alleged that the fact that his daughter had to hear the teacher-led Pledge of Allegiance in school with the words “under God” was a violation of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He argued that it violated his right to direct his daughter’s religious education.