Locals ponder pledge ruling

Since the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided on June 26 that saying the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools with the phrase “under God,” is unconstiutional, a fire was sparked.

Newspaper opinion pages, magazines, television shows and cafeteria rooms across the nation have been jammed with conversations supporting or protesting the decision.

In Bremerton, many consider “under God” part of the pledge a substantial part of history.

“It’s an American tradition,” said Linda Yuberg, 34, who thinks the decision is ridiculous.

“It’s written on the dollar bill.”

Trudy Huskey, 52, said she wonders how far the decision will go.

“It makes a good challenge,” she said, that will force her to hold true to her Christian beliefs and long-standing American rituals.

In contrast, Joseph Maxey, 27, said that the “under God” section of the pledge should be removed.

“This is a country founded on so many different beliefs,” he said.

He cites people who believe in Buddha, or people who are atheist, or people who do not believe in a monotheistic God.

However, some Bremerton residents say the phrase “under God” refers to any and all beliefs, with “God” being an umbrella-like heading.

Bremerton resident Priscilla Bailey, 59, said she can’t understand what all the fuss is about.

She remembers saying the Pledge of the Allegiance without the words “under God,” as a schoolgirl.

When Congress added the phrase in 1954, she was 11 years old and a sixth grader at school in Seattle. She had already said the pledge without the addition for five years.

Bailey said the words were added when Americans feared the Soviet Union and its secular communism.

“It was what was on everyone’s mind,” she said.

“We looked at maps in school where half the world was painted with red, and the good parts were painted white.”

The red referred to communist areas, white democratic.

She remembers reading newspapers and hearing on television about how evil the Soviet Union was.

One of the ways to combat that communism, she said, was to express a belief in God.

Adding “under God” to the pledge was one of the solutions.

“It was real clumsy at the beginning,” Bailey said.

“Everyone was tripping over (the phrase) — it took us a long time to learn.”

Everyone in her class stood up and said every word of the pledge, Bailey said. It was a period before the pledge was considered voluntary.

They also had air-raid drills every week. They had to tumble down on the ground when a siren went off. The siren would whine so loud outside her school yard, it could be heard a mile away.

“We laid face down, we put our hands over our necks,” she said.

“I remember getting kind of dirty, lying face down on the floor.”

However, in looking around her today, Bailey is assured this is a different time.

“Now we are no longer concerned about God-less communists,” Bailey said.

She said it is curious how people are claiming that the “under God” portion of the pledge is an integral part that can never be removed.

“We had to work hard to learn it,” she said.

She stressed that one of the most American principles is the freedom to choose your own religion. The pledge counteracts that, she contends.

“I’m all for patriotism and I’m all for religion, but I am quite sure I don’t want them mixed. That’s a recipe for trouble.”

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