New Atheist Demand: ‘Don’t Say the Pledge’

I don’t know why the American Humanist Association sends me email.

Today they have asked for my support in their campaign to have the words “under God” dropped from the Pledge of Allegiance. “Through the daily Pledge exercise,” whines their spokesman, “our public schools are defining patriotism by promoting god-belief while stigmatizing atheist and humanist children.”

What crap. Has this clown been in a public school classroom lately? When I was teaching, I was the only one in the classroom who stood for the Pledge of Allegiance. Not one student paid the least attention to it. They just kept on yakking, throwing stuff, snapping girls’ bra straps, and laughing. And if you think I had the power to stop that–well, you’d be speaking from pure ignorance.

Anyhow, the humanists claim “harassment” and “bullying,” liberals’ magic words, befall atheists at the hands of Christians, if they exercise their right to remain seated during the Pledge.

In most classrooms, the most difficult challenge facing the teacher is to keep the kids in their seats at all.

Okay, “Under God” was added in 1954. So that makes it bad? Humanist anti-morality has only been added to the curriculum in the past few years, and we’re all supposed to bow down to it.

When atheists spout how they’re “good without God,” I can only think of 20th century atheists like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Hitler. The only thing they were good at was piling up dead bodies.

Personally, I don’t care all that much about the Pledge of Allegiance. As a Christian, I would have serious reservations about pledging allegiance to a nation that was not under God–very serious reservations indeed.

Ask some of the people who escaped from officially atheist countries, often at great risk of their lives, how they liked it there.

10 comments on “New Atheist Demand: ‘Don’t Say the Pledge’

  1. Despite how much they hate religion and Christianity I suspect their “secular morals” have been heavily influenced by Judeo Christian ethics rather they admit it or not.

  2. “Thinking themselves wise, they become fools…: and they prove it
    daily. Wouldn’t want to stand in their shoes on the day of judgment.
    They are whiney brats, and I hope they like it really hot.

  3. The government’s addition of the words “under God” to the pledge of allegiance in 1954 and adoption of the phrase “In God we trust” as a national motto in 1956 were mistakes, which should be corrected. Under our Constitution, the government has no business proclaiming that “we trust” “In God.” Some of us do, and some of us don’t; each of us enjoys the freedom to make that choice; the government does not and should not purport to speak for us in this regard. Nor does the government have any business calling on its citizens to voice affirmation of a god in any circumstances, let alone in the very pledge the government prescribes for affirming allegiance to the country. The unnecessary insertion of an affirmation of a god in the pledge puts atheists and other nonbelievers in a Catch 22: Either recite the pledge with rank hypocrisy or accept exclusion from one of the basic rituals of citizenship enjoyed by all other citizens. The government has no business forcing citizens to this choice on religious grounds, and it certainly has no business assembling citizens’ children in public schools and prescribing their recitation of the pledge–affirmation of a god and all–as a daily routine.

    1. As for the Pledge of Allegiance, I would not pledge allegiance to any worldly authority that did not place itself under God.

      Your position would be strong if there were any such thing as religious neutrality. There isn’t. In its crusade to drive Christianity out of the public sector altogether, the government is establishing anti-Christianity as the religion of the state.

      The historical fact is that the United States was settled, founded, and built up by Christians (with a sprinkling of Jews). Until very recent times, almost everyone who was not a Jew was a Christian.

      Were we good Christians? Let me speak only for myself. Brought up as a Christian, but educated in the public schools and universities, and living in a nation populated by Christians who, I’m afraid, became beguiled by their own success, prosperity, and power, I grew up to be someone who would have angrily denied the charge of not being a Christian, but for whom, nevertheless, the Christian faith had ceased to be an integral part of life. It took me a long time, by God’s grace, to outgrow that. I was one of the lost sheep that the Shepherd had to search for.

      Religious liberty is a hard-won principle that for many years had no adherents. But it is a principle sanctioned by the Bible. Search the New Testament: you won’t find a single example of Our Lord or any of His disciples trying to force Christianity on anyone.

      Today in America it’s not Christians who force their ideas on everyone else, but the secular state in the service of anti-Christianity. It only took one atheist fat-head in my home town to get our annual Christmas parade abolished–a tradition going back 100 years. Anyone can collect a bookful of similar examples.

      If you prefer to deny the God who created you, that’s your problem, not mine. Although the anti-Christian contingent in this country tirelessly strives to force its own ideas on the rest of us, I believe it would be not only folly on my part, but also sin, to try to force you to honor God.

