Lawyers, judges debate 'under God' phrase in Pledge of Allegiance

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  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 9:25 a.m.

    I guess It's normal to try to reinvent the wheel.

  • very concerned Sandy, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 8:07 a.m.

    Sometimes we need something to protect us from the tyranny of the MINORITY. The gradual taking out of God and religion out of the public square poses a problem. And again, I’m not discriminating among the various Gods of the various religions. I speak of most major religions whose teachings preach of peace and love for fellow men.

    The problem is that taking God out of public life leaves a void of goodness, virtue, integrity, and humility (among other things). They are cast on the same garbage heap as the truth of the reality of God. These are replaced by man’s philosophies, which have not stood the test of time in other civilizations. For instance, in all this talk of diversity, where is the age-old proven principle of unity, all pulling together for a common cause? With talk of pride, where has humility gone?

    I find it interesting that this nation does not disobey the Supreme Being unknowingly. We are well aware of what we are doing when we support abortion, gay marriage, etc. There are plenty enough good sources to teach us good from bad such that we have no excuse whatsoever.

  • very concerned Sandy, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 8:00 a.m.

    Whether you believe it or not, the Pledge, as it stands, is actually accurate. We are (hopefully) one nation. And we do exist UNDER GOD. He reigns supreme over ALL nations. I don't think this nation's leaders have very often dictated which God, but *under God*? Yes. It's clear that the Founding Fathers believed in the Supreme Being. And I most strongly suspect it was a given for most of them that we were (and are) subordinate to a higher Power.

    @ RanchHand,
    Your assertion that the Christian God will someday be taught as a myth is pure speculation. I assert that the God of the Christians will ultimately triumph. In fact, the war has been already won. The only thing in question is . . . . whose side we will personally choose.

  • moniker lewinsky Taylorsville, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 10:47 p.m.

    Maybe the anonymous atheist couple is anonymous because they remember the death threats that Michael Newdow received from self-proclaimed patriotic followers of God when he tried to do the same thing.

    Once this blatant overstep is overturned, believers will still be free, as they have always been, to take their children to church, read scripture together, pray together, have religious conversations, etc.

    Some Americans believe in deity and some do not. DEAL WITH IT! Just be HONEST about the fact that we atheists and agnostics EXIST! We are just as American. Go ahead and feel morally superior if you want. Just ACKNOWLEDGE that we CAN NOT be a Christian nation or a nation of believers when a significant amount of us is Jewish or Muslim or Agnostic or Atheist or WHATEVER. To say otherwise is to intentionally try to minimize or ignore our existence! If people here don't understand why that is offensive, I just haven't the slightest idea how to explain it. I really just am at a loss. To me it is just so obvious.

    If you want to be surrounded by people who are all religious, that's what church is for!

  • BigCougar Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 8:17 p.m.

    and so because some guys who "claimed" to believe in God (but obviously weren't close to living any of His Commandments) you are insinuating that all people who believe in God are bad?

    Wow....that's a stretch that even Lindbergh couldn't cross.

    Historian Robert Soucy states Hitler believed Christian and Nazi beliefs were incompatible and intended to replace Christianity with a "racist form of warrior paganism".

    Additionally, biographer Alan Bullock wrote that, though raised Catholic, Hitler was a rationalist and materialist, who saw Christianity as a religion "fit for slaves", and against the natural law of selection and survival of the fittest.

    Many closest to Hitler say that he had a long-held general covert plan to destroy Christianity within the Reich and replace it's Jewish roots and teachings with Nazi philosophies. He clearly wasn't a believer in God or any religion.

    So, using your rationale the opposite must be true too. (ex) If Hitler was decidedly not a believer and he did immensely evil things, then all people who are not believers therefore must also be counted in the same vein as him and we should no longer tolerate them in society?

  • moniker lewinsky Taylorsville, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 7:23 p.m.

    May it please the moderators:
    Perhaps we can recite the pledge as we have for the last 60 years and when it comes to the "under god" part, those who wish to use this lovely verbiage can quietly step out into the hall to utter those two words and we will all pause respectfully and wait for them to come back so that the rest of the pledge can resume. This seems like the kind of compromise that would not offend any reasonably thinking person.
    I would not want the hall steppers to feel conspicuous or out of place for any reason. And I would no sooner mock a person for wanting to step out into the hall and say "under God" than I would mock somebody for believing in magic stones, Noah's ark, or any other magical concepts. I would prefer, however, that the aforementioned concepts not be promoted to my strong confident moral atheist children with the use of tax dollars.

