Oh, I'm sure He will be so pleased to know that He's not really a religious symbol:
The San Francisco Appeals court has ruled that "Under God" is not a prayer when used in the Pledge of Allegiance. In 2002, the court declared that the phrase was unconstitutional. The new 2-1 ruling from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals states it is a "recognition of our founders' political philosophy that a power greater than the government gives the people their inalienable rights [...] Thus, the pledge is an endorsement of our form of government, not of religion or any particular sect."
In a separate 3-0 ruling, the "In God We Trust" was also found to be non-religious; the motto is patriotic and ceremonial.
The ruling itself is not so much an issue with me; I don't have a problem with saying "under God". But I do have an issue with Judge Carlos Bea's reasoning in his decision:
Bea wrote that the pledge is indeed a patriotic exercise, and the words "under God" must be viewed in that context.
"The pledge reflects many beliefs held by the founding fathers of this country -- the same men who authored the Establishment Clause -- including the belief that it is the people who should and do hold the power, not the government," Bea wrote. "They believed that the people derive their most important rights, not from the government, but from God."
Hold on there. Before one starts invoking "the Founding Fathers" in justifying the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, one might actually to do research into the Pledge. Like the fact that the Founding Fathers had nothing to do with the Pledge. It was written in 1892 (more than a 100 years after the founding of the country) by a Baptist minister, Francis Bellamy. It's a little disingenuous to claim the Founding Fathers as the authority on this, since none were alive when the pledge came to be. As it was originally written, it hardly had the patriotic or religious fervor that Bea ascribed:
I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.(ref. Wikipedia)
It has gone through four iterations before coming to its current state. The phrase "under God" wasn't added, as many of you know, until 1954, and only then as some sort of strange pre-emptive move against communism, as if making schoolchildren say those words inoculated them against communist sympathies.
As for the Founding Fathers' endorsement of the rights of Americans are derived from God, well, that's a disputable statement as well.