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Re: O'er the ramparts we watch'd


>Thanks for bringing these facts to my attention, and to the attention of
>all. However, I did not mean to imply that the founding fathers had our
>pledge to the flag, though it must have sounded that way. I only meant that
>this country was founded by individuals who believed in a God Almighty, and
>that this country was a haven for religious freedom. I certainly feel that
>if they could see the decline in the recognition of God they would feel
>badly about the direction that our nation has taken. I still am very proud
>to be in a nation where we have the freedoms which we have in America.
>May God strengthen our nation.

Thomas Jefferson, whom you mentioned, was the person who disestablished
religion in Virginia.  He also promoted public education in Virginia.
One can infer from this that he was not in favor of religion in schools.
When he ran for president, he was frequently accused of being an atheist;
an accusation he refused to dignify with a response.

The Constitution does not establish a religion; it doesn't even mention it.
But that wasn't good enough for the states and the people, who insisted on
a Bill of Rights, the first of which begins:

``Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
  or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;''

Now whether mention of God in a pledge of allegiance violates that
amendment has long been a contentious issue.  In 1954 apparently it
was considered not to be a problem.  In 2002 the Supreme Court, whose
job it is to decide such issues, says it is unconstitutional.  I don't
find either surprising, nor cause for concern.  If you do, that's up
to you.  Freedom includes diversity of thought.

To add some slight Sinclair content to this thread of discussion,
George Walton, third signer of the Declaration of Independence,
was a great-great-grandfather of Susannah Canby Faries, who on 24
November 1842 in Savannah, Georgia, married Benjamin Waters Sinclair,
had emigrated in 1837, having been born in Thurso, Scotland.
Susannah Canby Faries and B.W. Sinclair were my great-great-grandparents.


John S. Quarterman <jsq@quarterman.org>
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