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A Pledge for sanity, God forbid - Chris Goltermann

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under (insert your deity here) ...

Don't laugh folks. It's coming. At least if the Supreme Court lets it. And let's hope not, whether John Roberts or Julia Roberts has a seat behind the bench.

On Wednesday, a federal judge declared the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools unconstitutional. The case, brought by an atheist (is there no God? oh, whoops), basically sets up yet another round of Supreme Court arguments on whether our children, and our children's children, can stand up in class and recite the pledge the way you and I did when we were little.

You remember the words, right? Invisible with liberty and justice for all.

Frankly, that's how I remember reciting the Pledge in kindergarten. I didn't know how to pronounce all the words properly, let alone know their meanings. But I knew I had to stand up tall, look at the American Flag and put my hand over my heart. And at 5-years-old, I knew everything I needed to know about what the Pledge stands for.

Now, once again, we have people who have gotten all bent out of shape over two little words, "under God." And suddenly, our founding fathers - the same ones who worked so hard to establish all of our God-given (whoops) inalienable rights - have offended some for mixing church and state or in this case - church and the ABC's.

I won't even step into that ring. It's too broad an argument for little old me.

But I can't sit idly by and think that it's offensive to use "under God" in our Pledge. And I'm not even the type of person you'll see sitting in a church pew each and every Sunday.

OK, OK, fine. Let's be devil's advocates for our ungodly neighbors. Take out a 20-dollar bill, then a ten, then a five... you get the picture. See anything familiar?

Yep, "In God We Trust," all right? And whether we think he/she/it is watching us, 10 bucks with "In God We Trust," still buys a halfway decent meal or 3.5 gallons of gas - give or take a month.

I know we all don't believe in God. There are Muslims, Buddhists, Georgia Bulldog fans ... sorry got a little carried away. But the Pledge isn't Mad Libs. You just can't leave out words for us to fill in the blanks with a plural noun. Washington and Jefferson believed in God. Sorry, they tricked the Indians out of this land first. So that's what we've got.

Look at the alternatives. To take a line from Robin Williams, "One nation under Canada, above Mexico." How about "One nation under stress ..." or "One nation under water." No, I think not. It's time for us all to get serious, one atheist in particular.

How cruel is it for this case to arise the same week as Sept. 11. It's not irony, but blasphemy over so many men and women who died innocently simply because they were Americans.

So to those who don't care for two harmless syllables in a tribute to our freedoms, I suggest this. Just skip them, and catch up with the rest of us on the "liberty and justice part."

Remember, it's not just about God, it's about America. Get it straight.

God forbid.

Chris Goltermann is a page designer for the Daily Herald and the Weekend edition. He can be reached at cgoltermann@news-daily.com or at (770) 478-5753, Ext. 262.