Frank McPherson writes some things about the Pledge of Allegiance decision on which I'm compelled to comment:
The problem, it seems, is that people don't understand the difference between a government that acknowledges God, and a government that forces it's citizens to practice a faith. Pick up any piece of U.S. currency and you will see the words "In God We Trust." Clearly, that is acknowledgement by the U.S. government that God exists, and that the government trusts in God.
It's true that the government isn't mandating a particular faith for us--but neither is it government's job to acknowledge or trust God. Government's job is to protect all of us from each other when we can't do it ourselves. If our government has a religious preference, it's not unreasonable to think it will give preferential treatment to people who share those beliefs. People are free to associate with whom they will, but government isn't without a much better reason than religious persuasion.
Either way, I don't think "In God We Trust" on money is a good example to bolster "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, since (as most articles on the subject note) they're results of the same sociopolitical circumstances: the 50s' fight against the godless commies.
What it does not do is force it's citizenry to also acknowledge God or Trust Him. In other words, it says "we as a government believe this, but you have the right to disagree, and not believe this."
Reading "In God We Trust" does force the reader to acknowledge God, if only as--yes, this is phrased very inimicably--a hereditary delusion inflicted upon most Americans. Every time government affirms the supremacy of God, it's a child pointing a finger and saying, "Ha ha, you don't believe in our god." (Like my country/guitar rock-favoring cousin would say, "So, you listen to that e-lec-tronica stuff?" You know: accusatorily.)
A government that trusts in God does not appear to be my government. Government is there to protect my inalienable rights over the majority's preference and convenience. If it's also the government's preference and convenience, why would I expect my rights be protected? How can government possibly make me feel safe?
[T]he United States Constitution institutes a practice of tolerance of other people's beliefs and ideals.
This is true. I'm glad we as a people agree on this--but I don't think anyone would disagree with it on its face. Rather, the real issue is whether "In God We Trust" as the nation's motto constitutes an endorsement of religion on the part of government. If it is, it's contrary to the Constitution.
Trying to eradicate a side of an argument is not tolerance, and is un-American.
It's not an argument when there's only one side: I don't see "In God We Trust" on pennies from the Philadelphia mint and Denver nickels with "Buddha Rocks" on them. It's all God, which in English and capitalized means JC and the gang. I don't see how naming God in the official national motto can be conflated with healthy debate.
There are more stories of people who were forced to parrot words they didn't believe than there should be; I'm thankful I don't have one, but that doesn't mean it's OK. I got the same feeling I did when everyone else in a classroom said "under God" in the shiny unison of the Pledge of Allegiance as I do when an older relative uses the word nigger in casual conversation: deep discomfort and a sense of not belonging. My elders and my government may not think much of it, but I do. I disapprove.