not under god
June 27, 2002 10:38 AM

No one can terrorize a nation, unless we are all his accomplices.

Edward R. Murrow

I refused to say the "pledge of allegiance" when I was in school. I recall finding it creepy. But standing and not saying anything had become such a habit by the time I was old enough (say, thirteen) to be an effective researcher that I never really delved into until recently.

Knowing a little more about its history, I find the whole thing even creepier.

The original pledge (1892) seems rather like a gesture of hope. It retains all of its original text today. Its author, Frank Bellamy, was a socialist who initially wanted to include the words "liberty" and "equality" in the text - at a time when women and blacks couldn't vote.

What changed? During the height of McCarthyism, Eisenhower (and Congress) pushed the addition of the phrase "under God" as a means of strengthening our "spiritual weapons" at a time when atheism and socialism were desperately scary. The pledge became a loyalty oath, with an implication of blind support of the Government [Now with a capital G!].

Thank you, "Greatest Generation". Thank you to John Warner, who babbled something not dissimilar from Eisenhower's "spirtual warrior" schtick on the Senate floor yesterday.

We are not, nor have we ever been, a nation under [one] god. Want to know more?

Frank Bellamy

General history

What (some) teachers have said

I apologise for the bias of some of those resources; it's hard to find objective research on the flag and the pledge.

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your wicked thoughts

When we have spirit assemblies all the elementary students (about 350) gather in the gym and say the pledge at one time. Talk about creepy! It sounds like a cult. I think out school song should be sung in place of the pledge every morning. Alas, I do not live in one of those 9 western states.

these are the thoughts of Kerri on June 27, 2002 09:41 PM

I never said the pledge while I was in grade school, also. I've never been one to follow blindly.

This whole thing pisses me off. Why should school children (who can't think for themselves) be forced into repeating some loyalty oath, let alone to a specific type of god?

these are the thoughts of anne on June 28, 2002 10:30 AM

We've been talking about this on both my own boards and another set that I frequent. I was the only kid in the kindergarten who wouldn't say the "under God" line of the Pledge. I believe my parents had to intervene on my behalf.

The whole thing disturbs me, although the "under God" part is the worst; it just seems especially sinister at a time like this to encourage a blind loyalty oath to something that is more a symbol of a government as an entity than values like liberty or justice. It encourages a bizarrely literal reverence for a piece of cloth that leads to nonsense like anti-flag burning amendments.

these are the thoughts of Cabell on June 28, 2002 03:09 PM

I think the under God part is maybe an example of how society in some ways has been made into a God. By swearing allegence to God and allegence to a flag under God, who judges your actions according to the flag the nation is united and society is kept functioning, at least thats what I think the oath is trying to do, these things are open to interpretation. Saying something like an oath shows you as a good citizen. BUT Why should you have to cross your hand over your chest and chant to show how much of a good citizen you are. It's very strong symbolism that has a very strong hold over some and the way they act and think.

these are the thoughts of Ali on June 29, 2002 07:46 AM

Then go live in Iraq!!

these are the thoughts of Norm on August 2, 2003 01:34 PM

Norm, the essence of the American ideal is to question authority and to hold leaders accountable. That's really the foundation (despite what many say about "God") the nation is built on. Being an informed, vocal, citizen is patriotic. It's more than patriotic - it's a responsibility.

Providing the readers of my blog with resources on the origin of the pledge is thus, in my mind, a patriotic act. Yes, my personal opinion is that the pledge, given its history, is outdated in its current context. I think my opinion is a researched and informed one.

If you'd like to offer an informed counter opinion, I'd be happy to listen to it. I'm never averse to being educated.

However, commenting things like "go live in Iraq" shows me that your objective is not to educate, or even to disagree interestingly.

these are the thoughts of april on August 2, 2003 09:22 PM

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