When voters go to the polls, they tend to look for a politician who "shares their values". In America, these values are often centered around religious beliefs. Thus, a candidate's faith can have a significant impact on how people perceive them. For example, during the 1960 presidential election, John F. Kennedy was viewed with distrust due to his Catholic faith. In order to succeed, JFK had to convince millions of suspicious Protestant voters that he shared their basic values. This was a tough task, but he took the challenge head on, winning the election by a razor-thin margin.

The Bible and the Ballot

In the modern era, religion continues to play a strong role in elections. No matter how you slice it, faith is a strong indicator of voting habits. The fact that religious organizations tend to have strong convictions and high voter turnout makes them important interest groups. Evangelical Christians are among the most politically active of these religious organizations thus they have significant influence come election day.

Evangelical Support

Trump gaining support from evangelical voters
Trump speaking at Liberty University, a private Christian college.

So which way are evangelicals leaning this November? Although they've favored the Republican ticket in past elections, most people will agree that 2016 is not a typical election year. For example, some critics of Donald Trump have insisted that the values espoused by his campaign are directly at odds with the teachings of Jesus and that any decent Christian would avoid voting for him.

Although Trump claims to be very religious, his spotty church attendance record is well documented. Despite this, there are strong indications that evangelicals are getting in line behind him especially white evangelicals. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, an astounding 78% of white evangelicals plan to vote Republican this year.

This support has drawn intense criticism from some. One of our members submitted this scathing comment, a testament to the discordant nature of the 2016 election cycle:

"What do you get when you're a foul-mouthed, lewd, casino owning, twice-divorced, xenophobic fear monger and candidate for President of the United States? Apparently, the support of evangelical Christians."

Issue Politics

Unlike Trump, Clinton has been a known church-goer for years. Yet somehow she can't seem to make any inroads with evangelical voters. So what is it about Trump that makes him preferable to Hillary Clinton? Part of the answer is clear: it's the issues.

Ultimately, the stances a candidate takes on specific social issues can be deal breakers for some voters. Trump has been accused of being many things, but for evangelicals, he checks all the important boxes: he has maintained an anti-abortion stance throughout the campaign (on one occasion even agreeing that women "should be punished" for getting one), is against same-sex marriage, and thinks individual states should be able to decide issues such as transgender bathroom access.

In stark contrast, Clinton is pro-choice, supports gay marriage, and thinks the federal government should intervene to protect LGBT rights. When you look at the election through this lens, it's no wonder Clinton cannot seem to gain any support from evangelicals. However, the issues only tell part of the story.

Good Values and Good Governance

Religion plays a huge role in American politics As a whole, American society has become more open-minded over time. However, it would still be highly unlikely for a non-religious candidate to get elected President in this country. Even if they took popular stances on all the issues, they likely wouldn't stand a chance. Why is this?

Despite the importance of certain issues, a candidate's underlying values remain critical. To many Americans, good values are synonymous with religious values. Voters believe a candidate cannot have one without the other. Plus, they insist, strong religious values provide a foundation upon which to make sound decisions. But some religious values can be incredibly divisive, especially in an American society that is becoming increasingly diverse and progressive. So what role should religious values have in government?

Finding A Balance

Some believe that religious values should be central to governing, and that lawmakersObama speaking on faith should use them as a guide when deciding on policy even if doing so ruffles a few feathers. Others disagree, arguing that adhering to strict religious values can infringe upon the rights of minority groups, such as the LGBT community.

President Obama has spoken at length about religion in government, and seems to believe that compromise is the answer. He insists that "secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religions at the door" when serving in government. At the same time, though, Obama acknowledges that no single belief system takes precedence over another. According to him, "democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values."

Religious Influence

However, some question just how easily religious values can be translated into universal values. Inevitably, there will be some areas of contention. Depending on who is in office, religious values may win out. Evangelicals certainly hope so. What do you think? What is the role of faith in politics? Is it right for politicians to look to their religious convictions when determining policy?


  1. Rev Michael Clark's Avatar Rev Michael Clark

    No matter how you look at it Trump is lying. The rhetoric on his religious view are false statements and means very little to him. As for his folllowers they also to not seem to see anything but themselve, they ignore his bigotry and call him Christ like. That is absurd but stupid people do stupid things to get their way. God bless us all.

    1. Bob's Avatar Bob

      Freedom from religion is equal to and just as important as freedom of religion.

      1. Bob's Avatar Bob

        "democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values." Quote from Obama. I couldn't agree more. No one has to give up his religious values, but no one in government has a right to impose his religious values on any of our citizens. We are not and don't want to become a theocracy. No citizen should be judged or be treated as a lesser member of our country if he/she is not considered mainstream, eg. LGBT or any non-white race, or does not believe in a god or gods.

      2. Dragon Priest's Avatar Dragon Priest

        America suffers from a twisted form of Christianity that has nothing to do with Jesus teachings and a lot do with politics. Republicans bill themselves as righteous Christians but they behave in satanic ways. So I want nothing to do with this version of satanic Christianity. THINK!

        1. caz's Avatar caz

          Christianity in most countries does not follow the teaching of christ so I no longer call myself christian. I converted to Buddhism 22 years ago. It offers the flexibility of including Christ's philosophy into my belief

  1. AnaMarie Medina's Avatar AnaMarie Medina

    No ones religious views should be imposed on anyone and much less through laws! That would be so scary!! Our country would be comparable to other corrupt third world countries filled with unrest and violent civil wars!

    1. C@'s Avatar C@

      Religious view win votes. That is why even the suggestion that Barack went to an Islamic church was big news.

      Then there was a MORMON candidate (Mitt Romney).

      When is the last time religion wasn't brought up during an election. Religion both brings us together and scares the crap out of most people. The idea of anything that isn't the same as them (which includes race and income).

      When I was at work I mentioned that there were Jewish people in town- no church besides in Canada (I live on a border town), and my co-worker was shocked. I did not share my religion for fear that I would be fired and also ostracized in this area. I still do not openly speak about my religious views. Few people are truly accepting of other peoples' views. Sadly, politics reflects that to a scary degree.

