USA motto is a cause of national conflict

“A short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandizing their oppressors in Church and State.” – Thomas Jefferson

“During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.” – James Madison

“This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!” – John Adams

Fear and anti-communist propaganda altered much of the American civic culture, much as the war on terror and religious campaigning is today . For example, since 1782, E Pluribis Unum was the nation’s motto – Latin for ‘one out of many’. But during Joseph McCarthy’s reign of terror the phrase was changed to ‘In God We Trust’, inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance and first printed on currency after 1964. In today’s mixture of dominionists, charasmatics, evangelicals and authoritarians more fearful of persecution or dilution than the likelihood of terror, our next motto might become ‘one nation under surveillance’!

Following previous similar claims against Congress, California’s Michael Newdow has launched a new effort to remove “under God” from the pledge. [story of lawsuit] [and more than 200 comments]

Newdow’s new lawsuit asserts that the phrase ‘under God’ is fostering conflict:

“By placing the religious words ‘under God’ into the Pledge, Congress not only interfered with the patriotism and national unity the Pledge was meant to engender, but it actually fostered divisiveness … in a manner expressly forbidden by the Constitution.”

After the Civil War, the Pledge of Allegiance helped encourage a unified nation. Here are the handwritten words of its author Francis Bellamy.

The Pledge of Allegiance written in the hand of its author, Francis Bellamy.