MAKING GOD ILLEGAL
Catalyst June Issue 2014
Militant atheists have a new goal: they object to students hearing the name of God in the Pledge of Allegiance. No atheist has to say the Pledge, or utter the dreaded words, “under God”—it is optional—but that is not enough: they want to stop others from saying it.
The American Humanist Association is suing a New Jersey school district because state law requires students to say the Pledge. Since 1943, students have been able to opt out of saying it under federal law (the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Jehovah’s Witnesses did not have to say it because its members held that the flag salute constituted idolatry).
Regarding state law, in 2010, the very liberal Ninth Circuit upheld the words “under God” for their “ceremonial and patriotic nature”; the judges said it was not a violation of the First Amendment. Later that year, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal of a unanimous ruling by the First Circuit that also said that the inclusion of “under God” did not violate anyone’s rights. In all cases, no student was required to recite the Pledge.
The American Humanist Association, and its ilk, are not satisfied to opt out of saying the Pledge of Allegiance. They want the government to silence everyone from saying it.
We do not have to worry about the Taliban in the United States—religious fanatics are properly impotent. But we do have to worry about their secular counterpart—atheist fanatics. It is their impotence that we must secure.