October 3, 2008
I am an American and I love my country. However, I am also an atheist, and including God in the Pledge of Allegiance presents itself as an issue for me and others like me.

By requiring students to acknowledge religion in an academic setting, schools are betraying the ideal of the separation of church and state; an ideal upon which this country was founded. National law, as originally established in the Constitution, dictates that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Logically then, it should be illegal for schools to require any part of religious activity on the part of the students. Since prayer may be defined as communication to a god, pledging oneself to a nation under the protection of God may be construed as a type of prayer. The Pledge of Allegiance is supposed to be about loyalty to our country. As such, it should serve as a unification tool to all those dedicated to the nation. Instead, the inclusion of ‘under God’ has made the Pledge into a sort of paradox; it creates controversy between those it is supposed to be uniting.

Religion requires the utmost faith of an individual, something which cannot be forced upon someone. It needs to be the choice of the individual whether or not to include religion in there lives, no matter how discreet the amount. It shouldn’t be forced upon them in any form, especially not in school. Here, under the guise of unification, it has the potential to distract and distress. To you it may seem simple to just exclude ‘God’ when I recite the Pledge, but it’s the principal of the matter, and it brings this conflict to mind every time. Instead of feeling united with my fellow countrymen, I feel ostracized as a minority, as I’m sure many individuals of different religious backgrounds do.

I am an American and I love my country. However, I would love to actually feel united when I claim I am.

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