The Memphis Flyer is reprinting an article by Ed Weathers originally published back in March titled One Classroom, Under God which does a great job of illustrating the problem with those two little words that were added to the Pledge in 1954.
Its 1954, and IҒm eight years old. Every school-day morning in Miss Brawleys third-grade classroom, my classmates and I gather around the American flag that hangs in the corner, put our hands over our hearts, and recite something called ғThe Pledge of Allegiance.
None of us knows exactly what a ԓpledge is or what ԓallegiance means, but we do it every morning, solemnly, because weԒre just kids and Miss Brawley, behind her rimless glasses, is a grown-up. In the world of third grade, kids do what grown-ups tell them. Only bad kids dont.
Sometimes sullen Wayne Hudson refuses to say the pledge. Instead, he sits at his desk, staring straight ahead, arms crossed. Wayne, we all think, is a bad kid, and we stay away from him at recess.
One morning during this year, 1954, Miss Brawley tells us to add a couple of new words to our ritual. The words are ғunder God.
IԒm eight years old. Im a good kid. I add ғunder God the way IԒm told. It even makes sense, because I know all about God from Sunday school: hes a big white-bearded old man, white like me, in white robes up in the white clouds. Of course our nation is ғunder him.
IԒm eight years old. What I dont know then is that this is how it happens: This is how a government takes a religious idea and drips it into the brains of its kids. It starts with the president (Eisenhower, say), and it seeps down through Congress and the state legislatures and the local school boards (enemies, all, of godlessness), and finally it filters through poor Miss Brawley into the brains of the children.
And the child who resists—well, he is, ipso facto, a bad child. A child like Wayne.
It’s a good read and you should go check out the rest of it.