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In Gwen Wilde’s essay titled “Why the Pledge Should Be Revised”, the author uses a critical tone to persuade the audience that the pledge should not include the words “under God”.
Wilde begins with the argument that the words “under God” were not always in pledge of allegiance. She enforces this argument with historical facts, stating that the pledge did not contain the words “under God” until 1954 when President Eisenhower decided that they should be included. In Wilde’s opinion, the words “under God” juxtapose the idea that the nation is “indivisible”. By including the words “under God” in a pledge required by all citizens, people who do not believe in God are divided from those who do. This is what makes the phrase contradictory.
Wilde then begins her main argument based on this idea. She argues that requiring people to recite the pledge is unfair because not every American believes in God. While some may argue that people are not required by law to recite the pledge, Wilde counters that there is a sense of peer pressure that makes nearly everyone feel like they are required to recite it. Even if people do not believe in God, the pressure of patriotism makes them.
This observation allows Wilde to introduce the next argument. She argues that several million Americans do not believe in God or follow a different religion than Christianity. Wilde elaborates that the pledge is actually un-American and divisive. By connecting religion with patriotism, it creates the idea that all Americans are Christian. This idea is untrue and exclusive, therefore making the pledge un-American. She goes on to add that the assertion of a religious doctrine contradicts the First Amendment of the constitution, which states that no law regarding the practice of religion shall be made. Wilde does add that she does not think that the entire pledge is unconstitutional, just the words “under God”.
Many people also bring up the argument that the phrase “In God We Trust” is on our money and therefore the phrase “under God” should remain in the pledge. This argument is based off of the idea that if having the phrase on something that Americans see and handle everyday is okay, then it should be allowed to stay in a pledge that most Americans don’t say on a daily basis. Wilde counters this argument with the fact that people don’t pay attention to the phrase on the money, as the exchange of money is quick and most people won’t take the time to read the phrase every time they exchange money. In comparison, the act of reciting the pledge requires people to actually think about what they are saying and the meaning that it carries.
After discussing the difference between the phrase on money and the phrase in the pledge, Wilde presents her last argument. She argues that reciting the pledge is meant to be taken seriously, and that by including the phrase “under God” it divides the nation. While a supreme court justice has argued that the words aren’t meant to be taken seriously and are “diluted”, Wilde counters that they are clear and mean exactly what they say. According to Wilde, the words “under God” should not be included because it separates people of different religions and is unfair to the citizens of America.
In conclusion, Gwen Wilde believes that the pledge should not contain the words “under God”. She believes that this divides the nation and is unfair to several million Americans because not everybody believes in God.
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