I live in a country where the minority is protected from being tyrannized by the majority. This isn't always possible, but it's the goal. Nobody can prevent groups bound together by race or religion from trying to make life harder for people on the other side of the fence. But we don't institutionalize it. We don't allow our government to support trampling on the rights of the less enfranchised.
One of the easiest ways to keep government out of the minds and hearts of its citizens is by not making a law respecting an establishment of religion. It's even written down that way in a document that goes back to the nation's founding. What one person or group believes is not the government's business nor anyone else's. The separation of church and state is, for lack of a better word, sacred.
If there were only one person in this country who didn't believe in God, I suppose we could just stone him and have done with any controversy. Unfortunately, there are enough atheists and members of minority faiths to insist on being accorded their right not to be proselytized by the government. Individuals can go door to door offering religious recommendations, but my tax money can't pay them to do it.
Did the federal appeals court have any choice? They ruled yesterday that the words "under God" made the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag unconstitutional for use in schools. The words were inserted into the pledge in 1954, to distinguish us from the godless communists. This remnant of the McCarthy era exists to this day.
There's a bit of herd mentality in Congress's rush to record its disapproval of the ruling, I'm afraid. The Senate wouldn't vote 99-0 on whether the sky is blue. I'm always suspicious when that many politicians agree on something. We've gotten into a couple of regrettable wars that way.
I have no dog in this hunt, I swear to— well, I just swear. It doesn't matter to me what words are used in the pledge of allegiance, because it's nothing more than a symbol. Symbols reflect how we think and feel, and how we react to them tells us about our values, but in the end it's what they represent, such as for example liberty and justice for all, that matters. Not the symbols. Not the flag, and not the pledge.