Topics for Critical Thinking and Writing
1. Summarize the essay in a single paragraph.
2. Does the background material about the history of the pledge serve a useful purpose? Should it be deleted? Why, or why not?
3. Does the writer give enough weight to the fact that no one is compelled to recite the pledge? Explain your answer.
4. What arguments does the writer offer in support of her position?
5. Does the writer show an adequate awareness of other counterarguments?
6. Which is the writer’s strongest argument? Is any argument notably weak, and, if so, how could it be strengthened?
7. What assumptions—tacit or explicit—does the author make? Do you agree or disagree with them? Please explain.
8. What do you think the words “under God” to mean? Do they mean “under God’s special protection”? or “acting in accordance with God’s rules”? or “accountable to God”?
9. Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote that the words “under God” are a “descriptive phrase.” What do you think he meant by this?
10. What is the purpose of the Pledge of Allegiance? Does the phrase “under God” promote or defeat that purpose? Explain your answer.
11. What do you think about substituting “with religious freedom” for “under God”? Set forth your response, supporting your reasons in about 250 words.
12. what makes a distinction between the reference to God on U.S. money and the reference to God in the pledge. Do you agree with her that the two cases are not analogous? Explain.
13. What readers might not agree with Wilde’s argument? What values do they hold? How might you try to persuade an audience who disagrees with her to consider her proposal?
14. putting aside your own views on the issue, what grade would you give this essay as a work of argumentative writing? Support your evaluation with reasons.
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