“One Nation under God” has proven to be one of the most controversial lines of the decade. This controversy has recently spread to our school.
The Pledge of Allegiance, once appreciated for its power to unite the people of America, has now become quite disputed. One of the main reasons for this is the aforementioned line, “One Nation under God”. The words “under God” were added to the Pledge on June 14, 1954, when the then U.S. President Eisenhower signed a bill into law. At the time, Eisenhower stated that “From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our Nation and our people to the Almighty.”
The biggest argument today for why the words “under God’ should be kept in the Pledge, is that these words differentiate America from the communist government systems. This is due to the fact that the words “under God” were first added in the 1950s to uphold that the U.S Government was unlike the USSR (an atheistic communist society at the time). The other argument for the phrase “One Nation under God” is that it consolidates the American people under a greater force and that without the words “under God” the power of unification the Pledge contains would be undermined.
Contrary to this belief, some argue that the pledge is stronger without the words “under God” because without those words it joins even more people together, specifically those who don’t believe in “God” and/or believe in a different “supreme being”. It is also believed that the American government system is separate from any “religious influence” and therefore should not allow the word “God” in the pledge that is used throughout the country to bring together its people.
During these modern times in America, the struggle between God and Government seems to have ceased. However, it very much still exists. Today, this issue of the Pledge of Allegiance is seen at our school. After doing some research I have been able to concur that Americans can not, and most likely will not, agree on whether the words “One Nation under God” should be kept or removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. Nevertheless the one thing that all Americans seem to agree on, whether it be while debating these issues online or discussing them in person, is that saying the pledge is a choice. The students of our school have a choice: one, to stand up every morning and pledge to be a part of this “Nation under God”, and the other, to exercise the right to choose to refrain from saying a pledge they do not believe in. The decision is up to one and one person only: the student.
By Amrutha Palaniyappan