  1. Pastor P.'s Avatar Pastor P.

    Faith, must play a part in any decision, but, it must also be tempered with other factors, such as, legality, fairness to others. What we must avoid is attempting to legislate Morality based on a religious doctrine. This is what separates a democracy from a theocracy.

    1. Theodore P flaherty's Avatar Theodore P flaherty

      Strongly agree!

  1. I am Rev.Dr.Yanel J. Laroche Jr..And Priscilla the Chastity the female archangel in his soul.'s Avatar I am Rev.Dr.Yanel J. Laroche Jr..And Priscilla the Chastity the female archangel in his soul.

    Rev.Dr.Yanel J. Laroche Jr.: I will still vote for Donald Trump again as U.S. President while I still say: "Amen". I liked his values you see.And I am an ordained minister or in a religious body called clergy indefinitely.What is wrong with voting for Donald Trump even if you are active in the ministry of Christianity really? That is the end of my story.

    Priscilla the Chastity: I am also not politically neutral in the U.S.A. so ethical. My husband is a Republican voter so powerful and called Rev.Dr. Yanel J. Laroche Jr. every hour. We both think Donald Trump is the next Republican president forever.

    1. Michael's Avatar Michael

      As a fellow minister, I cannot comprehend how you or any other person of faith can support this man who is so far opposit of Christ and our Christian values. Christ would never speak with such hate and foul language. Christ would never promote violence or speak disparagingly about anyone as Mr. Trump continuously does. He is NOT a Christian but is playing on Christians to get him elected. We all need to examine his values and see him for exactly what he is which is a wolf in sheep's clothing. As a Minister, it is my responsibility to promote Christ thru my actions as is with all Christians. Please pray for Gods wisdom during this election and see that He has given us someone that truly reflects Christian values and that person is Hillary Clinton. God bless you all and America! Rev. Dr. Michael Cornell-Stevens.

      1. Roger Growden's Avatar Roger Growden

        So then, Hillary's support of the murder of the unborn, lying about finances, e-mails et al, reflects Christian values? I think not.

        1. Michael's Avatar Michael

          Check your facts please. She has been proven innocent of any and all of the charges You speak of. As for Abortion, I condemn nor condone as each situation is different but it is the law of the land and therefor be respected as such. God gives us free will to choose so I feel that decision is ultimately between the woman and God. Hillary shoes more Christ like values everyday in the way she loves and respects all people. She never uses foul language, she attends church regularly and professes her faith. She and her staffers pray together daily and before every speech. It is quite obvious to me who the Christian is in this election and who we should all be supporting as men and women of faith. We don't have to agree with everything they do or say but running a country is more than abortion! Use your common sense please!

          In Christ,

          Rev. Dr. Michael Cornell-Stevens.

          1. Joannie's Avatar Joannie

            Michael, I was going to copy and paste some comments that came directly from the sources of Hillary's vulgar mouth and decided it should not appear on a "religious site" it just may not set too well with you, however, if you go to the www.dcclothesline.com and look up Hillary's vulgar mouth and how she relates to people that worked under her, you might just change your "never says a foul word" comment. Right or wrong, the decision who you vote for is YOURS, however, get your info right.....going to Church does not a Christian make....nor, does it give you a Christian heart.

          2. Theodore P flaherty's Avatar Theodore P flaherty

            Well said .

          3. JR's Avatar JR

            Michael. I have Washington friends that have worked around Hillary at the White House. According to them, anger prone Hillary has a truck drivers' mouth & F-bombed employees regularly. Apalling isn't it along with her well-documented pathological lying & bearing responsibility of Benghazi deaths to save Obama's Presidential election by not starting a war against terror. She allowed those men to die after dozens of pleas for help & lied to the dead's mothers to their faces. Watch "13 Hours, the movie done by several survivors. They have reported this! Additionally, FBI Coomy is a Hillary-biased liar - he goes back to her Whitewater lying days and defended her back then when her company scammed innocents out of their money. He's bought & paid for! Finally, Michael, do you know over 40 people in your circle of workers or friends that have mysteriously died - were labeled murdered by authorities or had deaths by suicide or strange accidents? Google the facts & dates! I don't & everyone that I ask has not either! Wake up - Hillary & her husband, the serial cheater are EVIL. They only care about power & grabbing money via the Clinton Foudation. Check facts not rhetoric!

          4. Brother John's Avatar Brother John


          5. caz's Avatar caz

            There were no christian candidates. It was a matter of choosing the least evil. I think America made the wrong choice

          6. Darryl Mizer's Avatar Darryl Mizer

            I have always viewed abortion as a personal religious value, not political. That does not intimate that abortion is okay for me. . . .it isn't. The old testament states that a new born is not a viable person for at least 30 days after birth. Ancient view but then all social mediums of that era are just that, ancient. To me, it's an individual choice, not a matter for government intervention.

      2. Darryl Mizer's Avatar Darryl Mizer


    2. Deborah Broad's Avatar Deborah Broad

      I suggest you practice saying "welcome madame president "

    3. Tami's Avatar Tami

      My husband has Trumps vote over Hillary, and my husband's a pretty hardcore Christian.

      1. caz's Avatar caz

        No such thing as a hard core christian. Christ was essentially a socialist who fought against the conservative theology of the time. If he was around today his target would be Trump. You Americans hve a distorted view of Christianity

    4. Jack Lam's Avatar Jack Lam

      I commend your decision,anyone with common since would believe also.if not vote for Hillery and see what you get.Amen.

      1. Sir Lord Baron Von Reverendstein M.D., D.D.'s Avatar Sir Lord Baron Von Reverendstein M.D., D.D.

        i agree! Cudn't have sed it better myself.we need more fokes like us too get out and vote this election.

      2. caz's Avatar caz

        Couldn't be any worse than what you have now

    5. Terry HAyes's Avatar Terry HAyes

      Mathew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

      1. Darryl Mizer's Avatar Darryl Mizer

        AMEN. This is a FACT, not a theory. He doesn't even bother to wear sheep's clothing. (LOL)

  1. Terry HAyes's Avatar Terry HAyes

    Is the issue a matter of faith or providing leadership to preserve the Constitution and The Amendments? Does faith guarantee us the right to worship or does the Constitution. The President and military officers take an oath to protect the constitution. I was taught that there is a separation of church and state. I will not base my vote on the faith and values of others but upon the integrity of the candidate and their commitment to protect the Constitution.

