In Good Faith

The U.S. Pledge of Allegiance uses the phrase “one nation under God.” Should this phrase be removed?

Ahriana Platten - New Thought-Unity

Dr. Ahriana Platten is founder-executive director of In Good Faith, leads Unity Spiritual Center and speaks around the country on the topics of interfaith and intercultural understanding.

I think it should — but not for the reasons you’d assume. I don’t believe we need a pledge of allegiance. The pledge suggests that I belong to one country instead of the planet. I think of myself as a global citizen. I don’t like the idea of indoctrination into ideas and principles that we don’t actually practice. We say “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” While we may be one nation — we are deeply divided and the principles of liberty and justice for all are simply not reflected in our society.  To say this untruth falls “under God” seems so contrary to what I understand about the concept of God. Frankly, I don’t think any God would want to be associated with these arbitrary words.  

Jim Daly - Christian

Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family, an organization dedicated to helping families thrive. He and his wife are raising two boys. Visit focusonthefamily.com.

No. Illinois attorney Louis Albert Bowman had good reasons for proposing this addition to the draft version back in 1948 [officially added in 1954]. First, he recognized that a Judeo-Christian worldview has formed the bedrock of American culture, law and government since the nation’s founding. Second, he understood that the First Great Awakening had united the American people around three truths: a belief in God-given inalienable rights; a belief in God’s higher law; and a belief in the equality of all people before God. Third, he knew that these convictions, which fueled the struggle for independence, have held our nation together for almost 250 years. In short, he saw that without faith in God, there would have been no U.S.

Benn Mac Stiofan - Druid

Benn Mac Stiofan is a practicing Druid who speaks Irish and has deep respect for the spiritual, ethical and mystical teachings rife in Celtic myth and legend.

I think its removal is inevitable. I’ve never felt comfortable with mixing political power and religious identity. Mixing the two never seems to turn out well for religious or cultural communities, bending always in the direction of political power and threatening the rights of whichever religious or cultural community is currently out of favor. In its original 1892 form it said, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” This form of the pledge didn’t harm the exercise of religious liberty in any way. When it is removed, we will return to the founding norm of separation between church and state, ensuring the survival of both. Seeing our current obsession with divisive politics — embraced by some as a kind of insane virtue — I believe mixing the two remains a losing proposition for people of faith everywhere.

Sarah Bender - Buddhist

Sarah Bender is a Roshi (senior teacher) in the Koan Zen Buddhist tradition. She is a resident teacher for Springs Mountain Sangha, a Zen community in Colorado Springs (smszen.org).

The words “under God” should be removed. They negate the pledge’s “One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” To meet that high standard, a nation’s citizens must learn and respect the beliefs of others. Then it can draw upon the strengths of numerous traditions to form a true consensus about moral and ethical standards for our time. Google “Pledge of Allegiance.” One of the first entries is a video, A Primer for Kids on the pledge. The page for “under God” has two images: a Bible with a cross on it, and an image of Jesus Christ, his red heart prominent. That common message is not “One nation, indivisible.” To restore Earth and survive, we must learn from and care for each other.