Church and state separate before ruling<BR><BR>
In response to Mac McLaren's Viewpoint piece in the June, 23 Chino Valley Review, I offer the following.
I pledge allegiance to the flag, and have done so since I was five years old.
My parents taught me to say the pledge as a way to thank those who made this nation great and kept it safe, many times paying the ultimate price along the way.
The short verses also stand as a national recognition of our good fortune to live in a county where we posses both freedom of religion and freedom from religion, including Atheism, a religion that denies the existence of god.
It is often insinuated that the current wording of the pledge is a violation of church and state. I find it hard to see the logic behind that line of thinking. To my knowledge, no one has ever been arrested, persecuted or prosecuted for failure to say the words 'under God,' during the pledge. As a result of this latest court-sanctioned ode to political correctness, must we now live in fear of prosecution for saying them?
For any judge or politician, especially in a post-9/11 America, to say the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional is ludicrous.
This country was founded on Judeo-Christian principals and that now makes us a target in this modern world of religious war.
The emotions expressed in the pledge are between the individual and his flag. As Americans we have the right to think, feel, worship and SPEAK as we wish.
A decision that removes the phrase 'One nation, under God' from the pledge takes away my right to say it. That is where any violation of individual rights or separation of church and state begin.
The freedom to worship, or not worship, as we choose is the primary reason a group other people hated us enough to hijack our airplanes and kill us en mass.
The phrase 'one nation, under God,' is critical to the pledge as a call for national unity, not a demand for religious conformity. Being an American frees you from such demands.
Our founding fathers knew what they were doing when they framed the Bill of Rights and the solution, as I see it, is relatively simple.
The United States Constitution guarantees each of us, among other things, freedom of Speech, freedom of the Press (my personal favorite) and freedom of Assembly.
If an individual believes the words 'under God' are not to his liking, he should immediately and without hesitation exercise his freedom of speech and decline to say them. This person should then feel free to exercise his freedom of the press, and press on to another location where they are not being said. If he feels the need to discuss the issue, he may exercise this freedom of assembly and congregate with like-minded individuals and discuss the topic, the choices are his – that is the beauty of living in America.
For me, the flag stands as a constant reminder of what the freedoms we sometimes take for granted cost and I will continue to pledge my allegiance proudly, as I always have, in the way traditionally excepted since I was born.