Religion in Society

Atheists to Rally for Congress to Remove "Under God" from Pledge

| by American Atheists

American Atheists California is holding a demonstration at the San Francisco Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals building on Wednesday, March 17, calling for Congress to repeal the 1954 act that added the phrase "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance.

"The constitutionality of the phrase has been the subject of litigation for years. This judicial ping-pong has grown tiresome," said Dave Kong, American Atheists Director of State Operations. "As long as these two words remain, the Pledge will continue to be a wedge in American unity, dividing us along religious lines. Congress needs to take the lead in restoring the Pledge of Allegiance to its pre-Cold War text and once again make the United States 'one nation indivisible.'"

 Dr. Ed Buckner, president of American Atheists, added "The Congress of the United States acted in the 1950s with a reckless disregard for the indivisibility of this nation and in opposition to liberty for all when they inserted a plainly religious phrase into the Pledge. This nation has now—and has always had—many honest and decent citizens, including many who serve in the military, who worship no gods. Congress has no business pretending it can make religious decisions for citizens."

Edwin Kagin, National Legal Director for American Atheists, observed that "Our nation got through the revolution, a civil war, two world wars, and some other unpleasantnesses just fine without the god talk that is now causing many to confuse religious belief with patriotism.

"The minister who wrote the pledge didn't want religion in it and neither do we." As to the idea that "under God" and "In God We Trust" are not religious, Kagin asked, "I wonder how it would look if it was religious? If this is only 'ceremonial deism,' just what is 'un-ceremonial deism'?"

Local affiliates San Francisco Atheists and East Bay Atheists will also join American Atheists California in this peaceful demonstration.

The demonstration will begin at 11:30 a.m.

WHAT: Demonstration calling on Congress to restore the secular Pledge of Allegiance

WHERE: San Francisco Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals building (Seventh and Mission) northeast corner

WHEN: Wednesday, March 17, 2004, 11:30 a.m.