The White House Responds to Petition to Remove ‘Under God’ from Pledge of Allegiance

Joshua DuBois, Executive Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, sent out the following email today in response to the White House petition which said “Edit the Pledge of Allegiance to remove the phrase ‘Under God.’”

Thank you for signing the petition “Edit the Pledge of Allegiance to remove the phrase ‘Under God.’” We appreciate your participation in the We the People platform on WhiteHouse.gov.

The separation of church and state outlined in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution is an important founding principle of our nation. Our nation’s Bill of Rights guarantees not only that the government cannot establish an official religion, but also guarantees citizens’ rights to practice the religion of their choosing or no religion at all.

Throughout our history, people of all faiths — as well as secular Americans — have played an important role in public life. And a robust dialogue about the role of religion in public life is an important part of our public discourse.

While the President strongly supports every American’s right to religious freedom and the separation of church and state, that does not mean there’s no role for religion in the public square.

When he was a Senator from Illinois, President Obama gave a keynote address at the Call to Renewal conference where he spoke about the important role religion plays in politics and in public life.

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.

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. As the President said in his inaugural address, “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers.” We’re proud of that heritage, and the strength it brings to our great country.

So we now know that these petitions are useless.

I wasn’t expecting Obama’s staff to say, “Oh, right! That DOESN’T belong in the Pledge!” But c’mon, not even a little acknowledgment that this is a religious statement that is only said in public schools because of tradition? No reference to the fact that when the Pledge of Allegiance was originally written — by a Baptist minister, no less — it didn’t contain the phrase “Under God”? No sympathy for the non-Christian students who have to say this every day?

It doesn’t even address the legality of public school children saying we’re a nation “under God.” DuBois ignored that altogether.

Obama said “context matters” when it comes to mentions of god in the public square — and he’s right. That why it matters that children are told they must say they live in a theistic nation. If children were forced to say we live in “one nation, under no god,” Christians wouldn’t be taking this lightly at all. This isn’t about religion in the public square. It’s about the Constitution.

So Obama supports “Under God” under the pledge. Fine. I didn’t expect anything different. But don’t give us the rest of the politically correct bullshit.

DuBois might as well have written this:

Thank you for signing the petition “Edit the Pledge of Allegiance to remove the phrase ‘Under God.’”

President Obama doesn’t want to remove the phrase from the Pledge. And he doesn’t care whether or not it’s Constitutional.

Suck on that, Secular Americans.

You know you’re still gonna vote for him in 2012.



About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Rich Wilson

    Aside from everything else, it’s just plain factually incorrect to say “In God We Trust”.

    It’s far from the worst thing in the world, but the utter dismissal bugs the crap out of me.

    btw Hemant, email to you still bouncing…  is it just me?

    • Anonymous

      That’s not necessarily so, Rich. “We” doesn’t have to mean “all Americans”, it could just be “the guys who designed this coin”. In either case, though, it’s still bollocks and ought to go.

      • http://www.facebook.com/d3st88 Morva Ádám

        lol

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Rich — I’m getting other emails to my friendlyatheist account… not sure why yours aren’t getting through!  Double check the email address…?

    • Matthew Prorok

      In fact, it looks like they sent exactly the same response to both petitions.  The official site lists both petitions under the response.  You’d think that at the very least, they wouldn’t have had the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships write it up.  Did they not realize that the atheists probably don’t care what the White House “god guy” has to say on the subject?

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    No, I will not be voting for him in 2012. I didn’t vote for him four years ago either.

    • Anonymous

      Good for you.

      Curious – which other candidate on either side of the aisle do you think would have responded differently to this petition?

      Not to support this ghastly not-reply from the White House, but which other politician till now has had the balls to even acknowledge ‘non-believers’ in his/her speech, let alone the inaugural presidential speech?

      • Kevin_Of_Bangor

        I understand
        your point but as I told my mother years ago he talks a good talk but let’s see
        what he does when he gets into office.

        When he acknowledge
        non-believers in his inaugural speech it felt like lip service to me. It was
        nice that he did but that is all I felt from it. He said it as lip service and
        nothing more.

