- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 19, 2004

Uncertainty still surrounds the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, an issue skirted by the Supreme Court in ruling the recent challenger lacked standing.

Given the like uncertainty facing references to the Almighty on our currency and in our national customs and rituals, I have asked myself, with what — in the event of ultimate court rulings adverse to these words — we might provide ourselves for mottos and so forth. Hence, I have developed and here set forth several modest proposals.

Certainly, one national motto, on our currency, “In God We Trust,” would have to be altered to something scientifically provable and not vulnerable to reasonable dispute by any party. “In Fog We Rust” might express our national mettle. Or maybe the more environmentally correct “In Smog We Dust” would do.

But, given the rising tide of multiculturalism, we might need to revise more than just our references to God, the Almighty, Providence and the Creator. How about the arrogant ethnocentric assumption we are one people?

Inasmuch as multiculturalism, multilinqualism and multisectariansm or nonsectarianism are the rules of the day, is the expression “E Pluribus Unum,” or “From the Many, One,” not redolent of cultural suppression and forced assimilation?

To pass a Geronimo test of accepting all and judging none, let us alter that to “From One, Many.” We might go further still, toward a sort of existentialism, and posit, “From Everything, Nothing.” What could be less stressful and less demanding?

Instead of the All-Seeing Eye atop the pyramid seal on our currency, we should present a blindfolded eye — since all-seeing supposes omnipotence, which supposes a God, which also supposes a distinct possibility of the existence of truth, or at least one true and certain answer to any question.

The blindfolded eye, as in “love is blind,” also works with our concept of blindfolded, hence impartial, justice — which might as easily on a technicality favor the guilty accused as the innocent. Perfect.

Next, let us not open Congress or convene the Supreme Court with prayer or an invocation of the blessing or protection of God. Instead, to mark the solemnity of the event, Congress could open with a dance from the “Rite of Spring,” or an act from “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” to salute the lightheartedness with which the legislative body spends and enacts. The high court could open with the sacrifice of a rabbit to signify the supine nature of all other branches of government — or maybe the divining of the internal organs of a prophetic bird to illustrate the arcane nature of law. These should satisfy a residual pagan longing for rituals.

Getting back to the Pledge of Allegiance — isn’t it time we stopped the idolatrous swearing of fealty to a piece of colored cloth? The Pledge is only slightly redeemed by “and to the Republic for which it stands.” Let us instead pledge allegiance “to whatever we may wish and whenever we may wish it.”

And while we’re at it, let’s erase from our national songbooks references in the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and all similar songs to “the Glory of the coming of the Lord,” etc. Make it “the coming of the gory horde.” That was more in keeping with Mr. Lincoln’s War anyway, which inspired the original song.

Not to stop there, carefully edit down references to God in the Gettysburg address and the like. Make it one nation “under Gov.” That should satisfy the most ardent atheists, agnostics and antitraditionalist liberals in our midst.

Finally, let us rewrite that old chestnut, John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you; rather ask what you can do for your country.” Instead, let us substitute: “Ask for anything you like, and you’ll get it if the price is right.”

Benjamin P. Tyree is deputy editor of the Commentary pages of The Washington Times.

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