“Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance

Save The Pledge It’s a sad day for UVM when the Student Government Association has nothing better to do with its time than vote on a resolution supporting the removal of “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. Whether you believe the phrase is appropriate or not, supporting a federal judge’s activist ruling is misguided and dangerous to our judicial process. Robert Bork, no stranger to the judicial branch, describes our legal climate as being the “political seduction of the law.” Today, courtrooms are being used for legislation that can’t be passed through the legislative branch. Thanks to the extreme right and left, who insist that judges have a political agenda, our judicial branch is becoming less of an impartial moderator, and more of a super-legislature. This months Pledge of Allegiance decision is yet another example of the danger of judges who use their personal preferences to decide cases. The common legal argument against “under God” in the pledge is “separation of church and state”, a phrase found nowhere in the Constitution. The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” Is the phrase “under God” an establishment of religion? Only if you’re a judge in California. Our founding fathers were pretty specific in what they meant by the “establishment of religion.” As former colonies of England, they wisely saw the danger of state-sponsored religion. To keep government neutral, they included this into the Constitution to prohibit any endorsement of organized religion. What they did not intend to do was prohibit all expressions of religion in government. Activist judges often forget to read the next line of the First Amendment, prohibiting the “free exercise” of religion. Numerous historical examples support this conclusion. The first Senate, meeting in New York City in 1789, elected a Chaplain to open its sessions with prayer. Presidential inaugurations have almost always included a prayer and the oath of office on the Bible. Today, all fifty state constitutions have a reference to religion in their texts. And one doesn’t have too look any further than their purse or wallet to see the phrase “In God in Trust” on all paper money and coinage. So what if you do believe “under God” should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance? Petition your representatives and have it removed the same way it was put in: by an act of Congress. Our judicial process cannot be used as a legislative body. Laws must be passed the proper way. To do otherwise ignores the separation of powers framework of the Constitution. As Americans, we are entitled to judges who interpret the law by what it means, and not what it should mean. The ends do not justify the means, and no matter how some might want “under God” gone, we should insist that this issue stay out of the courtroom, where it should never have been in the first place.