‘There is no reason to take ‘Under God’ out’
Alexis McKinnon | guest writer
The Pledge of Allegiance is the first thing we learned to memorize in elementary school when we were innocent of religion as a fighting topic.
I think it is wonderful that Student Government Association recently adopted a resolution to reserve a period of time for student senators to say the Pledge before their meetings.
I believe SGA is taking a great step in ceremonial meaning.
Serious about ‘’Murica’
I know that when I said it, I was proud that I was able to contribute to something for my great country, the country that stands for “liberty and justice for all” and everything that falls beneath it.
Many people, including myself, jokingly throw around the popular phrase “’Murica” when ironically speaking of “freedom” in America.
It is fun to say, but it is good to look back at what “’Murica” stands for.
As college students, we are not required to say the Pledge anymore. It doesn’t fit in among the crowding thoughts of class, homework, food, friends and other things that consume our minds during the day.
Every country has ideals that it stands for, and I personally believe ours to be respectable with a high demand for freedom. Our nation was established with high ideals that are to be preserved for the betterment of our society.
‘Patriotic, ceremonial appeal’
In regards to the question of whether the phrase “under God” violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by installing religion in the public sphere, I answer by saying that the phrase in the context of the Pledge doesn’t do this.
Before 1954, the two controversial words were not included in the Pledge. In that year, Louis Bowman and the Knights of Columbus pushed for this amendment to it, and succeeded.
When “One Nation under God” is uttered during the Pledge, it is not a dedication of the nation or the person to God, but rather a patriotic and ceremonial appeal.
The fact that America was created through Christian ideals cannot be ignored.
If it is, that statement would remove the idea that people are endowed with certain inalienable rights by our Creator.
However, the founders did not intend for this endowment phrase in the Declaration of Independence to conflict with the Establishment Clause.
The Establishment Clause made it clear that the government may not establish a religion, favor one over another, or favor religion over non-religion, or vice-versa.
In 2010, a case was taken to court by an atheist mother of a child in elementary school.
In the case, Newdow v. Rio Linda Union School District, keeping the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance was upheld because the court said that it does not violate the Establishment Clause.
Due to my interest in law, I can understand the opposing view, but because it does not violate the Establishment Clause, there is no reason to take it out.
Alexis McKinnon is a junior in criminology and an international office student worker. She may be reached at email@example.com
Pledge, without ‘Under God,’ is still patriotic
Jaci Cilchrist | guest writer
At the Student Government Association meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 11, a resolution to have the Senate say the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the meeting was passed.
Some have criticized the Senate’s decision, saying that it impedes on the beliefs of secular students. As a secular student myself, I did not vote for the resolution.
However, I find that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is a positive thing.
Participation in the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance is not mandatory. Senators who do not wish to take part may opt out.
Some may have personal reasons that would keep them from wanting to actively partake. Other senators, like myself, will be reciting only the majority of the Pledge.
The Pledge of Allegiance is a demonstration of patriotism and shows the pride that SGA has for our nation.
There is a significant portion of the student body that is either involved in the Reserve Officer Training Corps or has served our country in the armed forces.
Their sacrifice is something that should be both recognized and applauded.
Having the Pledge of Allegiance said by the senators and cabinet members of SGA at the start of each meeting is just one way to do this.
I did, however, state that I would only be participating in the majority of the Pledge.
The line that reads “one nation, under God,” is the line that is typically the focal point of controversy.
That line was not added until the year 1954.
Saying the pledge in public schools and at meetings of governments across all levels has long since been a tradition.
The addition of the words “under God” sparked debates as to what the role of religion was in public institutions.
While that debate may still be ongoing, and is the reason that I will not be saying two of the thirty-one words that make up the pledge, religion is not the reason for SGA’s decision to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Pledge is exactly what its name promises to be: a commitment to be proud of our nation and proud of the men and women who serve it.
That is something that SGA could get behind any day of the week.
Jaci Gilchrist is a student senator and a sophomore in political science, as well as Secular Student Alliance club treasurer.
It’s not unpatriotic to reject Pledge
Ethan Scott | guest writer
Student Government Association is set to begin its weekly meetings with the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, in observance of the recent anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
‘Under God’ is a problem
Before 1954, “Under God” was not a part of the Pledge.
I believe that SGA should not sponsor a saying of the Pledge as it is written. This pressures members to express a religious sentiment they may not agree with.
An “opt-out” provision, which is part of the new resolution, doesn’t adequately address this concern.
If a student wishes to do so, he or she can easily say the Pledge at home or he or she can do that before a meeting of SGA starts.
By sponsoring the Pledge, SGA is only alienating any atheist or agnostic members.
As the United States is a nation where religious freedom is promised by its Constitution, having a Pledge recognizing that it is one nation under a god is a problem.
That’s especially true considering that the other half of the pledge states the USA is a nation with liberty and justice for all.
I don’t think it is fair to pressure people to participate in the Pledge when there are Americans who do not believe in a god.
Where is the liberty in sponsoring participation in a pledge that stands against their religious views?
Another point is why we find pride in reciting this Pledge when not everyone has liberty.
In most parts of the country today, two homosexual adults cannot get married. Racism is still rampant in the United States.
The Pledge itself dates back to 27 years before women even had the right to vote, and today sexism is still a problem.
Allegiance must be deserved
Someone might call me unpatriotic for not wishing the Pledge to be said. However, I strongly disagree. By not saying the Pledge of Allegiance, I believe we are recognizing that this country has flaws and they need to be fixed.
Ultimately, I would like people to question themselves, their sentiments and their beliefs the next time they say the Pledge. What does it mean to you?
Ethan Scott is a sophomore in automotive technology and computer information systems. He served as SGA treasurer in spring 2013.