  • moniker lewinsky Taylorsville, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 7:17 p.m.

    I pledge allegiance to the flag and to the republic for which it stands one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
    It's ironic that the addition of two words during the cold war has divided our nation quite a bit.
    I don't know where any government official gets the right to modify a person's creative work in any official capacity. (Didn't Cleanflix get in trouble for that?) But if it can be done, it can surely be undone.
    This horse pucky wouldn't stand for one minute in the year 2013.
    That God's name is inserted in "the pledge" and on our money is not evidence that we are a nation of believers. It is evidence that overzealous believers, if not kept in check, can overstep quite readily.

    It's not too difficult to derive meaning from the statement: "From this day forward, the millions of our schoolchildren will daily proclaim [character limit] the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty."

    Unfortunately, Mr. Eisenhower, the aforementioned children and people are not "yours" to speak for. I am a strong, confident, moral atheist and my children will be reared as such.

  • jttheawesome Scranton, PA
    Sept. 5, 2013 2:51 p.m.

    The term "anonymous atheist couple" says it all for me. If one is making such a public spectacle over this, they should have the courage to come out and identify with the cause for which they are fighting.

  • justamacguy Manti, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 2:35 p.m.

    Given the current state of this country's affairs, I'm not sure if God would want his name attached to it.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Sept. 5, 2013 2:06 p.m.

    @my4boys – “Freedom in this great country was founded upon the belief in a higher being-"God".

    Actually it was founded on the belief that “We The People” could be free to govern ourselves. And the Founders looked almost exclusively to the Roman Republic as a model on which to base our Constitution (the world’s 1st purely secular governing charter, by the way) and Republic.

    @Craig Clark – “Here is the original version of the Pledge as written in 1892.”

    "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for
    which it stands; one nation indivisible, with liberty
    and Justice for all."

    Why can’t we just go back to this? It might help restore some much needed civic virtue in this country in a manner that our Founders would surely approve of, given most of them were Deists (which is what agnostics & atheists called themselves back then).

  • OnlyInUtah Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 1:58 p.m.

    I not only believe that God exists, I know he does. I have seen his hand blessing my life in countless experiences. I believe that he inspired and led the founders of this great nation to seek their independence from Great Britain and establish a country where men could be free. Our freedom doesn't mean we all get 100% of what we want. But it does give us the freedom to choose and make our own decisions. This doesn't not mean making decisions for others or forcing our opinions on others.

    I thank God that I can live in this country. I am ashamed of the way people are treating Him as though he does not exist.

    God bless America!

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Sept. 5, 2013 1:43 p.m.


    "....Their is no question our centralized government was intended to be subservient to the state governments...."

    If that were the case, the Founders wasted good ink and paper writing the Constitution. They more easily could have stuck with the Articles of Confederation without risking a strong central government that subordinates the autonomy of the individual states. Please read Article VI of the Constitution (the Supremacy Clause) to see who the Founders intended to be “the supreme law of the land.”

    It’s true that the proper balance between Federal and state government was a murky issue that vexed every anti-bellum President starting with George Washington. It took the Civil War to crystallize national thought on the precise nature of our Federalism. We may still disagree today on where the line is between state and Federal jurisdiction in specific cases. When we do, it’s the Federal Courts who acts as final arbiter.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 1:11 p.m.

    "Our nation has probably never been more divided. "


    "In our quest for equality, we are instead falling into the trap of trying to make everyone identical."

    At minimum your side is no better since you're imposing the Judeo-Christian God on everyone in the pledge as if it applies to everyone.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 1:07 p.m.

    "how can you, with a straight face, imply that we should enjoy freedom of speech but be unable to praise God on a daily basis? "

    You can do it all you want. Heck, there's two guys yelling on campus about how Christ will save us (based on the muttered comments from people around me, their tactics are not very effective) right now. All we're saying is to keep it out of gov't just like you all (and myself) would want Sharia law out of the gov't.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 12:30 p.m.


    You have that backwards. We're trying to stop YOU from imposing your religion on the rest of us.

  • DGDENTON Gainesville, TX
    Sept. 5, 2013 12:19 p.m.