        No other
        candidate is going to reply any differently for years to come but keeping Obama
        in office will not help us that are atheist.

        He believes in
        God and he can acknowledge us all he wants, that doesn’t mean he will have the
        balls to change anything.

        • Trina

          Frankly, I have my doubts as to whether Obama believes in a god, but obviously he knows what’ll play to the larger portion of the electorate.   Politics, gotta hate ‘em.

      • Rich Wilson

        I think the religion question is moot, since we’re not going to get any better for some time to come.  Accepting scientific consensus is more important to me.  In that arena, there are only two GOP candidates who acknowledge both evolution and anthropogenic global warming.  And they’re both Mormon.

    • Thin-ice

      Oh great. Let’s all decide not to vote because we’re pissed off at Obama, and we are, to be sure. I’m real thrilled at the thought of handing the election be default to Perry or Cain. 

      Seriously, what is your alternative? That’s why we got GW Bush Jr, because enough of us wasted our votes on Nader or whoever, so we could vote ideologically pure, or not vote at all. Is it worth it, really?

      Sorry, I’m voting for Obama. The other choice is four years of fundamentalist/ Tea Party rule which will make the Bush years look like a teddy bear’s picnic.

      • Kevin_Of_Bangor

        I just wish we had another choice in 2012 instead of Obama but sadly, we don’t.

        • Badger3k

          Hopefully we’ll get a Dem or Progressive with balls (i.e. guts) and try a run-off with our newest Pope.  I’d vote for either of them over Obama any day.  Despite what people say, there is an alternative to just voting for a sitting president.  There are a lot of people who would vote for an alternative within his own party, but too many are complacent and assume that nobody should challenge a sitting president within their own party.  Didn’t we get rid of hereditary monarchs once?

          • Ophelia Benson

            If you mean guts say guts. If you mean guts don’t say balls.

            • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

              Thank you. I’m so tired of hearing that “not having male genitalia” = “being a coward”.

            • Rich Wilson

              How about a president with bigger ovaries?

        • Demonhype

          Obama is so strange to me.  On one hand, he seems to know what’s right and wrong and seems to care about that–on the other hand, he doesn’t do a damned thing about most of it (yet even some of the lip service is more than many of us have been able to get).  I want to see what will happen in a second term.  I seem to remember Bush really melting the country down in his second term.  Maybe I’m just hoping on a lost-cause, but I’m kind of hoping he’s waiting to the second term to apply some force.  I’m probably wrong about that though, but it seems to me that a lot of presidents seem to really push their agenda, good or bad, when they no longer need to worry about re-election and such.

          Failing that, could we please get a Dem with some balls and an actual liberal view (not a center-right view) in the game?  Please?  I mean, there really isn’t a liberal voice left in the game anymore–it died from accommodating too much, and now we’re left with a choice between the right-wing (Dem) and the batshit-insane right-wing (Repub).  This isn’t even a “choose your poison” situation anymore–it’s a choice between dosages of the exact same poison.  Would you like “lethal” or “batshit-insane weapons-grade-explosive lethal”?

          Until something gives (or we, as the people, make it give), “lethal” is the better choice.  It’ll kill us eventually if we sit on our hands, but the alternative will ensure a nightmarish corporate-christian feudal state in a few short years, in which the majority will be starving on their feet, women will be legally baby-making chattel, the murder of homosexuals and rape/murder of “uppity” women will be a patriotic duty, and you will pledge allegiance to Jesus America on pain of death.

          I wish I was being hyperbolic.  I wish I could be hyperbolic.  But in the current atmosphere, that is no longer possible.

      • Anonymous

        I have to agree here… The lesser of all presented evils is the one we know.

        I know someone who was Independent, re-registered Repub, and plans to vote for Bachmann.  Why?  She no more believe Bachmann is a good candidate than she thinks Charlie Brown would be… but she is convinced that a theocratic political showdown is coming and she is tired of waiting for it, choosing to force the issue.  It won’t work, but at least she feels she is doing something.  And no, it’s not me.  I disagree with that reasoning completely.

