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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

'Under God' in the Pledge

October 11, 2003

Re " 'Under God': An 'Injury' With Almost No Victims," Opinion, Oct. 5: Charlotte Allen tells us that having the U.S. government actively engaging in certifying to our children that there is a God in heaven is OK because the vast majority of Americans believe thus. She says, "But claiming to be hurt by a reference to the deity in the Pledge of Allegiance? C'mon." In other words, Allen admits that some citizens are victimized by this, but her attitude is -- so what!

If having God mentioned in the Pledge of Allegiance is not a violation of the 1st Amendment, then what on Earth is? Isn't it obvious that we do not now have true religious freedom when our government takes up the side of the religious believers just because they are in the vast majority in our country?

James R. Gallagher

Huntington Beach

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The 1st Amendment is very clear: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." It does not say almost no law or very few laws. It says no law. Freedom from religion is a great protection against the tyranny of organized religion. While it is understandable why the words "under God" were inserted by Congress in 1954, inserting them was still unconstitutional and they should be removed.

Michael Wolfstone

Monterey Park

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Allen may be correct that the law does not concern itself with trifles, but no court has ever believed its Constitution or the fundamental rights that it protects to be "trifles."

Christopher Johnson

Pasadena

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Allen's piece calling the pledge case the "ultimate de minimis case" is logical if you believe that not believing in God is trivial. I am not subjugated by God. I will not be hypocritical and recite the pledge by rote. I will not be subject to ridicule and judged for having to prematurely end my pledge before others.

I cannot wait for the Supreme Court to stand up and protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. Pledging one's allegiance to the flag and to the republic for which it stands is one thing. Stating that this nation stands under God sounds like a prayer and should only be recited by the faithful.

Daniel B. Conover

Glendale

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I could barely stand the blathering of Allen as she tried to defend the blatantly unconstitutional phrase "one nation, under God." Her effort to trivialize the phrase rings hollow because, if it is in fact trivial, why would she care if it is removed? Would it alter her faith?

When she calls rulings by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judges "loopy" and "ultraliberal," she exposes her loopy, ultraconservative side. Well, Ms. Allen, let's compromise and make one small change to the phrase. Let's change it to "one nation, under gods" or "one nation, under Zeus."

Will that work for everyone?

John Palmieri

Sherman Oaks

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