Blogger Debbie Goddard has posted an interesting piece about her interactions with then-senator Hillary Clinton in 2002, shortly after an appeals court in California had declared the “under God” wording of the Pledge of Allegiance to be unconstitutional. American lawmakers are quick to pander to constituents with outward displays of God-fearing patriotism, so it’s no surprise that many responded with outrage at the court’s decision. Unfortunately, as Goddard shows, Clinton not only did nothing to rise above the fray, but used the opportunity to assert her troubling views on the Pledge.
A Senate resolution was soon introduced to “support the Pledge of Allegiance,” and Senator Clinton decided to co-sponsor it. Goddard, a secular New York resident, wrote a letter to Clinton about the resolution, and she received a response that was hardly reassuring. Clinton told Goddard that “we should never forget the blessings of Divine Providence” and insisted that “we are indeed on nation under God.” Clinton even took the opportunity to connect theistic patriotism to militarism, saying it was especially important to support the Pledge wording “[w]hile our men and women in uniform are battling overseas.”
The entire Goddard post, which also includes some of Clinton’s floor speech in support of the Pledge resolution, can be seen here. (Historical note: the 2002 appeals court ruling was subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court on a technicality.)
Another detail about Clinton that gives pause to seculars is her connection to The Family, a secretive conservative religious group that includes many powerful Washington politicians as members. Clinton’s relationship with The Family has been known for years (see this NPR piece from 2009), but has been given little attention as her presidential campaign has moved forward.
Maybe it’s time for secular Americans to start asking more questions of candidate Clinton?