Ken Paulson, executive director of the First Amendment Center, notes the results of a poll on First Amendment issues in an op-ed entitled Free press needed more these days. It reveals that the nation is pretty evenly divided on a significant number of first amendment issues, but the results that caught my eye were on the religion provisions of the amendment, and the public's perception of them. From the piece:
• Almost seven in 10 said that the public school recitation of the phrase “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance does not violate the separation of church and state.
• About 62 percent of those surveyed said government officials should be allowed to post the Ten Commandments inside government buildings. Almost eight in 10 said the government’s use of the phrase “In God We Trust” on U.S. money does not violate the principle of the separation of church and state.
About 73 percent of those surveyed said the phrase “one nation under God” was “primarily a statement related to the American political tradition.” Fewer than 20 percent said they thought this reference to God was “primarily a religious statement.”
As I have maintained, I am not a particularly religious person, but I do not have the irrational fear or hatred of religion that some (particularly Randian libertarians) seem to have on the issue, and I hardly think that the pledge was some sort of religious litmus test.
Another portion of the same poll indicated that my views on media consolidation put me in the minority, as I don't fear a loss of divergent views as a result of buyouts and mergers. (I can always count on weblogs, as for every corporate owned or sponsored weblog, there are dozens of weblogs, some of which feature independent reporting or thinking.) I've posted at length about the issue in this post, and Jim Miller points out a Robert Samuelson column on the subject. Perhaps it is just a case of lack of information, or perhaps Samuelson and I have on blinders.