    • dauntless

      Good point. Let’s all vote for Rick Perry.

      • Kevin_Of_Bangor

        Perry is a deer in the headlights when it comes to a debate. Cain will get the nod long before he does.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, that e-mail really made my blood boil. Why the hell did I even bother signing that stupid petition?

  • http://twitter.com/slightlyperfect Slightly Perfect

    “These phrases represent the important role religion plays in American public life, while we continue to recognize and protect the rights of secular Americans.”

    Is this a complete sentence? A complete thought? WTF is THIS?

    • Susan Creamer

      Double speak is what this is…ARGH!!!

  • Matthew Prorok

    I expressed similar sentiments in my own fledgling blog.  It takes a lot to make me angry, or to drive me to excessive profanity.  And I wasn’t expecting much to come of the petition.  But this was perhaps the worst response I’ve seen, simply for pure disdain.

  • http://twitter.com/Ryanhacun Ryan Hacunda

    Did you look at the other responses other petitions got? The marijuana one was pretty terrible too. I kind of skimmed some others but I wasn’t entirely familiar with all their issues. But it seems that they are all basically the same thing. Either completely ignoring the main issue, blatantly lying about it, or the complete standard canned response that politicians always try and give.  It’s just going to show that the entire process is useless. It won’t create change, as expected, but it won’t even enable a conversation about the issue to occur, which is pretty abhorrent.

  • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

    That is a crap response, all right.

    On the other hand, I don’t know what authority the petitioners thought the White House had over the Pledge of Allegiance.

  • Tinker

    I replied to the email with:
    Fixed that for you, relevant passage is highlighted in red.

    Please remove all vestiges of your silly superstitions from my government. I need government workers that are not beholden to a fictitious being. I really don’t care that 60 percent of my fellow Americans are unable to get out of bed in the morning without help from an invisible man that grants wishes. You are constitutionally bound to separate out the mythology and work based on facts.

    The phrase I changed now reads:While the President strongly supports every American’s right to religious freedom and the separation of church and state, that does mean there’s no role for your religion in the public square.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I got those pathetic emails also.  Sounds like the kind of thing a staffer would write.  I doubt Obama even saw the petition. 

    Come on White House, you can do better than that!  Give us a real answer.  I’d accept an answer of “We’ d like to address that issue, but we’re really busy with budget issues right now” or something along those lines.    I think the real answer is “too much of the administration’s power base is religious.  We can’t say anything on this issue until after the election”, but I don’t expect anyone to admit to that.

    • Michael S

      I could understand not wanting to make a public statement against it for political reasons, but then why send the email at all?
      Did all petitions get an email response?

  • Rod Chlebek

    Yes, context DOES matter. So… what other context would one deduce from “under God” in our pledge?
    Do I hear crickets?

  • http://lostinthotphotoblog.wordpress.com EvilPoet

    This new and changing political landscape that we were supposed to get is looking mighty familiar. Obama taught constitutional law – where did he go to law school Liberty University?[/snark] Like I’ve said many times before – the only thing a politician can be trusted to do is talk out of both sides of his/her mouth.

    • Angela Stephens-Owens

      Lol..Liberty University!!!! 

      • Anonymous

        Like Christian Science

        or Peacemaker Missile

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

          Or military intelligence… ooh, ooh, or jumbo shrimp.

          • Rich Wilson

            I used to live down the street from the “Church of Truth”

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

              *snrk*

              And isn’t it ironic, doncha think…

  • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

    In software dev, we would call this case “Resolved(Won’t Fix)” or Resolved(By Design).

    I also found it annoying they didn’t have the common courtesy to write different letters to each petition.

    • http://www.facebook.com/maik.both Maik Both

      As a fellow software guy, your parallel is perfect; the same sense of frustration is present. BTW – I’m not American, however a change in the religious landscape in the US would definitely change things in other countries too, as US culture / politics influences others (especially ‘baby brother’ countries like my own, Australia).

