Chances are, the challenge to “The Pledge” in Massachusetts won’t change anything. The masses and herds love rote recitation and the intense and comfortable feeling they are pious patriots in “God’s Own Chosen Country.”
My father and his brothers all fought in wars and I was raised Under the Pledge, Under the Flag and Under God. Now, my allegiance has changed. I would not repeat the pledge any more than I would say the Lord’s Prayer again. Yet, I love this country (as I expect others would love their own country); I’m happy to be an American (and happy to be free to criticize and question leadership). And, as cellist Pablo Casals once said, “I love my country, but why should love stop at the border?”
“Under God” was added to the pledge in the Eisenhower era when “godless communists” hid behind every shrub and movie script. The “new and improved pledge” (an American Creed?) came into full swing the year I was born. Now, pledging (like Christmas and Easter and all things Christian) is Under Attack! Or so some would fear.
This article in Salon, written by a Christian, seems to nail the main issue: “under God” is one thing. . .but why say the pledge at all? I love what the writer’s daughter says about pledging to The Flag!
1) Does “one nation” mean there is only one country on the planet that is God’s?
2) Does “under God” mean Jesus, or could it also mean Allah, Kali, Krishna, Buddha, Great Spirit or any other “God”?
3) Does saying The Pledge “prove” you are a Patriot? If a Free American freely decides Not to say the pledge, are they somehow “less” American, “less” Patriotic? Is a pledge-repeating True American the same as a True Believer?
4) Why repeat the words of the Pledge so much? Why make school children repeat the words every day? Is there a fear that people will forget what country they live in? Is there a fear people will not defend their land? Or is there a fear we will not raise All Children to be Good Christian Children pledging their allegiance to the Cause of (Your) Faith? Could this be the “last stand” for those who lost the (fictitious) battle to “keep God and prayer” in public schools?
5) What is “allegiance”? To whom, to what, really? To the “idea” of America, the belief in a “Christian America”?
Allegiance: “loyalty or commitment of a subordinate to a superior or of an individual to a group or cause.”
Are those who so fervently say and defend The Pledge, The Flag, Their God, Their Faith, feel any “allegiance” to a group or cause that includes Americans who have different beliefs, different understandings of what “patriotism” means? Do you really mean it when you say we are “indivisible?”
6) Does “liberty and justice for all” include non-believers, Atheists, people of Other Faiths? Do you really pledge to fight for that, for them, as your fellow citizens?
7) And, finally, will you please explain to me how placing your Hand over your Heart makes me believe you “really mean” your pledge? (the original salute was so close to the Nazi gesture, it was dropped in WWII).
These are just a few questions The Pledge waves in my face.