|by Dr. and Mrs. Peter Wilson|
The heavy-handed response from our leaders demonstrates that the phrase "under God" is loaded with religious intent. When President Bush dismisses the issue by stating that our "rights were derived from God," he is advancing a religious doctrine that cannot be forced into the mouths of children under the guise of patriotism. It is alarming that they would insist on erasing the line between their chosen belief of god and the definition of patriotism.
This challenge is not against the Pledge of Allegiance; it is against two words forcefully put there by xenophobes in 1954. Every American citizen should be able to honor this country and pledge service to it without having to agree with the majority about deeply personal convictions. Our children need to be released from this bond that stamps on them the notion that patriotism is tied to a belief in god.
Our freedom means we may be exposed to ideas that offend our sensibilities. This freedom, however, does not mean allowing the State to establish a personal belief that is given voice year after year by children. These young minds are denied the opportunity to seek for themselves what they will choose to believe, a decision that profoundly affects their lives.
There are many of us who gladly fight for this country and defend its principles, but do not need to believe that it is blessed with supernatural powers to do so. We believe in the United States because of people like you, who in this climate stand up and say "NAY," carrying on your shoulders the legacy of the mortals who founded this country.
Thank you for supporting and fighting for our Constitution, and for the principles for which it stands. Our nation, under liberty, shall prevail when people stand up, as you have, and are heard without malice or fear, with an eye toward justice for all.
You make us proud to be Americans, and we thank you for representing us.
Dr. and Mrs. Peter Wilson