New York City’s Stonewall Inn was designated a national monument last week, and marriage equality champion Edie Windsor was a guest at the dedication ceremony a few days later.
Windsor led a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, with one notable moment: She left out the words “under God.” A Fox affiliate uploaded a video clip of the event, and YouTube commenters are losing their minds:
According to the Villager, this was less of a political statement than you may think:
She left out the words “under God,” which is the way she grew up saying it before Congress inserted the deity in 1954 at the behest of the Knights of Columbus. Windsor and her partner and later wife, Thea Spyer, returned to New York from a vacation the second night of the rebellion and soon became activists themselves.
Indeed, the phrase “under God” was not originally part of the Pledge of Allegiance. It wasn’t added until 1954, as a response to the country’s growing fear of Communism:
Responding to the threat of Soviet Communism (again more national fear), President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words “under God” to the pledge.
This, he declared, would “reaffirm the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future” and “strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.”
Congress’s 1954 amendment would create the Pledge of Allegiance most Americans say today:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Just as reciting the Pledge isn’t a requirement to being an American, declaring yourself as part of a “nation under God” certainly isn’t, either. But try telling that to the trolls on YouTube calling Windsor a monster when all she’s doing is reciting the Pledge as she’s always known it.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)