Brown: No “God” in our government

Phil Brown

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The American pledge of allegiance is intended to be an oath that every member of our nation can say to affirm his or her commitment to our government and the wonderful country which we have built through it.

It seems ridiculous, then, that we include a provision which can reasonably be seen to alienate — even offend — a group of our citizens.

I speak of course of the phrase “under God,” added to our pledge in the heyday of fear, resentment, paranoia and senseless persecution that was the Red Scare. While the Red Scare is seen by any reasonable individual —who knows that it even existed — as a black mark on our history, we still live with the ramifications today.

For one, there is a pervading and ignorant association of communism with evil, totalitarian governments. While communism historically has been associated with such regimes, they are not actually compatible with the benevolent philosophy of communism and are a terrible, if predictable, corruption of the system.

Beyond that, the senseless and forced injection of “God” into our system of government speaks volumes about us.

Imposing “God” on our citizens is not something to be proud of. It is a shameful display of a majority lording their political weight over a minority and of tyranny that seeks to unify us through ideology rather than tolerance. Oddly enough, this is exactly the problem our nation had with the Communist regimes that so offended us.

Apparently unbeknownst to some, there are individuals in our country who do not believe that there is a God above and others who believe in multiple gods or divine forces. There are still others who do believe in a single God yet pray desperately for that God to remain free from government affiliation.

It would be asinine to simply brush aside these individuals when they voice outrage at the support our government shows for monotheism, specifically Christianity. It is equally foolish to claim that removing reference to the One God is somehow disrespectful to those who do believe in such a deity.

To be clear, no rational group or person is suggesting that we should have state-sponsored atheism, state-sponsored denunciation of any religion, or that those who do believe in God should have their beliefs censored.

The only real argument being made is that it is wrong to have our government show support for the belief that there is one God in our pledge of allegiance, on our currency, and in a host of other official oaths.

Now, some may not see any difference between those two ideas. To those unable to envision how taking away “under God” and “In God We Trust” doesn’t impose burdens on their beliefs, let me explain:

It is not unreasonable to take away an improper entitlement that any group enjoys, regardless of the historical place that entitlement holds.

If an example is still needed, imagine that at some point in our history our governing officials got together and decided we needed to reaffirm to the world and to ourselves that we are, in fact, a nation of white people — if this example stings, it should. After all, the majority of our populace has been historically white, and our nation was founded almost exclusively by white men.

Now imagine that, in order to truly reaffirm this belief, the words of our pledge of allegiance were changed to “one White nation” or that we added the phrase “In White Men We Trust” to our money.

How monumentally stupid and offensive does this seem? No more so than to add the word “God.”

It does not matter what size the minority is. It does not matter who the minority is. It does not matter what separates the minority from the majority — as long as the separating factor is not having infringed upon another’s rights — just as it does not matter what historical protections and privileges that majority has held.

What matters is that the federal government, as well as any lower government, is not given the power to make laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or respecting an establishment thereof, just as it is not given the power to make laws granting unequal protection — and therefore benefit — based upon race.

Even taking the nonsensical argument that the first amendment does not protect those with “no religion,” by referring to “God” our government shows support for the idea that there is only one God.

Simply put, it is moronic to suggest that those who believe in one God “deserve” to have our government support their particular belief.

Anyone is free to believe and worship as she or he wishes; our government is not.