October 29, 2011

White House Responds to Petition to Restore the Pledge of Allegiance

Us whitehouse logo jpgYou may remember that I had a link in the sidebar a few weeks ago for a petition asking the White House to work on removing "under god" from the Pledge of Allegiance. The petition was part of a new program the Obama administration had announced where they would consider requests with over 5,000 signatures. This particular petition easily exceeded that goal, and we now have our response from the White House.

Friendly Atheist posted a letter from Joshua DuBois, Executive Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, responding to the petition. It contains this gem:
That’s why President Obama supports the use of the words “under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance and “In God we Trust” on our currency. These phrases represent the important role religion plays in American public life, while we continue to recognize and protect the rights of secular Americans.
In other words, don't expect this White House to do anything about the pledge. DuBois quoted from a speech President Obama gave when he was still Senator Obama.
A sense of proportion should also guide those who police the boundaries between church and state. Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation — context matters.
Hemant concludes that petitions like this are useless. I disagree. We can use petitions like this to inform politicians, the media, and each other that there are a great many of us who are serious about the separation of church and state. Over time and with greater numbers, we will be harder to ignore. And if we ever begin to use our votes and our spending power to effect political change, nobody will be able to ignore us.