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Jeanne D’Arc Hosea
Writing 1010
Erin Rogers
November 17, 2015
The Pledge of Allegiance
The original Pledge of Allegiance was created in August 1892 by Francis Bellamy.
Throughout the years, there have been many additions and revisions to the original Pledge. One
specific example of words being added to the Pledge occurred in 1954. That was when Congress
had added the words “under God” to the Pledge. Ever since those two words have been added,
there has been some debate on whether or not “under God” should be removed, some thinking it
unconstitutional. The words “under God” added to the Pledge of Allegiance are not
unconstitutional and should remain as is in the Pledge. The reason to my thinking is that, I think
the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance form a context which is normative. Its
recitation and use in public schools has brought a lot of controversy. This was challenged in the
Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow case. Never having thought that not reciting the
Pledge of Allegiance was ever an option due to the unconstitutionality of two words, the decision
to research if the words “under God” was unconstitutional or not intrigued me.
Many may argue that the significance of the words “under God” is unconstitutional. For
example in the Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow case, Michael Newdow stated that
the words “under God” in the Pledge “renders it a religious exercise and that government
sponsorship of recitals of the Pledge by children in public schools thus violates the Establishment
Clause of the First Amendment.” (One Nation Under God?). When children recite the Pledge of
Allegiance, they don’t know what the meanings of the words are and they just continue repeating


it. Children have a choice on whether or not they want recite the Pledge of Allegiance but that’s
only challenged if they understand what they’re saying. Newdow’s standpoint on this issue is
that “the setting in which the Pledge is typically recited, involving all students being asked to say
it aloud and in unison, leads to coerced participation.” (One Nation Under God?) Therefore, in
Michael Newdow’s perspective, not saying the Pledge would make an individual feel like an
outcast. If one were to refrain from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, then there would be a
certain awkwardness surrounding the room when everyone else says it. Standing up for what you
think is right can also mean that you stand alone with no support and so therefore, you feel like
an outcast. Though he has many more reasoning’s for the words “under God” being
unconstitutional in the Pledge, there are many other opinions out there.
The words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance are not unconstitutional because it
wasn’t meant to represent anything religious, it only was meant as something patriotic. Also,
“under God” is not a prayer although some may argue that it is, but it is an endorsement of our
form of government. My first reason being is because when those words were added in 1954 to
the Pledge, it’s “change was partly motivated by a desire to differentiate between communism,
which promotes Atheism, and Western capitalistic democracies” (Religious Tolerance). It wasn’t
in any means dictated as a public prayer when they thought of adding it, but “primarily a
statement related to the American political tradition.” (Religious Tolerance).
If one were to banish the words “under God” from the Pledge, it would be just like
banishing the words “In God We Trust” from all the currency. One specific opinion that caught
my eye was of Circuit Judge Ferdinand Fernandez who stated that “we will soon find ourselves
prohibited from using our album of patriotic songs in many public settings… God Bless America
and America the Beautiful will be gone for sure… and currency beware!” (Lawmakers blast


Pledge ruling). These songs are all patriotic and create a sort of unity for our country. “Under
God” inhibits the same meaning as “In God We Trust”, “God Bless America”, etc. When asked
of the Appeals Court’s opinion on the matter, they had compared it to “In God We Trust”, stating
that “the language is patriotic and ceremonial, not religious” “Appeals Court says ‘Under God’
not a prayer”. If one were to remove “under God” from the pledge, well, gone with the Pledge
and gone with our currency.
The reason why people think that the words “under God” are unconstitutional is because
they think that the words “under God” violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment
to the U.S. Constitution. The Establishment Clause is “the clause in the First Amendment of the
US Constitution that prohibits the establishment of religion by Congress.” (Google Definition).
Although the words “under God” can have a religious perspective on it because of the word
‘God,’ it is just a fundamentally patriotic exercise. Just like the songs such as God bless America,
etc. are considered a patriotic exercise. Some may say that it also violates the equal rights
The Pledge should not be considered unconstitutional just because the words “under
God” were added to it. It holds no other religious meaning to it other than it wanted to
“differentiate between communism… and Western Capitalistic democracies.” (Religious
Tolerance). The Pledge isn’t a prayer. In the article (Appeals Court says ‘Under God’ not a
prayer) it states that “the daily schoolroom ritual is not a prayer, but instead a recognition of our
founders’ political philosophy that a power greater than the government gives the people their
inalienable rights… the words ‘under God’ have religious significance, but they do not convert
the pledge into a prayer” “Thus, the Pledge is an endorsement of our form of government, not of
religion or any particular sect.” (Appeals Court says ‘Under God’ not a prayer). From the


evidence shown you can see that though it holds little religious meaning, it is not
My take on this issue of whether or not the words “under God” should be considered
unconstitutional or not definitely lean more towards the latter. There are many opinions that vary
on this issue, but I think that the words “under God” are not unconstitutional and should remain
in as it is in the Pledge of Allegiance. Although it does have the word God in it and has a
religious tinge to it, the Pledge is just a fundamentally patriotic exercise for Americans. It was
not intended in any way to be dictated as a public prayer. Just like it is for the words “In God We
Trust, “the language is patriotic and ceremonial, not religious. Also, “under God” is not a prayer,
but is an endorsement of our form of government.