In a previous issue, I posed the question as to whether or not the second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence (“all men are endowed by their Creator”, etc.) could be ratified by Congress today. It’s a rhetorical question, but one that again resonates in the wake of the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision on the Pledge of Allegiance. In the flurry of opinion essays that have followed, I have been amused at the secular left’s spin on the Pledge and other enunciations of our creed, such as “in God we trust” and “so help me God”. E. J. Dionne and others call the customary use of these invocations “ceremonial deism”, the idea that they are used without reference to context and are therefore meaningless, merely backdrops in American life. Behind much of this kind of commentary, however, I sense a nervousness that these judges have forced the issue and that the anti-religion elites, particularly those holding public office, will now be called into a serious debate on their hostility to religion in the public square. As Michael Medved noted in a USA Today opinion piece, the secular worldview that dominates American elites insists that all religions deserve identical respect or similar dismissal, either as paths to the same God or to violent, anti-intellectual, intolerant tendencies. It’s time we dispensed with this theory along with the historical revisionism that the Constitution is “Godless”. Some religions are better or worse than others. Ours is represented by the “under God” in the Pledge—the creator God of The Declaration of Independence and the source of our rights. But let’s have the debate; it’s long overdue, and what better timing than in an election year!
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