    • Michael S

      It’s a feature.

    • Darrell T

      But it’s repro-rate is 100%…
      haha

      Actually it’s more like ‘Request to Waive’ bug

      I am called Darrell too, and I work in Games Development. Are we the same person?  Help me understand, Jesus.

  • Greyeyedsavior

    Actually, Fuck that asshole. He’s more than a monster on civil rights; and he asks us to pay homage to him. The most he deserves is that we ignore him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1314017186 Andrew Pang

    At least for the next 20 years it seems that it’s a fact of life that religion is a prerequisite for being President of the US. Besides getting large campaign contributions from big business and Wall Street.

  • Dan W

    Dammit Obama, stop making me regret voting for you!

  • http://godlessgirl.com godlessgirl

    Blah, blah, blah … same response as always. 
    Alternate Translation: It’s too much trouble for us politically to make this an issue, so suck it up and deal. We just don’t care.
    No surprises here.

  • Anonymous

    Of course context matters. Here’s some more (that I am sure all commenters already know, I’m just infuriated so must vent): “Under God” is a relic from the McCarthy era. Supporting its inclusion means supporting the memory of possibly the most shameful era in U.S. history since the Civil War. For that alone it should be removed, not to mention of course the completely legitimate religion-related arguments.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/ChristopherTK ChristopherTK

      Ancient “relic”, no. Modern “relic”, yes.

      Isn’t it sad that we can’t get many of our parents and grandparents to understand that they were the first generation being taught this violation of church/state boundaries? They swallowed the propaganda as children whole, and now, many support trying to encourage the expansion of these mistakes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/the.michele.lafferty L Michele Lafferty

      Send THIS to the White House!!!

  • Anonymous

    The response was standard, boilerplate, election-year rhetoric.  What did you expect from a politician?  Sincerity?

  • http://allusiveatheist.blogspot.com/ T. Ray

    This republic is not one nation under God.  To say that
    it is, establishes the government and the governed as subordinate to a
    deity.  This is not OK.  Even if it read, “one nation, under some
    undefined supernatural entity,” it would still not be OK as that would
    still imply recognition of a higher authority.  The United States
    government does not have the authority to unilaterally create a treaty with
    absentee supernatural forces.   It could even be inferred from the
    subordination, that the US derives its authority from such an entity.  The
    United States government did not and does not derive its authority from a
    supernatural source.  If we made that
    claim then anyone having a superior claim to knowing the will of the vague or
    specific god could challenge our authority to confederate, legislate and self-govern.  It might alsobe inferred that, as a
    subordinate to a general deity, the US is a deist theocracy, or worse.

    All that would be bad enough but the current pledge says “under
    God.”  So it’s not a just a noun it’s a proper noun.  It’s a name;
    the name of the abrahamic god; the god of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. 
    The pledge makes the US not only subordinate to a vague deist god but a
    specific, named god of three religions.  For anyone who holds a religious
    belief contesting the existence and/or authority of the abrahamic god, reciting
    the pledge prohibits their free exercise religion.  This alienates
    followers of Jainism, Buddhism, Scientology, Sikhism, Hinduism, Shinto, Taoism,
    Paganism, any number of indigenous belief systems and also non-believers.   The
    alienated must choose to forgo the pledge, miss-cite it or display deference to
    the abrahamic god, if only nominally. 

    Regardless of anyone’s religious beliefs, the US is a secular state.  We
    operate as a nation of laws.  We derive our authority for self governance
    not from the supernatural but from the people.  Any statute that grants or
    recognizes deference to a vague or specific supernatural entity undermines the
    authenticity of our self governance, establishes subordination to a religious
    entity and encumbers the free exercise by those with conflicting beliefs.

    The pledge is defined by U.S. Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, § 4.  And while no
    one is likely to get arrested for messing up the pledge, The U.S. Code is law,
    enacted by Congress.  How and why the 1954 addition of “under
    God” hasn’t been overturned by the courts should baffle anyone who
    respects our integrity as a nation of laws.