    1. Jeri's Avatar Jeri

      Thank you. I believe as you do but you said it more succinctly than I!

    2. William H Schaffer's Avatar William H Schaffer

      Well said Sir.

    3. JR's Avatar JR

      Read that Constitution & The Declaration of Independence - no where does it state any separation of church & state. That is presumptive rhetoric spoken long ago that is never corrected by a liberal media & uninformed voters. God is everywhere in our heritage - from our dollar bill to write on monuments around the country. Our Founding Fathers were inspired by God & self determination to risk their lives for the freedoms we have today.

    4. Lynn Ehrhart's Avatar Lynn Ehrhart

      That k you!

  1. Timothy Blackwood's Avatar Timothy Blackwood

    The bigger picture here is.... Separartion of Church and State. Mere mortals have no business explaining what God wants, needs, or requires. Politicians of any kind, from dog catcher to Supreme Court Justice should not dictate, re-interpret, or gloss over the fact that of the many religions of the world, most have the same goal. Religion, as a political device, should be ignored. Do not ignore your 1st Amendment right to free speech, just know what you're talking about. Trump is a loose cannon.

    1. JR's Avatar JR

      Sorry! Loose cannons do not raise kind, well-spoken, educated & brilliant children who adore their father. Loose cannons are not family men like Trump. Loose cannons cannot build businesses successfully - I know people who work for Trump & he is respected, loved & admired! Loose cannon - that fits Bill Clinton untreated, untamed sexual addiction & Hillary's well-documented temper & filthy mouth! See the big picture & not the limiting media sound bytes taken out of context.

      1. JR's Avatar JR

        PS - I'll give $100. to anyone who can find it in The Constitution or The Declaration. Truth - Thomas Jefferson suggested this theory in a PRIVATE LETTER that he wrote long ago. The uninformed & far left have been nurturing this lie of "law" for years!

  1. Minister John Deringer's Avatar Minister John Deringer

    The thought of either Hillary or THE DONALD. Becoming Americas next president leaves me quaking in my boots. The track record or either one has been less than outstanding in everyone's eyes, except those that are far too weak to see the choices for their next president are really a joke in the world stage. Both far too connected and above anyone that votes for them. My friends, and family of this universal life church. Please if there was any way we could stop the the powers that control the USA from allowing them to place such corrupt, and untouchable people into power. I pray every day I hear or read about the show these puppets put on for the people of the United States of America. I pray for my neighbours to the south. May we all, together make this world a better place.

    1. Alan's Avatar Alan

      Interesting enough, Hillary has been found to be the most truthful candidate out of the entire pack that had been running for president. On the other hand, Trump has been found to be the LEAST truthful There is no lesser of the two evils as there is only one. What news outlets may wish you to think is a totally different story!

      1. JR's Avatar JR

        Are you kidding or just an uninformed voter? Trump spills the beans on everything & has done many, many news conferences to answer any & all questions. We may not always agree with him, however it's the naked truth, not fed monger ing. Hillary has yet to do even ONE news conference, because she cannot answer the questions that would be asked w/out lying & it shows on her face & body language. She avoids them like the devil avoids the Light, because Hillary sycophants & voters like you couldn't handle the truth. You would be appalled & disgusted about her like I am. Exposed, Hillary makes Trump look like an altar boy. K

        1. Rev.Michael White's Avatar Rev.Michael White


          1. C@'s Avatar C@

            I am hoping for a strong third party candidate.

            I dislike both choices to an unhealthy degree.

  1. Tom's Avatar Tom

    While religious thought and government policy often are at odds, there is one very important thing to remember. When persons take the oath of office, they place their hand on a Bible and swear by it to uphold and defend the Constitution. They do not place their hands on the Constitution and swear to uphold and defend the Bible. Too many people are putting the cart before the horse. The issues of abortion, same-sex marriage, and who should use which bathroom are not appropriate in a political discussion, nor should they be a litmus test for any candidate. Abortion and same-sex marriage are legal. End of discussion. If one does not approve of them, they should not engage in those activities. They are legal, not mandatory. There are far more important issues to be considered in this election than these red herrings. Let's focus on those things that will benefit us all. Things like education, jobs, medical care, national defense and many more. I do not hear anyone discussing biblical direction on these items, and believe me, the bible has a great deal to say on these subjects. Focus on what matters most and we all grow.

    1. reflectionsofthemother's Avatar reflectionsofthemother

      What a wonderful reply. Maybe they should put their hands on the Constitution. Maybe Civics class should be brought back in schools so a generation would grow up and understand what freedom and rights mean.

      1. Tom's Avatar Tom

        Thank you! I fondly remember Citizenship Education classes that were required in New York State. I do not know if they are still in the curriculum.

    2. William H Schaffer's Avatar William H Schaffer

      You have truly hit the proverbial nail on the head. Unfortunately these truths will not create revenue and will be ignored by "journalists" who insist we eat "red herring" for dinner every night.

    3. Paster Quinn's Avatar Paster Quinn

      One point of clarification Tom, placing a hand on a Bible while reciting the presidential oath is simply a tradition started by George Washington. It is not required, and the Constitution can be used, or they may simply raise their hand and swear. Indeed, at least two presidents that I know of, Teddy Roosevelt and John Quincy Adams, did not use a Bible at their swearing-in ceremonies. But the rest of your comments are to the point and correct.

  1. cmdsgtmajor's Avatar cmdsgtmajor

    God help us if Trump becomes President. I will vote for neither democrat nor republican.

    1. Alan's Avatar Alan

      Which will almost guarantee a Trump win. This is the exact reason we have the (lack of) choices we now have. 1) There were too many running for the GOP, too few running as Dems, and low voter turnout for the primaries. We got exactly what we asked for!

