The Republic For Richard Stands
Like so much in our contentious, highly polarized political climate, the notion of separation of church and state is wildly misunderstood. Just take those two little words in the Pledge of Allegiance, "under God." They weren't put there by the founding fathers, nor were they in the original version. Nor indeed has the pledge been around since Betsy Ross first stitched us up a flag. But here's the best part, it was written in 1892 by a Baptist minister as part of an advertising campaign for a celebration commemorating the 400th anniversary of Columbus's discovery of America. It was the New York chapter of the Knights of Columbus who in 1951 added "under God" when the pledge was recited at the opening of their meetings. It spread throughout the fraternal organization and a year later was adopted for the entire country thanks to the efforts of [irony alert] that great America Richard Nixon. If there is a deity somewhere, he's got to be laughing. That was just about the time I started going to a Friends school, where it was wisely perceived that keeping politics and religion separate was a very good idea.