According to the American Humanist Association, more than one-third Americans are in favor of removing “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. The secular group recently commissioned a survey through the Seidewitz Group, which found out from assessing the historical details of the national expression of loyalty that 34 percent Americans want the words “under God” removed from the Pledge.
This number is significant, as the proportions vary greatly from the single-digit support observed for the removal in at least one recent survey. AHA believes the difference in results lies in the way in which the question was asked to respondents. Before asking them for their opinion on the removal of the contentious phrase, respondents were offered some background on the subject.
“For its first 62 years, the Pledge of Allegiance did not include the phrase ‘under God.’ During the Cold War, in 1954, the phrase ‘one nation indivisible’ was changed to read ‘one nation, under God, indivisible.’ Some people feel this phrase in our national pledge should focus on unity rather than religion,” those taking the poll were told before answering the question.
After sharing with them this piece of information, the respondents were asked if the United States should go back to the “unchanged version” or stick with the “changed version” of the Pledge. While 66 percent Americans said they would like “under God” to remain, one-third of the population said they would like to have it removed.
AHA said that the current wording “marginalizes atheists, agnostics, humanists and other nontheists because it presents them as less patriotic, simply because they do not believe in God.”
Nevertheless, the results of this survey are still interesting as they differ dramatically from past surveys on the same subject. For instance, Christian polling firm LifeWay Research found out earlier this year that the vast majority of Americans do not have a problem with “under God” in the Pledge. Reportedly, 85 percent respondents opted to have the words in the pledge when asked “Should the words ‘under God’ be removed from or remain in the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America?” while only eight percent said they should be done away with.
AHA believes enlightening Americans about the origin of the phrase in its survey helped increase the number of those opposing it.
“We are encouraged by these findings, which suggest with even a small amount of education, more Americans are in favor of restoring the Pledge to its original wording,” said AHA executive director Roy Speckhardt.
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