The clause “under God,” added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, has been a subject of debate numerous times. Now it’s in question once again, as the American Humanist Association leads a campaign to have “under God” removed from the pledge entirely.
The AHA is basing their effort on a survey in which about one-third of respondents said they’d support the removal of “under God.” However, some on social media say that supporting the campaign openly would cause trouble with their friends and loved ones.
The AHA requested that supporters change their profile photo, much like many have previously in support of breast cancer research, same-sex marriage, and other causes. For this campaign, though, the suggested photo is an American flag, with the words “under God” marked out.
Several commenters have said the image would anger or offend people they care about, or perhaps affect their jobs. Others say that, while they support the campaign, the image sends the wrong message.
“If I used that as my profile picture I’d be asking for a bashing,” one person explained.
Another said, “It’s a nice thought but all this would do in my circle of friends, family and acquaintances is start a fight, and it just comes off as antagonistic, and no one who gets that knee-jerk first impression is going to want to support the cause.”
Meanwhile, the AHA has developed a new website called Don’t Say The Pledge. They’re asking people to sit silently during the pledge until “under God” is removed.
The AHA is also placing ads to carry their message.
Still, even an accidental omission of the words “under God” can cause an uproar; just last week, a man was kicked out of a city council meeting when he didn’t stand for the pledge.
With that in mind, even supporters of the “under God” removal campaign are not hopeful. Opponents of the plan feel that “under God” represents the intentions of the Founding Fathers, and that removal would be an act against Christians.
Ron Lindsay, an attorney who is also CEO of Center For Inquiry, an organization that says its goal is “a secular society,” has an alternate suggestion. In an opinion piece at The Huffington Post, he suggested making “under God” optional.
The First Amendment Center reminds that a 1943 Supreme Court decision ensures students do not have to say the pledge at all, and cannot be punished for refusing to do so, but opponents have argued that students still feel compelled.
Lindsay’s suggestion would have students explicitly told that skipping “under God” is within their rights. However, those who fear God is being stricken from society think even that goes too far.
Comment below: Should ‘under God’ be mandatory in the pledge, removed entirely, or made optional?