Thesis for my essay on "My God, My Constitution" by Phil Donahue and how to start the first paragraph. Shouldn't we have prayer in every school?How do i start each paragraph and what are some of...

Thesis for my essay on "My God, My Constitution" by Phil Donahue and how to start the first paragraph. Shouldn't we have prayer in every school?

How do i start each paragraph and what are some of the points i can argue about should america leave god out of their pledge of allegiance

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readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I think you can argue it this way.

1. You might want to argue that in a pluralistic world, the government should support all religions, which means it should not favor any one religion.

2. If you argue the above point, then you can argue for religion and be tolerant, but also take out the phrase "under God."

3. You can also argue for the separation of the state and church. You might to bring out the fact that when Christianity was at its best, this is what they did.

4. Finally, turn the situation around and consider what other countries would look like, if they also allowed freedom of religion.

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The thesis statement should be a clear declaration of an idea that can be defended with evidence from the reading selection.  If you are going to progress with the thesis statement that Donahue suggests removing the phrase "Under God" from the pledge of allegiance, I would make sure that you go back to some of his Constitutional arguments.  What does he say in terms of the Constitutionality regarding "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance?  How does he interpret the First Amendment to include the rights of atheists? I would also suggest paying attention to his closing lines.  It seems that if you were to develop an argument about Donahue's stance against the term "under God," the closing lines' invocation of negative liberty- the right to be left alone from external encroachment- might be something to include in such an analysis.

In terms of starting each paragraph, I would suggest that when you develop your thesis statement, you should have three reasons that help to support why this particular thesis statement holds validity.  Each paragraph becomes an explanation of this support.  With the introduction featuring a thesis statement, and a conclusion paragraph, your essay should be five paragraphs.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

It is not very clear to me as to whether you are arguing, like Donahue does, that "under God" should be out of the Pledge or if you are arguing that we should have "prayer in every school," as the end of your question says.

Since Donahue's article argues for taking "under God" out of the Pledge, I'll assume that's what you're talking about.

A thesis for this would depend largely on what you want to argue.  My thesis would be something like

The phrase "under God" serves no purpose other than to promote religion.  Because of that, there is no reason that school children should be made to say these words at the beginning of each school day.

Other arguments could be:

  • As Donohue says, keeping church and state separate is actually good for churches -- it keeps people more involved in churches than they would otherwise be
  • making children say "under God" tends to hurt the kids whose parents are agnostics or athiests or who are members of non-Christian religions
  • It makes much more sense for parents to teach religious values to their own children rather than having this done by teachers.

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