The Instigator
indieintellectual
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Keikyo
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

"Under God" should be erased from the United States Pledge of Allegiance.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/9/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 923 times Debate No: 41994
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (14)
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indieintellectual

Pro

First round for acceptance only.

The basic premise: The American Pledge of Allegiance ("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.") should be amended by Congress to exclude the phrase, "under God", on the basis of its constitutionality.

Con should expect to also prove that the phrase is constitutionally permissible. If Con wants any other definitions or information to be provided, just say so.

And good luck!
Keikyo

Con

Not Sure what acceptance is but I accept your argument.

Can we Accept this is what is stated in the constitution regarding RAPPS:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

I'll argue that it is constitutional.
Debate Round No. 1
indieintellectual

Pro

I accept these terms.

On January 1st, 1802, 3rd President of the United States of America Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut regarding their persecution by the Congregationalists of Danbury. Here, he wrote,

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

Four-hundred years after Christopher Columbus set foot on American shores, Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and socialist, wanted to create a kind of pledge of allegiance to unite Americans on one thing, and one thing alone: national pride. This pledge read:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

But in 1954, the phrase, “...under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance. Today, I will invoke the decision of the ninth circuit in Newdow v. Congress (2002). This phrase, adopted by Congress along with the Pledge, is a violation of the establishment clause. To prove this, I will use the two different establishment clause tests created by the Supreme Court in the last half-century. The first test is the three-prong Lemon test created by Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971). The second is the endorsement test, developed by Justice O’Connor in Lynch v. Donnelly (1984).

If “under God” fails either of these two tests, it is unconstitutional by way of the establishment clause.

1. The Lemon Test

I. Does the statute have a secular purpose?
II. Does the statute advance or inhibit religion?
III. The statute cannot result in an excessive government entanglement with religion.

If the statute fails any or all of these prongs, it is not constitutionally permissible.

I. Does the statute have a secular purpose?

When the legislation adding “under God” passed Congress, President Eisenhower signed it, stating, “From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty....” This purpose hardly seems secular. In addition, one can look at the historical context of the addition. In 1942, when the pledge was originally adopted by Congress, no one suggested adding a religious phrase (as Bellamy was opposed to). But in 1954, the threats of the Soviet Union and China, both atheistic states, were growing. In response, Congress added this phrase. It was only added for the sake of presenting the American nation as one of monotheism (and let’s be honest, here - it’s Christianity). So, this has no secular purpose whatsoever. It fails this prong.

II. Does the statute advance or inhibit religion?

Much of this can be reiterated from the last paragraph. The purpose of the 1954 addition was to advance religion, pushing against the atheistic communist states of the Soviet Union and China. This directly contradicts the establishment clause, whose purpose was to ensure that the government does not advance one particular religion over another or religion over irreligion. So, it fails this prong as well.

III. The statute cannot result in an excessive government entanglement with religion.

It does not fail this prong.

For violating two of the prongs of the Lemon test, and only needing to violate one, the statute is not constitutionally permissible. It does not need to pass the last prong of this test, or the other tests, to be unconstitutional - but I’ll address why it does violate the last two tests, too.

2. The endorsement test. In Lynch v. Donnelly, Justice O’Connor wrote:

“The Establishment Clause prohibits government from making adherence to a religion relevant in any way to a person's standing in the political community. Government can run afoul of that prohibition...[by] endorsement or disapproval of religion. Endorsement sends a message to nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community.”

In America today, schoolchildren are told to recite the Pledge every single day. In an environment as impressionable upon a young child such as the classroom, it is clear that many children could take the Pledge as an endorsement of Christianity and monotheism, and in a way, disapproving upon their own beliefs. By including the phrase “under God”, America sends to the unbelieving and uncertain Americans a message that they are, perhaps, not true Americans. It sends a message that America endorses monotheism, and one particular monotheism in particular, whose name we all know. The Pledge of Allegiance is a statement of loyalty to America - and by saying that America is one nation under God, the Pledge alienates the unbelieving and uncertain, and, yes, “..sends a message to nonadherents that they are outsiders,”. So, “under God” does not pass the endorsement test.

So, since the phrase, “under God” violates the establishment clause, it is not constitutionally permissible, and should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance.

[1] http://www.loc.gov...
[2] http://supreme.justia.com...
[3] http://supreme.justia.com...
Keikyo

Con

Keikyo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
indieintellectual

Pro

Keikyo conceded, for those wondering.
Keikyo

Con

Keikyo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
indieintellectual

Pro

indieintellectual forfeited this round.
Keikyo

Con

Keikyo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by cbcullen84 3 years ago
cbcullen84
I find a great deal of logic in the expectation of a citizen's solemn promise of allegiance to a nation and it's founding principles if that citizen is going to enjoy said principles. I "Think" the target issue is that the pledge as it stands is not conducive to Atheism. As in "How can an Atheist pledge his/her allegiance to a nation under God without acknowledging God and therefor creating a conflict with his/her lack of belief in religion"?
Posted by indieintellectual 3 years ago
indieintellectual
Hi Garett. Actually, the Pledge was adopted by Congress. But if you want to, I'll debate this with you.
Posted by GarrettBlack 3 years ago
GarrettBlack
Hi indieintellectual I hope you can respond to my comments. I'd love to debate this with you.
Posted by GarrettBlack 3 years ago
GarrettBlack
as for getting rid of it, well i think that's probably impossible, you cant ban people's thought, or words to express dedication and love for their country. It's unconstitutional. And why would you want to? why would you want to vote for a law that makes it so people have no freedom to say a traditional pledge to their flag and what it stands for?
Posted by GarrettBlack 3 years ago
GarrettBlack
Honestly a pledge is defined as "a solemn promise or undertaking.
"the conference ended with a joint pledge to limit pollution"
synonyms:promise, undertaking, vow, word, word of honor, commitment, assurance, oath, guarantee It's a personal choice, not a law." google definition

It's a tradition (and a good one in my opinion) a personal choice not a law. So my question is how is it unconstitutional?
Posted by GarrettBlack 3 years ago
GarrettBlack
I meant constitutional on the last sentence not constitutional
Posted by GarrettBlack 3 years ago
GarrettBlack
The separation of church and state was simply that the church could not control the civil govt. like a dictator, and the govt. could not dictate peoples belief's. Also aside from Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson almost all of our founders were Christians. Our govt. is based on Christian principals. Also, the pledge of allegiance, is a pledge, not a law so it's not unconstitutional, taking that out would only be inhibiting the freedom of speech and press. If you don't like it or believe it, that's fine you don't have to say it, but don't try to say forcing others not to say it is unconstitutional please.
Posted by Keikyo 3 years ago
Keikyo
You're right...Sorry I was prepared for this. You make a good argument nothing I found disproved it. Everything was easily disproved a moment later.
Posted by Keikyo 3 years ago
Keikyo
You're welcome.
Posted by indieintellectual 3 years ago
indieintellectual
Just making sure! Thanks so much.
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