Religion, The USSR, and The US

Here’s a little known fact; until the 1950s, neither the Pledge of Allegiance nor US Money had the words “One Nation, Under God” associated with them. Until the 1950s, the separation of church and state in the US was much more definite.  They didn’t pray before the opening of congressional meetings.  The Pledge of Allegiance was a little shorter, and our coins and bills did not say One Nation Under God on them.

Oh yeah, and kids could get in trouble for praying in school.  And participation in the pledge of allegiance in school wasn’t mandatory.  Which is why I get annoyed when I hear someone say “if we would bring back religion in our schools, we wouldn’t have school shootings.”

Yes, we would.  Religion or lack of religion has nothing to do with school shootings and religion wasn’t even a part of school or government until the 1950s.  Which is of course the era of the Red Scare.

The 1950s were a wild time.  The big bad Soviet Union had eliminated a large portion of it’s population and they were in fact sending spies to the US at an alarming rate.  Of course, it wasn’t just the US, it was most countries; England, Canada, Mexico, France, Italy, pretty much every government was at risk of being infiltrated by the USSR.

Stalin was still in power.  Religion had been outlawed in the USSR and for some reason it was decided that religion could combat communism.  The government voted to add religion to government.  Money was redesigned and “One Nation Under God” was added first to coins and then bills.  The line was also added to the Pledge of Allegiance and it became mandatory to say the Pledge before classes begin.

The Pledge of Allegiance was political.  The reasoning was if we can get the children of spies to pledge allegiance to the country, they would turn their parents against the Soviet Union.  Also, it Americanized Soviet Children attending school in the US.  Adding the line one nation under God was meant to show the Soviet children that religion was not the enemy, Americans were religious and look at the lack of bread lines and look at how much better we are than the Soviet Union.

That’s it.  That was the reason for minting our money with the words one nation under god and adding it to the pledge of allegiance and then making it mandatory for school children to say it.

So next time you go to point out that if we had religion back in our schools these things wouldn’t happen, remember that allowing religion into schools is a new concept and that it was aimed at battling communism not bullied, unstable school children and that there were incidents of school violence even in the 1950s and 1960s.


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