Tuesday, January 13, 2009

America the Christian Nation Part 6: The Pledge of Allegiance...

"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

This is the original Pledge, as written by Francis Bellamy—a Baptist minister—in August of 1892.

Notice anything? Something conspicuously missing?

Bellamy considered adding "equality" along with "liberty" and "justice," but due to the overwhelming intolerance toward women and black folk amongst his contemporaries he relented.

But, even though "equality" should have been included, that's not what's missing here, is it?

In October 1892, two months after its inception, "to" was added before "the Republic".

In 1923, against Bellamy's protest, "the Flag of the United States of America" replaced "my flag".

So, it's getting closer to what we would find familiar, but it's still not quite the same.

June 3, 1940. With an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in Minersville School District v. Gobitis that public school students could be compelled to recite the Pledge. The hearing came as a result of the—Christian group—Jehovah's Witness claim to religious freedom and refusal to recite the Pledge as an act of idolatry in accordance with Exodus 20:4-6, John 5:21, and Matthew 22:21. Minersville was 90% Roman Catholic. After the ruling, nationwide, 1,500 JW's were physically assaulted. Witnesses were arrested, tarred and feathered, beaten, driven from their homes and communities, and their churches burned. This clear violation of the First Amendment was overturned by the Supreme Court three years later—on Flag Day—in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette.

But our Pledge still doesn't have that familiar ring.

(Interesting that two God-fearing, God-loving, Christian groups were in the middle of a rather brutal skirmish over the Pledge before there was even a mention to God in that Pledge.)

1954. The era of the Cold War and Red Scare. In an act of cognitive dissonance and attempt to further distinguish and separate ourselves from those our government told us were our "enemies", yet another change was made. The Catholic group Knights of Columbus took advantage of the situation and pressured Congress. "Under God" was added to the Pledge, officially making it a prayer. Officially excluding any United States citizen who doesn't happen to claim the Judeo Christian faith and conveniently accepts idolatry. Officially violating the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. 178 years after the Declaration of Independence.

So, why is the fact that the Pledge (illegally) includes two words, added sixty-two years after it was originally written, used as "proof" that the United States of America is, and has always been intended to be, a Christian nation, founded upon Christian principals, its laws based firmly upon the Ten Commandments?

Why the uproar and demand that we "keep" God in the Pledge? Why not an uproar that we keep the Bellamy salute instead of placing our hands over our hearts? Oh, what's that? How exactly did we say recite the Pledge prior to June 22, 1942, the year Congress officially recognized it as the official national pledge (two years after SCOTUS ruled its recitation compulsory and during our war with Germany)?

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