    2. Paster Quinn's Avatar Paster Quinn

      One has to remember that once the primaries are over, emotions have to leave the process. You are no longer voting for the person, but for the standard bearer that is representing the platform that most closely matches your personal beliefs. Donald Trrump is the standard bearer for the Rupublican Party, Hillary Clinton is the standard bearer for the Democrats. One needs to look at the platforms each party represents and vote with their heart. If one platform is against everything you believe in, then you vote for the other, whether you agree with ALL of the planks or not. For me, not voting is not an option, it should not be for anyone.

    3. JR's Avatar JR

      It's God who has allowed Trump,to beat out the 15 Rep. candidates. Because Trump is the rare outside candidate who will expose the corruption in Washington. I will tolerate his verbal eccentricities, because I like his "America first" which has never existed. So we run up that huge Obama debt(more than the last 8 Presidents combined!) Welfare is up to over 55% - We give Iran billions of dollars for nothing that we borrowed from China, & Iran hates us, screaming "Death to America." God Blessed Donald Trump to save our country from a monetary fate like Socialist Greece & and terrorists overtaking our cities like Paris France, that has the city of Light surrounded by at least 8 Sharia Law run areas that are not patrolled or visited by Parisians out of fear. God Bless Donald Trump to show Americans that he will be a better President than this last one who was only a Senator for less than 2 yrs & never held any kind of job except "activist" - I'll take Trump who's not perfect, but who is? I'll gladly vote for Trump, along with my 20 neighbors - half women who also love him - all Christans & Jews! Educated informed Jews recognize that Obama is not for Jews & Israel - that's why he's the only one who calls terrorists ISIL instead of ISIS. Listen to him closely next time! Lying crooked Hillary is following in his footsteps & perhaps even worse. She has sold out her country through The ClintonFoundation taking money from Arab countries who will want favors & her classified hacked emails (doing this private emails against policy so what was she trying to hide? Benghazi? Foundation info?) now by our enemies. More than careless, Hillery's evil. After getting caught, she's still lying about it - hence not one open question news conferences. God Bless mouthy Donald 'cause his mouth will set us free of Washington's liars & corruptors!

  1. Jay's Avatar Jay

    A classic case of the wolf in sheep clothing.

  1. Reverend Robert's Avatar Reverend Robert

    Religious beliefs guide our spiritual lives, NOT our legal or political life. Leave your personal beliefs out of the laws of this Country. Laws are intended to be broad enough to govern everyone without limiting anyone...too severely.

  1. Roger Growden's Avatar Roger Growden

    Regardless who is ultimately elected, the Bible tells us in Psalms 33:12; “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!” Render unto Caesar what is his, but we must obey the law but know God is the ultimate ruler. He rules not only the United States, but the world. We must obey God over men; over political leaders. Through I do not agree with some of the laws currently upheld in the United States, Christians cannot take advantage of our legal right to act on them, we must keep God’s law over the law of the land.

    1. Richard's Avatar Richard

      So you're advocating for Sharia law??

    2. Jeri's Avatar Jeri

      The word "Constitution" was not mentioned so I'm not sure what land Roger is referring to. Certainly not the United States of America which has a Constitution and separation of church and state.

  1. Rev. Brian Osborn's Avatar Rev. Brian Osborn

    Trump is a messenger of Satan. He will say whatever it is that you want to hear in order to lead you down a path that will take you to hell. Ignoring the teachings of Jesus Christ has consequences. You had better not only pray for what you know to be right, you had better LISTEN to the words Christ left for you, and heed them. Any minister that leads you to the ballot box thinking that Donald Johnathan Trump is sent by Christ to do his work should be looked at again and again, for that person is a false prophet, a minister of all that is unholy.

    1. Terry HAyes's Avatar Terry HAyes

      Trump was fire by the devil. Where did he get his idea for The Apprentice?

    2. JR's Avatar JR

      No Satan lives with the Radical Muslim terrorists who have declared Jihad - these are the last days according to their teaching, so now they are determined by their radical califate of murdering infidels/you & me, to take over the world. Do your homework. Trump wants to limit terrorists infiltrating our borders & coming in via Hillary's open border immigration to get more liberal votes & of not vetting Syrians by the tens of thousands. If you wer told that the bag of M&Ms you wanted to buy for your family had only 1-5% cianide laced M&Ms, would you feed the bag to your family? That's what we face with illegal immigrants. That's what the FBI & Homeland Security says, but Hillary nor Obama follow their warnings - we can't vet with accuracy and 1-5% will be terrorists. Is it worth it? Allow 10,000 plus Syrians into the US again & again like into New Jersey Etc, so you do the math!!

  1. Don Marvin's Avatar Don Marvin

    "we must keep God’s law over the law of the land"

    Which god is that Roger, your god? What about people who believe in a different god or multiple gods or no god at all, should laws exist that disrespect them? You're certainly free to believe in the ethereal, omniscient entity of your choice, but it's arrogant to believe that everyone else must do the same. Certainly, some secular laws are similar to your "God's law", however that's as much coincidence as anything else. By all means, read your bible as often as you like, but please don't disrespect those of us who see the bible as nothing more than a mediocre work of fiction.

  1. Prince's Avatar Prince

    We have entered a time when every man will be held accountable for his actions. I don't normally make comments on social media but because I am God's Steward I have to say WAKE UP PEOPLE. Either you believe in God or you don't. Right is right and wrong is wrong. When you are called home you will be asked what did you do, not what someone else or the majority did. Peace and God's blessings upon all of you.

  1. C@'s Avatar C@

    I blame people using their "throw away votes" in the Primaries. Let me explain what I mean;

    People who don't care which democrat wins (Hillary or Bernie), or think their candidate is too good to fail (as some people I know said/did with Bernie). So they voted on the opposing ticket to try to sabotage the party. So friend A, hated Hillary but knew Bernie would win in their state, so they voted for Trump to be the candidate they thought would lose easily to the democratic candidate. Friend B, C, D, and E- good upstanding republicans thought any of the republican candidates would beat out Trump and were happy with any of those so they voted for Hillary.

