Can an atheist pledge his allegance to his flag, under god?
That would be hypocritical and might make the atheist feel unwelcome in his country. One might go to another nation wishing to respect the values of that place but, this is his country!
So I'm not upset when the 9th US Court of Appeals said the phrase "one nation under God" amounts to a government endorsement of religion in violation of the separation of church and state.
Bush thinks the decision is rediculous. Of course, I feel the same way about his election--but that is another story. Lets just say I'm not surprised.
Being American isn't particularly hard. But when asked what it means to be American, people tend to blurt out whatever they've been told. Questioned a little, Americans would struggle or become stubborn in their viewpoints. My newspaper has quotes from people who seem to say that Americans are theists, but without saying it. That the American Declaration of Independence says "Creator" means that to be American is to be Christian. Yet it is that document that tells us our national leaders should not be decided by God but by the consent of the governed (the previous election notwithstanding). Behold, a step towards rationality.
So it would be contradictory for a nation that respects true religious freedom to hold the country under a certain religion's God and to ask for trust in God on the nation's currency.
There is no need to censor religion. But simple changes can be made. Like reverting the pledge of allegiance to its former version without "under God". And removing "In God We Trust" from currency bills. Hopefully, no one worships money anyways.
But this is not such a big deal. I've been saying the pledge of allegiance all this time--knowing full well the hypocracy. But there really shouldn't be so much controversy over a decision that serves only to make America more American. It makes America more inclusive for people like me.