As the morning bell rings in an elementary school classroom; students file into the class and settle into their seats. The teacher bids them a "good morning class" and they return the greeting in a united chorus. They then begin the day as they have each day of the year; they stand and put their right hand over their heart, face the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God with liberty and justice for all". Like many others who grew up here in the USA, this is a common occurrence in school, but what does it mean, who are we pledging to and why do we do it anyway? Some believe it to be a religious statement and some a patriotic oath. In the following pages, we will see why the phrase "under God" has caused such controversy, then we will explore the historical importance and some related court cases and finally we will look at arguments in favor of and against the phrase in the pledge of allegiance.
Much of the Controversy surrounding the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is associated with its recitation in public schools. Many think that is blurs the line between patriotism and religious belief though there are also disagreements as to whom or what exactly one is pledging allegiance to in its recital. Another cause for such debate is the fact that the words were added in 1954 by a Catholic group, The Knights of Columbus (Egelko). According to some this should not have ever taken place.
This is in fact a civil liberties issue since it is regarding something that the government can or cannot do.