There's a huge difference here. The debate is not whether a mosque calls it's faithful to prayer or whether a church rings its bells after a
service. These are religious organizations and as such they should be able to perform their ceremonies as they see fit. This would including nativity
displays, 10 commandments, etc. The problem only comes into play when the government endorses a specific religious belief or sect.
That is exactly what requiring "under God" is doing. That is what displaying the 10 commandments in a courthouse is doing.
Requiring "under God" may not be promoting 1 specific religion, but it clearly
promotes "God fearing" religions over religions such at
paganism, buddhism, etc. It also promotes religion in general which atheists, when forced to say those 2 words, find offensive. Why should they have
to advocate and spread a belief they do not believe in?
As far as whether it is a violation of the 1st amendment, assure you, it is not. The first amendment was not protecting the notion of a
convoluted society or culture with more cracks and fissures in the social foundation that any nation could stand. It was insuring that no particular
sect (The word for denomination back then) would be chosen by the government as the official religion. Could you imagine that? The second amendment
would have been excercised right then and there! If the recognition of the Divine Creator was wrong and not what the Founding Fathers wanted, then
they were in violation From the onset at teh Declaration of Independance. Thomas Jefferson, the one people attempt to herald as the "Separation of
Church and State" father, was wrong when he proposed the government spread the gospel to the savages, and was also in violation when he expected the
students the U. of Virginia assemble at the church of their denomination each and every
The first amendment:
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.
Now, the definition of establishment:
1 : something established : as a : a settled arrangement; especially : a code of laws b : ESTABLISHED CHURCH c : a permanent civil or
military organization d : a place of business or residence with its furnishings and staff e : a public or private institution
2 : an established order of society: as a often capitalized : a group of social, economic, and political leaders who form a ruling class (as of a
nation) b often capitalized : a controlling group
3 a : the act of establishing b : the state of being established
You can either take establishment as a verb in the "respecting an establishment of religion" part or taking it as a noun.
As verb, the statement would basically mean congress shall make no law respecting the fact that any church has been established (instituted, created).
Basically the Government cannot pass laws that recognize religion period.
As a noun, it says congress shall make no law respecting (acknowledging) any established (created) church. Basically the Government cannot pass laws
that advocate any currently established religion in general.
Now for the law:
TITLE 4 > CHAPTER 1 > Sec. 4.
The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag: ''I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands,
one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.'', should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right
hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the
hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute.
That is all good and well. However, in some states, teachers, if not students, are required
to say the pledge. So it no longer is a voluntary
matter of "if you recite the pledge, you have to say "under God" but a mandatory matter of "you have to say the pledge, and you have to advocate
[Edited on 2-5-2004 by Cutwolf]