Pledge of Allegiance not needed on campus

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Editor:

In response to Liz Carlston’s column, “Pledge deserves respect from U” (Aug. 27): The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by the Christian socialist Francis Bellamy as a way to sell flags to schoolhouses. The original pledge did not contain the words “under God”. The terms “equality” and “fraternity” were considered, but dropped out of fear that they might offend racists.

After a lobbying campaign by the Knights of Columbus, the term “under God” was added in 1954, supposedly as a stab at “godless” communism. This addition did nothing to aid in the struggle with the Soviets, but it did much to erode the precious traditions and institutions of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

The Constitution contains no reference to God, and that’s not an accident. It does, however, contain ample laws protecting individual liberties against the encroaching forces of government. These restrictions are not limited to a tyrannical king or overreaching president, but apply equally well to democratic majorities. Those who argue that “under God” should remain in the pledge because a majority of Americans believe in God are completely missing the point.

I believe people engaging in the open and uninhibited8212;indeed free8212;pursuit of knowledge and personal improvement at our university is a far greater and more appropriate tribute to the ideals of our nation and its founding than any recitation session could ever hope to be.

Patrick Dylan Zwick
Graduate Student,
Mathematics