    And just so no one has to look for it elsewhere:
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
    prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or
    of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition
    the Government for a redress of grievances.”  ~First Amendment to the
    United States Constitution

    • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

      This, a thousand times this. Damn, that is well said!

    • Terry F

      Agreed, very well put, T. Ray!  Thank you.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KGGGYRM6FSNJEMK2IWHOGE6APM WYOCOWBOY

      when are you going to run for the presidental position…the position will be in a year?

      • http://allusiveatheist.blogspot.com/ T. Ray

        You’re enthusiasm flatters me.  If and when I exceed ten followers on my blog I will give the suggestion more consideration.

        • http://silveroutlinedwindow.wordpress.com/ Shannon

          You are in my google reader now! 

          • http://allusiveatheist.blogspot.com/ T. Ray

            yikes!  I better go write something then.

    • http://www.facebook.com/the.michele.lafferty L Michele Lafferty

      Please send this to the White House!!!!!

    • AmericanPledge2012

      Under God is how our nation was originally founded. No one is forcing our students to say it, they can or cannot say it…it’s their preference. If you don’t like it then don’t say it. But my question is this…if saying “under God” is such a big deal, then why is no one making a fuss about “In God We Trust” on our currency? How come no one is complaining about the Supreme Court saying a prayer before convening? It is still a country of freedom of speech so do or do not say it if you please. But don’t attack one part without attacking the entire situation. What a cowardly way to fight. God bless all and please have an open mind about all angles of the situation.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        People do ‘make a fuss’ about those other things.  Check Americans United for Separation of Church and State some time (au.org).  An organization made up of both theists and non-theists who want a complete separation of church and state.

        In light of keeping an open mind about all angles of the situation, please keep in mind that nobody is asking for “Under No Gods” or “We Don’t Trust God”.  We’re just asking for government to not express any religious opinions.

    • jaf0faj

      Although I sincerely agree with your points, you cannot ignore that in 1954 the addition of “under God” was not really done for religious purposes, but for the explicit purpose of showing that America was NOT like that communist (and atheistic) Soviet Union that was becoming a looming threat. It is probably why it was never overturned by the courts, simply because of the overly-strong anti-communism fervor that was happening at the time (read McCarthy investigations). Anyone who thought “under God” should be removed would also be thought of as being a “pinko-commie”.

  • None

    You know you’re still gonna vote for him in 2012.
    I didnt vote for him in 08, and I sure as hell wont vote for him in 12. If we get a bible thumper on the GOP ticket opposite him, I’m going to write in “Mickey Mouse” on my ballot.
    Bible thumpers and tax&spend liberals can BOTH kiss my ass.
    We need a fiscally responsible atheist.

    • http://www.facebook.com/barbara.s.hull Barbara Stiller Hull

      Really?  You think that having Rick Perry, whose religious sponsers literally believe that gay people are possessed by demons, would be a better choice than Obama, who at least pays lip service to the rights of non-Christians?  By not voting for the least bad choice, you are allowing the crazy to choose for you.

      • Shannon

        Please re-read None’s comment. You missed the “Mickey Mouse” part. That’s a problem with many: anything that they read or hear, they pay attention to only what they want to or what fits with their own agenda, instead of reality. 

        • Neil

          Ah, I see…so mickey will certainly win, meaning there are no possible adverse consequences to not voting for Obama. 

          Maybe Shannon read everything, but decided to look at the reality of the situation instead of being a foot-stamping moron about it.

    • Neil

      “Tax & spend liberals”….well, you’ve just proved that you’re an easily brainwashed moron with no regard for facts, circumstances,  or historty.  You would probably vote for a moron like yourself anyway, so it’s no net loss.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-DeHaven/100002272386735 Steve DeHaven

    I’m reminded of Derek Jacobi’s portrayal of the Roman Emperor Claudius:  “Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud HATCH OUT.”  He muttered this to himself as he took steps to ensure Nero would become Emperor, speeding the inevitable downfall of the decaying Roman society.  I sometimes feel this way, and I suppose this was why rlrose328′s friend was talking about voting for Bachmann. 

