Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should the Words "under God" Be in the US Pledge of Allegiance?"
"I'm in the camp that sees state prayers — and state religion in general — as antithetical to authentic faith. Consider the infamous 'plastic reindeer test' crafted by the Supreme Court in cases involving holiday displays. Governments, it seems, may include a crèche in the official display, as long as it is surrounded by enough reindeer, Santa, Frosty and other seasonal paraphernalia to render the baby Jesus a secular symbol.
Or consider the use of 'God' in the Pledge of Allegiance and on our currency. Various Supreme Court justices have opined over the years that such references to deity don't violate the First Amendment because the expressions have been drained of their religious meaning and have become what Justice William Brennan called 'ceremonial deism.'
State religion, in other words, is constitutional as long as it doesn’t mean anything religious. Why anyone of faith supports this arrangement is beyond me. Perhaps they believe that empty symbolism is better than none at all.
A better solution is to liberate religion to be authentic by taking the government out of the picture."
"When Government Prays, Religion Loses," First Amendment Center website, Aug. 3, 2008
Experts JD's (lawyers), US Presidents, federal appellate opinions, US Founding Fathers, Members of Congress, members of state legislative bodies with significant involvement in, or related to, the "under God" conflict and/or government and constitutional law, and those with PhD's in government, constitutional law or other relevant fields. [Note: Experts definition varies by site.]
Involvement and Affiliations:
Senior Scholar, First Amendment Center
Founding Board Member, Character Education Partnership
Columnist, "Inside the First Amendment," First Amendment Center website
Member, Steering Committee, Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools
Member, Advisory Commission on Public Education, American Bar Association
Chair, Committee on Religious Liberty, National Council of Churches
Recipient, Virginia First Freedom Award, Council for America's First Freedom, 2008
Former Executive Director, First Liberty Institute, George Mason University
PhD, Theological Studies, Emory University
MA, Religion and Education, Harvard Divinity School
Cowritten with Oliver Thomas, Finding Common Ground: A Guide to Religious Liberty in Public Schools, 2007
Cowritten with Sam Chaltain and Susan M. Glisson, First Freedoms: A Documentary History of First Amendment Rights in America, 2006
Cowritten with Azizah Y. Al-Hibri, Jean Bethke Elshtain, and Martin E. Marty, Religion in American Public Life: Living with Our Deepest Differences, 2001
Religious Liberty and the Public Schools, 2001
Cowritten with Warren A. Nord, Taking Religion Seriously Across the Curriculum, 1998
Religion in American History: What to Teach and How, 1990
His three pamphlets A Parent's Guide to Religion in the Public Schools, A Teacher's Guide to Religion in the Public Schools and Public Schools & Religious Communities were distributed by the US Department of Education to every public school in the country in Jan. 2000