‘Under God’ Does Not Violate Separation of Church, State

ARIN MIKAILIAN
El Vaquero Staff Writer

Looking at how other countries’ governments are run, I can honestly say most of us in America have it pretty good. We are not ruled by a dictator, we have the right to express ourselves, we are not ruled by religion and we have the right to practice any religion we want. One could arrive at the conclusion that it is a good thing that church and state are separated; they have nothing to do with each other. Then why all of a sudden are people arguing and complaining about church and state not being separated enough?

I’m sorry, but I do not see anyone in Congress reading excerpts from the Bible. The last thing that we should worry about in this country is religion running the government. We may be influenced though by religion or religious groups like the Christian Coalition who try to work in ways that are best for the country. We don’t have a cardinal or a reverend as our president (sorry Jesse Jackson). So then what is the problem? Why are people still complaining? Well apparently, all over America in grade-school classrooms students are reciting the pledge of allegiance.

There are actually parents who are angry about the pledge’s wording. I think it is nice that children are paying respect to the country many people fought for in the past. You hear that?

“I pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.” That’s right kids, nothing wrong with saluting your country. Fast-forward a little bit, “…under God, with liberty and justice for all.” Well said little grade-schoolers. Wait, hold on a second. What did you kids say? UNDER GOD! This is it. This is proof that church and state are only 99.9999 percent separated. That is what people have been complaining about?

Unfortunately, there are people protesting and arguing that “under god” should be taken out of the pledge of allegiance just because of those very two words.

I am sorry to say but this does not fall under the category of church not being separated from state. In the first amendment of the Bill of Rights, it is stated that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” What that boils down to is the government cannot play favorites with religions. What the Constitution was trying to say was that the United States of America would be a free country, not dominated by religion.

People are asking, “What if you don’t believe in god?” If you do not believe in god do not recite the pledge. That is where the first amendment comes in and tells us we don’t have to. Or does it?
Refusing to say the pledge is an option when it comes to a speech or any type of political gathering, but the only place where it is mandatory is in schools.

If children refuse to recite the pledge they may be subject to disciplinary action. This does not sound like freedom of speech to me. Maybe we didn’t read the fine print. Maybe if the policy of making the pledge mandatory in schools is changed so that it becomes voluntary, this situation may be immensely helped.

Many people are also upset about how President Bush always says “God bless America” in his speeches. Is that what people actually pay attention to in his speech? “Yeah, yeah, you’re going to nuke Iraq, blah, blah, blah. Ah ha! There it is. He said god!” Since when has this word become taboo?

People should not create their opinions based upon political leaders’ religious beliefs. The only time people should focus on religion when it comes to politics is how political candidates stand on issues such as abortion.

Those issues bring up a whole list of ethical questions that directly correlate with one’s religious beliefs. The bottom line is, people should listen to the ideas and issues political figures have to share because that is what matters.

With the pledge of allegiance aside, the whole separation of church and state has gone so far as the Supreme Court. Recently, a small display of the Ten Commandments was removed from the Alabama Supreme Courthouse because it is considered to be a religious artifact.

Before it was actually removed, one of the justices fought to keep it right where it was, but in the end he was removed as well. That display of the Ten Commandments did not harm anyone, or have any influence on how the state supreme court functioned. But unfortunately, this time the complainers won.

So let us say the complainers win and “under god” is taken out of the pledge. What will they go after next? Will “In God we trust” on coins be replaced with “Good luck, America!”?

It is most likely these people will not go away and there will be more protests and eventually there will be trials and millions of dollars will go to waste.

These trials cannot be prevented, because it is everyone’s constitutional right to any trial about anything. So it looks like this issue will not be settled anytime soon. All this over two words in a pledge? Please stop, for the love of God.