>I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United State of America, and to the >Republic for which it stands, one nation, under - SPONSORSHIP >OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE -, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." > >San Francisco - A U.S. federal appeals court ruled >on Wednesday that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public school >is unconstitutional because it contains the phrase "under God," a >decision that has infuriated politicians from both parties, and sent >the United States on a desperate search for a new sponsor. >While the U.S. Justice Department said it plans to appeal the ruling, >officials are quietly speaking with several potential sponsors >interested in having their brands associated with America, and are >already test-marketing the phrases: > "One nation, under Wal-Mart," > "One nation, under Windows XP," > "One nation, but 24,000 Starbucks." >Until an agreement is reached, however, the U.S. will advertise by >replacing the phrase "One nation, under God," with "One nation, >(sponsorship opportunities available)." > >While the words "under God" were only added to the Pledge by Congress >in 1954, God has been the title patron of the United States since its >founding in 1776, and the God name adorns everything from U.S. >currency to the phrase "So help me God" used to swear in judges and >politicians. According to some analysts, severing that 226-year >relationship without an alternative is a mistake. > >Over the years, the U.S. under God has been a great draw for the >major players - Einstein, Solzhenitsyn, John Lennon," said government >marketing analyst Gil Treacle. "Without God's brand recognition and >infinite marketing powers, you risk losing the marquis names to >competitors. Then the networks don't renew, the money dries up, the >fans revolt, and the next thing you know, you're Argentina." > >But others defended the decision, saying it was wrong to force >religion on anyone. > >The phrase 'under God' clearly violates the separation of church and >state," said McDonald's CEO Jack Greenberg. "However, there is nothing in >the Constitution that separates chicken and state, which is why we're >proposing, 'One nation, six chicken McNuggets and a medium Coke, all >for $1.99.'" > >Europeans, meanwhile, seemed to be confused by the uproar. "I don't >understand. I always thought it was 'One nation, we are God,'" said >British Prime Minister Tony Blair. "Oh my, I've been worshipping them >for nothing." > >Back in America, many questioned whether the United States really >needs a patron, and instead suggested the Pledge should include >verbiage that simply reflects America. So far, the leading >contenders: >... "One nation, under indictment," >... "One nation, road under repair," >... "One nation, sure, but with cheerleaders!" >... "One nation, under yellow alert, please report any suspicious >activity," >... "One nation, but kinda two if you count Canada." > >God, in various forms, currently sponsors most nations, with the >exception of officially atheist China and Vietnam, and the >Netherlands, which hasn't been told yet but is in for a nasty shock >tomorrow.