September 26, 2011

Getting 'Under God' Out of the Pledge is Worthy Cause

One nation under godThere was a time in the United States, where it was not at all uncommon to see "Whites only" signs in the windows of local businesses. When someone who was not White saw such a sign, the message was unambiguous: you are not wanted here. Today, there is a different sort of sign hanging not in a shop window but over the United States as a whole. It says that we are one nation "under god," and it has a similar effect in that it communicates to we atheists that we are not wanted here. It is a sign that needs to come down and be buried along with other relics from a sometimes embarrassing history.

If you follow this link, you will find a petition asking the White House to remove "under god" from the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance. Those of us who are promoting it are under no illusions. We recognize that it is probably not going to happen, at least not right away. And we recognize that the White House might not have the power to make it happen, even if they wanted to (which they don't). That isn't really the point. No, the point is to begin the long and sustained process of speaking out until "under god" is out of the pledge, off our money, and no longer in our courthouses.

The United States is for all of us, religious believers and atheists alike. It is time to remove the vestiges of institutionalized discrimination and bigotry. This is not going to happen overnight, but it is going to happen as long as we possess the will and persistence to see it through.

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