Don’t stop believin’ (in God)

Kaitlyn Olivier, Staff Writer

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Wait a minute, that doesn’t sound right. What happened to God?

Congress inserted “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, a year of political upheaval to say the least. Few issues in American life create a larger controversy than the topic of religious influence on our public school system. After all, our country was partially built upon the pillars of the Christian faith. We saw the birth of our government emerge from the principles of Christianity. Whether we choose to practice this religion is our own prerogative, but there’s no need to entirely remove Christian belief from our nation’s public schools. As long as no one is coerced to participate, students should feel free to pray, silently or even in a group, in the comfort and safety of their school environment.

Our own Pledge of Allegiance states we are “one nation, under God” – to sweep religion right out from under the feet of America’s future leaders is simply a disservice to those truly devoted to the values of their country.

This is not to say Christianity is the only religion to be encouraged. According to Americans United, “the United States has changed since its founding in 1787. A nation that was once relatively religiously homogeneous has become one of the most pluralistic and diverse on the face of the globe. Scholars count over 2,000 different denominations and traditions in our country.” (Americans United) As a nation open to the many religious affiliations across the world, we should not be one to remove from our students the belief system upon which our country was founded.

Many would argue that conflicting beliefs raise barriers between followers of different religions. I’d like to argue the opposite. What people may fail to realize is that, independent of which religious background we come from, we are all connected by one virtue present in every religion, and that virtue is faith. Faith is all-encompassing and what truly brings us together. Our fault in acknowledging others of a different belief system is the real wall that stands between us, not our gods of opposing religions.

Today, children have the freedom to express their beliefs in public, however, courts have declared government-fostered prayer unconstitutional. But why should we take God out of the public school system if He was already there to begin with? If Christianity was instrumental in shaping our earliest form of government, then why is our government against the combination of Church and State?

The bottom line is this: religion is faith, and faith is something we all can use a little more of. Without faith, there is no hope. Differences aside, religion provides hope for all of humanity.

Let children continue to openly worship, and for the love of God, do not remove religion.