Last updated on: 3/7/2008 | Author: ProCon.org

Humanist Society Biography

Position:
Con to the question "Should the Words “under God” Be in the US Pledge of Allegiance?"
Reasoning:

“The current version of the Pledge of Allegiance, as amended in 1954 to include the phrase ‘under God,’ violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment… The Pledge is not ceremonial deism as defined by this Court. Reciting the Pledge is an active swearing of loyalty to one’s country, not a passive reading or even reciting of a historical document. Furthermore, the phrase ‘under God,’ like all other phrases in the Pledge, has a distinctive meaning: that this country is presently a nation ‘under God,’ not a historical acknowledgement that it was founded under a god… The use of the current version of the Pledge in public schools violates this Court’s coercion analysis. Reciting ‘under God’ is a religious act. Children, while theoretically having the right to opt out of reciting the Pledge, may not do so because of fear of exposure as outsiders, because they do not have the capacity to do so, or because they wish not to appear unpatriotic to their teacher and classmates. Furthermore, the wish of parents for their children not to recite the Pledge may be ignored, indoctrinating them against the parents’ will.”

Elk Grove Unified School District v. Michael A. Newdow, The Humanist Society Amicus Brief, Feb. 12, 2004

Description:

“The Humanist Society is a non-profit, religious organization that certifies individuals in communities throughout the country to provide ceremonial observances of the significant occasions of life. Founded by former Quakers in 1939, the Humanist Society trains and ordains its own ministry, who upon ordination were then accorded the same rights and privileges granted by law to the priests, ministers, and rabbis of traditional theistic religions.”

Elk Grove Unified School District v. Michael A. Newdow, The Humanist Society Amicus Brief, Feb. 12, 2004

Mission:

“Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.”

The Humanist Society website (accessed May 7, 2007)

Other:
Non-profit 501(c)(3)
Quoted in:
  1. Should the Words "under God" Be in the US Pledge of Allegiance?