i pledge allegiance…

I remember a teacher that I had, Now I only went through the 7th grade, I went through the 7th grade… I left home when I was 10 years old because I was hungry… I used to, this is true, I’d work in the summer and go to school in the winter. But I had one teacher who was the principal of the Harrison School in Vincennes Indiana. To me this was the greatest teacher, a real sage, of my time anyhow. He had such wisdom. And we were all reciting the pledge of allegiance one day, and he walked over this little teacher, Mr. Lasswell was his name. He says I’ve been listening to you boys and girls recite the pledge of allegance, all semester. And it seems as though it’s becoming monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you, the meaning of each word.

I ; me, an individual, a committee of one.

Pledge ; dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self pity.

Allegiance ; my love and my devotion

To The Flag ; our standard, old glory, a symbol of faith, where-ever she waves, there is respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts that freedom is everybody’s job.

(of the) United ; that means that we have all come together.

States (of America) ; individual communities that have united into 48 great states. 48 individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose. All divided with imaginary boundaries yet united with a common purpose, and that’s love for country.

And To The Republic ; “republic” a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern, and government is the people, and it’s from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people…

For Which It Stands;… (no explanation was necessary)

One Nation ; one nation, meaning, so blessed by God.

Indivisible ; incapable of being divided

With Liberty ; which is freedom, the right of power to live one’s own life without threats, or fear, or some sort of retaliation.

And Justice ; the principal or quality of dealing fairly with others.

For All ; for all, which means boys and girls, it’s as much your country, as it is mine.

And now boys and girls, let me hear you recite, the pledge of allegiance:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the pledge of allegiance; “Under God. ”

Wouldn’t it be a pity, if someone said that is a prayer, and that would be eliminated from schools too?


11 thoughts on “i pledge allegiance…”

  1. The “under god” phrase was added in 1954 at the urging of the Knights of Columbus among others. I believe in a clear separation of church and state for the USA (so that no citizen’s belief or non-belief is infringed upon) and the injection of religion as a mandate into public education is unacceptable in my opinion.

  2. I’ve always thought it was the freedom of every individual to simply be silent during that portion of the pledge that is in conflict with his/her personal values w/o undermining the reverence of the pledge.

    I don’t think that anyone is ‘forced’ to participate in any ‘religion’ simply by saying ‘under god.’

    For me separation of church and state simply means that there is on “CHURCH of the UNITED STATE” that citizens are required to be member of in order to have full rights and privileges and responsibilities as a citizen. In essence the separation of church and state has little to do with religion and more to do with political sway.

    In the old country, being Catholic was like belonging to a “One Party” system of political rule. If you weren’t Catholic, you didn’t count as much as those who were. OVer that changed and the tide turned so that if you were Catholic in some places, you didn’t count as much.

    In terms of political rhetoric, church/religion is the same as political party where the rubber meets the road.

  3. Well *of course* pledging allegiance to a nation “under God” forces a religious viewpoint on the pledger. The word “God” with its capital G is a proper noun, sort of like President Bush (or President Obama). It is one of the many names of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic male deity. Hindus, Taoists, Buddhists, Santerians, Pagans, Wiccans, and so on can not say “under God” without betraying their faith, nor just mumble through that part without giving the appearance of embracing it. Still the question is not whether the phrase forces anyone or not. The question is whether congress had the power to establish Judeo-Christian-Islamic monotheism as a national religion by adding those words to the pledge in 1954. Our Founders, many but not all of whom were Christian but all of whom were intimately familiar with religious discrimination, gave us a constitution that bars Congress from that action. It is an element of religious liberty. Folks who claim to value our freedoms should remember this one were just as dear to the founders hearts’ as their invidual ideas about religion.


    1. *rolls eyes*

      I don’t think the words “Under God” or “In God We Trust” indicate a National Religion in the United States. Does it indicate a potential for institutional bias? Absolutely. But there is a big difference between an established National Religion like the Church of England and the simple fact that the United States constituency is predominately Judeo Christian.

      The original founding fathers were trying to reduce the potential for foreign leverage on United States Gov. as well. They knew the outside influence of the Catholic Church on Countries in Europe, the political influence of the Church of England on policies in England.

      There was also the historical link between National Religions, an Aristocratic class, and the divination of the ruler (Whether a figure head king/queen or a president).

      By Separating Church and State, The President stays a man and can not be elevated to godlike divinity or Divine rule nobility, citizens with the ‘right religion’ won’t have more formal power than those who do not.

      Each vote counts as ‘one’

  4. Well among others you’re rolling your eyes at two federal circuit judges. Let’s consider the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. The original text reads:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

    If I understand you correctly, Paul, you define religion as “Christian denomination” on grounds that the majority of the nation claims to follow some version of that group of faiths. So let’s substitute that meaning into the original text to see how it shapes up:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of A CHRISTIAN DENOMINATION, or prohibiting the free exercise OF A CHRISTIAN DENOMINATION”

    This is an example of defining legal terms so that they reflect the current majority, which of course is subject to whim. There’s an awful lot of writing by our Founders about the tyranny of the majority. I shudder to think what other rights would fail if we redefined terms that way throughout the entire constitution.