    Craig Clark; Their is no question our centralized government was intended to be subservient to the state governments. This set up was designed to keep a balance of power between the states and the Federal government. When the South lost the War, we also lost this balance of power. As a result, we now have a powerful Federal government which is boarding on a monarchy. In this concept the Confederacy has been vindicated.
    The definition of "Federal" was changed when the budding United States was formed. Until that time "Federal" was an agreement among several independent governments. Of course, this concept was reflected in the the language. Prior to the War, The United States was following by the verb "are" implying the plural nature of the bond. After the War, the verb usage changed to "is" implying a unified group of states subservient to the Federal Government.

  • DGDENTON Gainesville, TX
    Sept. 5, 2013 12:06 p.m.

    In our quest for equality, we are instead falling into the trap of trying to make everyone identical. The concept deprives us of our individuality. I recall, I believe, in the 1980s when a major liberal weekly magazine declared the most startling scientific discovery that men and women's brains were hard wired differently. One young thing in the employee's lounge questioned which brain was superior and which was inferior. To her if something was different, then it was unequal. We can be individuals and still be equal before the law. We are moving toward the impossible "equality" by making everyone identical. If someone does not desire to pledge allegiance to the flag, they don't have to. Their choice is their own. Frivolous lawsuits such as this one is designed to cause contention and to disrupt the cultural values. The atheists among us are not content to stand on their belief system. They want to impose their values on the rest of us.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Sept. 5, 2013 11:43 a.m.

    Here is the original version of the Pledge as written in 1892.

    "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for
    which it stands; one nation indivisible, with liberty
    and Justice for all."

    In 1924, “my flag” was changed to “the flag” which was even more emphatically clarified by adding “of the United States of America.” Apparently, there were still diehard Confederates resisting the idea of the U.S. as one nation.

    Even today, we hear in Tea Party rhetoric a remnant of resistance to the Federalism that emerged triumphant from the Civil War. The Institute on the Constitution is one example of a right wing group trying to rewrite history if not the Constitution itself by arguing that the Founding Fathers were more influenced by Protestant theology than by the Age of Enlightenment. It just goes to show that you can interpret history to make it prove whatever you want to believe.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 11:14 a.m.

    We live in a nation unlike almost every nation ever since the world began with billions of people living at one time. We are fortunate to have had this land saved for a people that came to be away from oppressive governments of kings, monarchs and the influence of despots.

    Our form of government came through much thought and planning by those founding fathers and inspired by goodness to all men and women who live here.

    It wasn't by chance and that would have been the luck of the draw of bad monarchial rule.

    Hopefully, judges will make a good decision in this country with apparent law and order instead of a despots hand that changes daily.

  • Politico American Fork, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 10:33 a.m.

    We should simply do away with the Pledge of Allegiance. We are certainly not one nation or undivided anyways. Our nation has probably never been more divided. We are a nation of warring ideologies and public vitriol. Our Founding Fathers would never have conceived of such a practice as the pledge. They established this land as a Republic of 'Free and Independent States', not a 'Nation, Indivisible'. The Founders largely wanted a limited Federal Government and co-equal States. Now we have a bloated Federal Government which tramples the rights of states with aplomb. And a Federally backed pledge of allegiance to said government which indoctrinates our youth with thoughts of hyper-nationalism. If we truly still had a functioning Republic, as the Pledge suggests, then our States would have a seat at the table. As it stands the Pledge is at best empty rhetoric, and at worst Statist indoctrination.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Sept. 5, 2013 10:32 a.m.


    I misstated on my previous post. The phrase "under God" was inserted between the phrase "one nation" and the word indivisible. Sorry for gaffe.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Sept. 5, 2013 9:34 a.m.

    Group recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom is an American tradition that became controversial when Congress amended the Pledge by inserting the phrase “under God” between the word indivisible and the phrase “with liberty and justice for all.”

    In hindsight, we can now see what a huge mistake it was to tamper with the wording. There was nothing wrong with the Pledge as it was and the 1954 change was not an improvement. Now we find ourselves wondering whether we can fix it or whether the time has come for us to let go of a proud American tradition that we seem to want to hang on to.

  • Bubble SLC, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 9:01 a.m.

    @ vdubbin: Where, pray tell, did I state you do not have the right to utter whatever you would like? How does allowing these children not to have to say something infringe on your right to say it? Are public schools the only venue you have in which to offer your daily praise of God? And how is the Pledge of Allegiance praising God anyway - especially when those who are so anxious to keep God in it insist it is the lower-case historical/political figure being referred to and not the Divine Being?

  • gehelmke Bastrop, TX
    Sept. 5, 2013 8:50 a.m.