    On balance, though, Obama did get DADT repealed, and passed some kind of healthcare reform, half-assed though it may be.  I’m pissed he didn’t prosecute Bush/Cheney for war crimes, since it sets the precedent (or continues the precedent Ford set when he pardoned Nixon) that our elected officials are above the law.  I’m also pissed he didn’t follow through on his promise to close Guantanamo.

    Bottom line:  if Ron Paul gets the nomination (yeah, right) or runs as an Independent or Libertarian, I’ll vote for him (unless he picks a Palinesque running mate).  Otherwise, I’ll hold my nose and vote for Obama, and hope he’ll do more in his second term.

  • Duane

    Why are we not pushing to end the Pledge entirely?  Isn’t it just about brainwashing kids?  What do kids know about pledging loyalty to a military standard, and why do we want them to do that? 

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      Plus it’s a waste of class time.

  • http://anonatheist.wordpress.com/ Mike Hunt

    Obama, Y U NO TAKE PETITION SERIOUSLY? 

    Because he wants to be re-elected.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      You really need to abandon the two party system!

      • Rich Wilson

        YES!  And some of us are trying REALLY hard.  Hell, we’re one party away from the Soviet Union.  But the two in power have a vested interest in keeping it that way, and have used their position of power to further entrench it.  They messed up when they let Jessie Ventura into the ring.  They won’t make that mistake again.

        Heck, in California, write-in ballots aren’t even counted.

  • Tom

    “the separation of church and state, [...] does not mean there’s no role for religion in the public square.”On the contrary, that’s exactly what it means.

    • Anonymous

      The pledge when said in public school  is not the public square.  That is government imposing religion.

      • Tom

        You misunderstand – I meant that it means there *isn’t* a “role” for religion in the “public square” – which are both ludicrously ambiguous terms, and I have little doubt were used in the letter for that very reason.  Just you try and even find a relevant meaning of “public square” in a dictionary.

        I take “role” to mean “recognised position of authority or responsibility for specific action.  But who is doing the recognising? The phrase “public square” implies their authority stems from the public themselves, but here’s the nasty bit: the system of democratic government is one mechanism by which the public recognise positions and assign authority, and it is required to be secular.  Alternatively, however, the public can and do recognise other de-facto public roles without the involvement of the government.  If a whole community just tends to take advice from the local priest, that could also be said to be a “role in the public square” – but it’s not a state supported or endorsed one; it’s not official.

        Unless and until it is clarified whether they mean an official or unofficial “public role,” the letter is a non-statement.  It can be taken to support either side.  It’s really a beautiful specimen of government say-nothing-with-a-lot-of-words bullshit.

        However, the strong implication is that they mean government-recognised roles, given that the rest of the letter is basically the very instrument of that recognition.  Strictly speaking, just the fact that the letter effectively says “the government considers religion to be important” could qualify as a violation of church and state separation, even though they’re trying to imply it’s all unofficial and not enforced by law – in an official letter, attempting to justify a religious act enforced by law.

  • http://twitter.com/alopiasmag Miguel

    Is it me, or did that letter imply that “god-fearing” people fight to protect the rights of secular people?

  • http://twitter.com/DangerousTalk Staks Rosch

    Here is my article on this issue: White House endorses ‘Under God’ in pledge – http://t.co/5t6YFjPB 

  • Todd Libasci

    What gets me is the “That’s why” – I’m sorry, but I don’t remember seeing a reason before it.

  • Rich Wilson

    Something else completely missing from the pledge debate is that not only are we not ‘Under God’, but we are not even ‘One Nation’.  Just ask any Native American.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

    In Jesus We Trust —-One Nation Under Jesus

    Not a whole lot different.

  • http://thefloatinglantern.wordpress.com/ Tim Martin

    Porky Pig got it right. Porky for President!

  • dougindeap

    Right, Mr. President, context DOES matter, and here the context makes affirmation of god(s) particularly inappropriate.

    The government’s inscription of the phrase “In God we trust” on coins
    and currency, as well as its 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.