    But turning back to the scope of “religion”, if that’s what you’re saying that would be a huge leap from the principles of religious liberty espoused by our Founders. Two federal circuit judges understand this clearly. In a 9th circuit opinion (later voided for a procedural problem with the case) the court held that “A profession that we are a nation ‘under God’ is identical, for Establishment Clause purposes, to a profession that we are a nation ‘under Jesus’, a nation ‘under Vishnu’, a nation ‘under Zeus’, or a nation ‘under no god’, because none of these professions can be neutral with respect to religion.”


    The court’s opinion in full is linked under external references #2.

    I was always taught that this land welcomes people of ALL faiths, not just some version of Judeo-Christian monotheism. If we don’t have the moral courage to protect that now, then what’s to prevent a further narrowing of religious liberties in the future?

  5. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

    It all depends on what we are calling “LAW”. Many things being prohibited under this doctrine have nothing to do with the establishment of “LAW”. If the “Christian Majority” decides to place a Nativity on the Town Hall Lawn at X-Mass, there has been no “LAW” established.

  6. That is indeed an interesting example and I’m inclined to think we have similar thoughts about that one. Not sure… we’d have to kick it around more. On my part, I think if folks that believe and practice the various voodoo religions have equal access to the town hall lawn, I would tend to agree with you. The reason town boards tend to nix the nativity scene isn’t to avoid creating a law but to avoid the hassle of creating a clear policy that everyone agrees is fair without the need for expensive and politically damaging litigation. It is indeed unfortunate that we’re such an uncivil lot. All that said, with respect to the 1954 legislation that put “under God” in the pledge, I think we all agree that that is a “law” within the meaning of that word as it appears in the 1st Amendment.

  7. I am also of the opinion that “CONGRESS” should not be passing laws regarding religion…absolutely.

    How saying a prayer in school, displaying a Christian image during the holiday or placing a 10 Commandments display in a court involves “CONGRESS” passing law I do not know.

    THAT silliness is all over a letter that T. Jefferson sent to a minister a long time ago. A letter that has been used as a tool by various factions to push an “anti religion” agenda contrary to Jefferson’s initial intent IMO.

    “Jefferson believed that God, not government, was the Author and Source of our rights and that the government, therefore, was to be prevented from interference with those rights. Very simply, the ‘fence’ of the Webster letter and the ‘wall’ of the Danbury letter were not to limit religious activities in public; rather they were to limit the power of the government to prohibit or interfere with those expressions.”

    – David Barton

    1. No, prayer in school is unconstitutional because when there is school-led prayer that’s the government’s representative leading the prayer in a taxpayer funded facility and on taxpayer funded salary time. It takes CONGRESS or at least the state legislatures to pass the laws authorizing levying those taxes and budgeting those dollars. Due to the Establishment Clause, government has no power to collect taxes to finance those religious activities. Access to public gathering places like the village square for a temporary religious display that does not cost the taxpayers any money is something entirely different. My mind is uncertain about that example, beyond what I wrote in my earlier post. The 10 commandments in a courtroom is also problematic since that is not some group using the common community space for a temporary purpose but the government itself making a permanent installation. Notice that no judge has tried to post Wicca’s Three-Fold Law, nor anything from the Hindu’s Bhagavad Gita. When the government selects the 10 Commandments as its benchmark, it simply reinforces the establishment of Judeo-Christian-Islamic monotheism as the national religion, and THAT spells the end of religious liberty. The question then is what Judeo-Christian-Islamic denomination would be the next to fall to religious tyranny?

  8. Sorry..I dont buy that reasoning. The wording “congress shall pass no law regarding the establishment of religion” is quite clear on its face. The “well the government collects taxes” or “the school is a government rep.” argument is a legal distortion that far exceeds the framers mandates IMO. This was about congress passing a law to create a “state religion”..or to outlaw an undesired religion. Period.

    Not to mention the fact that “CONGRESS” is a federal entity, and should have no bearing on local law. What we currently have is a situation where most people (of any or no faith) could care less if a Creche is placed in the public square during the holidays..it’s the fact that one person with an (typically atheist) agenda can seem to get his/her “way” through making a big enough of an ass of themselves…coupled with spineless politicians that cave into them.

  9. Two good points and an alarming one.

    Good points: Instead of just saying “well” I should have plainly stated that I was thinking out loud. I’m only reading court opinions about the pledge and haven’t delved into the school prayer line of cases, and like you I wonder what the legal mechanism is that allegedly takes us from “congress” in the text to state and local levels. Guessing again… I’m sure there is one. Your mileage may vary. One day maybe I’ll read more about court opinions on school prayer and will have informed opinions, not just opinions.

    The alarming point you make is that you apparently feel that a single person’s constitutional rights can be trampled just because they are a single person. If you’ll pardon the expression, oh my god…. just take the idea and run with it. All sorts of possible horrors immediately come to mind. If it makes you mad to see that single person’s constitutional rights be given import, you could always instead take images of Sunni-Shiite religious wars from the news and in your mind think about those same religious wars at your local grocery. If you’ve read this far then I thank you very much and apologize. I don’t mean to be insulting, just to call your attention to the GOOD that is also present when that one person’s constitutional rights are held up as being just as vitally important as those of the majority. Yes, it makes some folks annoyed, etc. But THANK GOD annoyance is all they have to suffer. That’s what all this First Amendment hoo-ra is about for me – love of country, and the desire to see it endure.

    Thanks for the chat

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