I’m a Baptist, and one of our foundational statements of faith is the separation of church and state: government should not dictate the religious affairs of the private citizen, nor should a religious entity use its institutional influence to coerce the governance of the state. (I need to read up on this bit of Baptist tradition, however, because I’m wondering about its biblical precedence.) Given that, if a judicial branch of established government rules that the “Under God” line of the Pledge is unconstitutional, I suppose I accept that. But government may not interfere with my right to continue openly professing my belief in God — even while others are intent on vehemently denying Him.
A few more observations:
- A lot of conservatives like to point out that the Founding Fathers were building a Christian nation. That’s not entirely true. Deist, Masonic, and Humanist influences were also present, though Christian thought was the primary paradigm.
- I worry a bit about blurring the lines between patriotism and faith. With this hazy non-thematic “God” concept ingrained in many institutions of our country, it’s too easy for nationalism to become an idol on its own: the flag beside the cross where only the cross should stand.
- It’s worth noting that the Panatang Makabayan, the equivalent Pledge of Allegiance from a largely Catholic nation, makes no mention of God at all. That doesn’t seem to affect in any way the Filipino faith — or the Filipino Church hierarchy’s propensity for occasional political meddling. ;)
- So why have government force citizens to say an “Under God” they don’t even believe in, when we can instead show forth the love of God and inspire people to say “Under God” of their own free will? Let’s not make embarassing quantities of noise over a secular government’s choices for the allegiances of a fallen world. Rather, let us go out and be salt and light.