    Being a senior citizen, I have to note that I have trouble remembering to say "under God" in the Pledge. You see, those words were added to the Pledge in 1954 after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization....By 1954, I had completed my schooling and was serving the nation as a United States Marine. I had proudly said the pledge through years of schooling without the words "under God"...especially during WW II and Korea.
    I still remember the mixed feelings I had about this addition when I first heard about it....Where I love my God, I saw the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America as just that....a pledge of allegiance to a flag.....I wondered what was the point in trying to make a prayer out of it?
    Being a Marine at the time, I still pledged my allegiance to that flag....a flag which still flies proudly in my front yard, but I confided my praying to areas where I shared my God with nothing currency....just Him.

  • vdubbin' Ogden, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 8:30 a.m.

    @ Bubble: how can you, with a straight face, imply that we should enjoy freedom of speech but be unable to praise God on a daily basis? Unfortunately you seem to be laboring under the common misapprehension that doing away with God is your right, but that we, for some inexplicable reason, don't have the right to have him in our lives. I've never understood the liberal argument that "we have the right to x, your rights are not mutually compatible with our rights, and your rights are invalid". I wish I could understand. In any event, slowly but surely God will be removed from daily life, our ability to defend ourselves will be nullified, and our nation will look like Russia circa 1940. That's not hyperbole; that's a prediction based on historical evidence.
    I wonder if the liberal, God-hating crowd will be happy when they get their way. I hope so, but I don't have high hopes for a happy ending.

  • Grandma 20 Allen, TX
    Sept. 5, 2013 8:22 a.m.

    Sorry for the typos. The second and third lines should read: "He IS our Creator and gave us agency to choose for ourselves. Anyone objecting to the words, "under God," has his or HER agency to skip over that part."

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 8:13 a.m.

    Someday, the Christian god is going to be taught in the same manner as the Greek Gods, the Roman Gods, the Norse Gods, etc. As mythology.

    When I recite the pledge of allegiance, I use the phrase "on nation under Odin".

  • Grandma 20 Allen, TX
    Sept. 5, 2013 7:30 a.m.

    I am wondering how many believers and non-believers in God profane his name in vain when they become angry or use His name in every day conversation to express their feelings? He his our Creator and gave us agency to choose for ourselves. Anyone objecting to the words, "under God," has his or agency to skip over that part.

  • Gemini Australia, 00
    Sept. 5, 2013 7:18 a.m.

    Sooo will this couple and others like them stop using currency? It states on the very monetary system in place "In God we Trust"! These minorities should stop wasting the time of the courts and just teach their children to abstain from the pledge if they so desire. Surely that can be worked out with consultation of their school principal?

    I am so sick of the "minority" as "Serenity" said, ruling the majority in a "free country" like the U.S.!! Maybe every time someone appeals against references to God a counter appeal should be launched?! That would place the courts in gridlock but I bet God would win! Grow up people - there are far more important things to worry about than a an anonymous couple. They just want their 15 minutes of fame but not brave enough to use their real names. Oh, let me guess, because they don't want the back lash!

    God is referenced all through this country's founding documents - if they don't like that why are they here? Check out somewhere else to live on earth where God is not apparently referenced in legal documentation!

    Good Grief!!!!!

  • Brother Benjamin Franklin Orem, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 7:04 a.m.

    I am very saddened by those here who feel that uttering the words under God signifies something great.

    To me it is tragic.


    I do not feel innocent children should be indoctrinated with this.

    The last thing their young minds need is to be filled with things that they can learn outside of school.

    I have no objection to church and religion outside of school, government, and the workplace.

    Build all the churches you like, worship as you see fit, and teach your children to be decent and God-fearing.

    Just please respect my right not to believe in God, as I respect your right to worship freely.

    I simply want to be treated the same for my beliefs that there is no God, just as someone else wants to be respected for their belief in God.

    Is that too much to ask? I hope not.

    Let us not bring our children into this fight. Just as we would make efforts to save a marriage where children are involved, let us make all efforts to save a civil fight in which our children have become the pawns.

    Do not allow religious extremists to hijack the Pledge of Allegiance.

  • Springvillepoet Springville, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 7:01 a.m.

    People should do a little research.

    The Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy, a Christian Socialist. It was written to run as a sales pitch in 1892 by Youth's Companion Magazine in conjunction to get schools to buy flags for every school room. Yes, our patriotic and sacred pledge is really a commercial written by a socialist to sell flags. It is quite possibly the most American thing we have going.