    Because why let an actually qualified person be in office. This Devil's Advocate/Throw away vote style is (hopefully) what lead to the terrible election this year, because I honestly can't wrap my head around why either of them are particularly popular... http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/08/01/us/elections/nine-percent-of-america-selected-trump-and-clinton.html?_r=1 and then there is that info-graphic which explains even further why I am infuriated.

  1. Mankind Global Media (@mankindglobal)'s Avatar Mankind Global Media (@mankindglobal)

    JIllnotHill @JillStein2016

  1. Richard's Avatar Richard

    Donald Trump has likely never read the Bible. It's obvious his evangelical supporters are using their faith as a front for supporting him. The real reason they're voting for Trump is they're scared of losing their white privilege. It's the same strategy used time and time again throughout American political history: convince the poor white people that the source of their problems are black and brown people and they'll go running to the polls to vote for you.

    1. William H Schaffer's Avatar William H Schaffer

      Very vague Richard. please explain.

      1. Richard's Avatar Richard

        Happy to, William. As we all know, America was a nation founded by white Europeans. Being white has always been an advantage here. However, big business and political offices have historically been controlled by a white elite ruling class - a small percentage of affluent white people. A lot of money has always been concentrated at the top. Lower-class whites, especially in rural areas and in the South, have always had the short end of the stick.

        For example, a popular misunderstanding is that all or most white southerners owned slaves, but this is not the case at all. In reality, only 6% of whites were slaveowners. The rest were dirt poor. Economic opportunities were few. Ironically, black slaves were often better fed than poor whites.

        Thus, the white elite ruling class, in order to maintain the status quo of economic and political power, promoted the notion that blacks were inherently inferior. This made the poor whites feel satisfied, and curbed many of their economic frustrations (i.e. "well, you may be struggling to feed your family, but AT LEAST you're not black".) This strategy worked better than anyone could imagine. As we advanced through history, it was used again and again.

        This white political ruling class gets votes by blaming "the other" for America's problems. Maybe the best example is Richard Nixon's famous "southern strategy", which helped propel him to the White House. Economic and social issues have always been (either explicitly or implicitly) pinned on those peoples deemed "inferior" -- be it Japanese-Americans, African-American "thugs", Chinese immigrants, or Latino laborers.

        THAT is how Trump is getting votes. He's playing into white America's fears and bigotry, convincing them that all of their problems can be solved by building a wall and deporting illegal immigrants. While it seems that support for his fear-mongering campaign is dwindling, it just goes to show how effective that strategy still is, even in 2016.

  1. AnaMarie Medina's Avatar AnaMarie Medina

    i couldn't have said it any better!

  1. William C Millhouse's Avatar William C Millhouse

    To the above article and the question raised, I say that that gods get votes when they start paying taxes. When religious leaders take it upon themselves to influence the votes of the flock under their care, they should be prepared to pay taxes. I am sick of seeing these preachers and their enormous church buildings as well as their multimillion dollar mansions while there are still those in poverty. Tax these guys. I am not a Christian, but I practice Pagan charity.

  1. neil hawkes's Avatar neil hawkes

    It would seem that those who profess to be religious assume that everyone else is morally bankrupt. This is so fundamentally wrong and to my mind an expression of evil. Even your book proclaims that all people are equal. Civil law is better at dealing with unlawful and or sinful behaviour. Church, get out of politics, you don't belong there ! Keep marketing the afterlife, you're good at that.

  1. mike's Avatar mike

    I know in my heart a vote for Trump is a vote for GOD. This country can't have four more years like the last 8. Hilary has already proven her word can't be trusted. As Christians we have to stand together and put the right person in office.

    1. Michael's Avatar Michael

      Please tell me as a fellow Christian how you can possibly feel that a vote for the most evil, vile, hate filled, foul mouthed, anti-Christian is a vote for God? Can you possibly think that Christ lives in this man? If so you obviously do not know Christ and I will pray for you and your parishioners! Hillary is a Christian and has been cleared of every false charge that has been brought against her. You sir need to reexamine what Christianity truly is as you are disallusioned!

      Rev. Dr. Michael Cornell-Stevens

      1. mike's Avatar mike

        As a true Christian it is not your job to judge me,or anyone else. As for Hilary , she was not cleared they being the FBI said and I quote there were 110 classified emails. She said there were none. Not judging but the facts. Before you judge sir know your facts. I know what God put in my ❤ don't judge my hearing only your self.

  1. Lea Weisenbach's Avatar Lea Weisenbach

    Well..I'm an Athiest. ..When I think of the word God and how this word has been used makes me sick to my stomach. The fact is ..This country was founded on separate chruch and state for a reason...Because that word god has alot of blood on it.

    Now religious people look at me as I have no faith and no hope..I'm ungodly.

    I feel that is so sick minded. To me every human being has faith and hope. It's part of being human. Being my true nature is me living in a moral manor...godly. .Namaste

    1. William H Schaffer's Avatar William H Schaffer


  1. Dragon Priest's Avatar Dragon Priest

    If there was such a being as the devil, I'd say Trump is his apprentice. But he's just a sick in the head narcissist who is using this race as a game to enrich himself at the expense of the Nation and people. He's managed to make bigotry and hate cool again as well as racial tentions.

    1. eliud colbath's Avatar eliud colbath

      I believe that most of us have in our live time have said a racial slur.we all make mistakes.does that make us bigots.absolutely not.have you ever called your brother or sister an ugly name. Does that mean you hate them.absolutly not.hate comes from learned behavior.sometimes in anger we say things we dont mean.God forgives. Why can't we.I think decption is much worse.like Hialry pandering to black lives matter to get the black vote.what has oObama and hilary done for the African American.58 percent unemployment.Imagine more then half of the blacks without work.Trump will provide the jobs he cares for the African American.he cares for them.he has provided thousands of jobs.what jobs has hilary provited.none. In fact thousands of job .hilary got rich in New York while thousands of new Yorkers lost their jobs.in fact she made $320000 for a 20 minute speech for a special interest dealing with donation.look it up

    2. Rev.Michael White's Avatar Rev.Michael White

      Better look closer at Hilly then. Silly Hilly is a biger candidate for Sataness in training Trump. Besides she has already been President for 8 years. Bill was just her figure head.

