As noted in the Jan. 5 editorial “Scalia dissents on 1st Amendment,” Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia claimed that the U.S. Constitution does not prohibit government from preferring religion over secularism. This seems perilously close to violating the First Amendment, which protects against the establishment of a religion by our government.
We are guaranteed freedom of religion in this country. But a guarantee of freedom from religion is equally important.
When I was growing up, the Pledge of Allegiance did not contain the words “under God.” They were added in 1954, as a response to the threat of communism. But which “God” does the pledge refer to?
Most people assume that it is the “Christian God.” But this country was not founded on Christianity. Therefore, could “God” also refer to the god of other religions?
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If so, then anyone reciting the pledge still has religious freedom. But what about those who do not believe in the existence of God? Do they have freedom from religion when reciting the pledge? Or should they simply skip over the words “under God”?
This may seem like a small inconsequential point. But the very idea of government preferring religion over secularism, with the slippery slope that could result, is frightening.