      The news every day makes it obvious that the state has taken sides in the arena of religion. If the secular bullies would stop trying to shackle my conscience with “hate speech” laws and “human rights” commissions, I might be more disposed to listen to them. But as it is, all I’m hearing from them is hypocrisy.

    2. As you believe government neutrality with respect to religion is impossible (and, thus, so to is separation of church and state), do you therefore also believe that we are doomed to but fight it out and see who comes out on top?

    3. How would there be a fight (we are both speaking in a metaphor, I presume)? American Christians don’t care enough to fight. If Christians ever contended for their faith with the same zeal with which secularists contend for theirs, the fight would be over in a hurry.

      Let me ask you a question. Do you really believe that what we have now is neutrality? If you do, then what do you think would have to be happening before I could rightly say the government has taken sides against Christians? How much farther would secularism have to go before you said it had crossed the line?

      Certainly I would rather live in any polity that consciously placed itself under God than one that purposely withdrew itself. Religious liberty is an outworking of Christian doctrine as presented in the New Testament. The fact that it took Christians some centuries to realize that, is irrelevant. Certainly the Church realized it and practiced it in the beginning.

    4. How would there be a fight (metaphorically of course)? I understand you to say that government neutrality and thus separation of church and state are impossible. If then the government must necessarily favor someone’s religion and there are no constitutional constraints separating government and religion, are we, as citizens, put in the position of pushing our respective religions in the hopes that ours will come out on top and capture the government or at least its favor?

      In response to your question, I think that what we have now is (1) at least some measure of recognition of government neutrality with respect to religion as a constitutional requirement or at least a principle to which we should aspire and (2) a general practice or at least tendency, imperfectly followed and rife with exceptions, to strive for such neutrality.

      I’m intrigued by your sense of persecution of Christians in our society. I see it quite differently. Christians dominate American society and politics. Christians of all sorts comprise about 78% of the population; Catholics comprise about 24%. Christians comprise 87% of members of Congress; Jews 6%; the remainder claim a smattering of other faiths or decline to state; the one openly atheist (former) member lost his last primary. http://www.pewforum.org/2012/11/16/faith-on-the-hill-the-religious-composition-of-the-113th-congress/ Six justices of the Supreme Court are Catholic; three are Jewish. The President is Christian, as was the one before him, and before him, etc. The official national motto is “In God we trust.” The government prescribes a pledge of allegiance declaring that our nation is “under God.” Presidents and other politicians close their speeches with the obligatory “God bless America.” Federal and state laws naturally reflect the views of the religious electorate for the most part. Even though Christianity remains by far the dominant religious influence in our society, Christians no doubt have occasionally confronted disappointment and dislike regarding this or that government decision. It should hardly be supposed, though, that they experience anywhere near as much of that as other smaller, less influential groups.

      When I hear a member of that dominant religion express feelings of persecution and such, the image of a privileged child comes to mind–one who, faced with the prospect of treatment comparable to that experienced by others, howls in pained anguish at the injustice of it all and pines for the good old days.

      As an atheist, I know how it feels to hold views not shared and even reviled by many in our society, and I know how it feels to survey our government representatives and see precious few who share my views. You may understand then how alarming it is to hear members of the dominant religious group speak of their sense of persecution. History often reveals dominant groups working themselves into a lather about perceived wrongs against them before they lash out to “restore” matters as they see fit.

    5. In response to your first two paragraphs, all right, fair enough: people in government believe religious neutrality is possible, and usually strive for it.

      Then you give me demographics, which I do not dispute, to show that Christians are by far the majority group in the USA. You got a bit snarky about it, but on the sabbath day I try to refrain from making war, so I will let that pass. But please, let’s not be told “The President is a Christian.” Some other time I’ll explain why, if that president is a Christian, then the term “Christian” has no meaning.
      As for what you seem to consider a totally unwarranted sense of persecution–don’t you follow the news?
      If Christians were to set up “human rights” commissions to compel non-Christians to keep their beliefs to themselves, and to take part in Christian rites against their conscience, and sentenced them to “sensitivity training” or “diversity classes” until they at least, by force, said that they “affirmed” and “celebrated” Christianity, you would call those commissions inquisitions.
      But this is farther than I meant to go today. Let me add only that freedom of conscience, wherever it is permitted to exist in this fallen world, has been exclusively the work of Christians and no one else. It is work blessed by God and sanctioned by His word.

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