Last updated on: 4/30/2009 | Author:

Susan Jacoby Biography

Best-selling author
Con to the question "Should the Words “under God” Be in the US Pledge of Allegiance?"

“The furor is rooted in a common modern American misconception – that the nation was founded upon religion from the beginning and that ‘secular humanist’ courts in the second half of the 20th century are responsible for banning public demonstrations of religious allegiance once taken for granted.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The issue of whether to use the word God in the Constitution was fully debated at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and the secularists prevailed. The first five American presidents, from George Washington to James Monroe, eschewed any public statements of their private religious beliefs.

The now-sanctified Pledge, written for a children’s magazine in 1892, was entirely secular in its original wording…

In many respects, including the later insertion of God, the Pledge exemplifies the ways in which unexamined patriotic rituals substitute symbol for substance and can be transformed to fit the political passions of the moment.

[T]he Pledge, like school prayer, is now a touchstone of conservative political loyalty… as an atheist and a civil libertarian, I wish that a more substantive issue than the Pledge were responsible for reigniting the passions of the religiously correct.”

“Much Ado About Propagandist Pledge,” Newsday, June 28, 2002

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Best-selling author of The Age of American Unreason
  • Program Director, Center for Inquiry
  • Contributing writer, New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Harper’s, The Nation, Vogue, The American Prospect, Mother Jones, and AARP The Magazine
  • Fellow, Center for Scholars and Writers, New York Public Library, 2001-2002
  • Former reporter, Washington Post
  • BA, Journalism, Michigan State University, 1965
  • None Found
Quoted in:
  1. Is the United States a Christian Nation?
  2. Did the Founding Fathers Support a Separation of Church and State?