Thursday, September 10, 2020

Russ on Reading: Do Our Children Deserve the Truth?

Russ on Reading: Do Our Children Deserve the Truth?

Do Our Children Deserve the Truth?

Knowing our history, the good and the bad, is the first step, I want my children to love the country they live in, but I also want them to be clear-eyed about what that country is.- America Ferrara , Actor

In 1970, when I was a wet-behind-the-ears, 22 year-old social studies teacher at Bristol Junior-Senior High School, I was teaching a ninth grade Civics course. The topic was the the Bill of Rights and specifically, the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights, which states in part:

Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion...
I explained that the Founding Fathers were concerned about the co-mingling of religion and government that many had escaped in Europe and wanted to be sure that religious freedom was guaranteed in the new country.

A student raised his hand. "Mr. Walsh, if that law is in the Constitution, why do we have do we say "under God" every morning when we salute the flag. Isn't that mixing religion and government?"

Good question. My answer: 

The original Pledge of Allegiance did not contain the words "under God." These words were added in 1954 during the Cold War, a period when the fear of an atomic war between the United States and the communist USSR was high. Many viewed communism as a threat to the American way of life, and were particularly concerned that communism was a godless philosophy.  In this country the period was known as McCarthyism, named after a Senator from Wisconsin, who accused many people of being CONTINUE READING: Russ on Reading: Do Our Children Deserve the Truth?