Jewish World Review Oct. 12, 2001 / 25 Tishrei, 5762

Greg Crosby

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Consumer Reports

In Nature We Trust -- FOLLOWING last month's devastating attack and loss of over 6,ooo lives, who would think that anyone in this country would dare have the tenacity to object to the expression, "G-d Bless America," or take umbrage in including the Lord's name in our Pledge of Allegiance, but it appears there are still a few individuals and institutions in this great land of ours that have a problem with both of these.

Number one, the Madison Wisconsin school board has barred children from saying The Pledge of Allegiance in class. Seems the board finds the line, "one nation, under G-d" to be offensive. Number two (if you pardon the expression) is the ACLU. The ACLU is trying to get a school in Sacramento California to remove a sign (which was put up as a patriotic gesture after September 11th) that proclaims simply three words: "G-d Bless America." That's a real no-no. Separation of church and state, you see.

The good news is that the Madison school board has received a flood of negative e-mails and phone calls, so many that they have agreed to meet next Monday to "reassess their decision." And in Sacramento, the school that dared to post the inflammatory "In G-d We Trust" sign, has refused to take it down and it appears that the parents and others in the community are in full support of that sign as well. Common sense and moral clarity are not yet completely dead, thank goodness. At least they're still fighting back.

Unfortunately, we live in nonsensical times and there will be others, many others who will not be happy until all references to G-d are wiped out from public view and public utterance entirely. It's fine, they'll tell you, to keep such references hidden behind the closed doors of private houses of worship -- just as long as they're out of the public eye. As if the mere mention of the Lord's name might have some socially-corrupting influence on American culture. Well, perhaps in the view of these people, it does.

I'm sure they believe it would be better for all concerned if we could simply substitute something else for G-d. Anything else will do as long as it is pleasingly secular, all-inclusive, and totally devoid of any hint of established western religion. The obvious choice would most likely be "nature."

Okay. Let's try it on for size. "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, to which it stands, one nation, under NATURE, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." Gee, I don't know ... just doesn't quite have the same ring. Wait. Let's try this: "Nature Bless America." Hmmm. Nah. Maybe we ought to try "earth" as a substitute. "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, to which it stands, one nation, under EARTH, ... no that's no good. Make it " nation, OF THE EARTH." Oh, yeah. That's good. "One nation, of the earth, indivisible, with liberty and justice to all."

Wait. The concept of a "flag" is extremely non-inclusive, so let's drop the word "flag" from the pledge. Okay, let's try it now. "I pledge allegiance to the United States of Amer..." Wait. Giving allegiance to only one country is very chauvinistic and, once again, non-inclusive. After all, aren't we a one-world people? Let's drop "the United States of America." And if we do that, then we've got to cut out "one nation" too. Wait. "Liberty" and "justice" are relative terms. They mean different things to different people. Get rid of them. Okay. Let's try the new improved pledge.

"I pledge allegiance to the earth."

Yes! Now, we've REALLY got something!

JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. You may contact him by clicking here.

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