Public Information Officer
Supreme Court of the United States
Washington, DC 20543.
2003 Mar 9
To the Supreme Court of the United States of America:
I write as a direct representative of the world of children. When I was in grade school we recited the Pledge of Allegiance every day. I did not believe in the part about "god" and so I did not say it. However, I did not know that this was ok and I was continuously afraid that I would get into deep trouble because of it.
The problem is that a child is not aware of the larger social currents in the way that adults are and a child cannot know or understand these things at an early age. However a child will know that they are being forced to do something detestable, such as saying things they do not believe, and they also are extremely aware of punishment and potential consequences. In such a case most children will just go along with what they are forced to do or will resist in such a way as to avoid punishment.
It is not a matter of what the adults allow or even say to the children about what is allowed since there is strong social pressure to conform among children. Children who refuse to speak lies (that there is a god, for example) are ostracized by others and bullied or beaten up for being different. This is enormous pressure that should not be applied to any child but adults allow and encourage it by forcing the pledge down the throats of children. Although I have always resisted social pressures, most people are not willing to and so are forced into a religious position that they do not fit.
Because of this I now harbor great animosity toward those who forced me to recite this against my will and I hold the same against those who would continue this repressive and primitive practice.
The case before you is clear. Any combination of law that favors the concept of a "god" is favoring a particular religion. For example, if one considers Zen Buddhism to be a religion, then Zen is a religion that does not mention gods. If one considers other religions that espouse multiple gods, then one should say "under gods" not "under (one singular) god". The only solution is to remove the phrase entirely.
It is a simple matter to strike "under God" from the pledge to leave it snow-driven pure. In that form I would whole heartedly endorse it.
I also strongly urge you to rule to finally remove "in God we trust" from our money. I also urge you to overturn the recent Faith based initiatives, as they support religion using federal money. These are distinct, unacceptable and undeniable invasions of church into state. They fail to represent the millions of people who do not believe in ghosts, goblins or gods.
Beware that as these violations of the separation of church and state continue and become more intense you may find that scientists leave the USA for more enlightened lands.
Thomas D. Schneider, PhD