May 25, 2008

Time to Join the Pledge Project

Alonzo Frye at Atheist Ethicist has been championing something called the Pledge Project in a series of posts. I'd like to tell you about it here and announce my support for this important call to action. This is simply too important to ignore.

In his initial post on the topic, Alonzo described the Pledge Project as follows:
I consider 'under God' in the pledge, and the national motto of "In God We Trust" to be the most significant cause of the deteriorating political situation that atheists in specific and secularists in general are facing in the United States, and I want to see these practices ended.
With the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to soon release its decision about whether the "under God" and "In God We Trust" phrases in the pledge and on our currency are Constitutional, we should brace for a political firestorm. If the god references are accepted (the most likely outcome), we have another brick in the wall which keeps American atheists alienated from the rest of society. As Alonzo points out, this would maintain the limited electability of atheist candidates for office. Clearly, it would also be a slap in the face to the millions of Americans who base their beliefs on reason and evidence rather than superstition and wish fulfillment.

In a follow-up post, Alonzo calls on each of us to make a statement like the following on our blogs, in online forums, in letters to the editor, and/or in public:
‘Under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance has never been about allowing God in the public square. It has always been about excluding non-religious people from public office and all aspects of civic life. And I can prove it.
You can learn about why this is so important and about the proof to which Alonzo refers in his post.

He's right. He's right about the importance of taking action on this issue, and he's right about the need to educate the public. This has nothing whatsoever to do with banishing gods from the public forum; it is about inclusion. It is about recognizing the value of all Americans, regardless of whether they buy into popular delusion.
The moral issue is that ‘under God’ in the Pledge and ‘In God We Trust’ as the national motto posted on the money, in government buildings, and (particularly) in school classrooms are part of an attempt to promote hostility against peaceful people based on their religious beliefs and to put nearly insurmountable barriers between them and elected public offices and positions of public trust.
And before you insist that this should not be one of our priorities because there are too many other important things on which we should be focusing our time and energy, please read this.

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