  1. Minister. George Armah Okine's Avatar Minister. George Armah Okine


    Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.
    John Jay, first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

    The Founders of this nation intended to establish Christianity. In order to make sure that the Civil Government would foster Christianity and not atheism, it was prohibited for any but Christians to hold political office. (If you want to create a Christian society, such a requirement only makes sense.)

    Like virtually all the state constitutions, the Delaware constitution of 1776 established a Christian State by requiring:

    Art. 22. Every person who shall be chosen a member of either house, or appointed to any office or place of trust . . . shall . . . make and subscribe the following declaration, to wit: "I ________, do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God, Blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the holy scripture of the Old and New Testaments to be given by divine inspiration."[1]

    In other words, only Christians could hold any public office under the Delaware constitution. Delaware's oath of office is called a "test oath." It requires the one swearing to affirm - either explicitly or implicitly - a particular religious belief. This was the case in all of the states, in varying degrees of doctrinal specificity.[2] It was done because the Bible was understood to require it. Legislators used to insert Biblical references in the margins of the statute books to prove the validity of their laws.[3] In 1892, the U.S. Supreme Court announced with pride that the purpose of the Founders of this land was "the establishment of the Christian religion,"[4] and this ideal was universally held. The men who signed the Constitution lived in this "Christian consensus."[5] They understood the Biblical requirements, and they acted in terms of them. I too want to publicly acknowledge those requirements. Who Should You Vote For?

    Before we can cast our vote for a candidate, does the Bible require that the candidate be a member of a particular political party, or does the Bible require that the candidate be a faithful believer?

    I believe the Bible sets forth two general criteria for office-holders. First, he must be a Christian. Second, he must be able to take a Biblical oath of office. An atheist could not take the oath of office because (as we have seen) they cannot take an oath of any kind.

    If the Bible says that all politicians must be Christians, then it logically follows that Christians can only vote for candidates who are Christian. In either case, the Bible ought to change the way Christians do politics. Here's what the Bible says (in a minute we'll look at what the Founding Fathers said):

    Exodus 18:21 Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
    Deuteronomy 1:15 So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and knowledgeable men, and made them heads over you, leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, leaders of tens, and officers for your tribes.
    Deuteronomy 16:18-20 You shall appoint judges and officers in all your gates, which the LORD your God gives you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with just judgment. {19} You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. {20} You shall follow what is altogether just, that you may live and inherit the land which the LORD your God is giving you.
    1 Timothy 3:1-7 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of an overseer, he desires a good work. {2} An overseer then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; {3} not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; {4} one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence {5} (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); {6} not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. {7} Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
    Titus 1:5-9 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you; {6} if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. {7} For an overseer must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, {8} but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, {9} holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

    Seldom in the recent past have Christians had the opportunity to vote for such men (or even such women!).

    But do these verses have anything to do with who we vote for in the United States of America? The Founding Fathers understood these requirements to have abiding validity in our day.

    Delivering an "Election Day Sermon" before the Massachusetts Legislature in 1791, Chandler Robbins declared,

    How constantly do we find it inculcated in the sacred writings, that rulers be "just men -- fearers of God -- haters of covetousness." That they "shake their hands from holding bribes," because a gift blindeth the eyes of the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous."[6]

    From the Portsmouth, New Hampshire newspaper, May 24, 1800 [7]:

    On Monday last the Circuit Court of the United States was opened in this town. The Hon Judge [Supreme Court Justice] Paterson presided. After the Jury were impaneled, the Judge delivered a most elegant and appropriate charge . . . . Religion and morality were pleasingly inculcated and enforced as being necessary to good government, good order, and good laws, for "when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice" [Proverbs 29:2] . . .
    After the charge was delivered, the Rev. Mr. [Timothy] Alden addressed the Throne of Grace in an excellent, well-adapted prayer.

    The New York Times would undoubtedly not find this news "fit to print." Supreme Court Justices are not as likely to be quoting Scripture, either.

    Public schools taught what Noah Webster wrote in his textbooks:

    When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine commands and elect bad men to make and administer the laws. [8]

    And in another text,

    In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate -- look to his character. . . . It is alleged by men of loose principles or defective views of the subject that religion and morality are not necessary or important qualifications for political stations. But the Scriptures teach a different doctrine. They direct that rulers should be men "who rule in the fear of God, able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness" [Exodus 18:21] . . . [I]t is to the neglect of this rule of conduct in our citizens that we must ascribe the multiplied frauds, breaches of trust, peculations [white-collar larceny] and embezzlements of public property which astonish even ourselves; which tarnish the character of our country; which disgrace a republican government.[9]

    Sam Adams would be appalled at those in our day who say a leader's "private life" should play no part in our evaluation of him as a political leader:

    He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life is, or very soon will be, void of all regard of his country. [P]rivate and public vices are in reality . . . connected. . . . Nothing is more essential . . . than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of unexceptionable characters. The public cannot be too curious concerning the [private] characters of public men.[10]

    Gouverneur Morris signed the Constitution believing that

    There must be religion. When that ligament is torn, society is disjointed and its members perish. The nation is exposed to foreign violence and domestic convulsion. Vicious rulers, chosen by vicious people, turn back the current of corruption to its source. Placed in a situation where they can exercise authority for their own emolument, they betray their trust. They take bribes. They sell statutes and decrees. They sell honor and office. They sell their conscience. They sell their country. . . . But the most important of all lessons is the denunciation of ruin to every state that rejects the precepts of religion. [11]

    John Witherspoon signed a Declaration of Independence from Britain, not from God:

    Those, therefore, who pay no regard to religion and sobriety in the persons whom they send to the legislature of any State are guilty of the greatest absurdity and will soon pay dear for their folly.[12]

    But not just the voters. Innocent victims may suffer abuse from those we send to Washington. Assuming Monica Lewinsky was a person of good morals, did Christians do her a favor by putting Bill Clinton in the Oval Office? How will hundreds of millions of people experience the consequences of Clinton's sell-out to the Chinese government for contributions to the Democratic Party?

