well, the pledge was written in 1892 and the last time it was changed was 1954 to add "under god". presumably this is what you're talking about when you say the pledge was "added in the seventies".
going on that assumption, my thoughts are that it's plainly against the establishment clause and should be changed to remove it. the pledge as it stands now ties patriotism to a person's religious identity and that's plainly bigoted and offensive. no one would countenance for a second a pledge that said something like "to the republic for which it stands, one nation, as long as you're white, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" but whereas they wouldn't stand for that they happily go along with religious bigotry.
now, do i think it's going to get changed any time soon? nope. not a chance. certainly not with this SCOTUS.
Madalyn Murray O'Hair
I had no idea who she was before you pointed this out. Thank you so much - I'm really glad to learn this interesting piece of organized atheist history.
SCOTUS=Supreme Court of The United States.
i agree it would be great if atheists protested the "under god" portion of the pledge but, without minimizing the offense, there are more pressing things, just one instance being the teaching of creationism in schools.
welcome to the community btw. :)
I don't know how far back the practice extends, but what you might be referring to is a 'spiritual fitness' component on a test that deals with soldiers' ability to cope with warfare.
Here is an article on it (NPR).
Thankfully Jehovah's Witness' had The Pledge of allegiance thrown of the class room, but it kept creeping back. I recall that Madalyn Murray O'Hair put a final stop to it's recitation at school.
It hasn't been stopped. I did my student teaching last year and the children recited it every single day. It was on the morning announcements (in 2 different schools, 2 different semesters) and the entire school had to stand and say it with the person that recites it over the intercom. There was discipline if the student didn't do this and the teacher wanted to hear each child. She would call out the ones that she couldn't hear or the ones she thought was lip synching.