Our friends over at the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) have lost another small battle in their long war to free us from government intrusion into our religious beliefs.
The FFRF sued the Architect of the Capitol, the government architect responsible for designing the new Capitol Visitor Center in Washington D.C. because the Architect had put "In God We Trust" in the center along with an engraving of the Pledge of Allegiance which contains the words "under God." The case was thrown out on a technicality – FFRF failed to show that it had been financially injured as a taxpayer.
I think the real problem is that no judge wants to be the one to throw out the Pledge. Any judge who had the courage to enforce the plain language of our Constitution would become a pariah, reviled and ridiculed, and probably driven from office by the public outrage. I can hardly blame judges for dodging this one.
And because of this, the country seems to be in a peculiar "twilight zone" where my constitutional right to a government free of religious coercion is plainly being violated, yet nothing ever happens. The courts keep finding loopholes, ways to twist and turn and avoid a direct lawsuit. Instead of addressing the issue, "Is 'under God' legal in our Pledge or not?" the courts have dodged and ducked. They always find a way to avoid actually ruling on the constitutionality of the Pledge.
In this most-recent case, the Court found a way to dismiss based on tax law. The issue of separation of Church and State was deftly avoided one more time. FFRF lost this battle, but there will be others. The war goes on.
I have tried to be a good American and patriot. I've only missed a few votes. I study the issues and listen to the candidates, and I always encourage my fellow citizens to do the same. Yet from the very first day I went to Kindergarten and stood with my little classmates memorizing our Pledge of Allegiance, I was an outcast. For my entire life, I've been denied the privilege of standing with my fellow citizens and declaring my allegiance to this country that has been so good to me and my family. From that first day back in nineteen fifty-something to this very day, I can't recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I'm an honest man – reciting the words "under God" would be a lie.
Maybe before my life is over, the FFRF will actually make some headway on this. Maybe before I die I'll be able to stand with my fellow citizens and recite our Pledge of Allegiance that binds all Americans.