We Are One Nation, Under God

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Maybe it's because we're in the process of escaping the worst wildfire in the history of the western United States and have yet to lose a single life.

Maybe it's because of the yet-to-be-shaken national bond that was created on Sept. 11.

Maybe that's why Wednesday's ruling by a federal appeals court judge that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional seemed so monumentally idiotic.

Of course, one day after Circuit Court Judge Alfred E. Newman ... er, we mean Alfred T. Goodwin ... stunned the nation, he put his own ruling "on hold" indefinitely.

Before making that backflip, Goodwin said the phrase "under God" inserted into the Pledge by Congress in 1954 violates the separation of church and state, and that leading school children in such an oath is as objectionable as asking them to say we are a nation "under Jesus," "under Vishnu," "under Zeus," or "under no god, because none of these professions can be neutral with respect to religion."

Although Goodwin offered no reason for his reversal, it wouldn't be going too far out on a limb to guess that it has a tiny little something to with sea-to-shining-sea outrage.

President Bush found the ruling "ridiculous," and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle branded it "just nuts." Others warned the decision would drag into question the use of "In God We Trust" on the nation's currency, the public singing of "God Bless America," and even the use of "So help me God" when judges and presidents are sworn into office.

So help us God.

Needless to say to all but the thickheaded, the Pledge of Allegiance is not an endorsement of religion. It is a recognition of the faith of the men who wrote the Constitution. It does not deny anyone their God, no matter if they define their God as Jesus, Vishnu, Zeus or Mel Gibson.

And what, pray tell, might have happened here over the last week and a half, in the forests of northern Arizona, if thousands and thousands of Americans had not all joined together ... as one nation, under God?

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