Imagine for a minute that instead, the pledge said “One nation, except for Jews” or “except for Christians” or “except for people who like cilantro.”
In other words, imagine that it specifically exempted certain Americans, telling them that their beliefs are meaningless; that their presence in America is unimportant.
Because it does.
Ignoring the fact that saying “under God” seems to clearly go against the US Constitution’s 1st Amendment and provisions prohibiting any “religious tests” for citizenship, what the phrase does is tell many Americans who are not believers that they don’t count — that they’re not included.
Studies have shown that approximately 23% of all Americans say they have no religious affiliation, and around 4 to 5% admit to being atheists or agnostic. (The number is clearly larger than that: because of the discrimination and treatment atheists get in this country, most are still “in the closet.”)
Even at 4%, that’s more than the American Jewish population, which is estimated to be around 2% — yet if the pledge specifically excluded Jews, lots of people would be quite upset.
So you need to ask yourself: Is that what America means to you? Having a national pledge that specifically excludes a large percentage of the country you supposedly are pledging to?
Then you might want to rethink what it means to be a patriot.