ONE NATION UNDER GOD IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL
April 1, 2003
Matthew J Coffee
April 1, 2003
“One nation under god is Unconstitutional”
Over the last couple of years, the West Coast federal district court issued an injunction prohibiting the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance with the phrase “ one nation under God”, in it. Based on the facts that I have researched, I have come to agree with the court’s decision, the main reason in the United States constitution, it’s unconstitutional.
Baptist minister wrote the Pledge of Allegiance, by the name of Francis Bellamy in 1892. He was a Christian Socialist, so he influenced most of the pledge from his first cousin Edward Bellamy. Edward Bellemy was an author of American socialist utopian novels. The pledge was published in the September 8th issue a The Youth’s Companion, the family magazine and the Reader’s Digest In the National Education Association in 1892, Francis Bellamy was also a chairman of the committee of the state superintendents of education. As its chairman, he prepared the program for the public schools’ quadricentennial celebration for Columbus Day in 1892. He structured this public school program around a flag raising ceremony and a flag salute – his ‘Pledge of Allegiance.’
The pledge of Allegiance was saddled with the phrase “ one nation under God” added by a congressman in 1954. This was added toward only the irritation of some loyal citizens and parents of school children who weren’t particularly religious, which only made up about ten percent of the population.
The phrase “ one nation under God”, unmistaleably suggest that “ God’s law” sometimes called “ natural Law” or “ divine law”, is the supreme law of the united states citizens who have read the pledge rote for years are lead to believe that the United states is one nation under a god. Most of these citizens probably have not read the constitution. Our constitution, though at times vague and subject to interpretation, is a wonderful document, which stands and shows the wisdom of our Founding fathers
These Founding Fathers clearly did not intend for “divine law” to be the supreme law of our land. Article six of the United States Constitution states that” This constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby; any thing Constitution or laws of any state to the Contrary notwithstanding.”(Dr John W. Baer) No where does it mention anything about “divine law” The Article furthers says that “ no religious test shall ever be required, under the United States.
The “Federalist Papers” written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, which document the debates and thoughts of the founding fathers as they drafted the Constitution, further proves the point. Paper number 52 of the Federalist Papers say “that an elected representative shall never be required to hold to any particular profession of religious faith.” Paper number 57 of the Federalist Papers says that “every citizen whose merit may recommend him, may be an elected official but “ no qualification of wealth, birth, or religious faith” may be a requirement.” These are weird statements indeed, for the elected officials if the founding fathers had intended for them to make up government, which must answer “god’s law” or “divine law”. This further intensifies the importance of “ One Nation under a Secular Constitution.”
Article Three of the United States Constitution says “the Supreme Court, whose function is to interpret the constitution” has also made it clear that are secular government. Tolerant of religious diversity. Also the Supreme Court has forbidden sanction of such beliefs and practices from the government. This has denied religious instruction of bible readings, prayers and other religious things from in government public schools. Such readings would be appropriate in a nation under god, not in a constitutional democracy such as ours.
Another thing we should look at is in the “Bill of Rights” in the first amendment says “ Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise” Saying that government should respect religion, so by saying that everyone who attends school has to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, would be unconstitutional for the people who may not religious believe in god.
Another thing we should look at is the “Establishment Clause”(Bill of Rights), the debate deals with three different and major issues; Bible reading in public schools, aid to religious or parochial schools and religious displays on public property. The government’s Supreme Court established it to develop a “ Wall of Separation” between church and schools.
We also can compare it to the controversy in 1962 in the Supreme Court. The case “Engel vs. Vitale”, dealt with the establishment clause. The New York State Board of Regents approved prayer. The court decision ruled the prayer also to be unconstitutional because a prayer is a form of religious practice. Practice of any type of religion in public schools is not allowed on school property. To authorize a period of silence for meditation or voluntary prayer and to teach the theory of evolution or biblical creationism as a science is also unconstitutional. In the Pledge of Allegiance case, it is similar to the Engel v. Vitale in which both cases deal with religious outlooks that are unconstitutional to the United States Constitution.
Now after reading this essay you should get my understanding on why the phrase “under god” should be eliminated from the pledge of Allegiance. It is very unconstitutional, and doesn’t do anything to help America. Living in America we have the right to freedom to believe in any kind of religion. The pledge of Allegiance will still remain the same, but it will be equal and free to every American citizen.
History of the Pledge of Allegiance, By John W. Baer
The Federalist Papers By Alexander Hamilton, James Madison , John Jay, Rossiter, Charles R. Kelser / Editor Mass Market Paperback
Newsweek Magazine, Issue July 8, 2002 “ One nation under god” pages 23-25
American Government/ Walter E. Volkomer: with the editorial assistance of Carolyn D. Smith- 9th edition pg 294-298
The United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights