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'Under God' Wasn't In Original Pledge of Allegiance

Image: 'Under God' Wasn't In Original Pledge of Allegiance
The original version of the Pledge of Allegiance without the phrase 'under god' is displayed during a protest March 24, 2004 outside of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 13 Nov 2014 08:55 PM

The Pledge of Allegiance recited daily by most schoolchildren contains the phrase “one nation under God,” and those words have generated court cases and controversy.

But Francis Bellamy, who wrote the pledge as a magazine assignment to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in what would become the United States, did not originally include that phrase.

ALERT: Should 'One Nation Under God' Stay in the Pledge of Allegiance? Vote Now

Bellamy was a Baptist minister who became dissatisfied with his work and took a position in promotions with Youth’s Companion, a Boston family magazine. He was assigned to develop a patriotic program to go along with the Columbian Exposition that would open in October 1892, and that meant coming up with a salute for children to recite.

But no one had written the salute as the date neared, and Bellamy later recounted his boss telling him to tackle it because “you have a knack for words,” the Smithsonian said.

He wrote: I pledge allegiance to my flag and the Republic for which it stands — one Nation indivisible — with liberty and justice for all.

Bellamy later added “to” before the Republic to make it flow better.

In 1923, at a National Flag Conference, the words “my flag” were changed to “the flag of the United States,” a move the Smithsonian said was designed to make sure immigrant children were clear which flag they were saluting. In 1924, the same group added “of America.”

But the addition that has caused the most controversy over the years is the phrase “under God,” added in 1954 in a movement led by the Knights of Columbus.

VOTE NOW: Should the Pledge of Allegiance Be Changed?

In 1952, the Knights of Columbus petitioned the president, vice president, and speaker of the House of Representatives to add the words “under God,” something the organization began discussing at meetings the previous year.

On June 15, 1954, Congress passed a statute adding “under God” to the pledge, and it was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

At a Flag Day speech, Eisenhower said, “In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war."

As court cases came throughout the years challenging the inclusion of “under God” for several reasons, such as discrimination and violation of the principle of separation of church and state, Congress passed The Pledge Protection Act of 2004 to affirm a commitment to keeping God in the pledge.

“Whereas the Pledge of Allegiance is not a prayer or a religious practice, the recitation of the pledge is not a religious exercise; Whereas the Pledge of Allegiance is the verbal expression of support for the United States of America, and its effect is to instill support for the United States of America; Whereas the United States Congress recognizes the right of those who do not share the beliefs expressed in the Pledge to refrain from its recitation,” the act said.

URGENT: Do You Think 'One Nation Under God' Should Be Removed From the Pledge of Allegiance? Vote Here Now!

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The Pledge of Allegiance recited daily by most schoolchildren contains the phrase "one nation under God," and those words have generated court cases and controversy.
under god, wasnt, original, pledge of allegiance
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2014-55-13
Thursday, 13 Nov 2014 08:55 PM
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