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Major League Baseball’s response to 9/11 was to add the singing of “God Bless America” to the seventh-inning stretch. Eleven years later the Irving Berlin song continues to be sung and I can’t be the only person who thinks the ritual long ago wore out its welcome. But it would take a brave baseball executive to decree, enough. Once God is invoked there’s no turning back.
In 1954 Congress formally amended the Pledge of Allegiance to include the phrase “under God.” Said President Eisenhower, on signing the bill into law, “We are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future.”
No particular faith, mind you, though there are clear favorites. But that’s progress. A third of the way through the 19th century, De Tocqueville, describing America, observed that no particular Christian faith enjoyed the upper hand.