    Having the word, "God" is of course, one of four changes to the pledge since its creation.

  • Beverly Eden, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 6:38 a.m.

    The 9/11 terrorist firmly believed in God. Warren Jeffs, David Koresh, Jim Jones, etc., etc, all firmly believed in God. From leading people to kill themselves to treating women horribly, people use "god" to manipulate weak thinkers. America is outgrowing this nonsense, and hopefully, the U.S. Supreme Court will support the State of Massachusetts.

  • Albert Maslar CPA (Retired) Absecon, NJ
    Sept. 5, 2013 6:35 a.m.

    Better to be under God than under the boot to the throat by oppressive government.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 4:46 a.m.

    All the defenses of keeping the "under God" reference in the Pledge only reinforce the argument of the atheist plaintiffs, you persist in telling those who do not believe in a god that they are at best second class citizens, or at worst are unworthy and unpatriotic and should leave - "There are other countries that don't have this beautiful privilege, so maybe one of those would be a better choice for a home."

    Those are hostile sentiments that deny non-believing US citizens equal treatment, and it is directly tied to the divisive religious wording in the Pledge.

    You prove the point! In spades!

    As for the supposed role of a deity in the granting and preservation of rights, Bubble is correct. The Declaration is not the Supreme Law of the Land" and has no legal force as regards rights and liberties, as does the Constitution (and Bill of Rights).

    The Declaration isn't law, nor has it ever been, it is what it purports to be, a declaration of intent to justify Americans declaring their independence from Great Britain.

    Religionists need to cease and desist from hijacking this secular government and nation and its history.

  • Serenity Manti, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 12:18 a.m.

    One anonymous couple is suing to have their civil rights protected? I strongly object. I feel my civil rights are being violated because I, and my family feel that the Pledge should stand as it is. I also feel that we are with the majority in the United States according to many poles taken. Since this is a Democratic society, the majority rules. So, why should the majority of the people be so very violated by One couple who decided that their rights were violated? What about the rights of the rest of us? I have my civil rights too. This whole thing is ludicrous. The fact that it made it to the Massachusetts supreme court is completely unfair. Who is protecting my civil rights? I feel I and a majority of the country are completely without representation and our rights are being very violated. Those children of the atheist couple do not have to accept the pledge and it is their parents rights to teach them that. If they can't teach their children what to believe, why should the rest of us suffer with our rights being seriously violated?

  • Honest Abe Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 4, 2013 11:22 p.m.

    Massachusetts has its priorities and principles all backwards. Instead of creating laws that protect or strengthen communities and society. Attorneys and government at tax-payers expense are lauded for destroying them. As a past resident of Massachusetts I can attest that it is becoming less and less family value friendly.

    Massachusetts should be looking at and debating ways to reduce its higher than average crime rate. In Boston, violent crime is twice the national average. Massachusetts courts ought to be looking at ways to reduce its higher than average crime rate There are so many critical areas that need attention and are neglected for the attention, or notion that someone's rights are violated with the mere mention of deity.

  • TRUTH Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 4, 2013 10:21 p.m.

    You just answered your own question Bubble? I wonder what God would say?

    Sept. 4, 2013 10:18 p.m.


    You are thinking of the Declaration of Independence - "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

  • Bubble SLC, UT
    Sept. 4, 2013 8:26 p.m.

    @ my4boys: Please state where in the US Constitution there is any reference to a higher being who gave us our rights and freedoms.

    As for the "privilege" of saying "under God" in school everyday - many theocracies have similar requirements of a daily acknowledgement of God - and those are some of the least free countries in the world.

    How can you, with a straight face, claim freedom of speech and a privilege of worshipping God as you see fit and then follow it with the statement that if people want similar freedoms for themselves they should go to a different country?

  • my4boys Murray, UT
    Sept. 4, 2013 7:38 p.m.

    Freedom in this great country was founded upon the belief in a higher being-"God". It's quite a remarkable thing to live where for the most part, we are safe to speak our minds, and leave our homes without much concern of being harmed. If we are more aware of how we treat our neighbors, and are thoughtful in our words and actions, I believe this type of conversation doesn't need to take place. We can be respectful of those few who wish to have this beautiful verbiage taken out of the Pledge, buy allowing their children to step out of the class without drawing attention to them as they do so. I would hope this is already taking place. There are other countries that don't have this beautiful privilege, so maybe one of those would be a better choice for a home.