I recall being in a school auditorium as a youngster when they added the words, ‘under God’ to the Pledge of Allegiance. Mr. Doak and Mr. Burke, Civics and History teachers were up there trying to get it right while teaching it to a couple of hundred kids.
Kid’s who were still on shaky ground from learning it the first time. That would have been in the mid-1950s.
Now, a Federal District Judge in San Francisco’s declared the phrase, ‘under God’, to be unconstitutional, which means the US Supreme Court will one day devote time and energy to deciding which way the wind’s blowing. The question of whether the framers of the Constitution would have thought a child having to say, ‘under God’ is a fairly weird one.
The reason it’s weird lies in the fact that the question of whether this nation is indivisible was never considered by the Supreme Court, never mentioned in the US Constitution.
It was decided by force of arms, one half, (the half possessing an army) of the nation believing it was indivisible, the other half believing it was divisible. The stronger half forced the weaker half to accept indivisibility at gunpoint after a lot of bloodshed.
Thus, the Pledge of Allegiance came into existence after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. The winning side forced each surrendering Confederate soldier to say a pledge accepting indivisibility as one of the precepts of citizenship, followed afterward by many generations saying the pledge from early childhood since then.
But the US Supreme Court was never asked whether that Pledge acknowledging indivisibility was Constitutional, which might have saved a hundred thousand lives, legs, arms, and a whole different approach to US governance.
Instead, they’ll be asked to decide the easier matter of whether it’s a violation of a child’s civil liberty to utter the words, “Under God”.