Is Under God Outdated?

The first week of December has witnessed a sudden spate of attacks on religion and public recognition of God, highlighted by a prominent religion writer.

The establishment media have paid little attention to these incidents, which are being reported principally in specialty publications or conservative Web sites.

David Waters, editor of the Washington Post/Newsweek “On Faith” blog, proposes in his Dec. 3 entry that the phrase “under God” should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance.

Waters contends that the phrase “under God” no longer accurately reflects the nation's current view of God and should therefore be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. “It isn't the 1950s anymore,” writes Waters, after observing that the phrase was inserted more than four decades ago because of America's war against a “godless” communism.

Waters argues that America's current enemies, Islamic terrorists, also “pledge their allegiance to God,” as if religious practice in America is somehow equivalent to the practices of violent extremists.  “Today, even a Taliban-led Afghanistan could claim to be 'one nation, under God.'”

Waters's piece is merely one in a series of assaults against religion and public recognition of the Creator that have occurred all over the nation this week, but have received little attention in the establishment media:

    Only the Christian Broadcasting Network Web site picked up an AP report that the group American Atheists Inc. has filed a lawsuit demanding that Kentucky's Homeland Security Office remove a plaque saying, “safety and security cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon almighty God.” The plaque was put up to conform to a 2006 law requiring the office to recognize, “God's role in Kentucky's homeland security alongside the military, police agencies and health departments.”

    Among national news organizations, only Fox News and AP covered the Freedom from Religion Foundation placing its own display in the capitol rotunda in Olympia, Washington – right alongside a nativity scene and a Christmas tree. The sign reads, “…Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” The FFRF, an “educational group working for the separation of state and church,” also put up a “winter solstice” billboard in Madison, Wisconsin reading “Reason's Greetings.”

    Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina is complaining that the newly opened Washington, D.C. Capitol Visitors Center, funded by taxpayers to the tune of $621 million, “omits the history of faith.” According to The Hill, a publication covering Congress, the center “ignored his request to include the phrase 'In God We Trust' and the Pledge of Allegiance.”

But Americans are speaking out against these attacks. The Washington D.C. public transit system has received more than 200 complaints about an anti-God ad that has appeared on the side of Metro buses all over the greater D.C. area.  The American Humanist Association's $40,000 campaign, which questions the existence of God during the Christmas season, has offended commuters and they are making their voices heard.

Erin Brown is an intern at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.