46 J. Church & St. 311 (2004)
One Nation, under God: Tolerable Acknowledgement of Religion or Unconstitutional Cold War Propaganda Cloaked in American Civil Religion

handle is hein.journals/jchs46 and id is 323 raw text is: One Nation, Under God: Tolerable
Acknowledgement of Religion or
Unconstitutional Cold War
Propaganda Cloaked in American Civil
A recent poll conducted by Newsweek magazine showed that nearly
90 percent of Americans believe that the words under God should be
included in the Pledge of Allegiance.1 What the poll did not show is
the percentage of Americans who are aware of how long the reference
to God has been in the Pledge of Allegiance, why it is included, or for
that matter how long the Pledge itself has been around. As with many
utterances in the public consciousness, widespread acceptance and
routine recitation can produce a kind of obscurity that causes few
people to ask themselves what they are saying, why they are saying it,
and in what sense they live by it.2 This paradox may explain why
Justice William J. Brennan, a stalwart3 church-state separationist,
once suggested that the reference to God in the Pledge was protected
from Establishment Clause scrutiny chiefly because [it has] lost
through rote repetition any significant religious content.4 As the
Supreme Court has now decided to test that proposition in Elk Grove
9MAT rHEW W. CLOUD (B.A., Lehigh University) is a J.D. candidate at The Catholic
University of America, Columbus School of Law. Special interests include history, political
science, international relations, and architecture. Portions of this article were incorporated
into an amicus brief filed in the United States Supreme Court on 13 February 2004 by a
group of historians and legal scholars in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow (No.
02-1624). The author thanks his family, friends, and supporters for their love and
encourangement in making this article possible, but implicates no one but himself in any
result. It is, however, dedicated to his seven-year-old son, Barnaby Matthew.
1. Howard Fineman, One Nation, Under... Who?, Newsweek, 8 July 2002, 20 ([T]here
was an overwhelming (87-9) percent for including 'under God' in the [P]ledge.).
2. Brian Burrell, The Words We Live By; The Creeds, Mottoes, and Pledges that have
Shaped America (New York: Free Press, 1997), 3.
3. See, e.g., Sherman v. Community Consolidated School District No. 21, 980 F.2d (7th
Cir. 1992): 447, cert. denied, 508 U.S. 950 (1993).
4. Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. (1984) at 668 (Brennan, J., dissenting) (citation omitted).

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