  • Gus Snarp

    Yeah, this feels like giant “screw you”. I’m disappointed, but not surprised. What bothers me most is not that no action will be taken, but rather that it reads like it was written entirely to reassure religious people rather than to seriously address the concerns of those of us who want a truly secular government.

    • Gus Snarp

      This whole petitioning the White House thing is interesting. Of course they’re not going to act on every petition that gathers the requisite signatures. For example, another that they rejected was for a tax policy utterly at odds with Obama’s policies. Still another was on legalizing marijuana. I found that response almost as troubling as this one. What I wonder is how they’ll handle a really non partisan petition with an eminently sensible suggestion. There’s one to do away with pennies, which would save billions of dollars and makes perfect practical sense. It met the vote threshold, so I’m curious to see how it gets blown off.

  • Ted Utchen

    From Ted in Wheaton, Illinois, home of Wheaton College, Billy Graham’s alma mater, and the Vatican of Evangelism.

    Now here’s the way I always get the debate started.  When we all say the Pledge at a public function, I join in by speaking the Pledge rather loudly, and then when it comes to “under God,” I am silent, and then I resume the rest of the Pledge.  Afterwards people turn to me and ask why I did not say “under God,”  and then we begin the debate.  Try it, and be sure you debate well for our side.

  • Reginald Selkirk
  • Sware

    If only I could get a public response to Obama about this. It would go a little something like this:

    “Your response indicates one of the reasons against legalization is that it is addictive. Mr. President, you have admitted to smoking marijuana…and inhaling because “that’s the point”. So I also notice that well into your presidency you smoke tobacco, a legal yet addictive and not to mention taxed substance. Between pot & tobacco which “addiction” do you find hardest to quit? Did tobacco cause you to “gateway” into harder substances? Really interested in your answer to this and how you justify the continued waste of funding on a failed war on drugs knowing full well we accept, regulate and tax other substances that are far worse in the addictive sense and effects on personal health.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-De-Fleuriot/611844223 Mike De Fleuriot

    One thing I think you Americans are missing, and that is that the theist wing, want you to waste your time, energy and coin on petty stuff like the pledge and god on money. In the long run which is more important, teaching reality to the young, or the “Under God” stuff.

    Yes, the “Under God” stuff is important, but if more focus was put on reality training, it would cease to be important and fall away by itself.  The theists love the fact that you guys focus on it like a pitbull on a bone. They are able to get away with everything that they have because of bones like this. 

    You should refuse to engage on these types of topics in public and go after the real meat, the bigotry, hatred and other nastiness that is theism.

    • Femi

      Yes, theists thrive on topics like this. Political leaders will never let the theists down because being really secular ( or admitting being an atheist ) does not get them anywhere in terms of voting. That still goes for too many countries/states worldwide.

  • d’Armond

    I knew the letter was going to be bad as soon as he wrote “cannot establish an official religion.” This is a narrow reading of the establishment clause often used by religionists to justify religious actions of our government short of establishing an official religion. But that’s not what the constitution says.

    Here’s what I felt the letter said to me: “Fuck you, atheists. We’re not going to stand up for what’s right, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

    We need to figure out how to make the science / secular voting bloc enough of a force for politicians to care what we think & how we vote.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=201186 George Wang

    Wow. Ok. Calm blue ocean. Calm blue ocean. Calm blue ocean.

    It’s just a phrase, in a stupid pledge, that almost no one takes seriously. We all said it, and it didn’t brainwash anyone.

    This is the equivalent of a patient demanding that a doctor stop his busy clinic to discuss why there is a religious wallhanging in the waiting area.  Meanwhile there are ten more patients to see and he is already running behind.  Sorry, you’re not gonna get an hourlong therapy session. What are you expecting him to say? Does he even control this stuff?

    What’s your goal here?  For Obama to say, “whoops, didn’t notice that – let me issue a proclamation banning the statement ‘under god’ in the pledge of allegiance.  That won’t set off air raid sirens throughout the South.”

