Recently in Beloit there was an uproar concerning a teacher, newly elected to the city counsel, who refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of their session. I do not believe it is a law that one has to say the pledge and, at most, it is said for more sentimental reasons such as national pride and patriotism. I do not know why this woman has chosen not to say the pledge and I personally do not think it any of my business. However, it became the business of quite a few citizens of Beloit who were outraged and disgusted with her choice to refrain. There was a front page article about it, picture and all. Letters to the editor were peppered with words such as “disgraceful”, “unpatriotic”, “shameful”, and so forth. Some went so far as to suggest she be removed from her elected chair in the council.

Since choosing atheism as my form of reference for life, I have often wondered what I could do to stand up to the religious bullies of our world. Here is a prime example of something worth fighting for. In relation to this subject I just read an article which encouraged me all the more in this cause (http://atheistethicist.blogspot.com/2008/05/pledge-project-acting-against-anti.html). I can see why taking a stance on the issue of having the words “under god” or “in god we trust” removed from our lives could bring about positive changes for our world. The only reason these words remain is because of the sentiments of the Judeo Christian peoples of this country and the willingness of people like you and I to say nothing on the issue. These words should have no place in our government. We are now a nation of many religions and a rising number of completely unreligious peoples. It isn’t hard to define whose “god” it is we are speaking of in the pledge and on our dollars. I suppose if they made the word “god” plural it would seem more inclusive, but I doubt the Christians of this country would tolerate that any more than they want the word eradicated altogether as we do.

Now is the time to start speaking up. There is a good chance this will go all the way to the Supreme Court. I believe that if it goes that far we have a good chance of obliterating, once and for all, these small but significant chinks in our rights of freedom from religion. Although it seems like a little thing – it could bring about very big results. Think about it.

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