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Restore pledge, Remove God

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." These are the opening words of the first Amendment to the Constitution; with these words, the founders wrote religion out of government. Absolutely.

Contrary to the misconceptions of today's religious right wing, our nation was not built around Judeo-Christian theology (the Ten Commandments would have prohibited our forefathers from killing the natives and stealing their lands), but instead, was based on individual freedom. Our laws are loosely derived form English common law wedded to the notion that the resources of this continent can belong to anyone. Democracy, not imposed religion, is our heritage.

In 1954, Congress surely must have known (politicians are not stupid) that their addition of "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance was a flagrant violation of the First Amendment. Unequivocally illegal. Any illegal act committed in the name of religion is an affront to all, but should be even more odorous to those who spout religion form every pore. The solution is simple; remove "under God" and keep the pledge. Many of us learned our beautiful pledge before Congress profaned it by imposing religion. The pledge is special; it invokes an emotional response; I've never been able to hear the new "under God'' part (and would never say it) without feeling deep anger. I take it personally, "Congress did not have the right to ruin the pledge.'' Now, the Supreme Court has the opportunity to restore its original poignancy.

J.T. Wyatt
Kingsport November 4 2003

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