    John Jay was one of the authors of the Federalist Papers, and was appointed first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by President Washington. He accurately summed up the meaning of God's commandments:

    Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." [13]

    James Madison, declared in 1785:

    "Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe. . . ."[14]

    If the Bible says that all politicians must be Christians, then it logically follows that Christians can only vote for candidates who are Christian (or they would be saying "NO" to God's requirements). Chief Justice Jay's suggestion is so politically incorrect that even most Christians don't agree with it. I have heard respected Christians -- following Martin Luther -- say they would rather vote for a "politically competent" unbeliever than a "politically incompetent" Christian. This is idolatrous nonsense. No matter what kind of Constitutions and laws we have, secular men will secularize them. This should be the most obvious lesson of American history. We often hear it said that ours is a "government of laws, not of men." This is a fallacy. Bad men corrupt good laws. Good men will rule well in the absence of good laws. A man of integrity, virtue, and the Character of Christ with little political experience is to be preferred over a "seasoned politician" who is a Secular Humanist. The Bible says this; the Founding Fathers said this; Secular Humanists disagree. Guess what . . . ?

    . . . let's not care what Secular Humanists think anymore.

  1. eliud colbath's Avatar eliud colbath

    I take it you have dout that the devil exists so you said nothing.the attack on Mr.Trump shows me that you are a liberal with no facts.have you seen what hilary has done.name one accomplishment law that she has passed. None.get educated.dont be blind to the fact that she is a lier.most people are ignorant to the fact about her living to the mother of the american that was killed in Bengali in front of her sons coffin.thats the kind of person she is.she is for the self.how about her personal server in her computer exposing America's top secrets.68 percent of the american people dont trust her.you want 4 more years of obama vote for her.God.bless this country because it will first cause confusion and then it will be the beginning of the end.maybe before then the 33000 E.mail she deleted will be found and expose her more of who she is.I want facts on your answer not name calling.

  1. Dr. Libby S. Baltrusch's Avatar Dr. Libby S. Baltrusch

    What ever became of the separation of church and state? Our ancestors fled a country where religion forced compliance in every part of their lives to be free to live, work and worship as they pleased. I am not happy with churches telling their flock how to vote. Freedom from that sort of peer pressure is why we have secret balloting in this country.

  1. eliud colbath's Avatar eliud colbath

    I love to watch fox m.s.m.b.c. CNN and other channels to get very well informed on politics.Im an independent.I make an informed desision.Not because mommy and daddy voted one way Im going to do the same.Since I am an independent this time lm voting foe Trump.He may have a Big mouth but at least his honest.Hilary has been proven to be a liar.It was proven by the FIB.She was not indicted because she is being protected by higher powers in the government or other higher powers.The system is rigged.General Peters and other have been convicted for much much less.Many Americans have opened their minds to this facts.I really and t ruely feel so bad for the African American if Hilary is elected.That will really and t ruely be disastrous for our black brothers.Please dont be mislead.Dont have a closed mind.Dont just here what you want to hear.She panders to you because she wants your vote.the same Obama policies for the next 4 year. 58 percent unemployment for our black brothers and sisters.Imagine under Hilary.More unemployment.Also about free college.Who is going to pay for it? I really dont believe the Democrats will pass it because they dont want to pay more taxes.And for Mexican immigrants.what happen to The Dream Act.Thats Hilary.Promise them everything for the vote.A true Christian would be that deceptive.Trump will provide job for all.He is a job provider. SEARCH YOUR HEART.Dont let tradition take the best of you. God Bless you.

  1. Minister. George A. Okine's Avatar Minister. George A. Okine

    One Nation … Indivisible By Alicia Zhang | April 14, 2019

    “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

    This pithy passage, the Pledge of Allegiance of the United States, is very familiar to those who were instructed to stand and recite these words every morning in public elementary school. However, for the average third grader, this daily ritual of facing the flag and placing their right hand on their heart contains far more controversy than they might expect.

    For years, the Supreme Court has gone back and forth on whether public school students can be legally compelled to stand for the Pledge. Although arguments about the freedom of speech clause of the First Amendment have dominated many rulings, the establishment clause, which prohibits Congress from establishing religion, has recently taken the limelight. In particular, the phrase “under God,” which was added to the Pledge in 1954, has drawn controversy.

    The Pledge of Allegiance is not the only American expression that contains religious references: Judicial, military, and political oaths end with “so help me God,” and the official national motto of the United States is “In God We Trust.” These references have become commonplace and ubiquitous. For instance, few people, regardless of their religion or lack thereof, will bat an eye at passing around coins inscribed with “In God We Trust” on a daily basis. However, to best adhere to America’s secular roots, these ever-present religious references in state-sanctioned public life must be carefully and consciously evaluated.

    The Evolution of Diction

    In 1620, the Pilgrims fled religious persecution in Europe and settled in present-day Massachusetts, creating the short-lived Plymouth colony. Despite — or perhaps, due to — the religious undertones of its settlement, the political founding of the United States was remarkably secular. There is no mention of “God” or any other religious reference in the U.S. Constitution except for one sentence in Article 6 that prohibits “religious tests” for public office. This is in line with many other constitutions around the world — for example, the word “God” appears in only five of the 27 European Union nations’ constitutions.

    Kevin Kruse, a history professor at Princeton University and author of the book One Nation Under God, confirmed in an interview with the HPR that while the United States “was certainly a nation of Christians” at its founding, “that’s quite a different thing from the founders creating a Christian nation.” To Kruse’s point, the original 1892 Pledge of Allegiance did not contain the words “under God.” After its creation, the first edits to the Pledge in the 1920s were small: Some were grammatical semantics, and another appended the phrase “of the United States of America.” It was not until the religious boom of the Cold-War-era American public that “under God” was added to the Pledge.

    In 1954, the Presbyterian minister George Docherty gave a powerful sermon stating that, “to omit the words ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance is to omit the definitive factor in the American way of life.” A few months later, President Eisenhower signed the phrase into law. From the 1950s to the 1980s, dozens more references to “God” were added to oaths, currency, and ceremonial traditions and codified in American law.

