Adonai. Brahma. Atman. Higher Power. Holy Spirit. Yahweh. All of these words mean one thing: god. Yet, in the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, when that one, simple word is put into a three-syllable phrase, it suddenly poses questions as to what “Under God” really means.

That phrase has deep ties to American history yet it prevents us from progressing. It is recreating our daily stating of the Pledge in elementary school, our tiny right hands over our hearts. That phrase forms a connection to the 18th century when religions other than Christianity in the U.S. were condemned.

That phrase questions America’s given freedom of religion. Other religions have different gods: Hindus, ancient Greeks and Romans, Egyptians. Some have none. Everyone in America has the right to a freedom of religion, yet those two words take that away.

The initial Pledge was short and sweet, stating, “I Pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” This version did not include the religious reference. Due to communist threats and concern of American identity, President Dwight D. Eisenhower added “Under God” in 1954.

Today, seeing neo-nazis and KKK members use religion as “reason” to persecute others and refuse to accept the removal of a confederate statue is truly sick and horrendous; not just because I am a Jew by heritage. I am an American, and seeing political officials almost condoning these acts backed up by religion is just more evidence leading to the conclusion that has been proved throughout history correct again. Due to the recent events in Charlottesville, I think this makes the subject of the separation of church and state even more relevant. Many protesters have tied their actions to “god’s mission” and executing hatred toward races and religions as if that is really an American value. Even having just one religious reference in one nation’s pledge adds fuel to the fire.

If the government was open to altering history, they should be open to changing it back into the original print. It is only reasonable that our politicians fight for the people. Government foundations are not set in stone, as the Articles of Confederation were created in order to be altered to protect American liberties. The whole principle of U.S. government is that things can be changed to make our society truly democratic and a world-wide exemplar of what democracy truly looks like.

As an atheist, I do have an extra sentiment against forcing the word “god” upon Americans in a national pledge. I would still believe church and state must be separated even if I were not an atheist. Americans need to learn to be conscious and aware of different faiths and beliefs not only in our country but in the world. Lately, it seems as if political figures are leaning more toward incorporating words of the church into those of the state in which the Pledge aids. It is important that Americans are able to exercise their freedom of religion and not feel the need to have the state adopt religious diction as “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”