Jonah, I couldn’t agree with you more. Trust me, there is no contradiction at all in being profoundly skeptical about the existence of any deity while being quite happy to recognize that God is part of the warp and woof of America’s culture, history and heritage. Throwing the old fellow out of such national ceremonies would be nothing more than vandalism, and vindictive at that. As for the pledge, the dollar bill, and so on, I am at a loss to understand why the religious elements in these symbols seem to worry so many secular sorts. In an age of rising fundamentalism, ever more crass superstition (and don’t even get me started on creation ’science’) there are a lot more important matters to consider – and, of course, we only have one life in which to do so.