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October 07, 2013



Pray for Peace reminded me that at the height of President Eisenhower's enormous popularity, the words "under God" were inserted into The Pledge of Allegiance after the words "one nation." This was the result of a 1954 Republican-led act of Congress.

I was only in the fourth grade but it somehow seemed wrong to me to bring God into a public school classroom (not to mention into politics). I was Roman Catholic and God belonged in church, where He had more than enough to do. (I much later found out that The Knights of Columbus started pushing for the "under God" insertion in the early 1950s.)

But maybe, as with the similar Pray for Peace, "one nation, under God" offered an after-the-fact rationale for Secretary of State John Foster Dulles to spout threats of "massive retaliation" to Communist states, and for his CIA Director brother Allen to authorize the downfall of anti-US leaders in Iran and Guatemala.

After all, God -- now being part of the equation and sanctioned by Congress -- could become the ultimate exponent of might makes right.

And, yes, today it's much worse since religious influence -- seemingly harmless, often ambiguous, not always strident -- seeps into all aspects of US life, including our conduct of international affairs.

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