As originally written, the Pledge of Allegiance was intended as an oath of loyalty to the United States. Only much later was the Pledge tainted by religion.
Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892. The original Pledge read as follows:
“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
In 1923 the National Flag Conference campaigned for the words “my Flag” to be changed to “the Flag of the United States.” A year later the words “of America” were inserted. Francis Bellamy was opposed to the changes. The Pledge then read:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Congress officially recognized the Pledge in 1942.
After many failed attempts, the words “under God” were inserted in 1954. Francis Bellamy’s granddaughter stated that her grandfather would have opposed the insertion. Congress signed it into law due to pressure from numerous Christian organizations such as the Knights of Columbus and President Dwight Eisenhower. Proponents of the legislation took advantage of the McCarthy hysteria of the 1950s and committed numerous other violations against the First Amendment such as adding “In God We Trust” to all currency and making it the national motto (formerly “E Pluribus Unum”).
To determine whether or not “under god” belongs in the Pledge of Allegiance, one need only examine the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
The insertion of “under God” in the Pledge is an establishment of religion and therefore unconstitutional.
Many encroachments upon the First Amendment were made during the Cold War as a response to communism. Some theists believed that the United States needed to pronounce its “godliness” to set itself apart from supposed atheistic communism. There are many problems with this reasoning:
First, millions of hard-working, patriotic citizens do not believe in God, so such a pronouncement alienates a large segment of the population. The majority of atheists in the United States are not communists.
Second, communism is often wrongly associated with atheism. Many communists are atheists but many are also religious. Communism is a political ideology that does not require atheism or belief in God.
Third, the United States is the first nation in history to establish a secular government with a secular constitution. It is founded on principles of the Enlightenment, not God.
The Pledge of Allegiance should be restored to its original form as an oath of loyalty to our great nation and its founding principles. The attempt to inculcate religion in children who recite the Pledge runs contrary to the Constitution. It is not the government’s business to proclaim whether or not there is a god or which deity should be worshipped.