    This religious revival in the 1950s was primarily motivated by corporations, which pushed ministers to preach free enterprise and “spiritual mobilization.” Peter Levine, a professor of public affairs at Tufts University, concurred that religion has historically played a large role in attracting people to civic involvement in an interview with the HPR. “There’s a lot of self-governance in religious organizations … they’re a place where people get drawn in,” Levine said. Today, the U.S. Code of Laws contains 68 references to “God,” and all 50 state constitutions also refer to “God” or a similar divinity in some context.

    An assortment of Supreme Court cases and opinions regarding religion in public life followed in the mid-to-late 1900s. In 1962, the landmark case Engel v. Vitale ruled official school prayers unconstitutional on the grounds that they violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Similar cases struck down mandated bible readings and prayers before graduation ceremonies. However, the Supreme Court has also ruled in favor of limited religious references in publicly sanctioned activities. For example, the 1983 Marsh v. Chambers case upheld a prayer prior to the Nebraska state legislative session. These esoteric and somewhat contradictory rulings have left the door open for more recent legal challenges to the Pledge.

    The Supreme Court has also equivocated on whether or not public school students can be legally compelled to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. After ruling in favor of the Pledge in the 1940 case Minersville School District v. Gobitis, the court quickly reversed that decision in the 1943 West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette case.

    Lemons, Endorsements, and Ceremonies

    After a plethora of challenges, the legal basis for government-sanctioned religious references has slowly become more well-defined. The Supreme Court has offered a few broad criteria for determining whether or not legislation violates the Constitution on religious grounds. Specifically, in the 1972 Lemon v. Kurtzman case, Chief Justice Warren Burger defined the “Lemon test,” which broadly outlines when laws regarding religion are unconstitutional. In the 1984 case Lynch v. Donnelly, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor elaborated on Burger’s words by articulating the “endorsement test,” which states that government action is unconstitutional if it creates the perception that the government is either endorsing or disapproving of religion.

    While the Lemon and endorsement tests are well-formulated, a more useful metric when it comes to the Pledge is O’Connor’s opinion in Elk Grove v. Newdow, where she articulates four criteria for deciding whether or not traditional observances can make religious references constitutionally — what she calls “ceremonial deism.” First, the reference must be historically ubiquitous, a condition met when “a given practice has been in place for a significant portion of the Nation’s history, and when it is observed by enough persons that it can fairly be called ubiquitous.” Second, the reference must not take the form of worship or prayer. Third, it must not refer to a particular religion. Fourth, the reference must be “highly circumscribed” and contain minimal religious content.

    Although O’Connor concludes that the Pledge of Allegiance is acceptable ceremonial deism, facets of her analysis remain contentious. In relation to the first criterion, the phrase “under God” in the Pledge has only been around since 1954 — debatably not a “significant portion” in the history of a nation that was founded in 1776. On the third criterion, O’Connor herself admits that the word “God” excludes people who adhere to polytheistic religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism, not to mention a growing number of atheists. Kruse summarized the opposing viewpoint succinctly: The court calls “it ceremonial deism, or ceremony that doesn’t matter … but I think it matters for a lot of people.”

    Constant Contention

    Controversy over religious references has continued into the 21st century. The most notable trial dealing with the constitutionality of “under God” was the 2004 Supreme Court case Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow. Here, Michael Newdow, an atheist and a California attorney, argued that the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in his daughter’s school constituted a violation of the establishment clause. Newdow claimed that even though students were not forced to participate in the recitation, compelling students to listen to the phrase “under God” still violated their rights. Yet instead of issuing an opinion on the pith of Newdow’s complaint, the Supreme Court dismissed the case, ruling that Newdow’s status as a non-custodial parent did not give him legal standing to bring the case on behalf of his daughter.

    Since then, Newdow has continued litigating against religious references in government sanctioned acts. In 2007, he failed to convince the Ninth Circuit court to remove “under God” from the pledge and “In God We Trust” from currency in Roe v. Rio Linda Union School District. He later represented Olga Paule Perrier-Bilbo in her 2017 lawsuit to remove “so help me God” from the citizenship oath, although her complaint was later dismissed by a federal judge.

    Newdow is not the only person building cases against the Pledge of Allegiance. Parents, teachers, and the American Humanist Association claimed that the Pledge requirement violated the equal protection clause of the Massachusetts constitution in the 2014 case Jane Doe Vs. Acton-Boxborough Regional School District. The judge ruled in favor of the school district. A similar lawsuit in New Jersey also failed.

    Legislators have also stepped into the fray. In an attempt to prohibit future complaints similar to Newdow’s, Representative Todd Akin (R-Mo.) proposed the Pledge Protection Act in 2002, which would prevent all federal courts — including the Supreme Court — from hearing constitutional challenges to the Pledge. Although the act has passed the House of Representatives twice, it has yet to be approved by the Senate.

    What War on Christmas?

    But while religious references are currently restricted to a few occurrences, accepting these as commonplace may set the stage for more religious influence in government in the future. Kruse told the HPR that he “kept seeing the Pledge of Allegiance being invoked for larger claims about the United States, claims for the need for religion to be put into politics across the board.” With Trump pronouncing the end of “The War on Christmas” and proudly stating that more people are saying “under God” and “Merry Christmas” since his election, Kruse seems to be correct in his observation that religious phrases are slowly creeping into the national public vernacular.

    Aside from the issue of religion, the controversy over the Pledge of Allegiance also questions whether or not it wrongly or incorrectly indoctrinates patriotism. Levine wryly stated: “It’s actually an empty pledge,” because minors — who make up the majority of the people who recite the pledge daily — cannot legally pledge their allegiance to anything.

    Although a final ruling has not yet been reached on the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance, school districts around the country are already taking decisions into their own hands. Some have suspended students for refusing to recite the Pledge, while others have begun skipping the Pledge altogether. In the near future, more legal challenges will likely be filed concerning religious references in public rituals, and the Supreme Court may soon be forced to issue a decision.

    At its root, the debate over the Pledge is not simply about adding or omitting two words. It is an argument about patriotism, history, freedom, and American tradition. Disregarding the true implications of the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance may unintentionally pave the way for a slippage in the separation of church and state that America has treasured since its founding.

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