Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Sun, Jan. 19

Should 'God' stay in the pledge? Area residents speak out

Eric Fry-Miller

"I'm all for a prayer," he added. "I know God answers prayers."

Janet Hernandez of Chino Valley said the justices should leave the pledge alone.

"If you do not want to say 'under God' when you are taking the pledge, you can just not say it," she said.

Hernandez said no one is forcing school children to say the phrase "under God" or the pledge in public schools.

"The big deal is, when our Constitution was written it was with God in it," he said. "I don't care if we have a separation of church and state. The country itself is based on God. And I'm not a religious fanatic and I do not even go to church."

Hernandez said that once people begin changing things like this, the morals begin to fall apart, "which is what is happening to this country. The families are breaking up and the family values are going down the tube. I think that is one of the reasons we have so much violence. Our children are so violent because they do not have morals and they do not have values."

Her husband, Vicente, said he shares his wife's feelings.

Eric Fry-Miller of Chino Valley said the Constitution promotes freedom of religion.

He said it shouldn't be mandatory for people with different religious preferences if they do not believe in or subscribe to the "under God" wording. It is fine if some people want to recite the pledge, but they could do it in different settings rather than public places such as schools, he said.

"They can pledge allegiance to God inside themselves," he said, adding that school officials suspended his Indiana friend from school for several days because he refused to pledge allegiance. "Sometimes I didn't pledge allegiance because I didn't actually agree with everything the country was doing."

He said it is wrong that this country requires people to pledge allegiance when they are about to receive their citizenship because they may have come from a belief system that acknowledges not only one God but many gods or no god at all.

Steve Skurja, a coordinator for Yavapai Silent Witness, said that the phrase "under God" should stay in the pledge.

"As long as I have been reciting it, it has been in there and I do not think it is appropriate to take it out just because somebody doesn't like it," he said, adding that if someone doesn't like it, he or she does not have to say it. "I believe in God and I'm a 'born-again' Christian. I just like it. That is what this country is all about."

America's forefathers founded this country on religious beliefs and for that reason the pledge should be left alone, he said.

He said if the Supreme Court decides that the phrase "under God" in the pledge is unconstitutional and requires removal, he will continue reciting it the way he has been for many years.

"I will continue to say 'under God' as long as I say the pledge and so will my family," he said.

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