    All this does is rile up religious people, and light a fire under them to push religion in the public sphere even harder.  Contrast with England where there is a STATE RELIGION, yet they are far more secular than we are.  It is possible to still get the important victories.  Let’s focus on LGBT discrimination, anti-science, climate change denial, creationism, and religious discrimination (where it actually affects people).

  • http://norighttobelieve.wordpress.com/ Ezra Resnick

    DuBois’s argument is: Religious people play an
    important role in public life, and so religion plays an important role in
    public life, and so it’s okay for the government to declare us a monotheistic state. This is equivalent to arguing that Christian people play an important
    role in public life, and so Christianity plays an important role in
    public life, and so it’s okay for the Pledge to say “one nation under
    Jesus”. See the problem now, Mr DuBois?

    I’ve written more about this here.

  • Sinfanti

    I received this same e-mail over the weekend and while I wasn’t surprised by it, there was one glaring inconsistency.  In justifying their status of resolved: won’t fix they say, “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers.”  But the phrase being opposed is alienating to diversity that they claim to be so proud of.   Perhaps a better idea would be to petition to change the phrase to “In Any Deity Or None At All You Choose To Trust.”

  • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine

    “Under God” in the pledge destroys the ideas behind the words immediately before and after that part, “one nation – - indivisible.” It’s not “one nation” and those words are dividing the lines between those who are in and those who are out. Anyone who believes in a higher power, you’re in the “in” crowd, secularists, atheists, agnostics, non-believers, spiritualists, you’re “out.” In fact the very name “God” standing for the Christian deity also puts Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu persons in the “out” crowd.

    “Under God” means Christian.

  • Rich Wilson

    As if it’s not enough that IGWT is the official motto, they’re going to make it the motto again.  You know, because they have nothing better to do.

    http://www.americanhumanist.org/news/details/2011-10-in-god-we-trust-motto-to-be-reauthorized-take-action

    (Both Boxer and Feinstein ignored requests to recognize Freethought Day)

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

    We need someone to go through old news tapes from the ’80s and find one of Carter and Ford reciting the Pledge in the Capital building together WITHOUT in god we trust.  wish I could recall the event.

    Actually, the Pledge should be replaced with something like the Monty Python prayer…”gosh, you’re so swell, America…”

  • Andy Morris

    Perry has money, and Cain may have money trouble. Someone suggested that by not voting for Obama a person would be letting crazies decide the results, but here in Texas we already know that Obama won’t win so I might as well vote for Mickey Mouse, either way my vote won’t count(in the presidential election)

  • Nick

    It’s nice when people have civil conversations and debates about the topic, you get to hear the inane comments made by people who fail to understand simple things and then there’s the people who don’t know anything and just have an opinion because of what their friends say. These people who know nothing about the topic don’t make any points at all, they just throw out vulgarity and insults to the people with a different view. Notice how most of the pro “under God” people have been understanding and they take in the points of the opposition? It would be nice if the people who want to remove two words from a phrase that has been alive longer than them, would stop being accusatory morons and actually use the brain they might not have. This isn’t meant to be hypocritical like it may seem. Not all of the people who oppose “under God” are morons. Just most of them who have commented on here. Please make a real argument.

  • drea hutchinson

    i am a simple agnostic wishing to feel i live in true freedom. please join me in once again petitioning for this freedom.
    http://www.change.org/petitions/u-s-congress-u-s-treasury-remove-in-god-we-trust-from-all-monies-and-pledge-of-allegiance

  • Luc

    Meh, it’s showing the heritage of the founding religious people. Nothing offensive, just some wording.

  • TRUE AMERICAN!!!

    I will never sign anything like this!!! You disgust me!!!!!

  • Peter Smafield

    Under God is not necessarily a Christian sentiment, even if that was the intent. What ever a persons understanding of a Higher Power the name “God” can refer to the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Great Spirit of Native Americans, or any of the 300 plus Hindu Gods. By the way my understanding of the different Hindu Gods are only different names for different aspects of the one God. I support keeping the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. Live with it.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X