"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
In U.S. schools, these words are routinely repeated daily in class. But for some time now, the "under God" part has bothered many people. Those folks tried to invalidate them under their First Amendment rights, particularly the separation of church and state, and have failed every time they did. Now, a Massachusetts group wants to take down those words — this time using the Equal Rights Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution, the same one that was used to legalize same-sex marriage in 2003.
The unidentified group of people, supported by the American Humanist Association, says that the words "under God" discriminate against people who don't believe in a god, implying that belief in God is necessary to be patriotic. Opting out of the recitation is not a real alternative, since doing so might cause otracization. So the students are left with little choice but recite something they don't believe in.
These facts don't seem to bother the many conservative groups that will defend the status quo. The Knights of Columbus say that the words show that governments ultimately answer to a higher power. The Massachusetts Family Institute claims that the pledge unites people, and there is no reason to amend it because a few people are offended — which doesn't a constitutional violation make, they say. They will be friend-of-the-court with the Alliance Defending Freedom, who also doesn't see any constitutional violations with "under God."
But this vast conservative support to the pledge is amusing, especially if you consider its origins. Indeed, the recitation was created in 1892 by Francis Bellamy ... a socialist. Everything he militated for was openly socialist: public schools to help make docile, mass-produced citizens that would be faithful to their government like the Prussians; nationalism, which sought to nationalize public services, even though they were more efficient when privately owned; and Christian socialism, which sought an economy based on justice and equality. Surely conservatives, who usually champion free markets and liberty, wouldn't blindly support the pledge if they knew its true goals. Also, they would probably frown upon the way people saluted the flag before the head of a certain national-socialist party rose to power.
Until conservatives realize what they are truly defending, they will keep fighting to keep "under God" (that was added in the middle of the Communist scare in 1954) in the Pledge of Allegiance, which exists only in two other countries. However, considering the liberal leaning of four of the Massachusetts Supreme court judges, they are likely to lose this match.