Note: this post was originally written on Flag Day (June 14) 2013
Today is Flag Day, and the birthday of the army. If you haven’t noticed it yet, the ‘murica! Ronald-Reagan-is-the-best types are having one hell of a day, not realizing their celebrations are making them complete hypocrites in that they are betraying the values they purport to uphold. It has been a peeve to me for a long time, but today brings up the issue of the Pledge of Allegiance. So behold this inter-tangled rant that takes on the establishment position on the Pledge and our Flag.
Who would ever have a problem with the Pledge?
There are many Christians who believe that fellow believers should not recite the pledge, for various reasons. One Christian commentator, RC Sproul Jr., noted that this nation is no longer the Republic it was designed to be, and likewise, the people have changed. Rather than a nation which claims in its pledge to be under God, the policies of the government directly conflicts with God, and is rebellious towards God’s authority.
Mr. Sproul (Jr.) also comments that the notion we are “indivisible” is not only untrue, but misleading, and is also a “claim that the union is immortal, a claim to deity.” He questions the “claim that ours is a nation where there is liberty and justice for all.” Raising many valid points, Sproul asks:
Is that true? Are we free to work in the field of our choice, without a license from the state? Are we at liberty to build a shed in our back yard, without getting a permit from the state? Are we free to not purchase health insurance for our employees? Are we free to keep the fruits of our labor?
Does the flag stand for, represent those founding virtues, or does it now represent a nation where every year over a million of our tiniest citizens are not just denied liberty and justice, but life itself? Does not that flag represent both a state which is pledged to protect the “right” to murder the unborn, and does it not represent the citizens of that nation who avail themselves of that right over 3000 times each day?
As with RC jr., I am too ashamed of where this nation has ended up. Like him, I am a Christian, and believe that our allegiance should be to God. We differ on one point, though: while I do support the ideas of pledges in our own political realm, I would limit that to a sense of values and principles, not to entities and their symbols.
Today at World Net Daily, Major General Patrick Brady, speaking solely on our flag (it is Flag Day), argues “the flag embodies the values embedded in our sacred Constitution. The legalized desecration of the symbol of the Constitution symbolizes the ongoing desecration of our Constitution.”
I do not agree. Our flag has changed continuously throughout its history, ironically just like interpretations and amendments to our constitution! The flag represents the legal entity that came together to under aforementioned constitution, and by that association, I do cede that the General is correct. As a nation, though, we have ignored, forgotten, and made a deliberate about-face against the fundamentals of our Republic. Let’s not pretend that the flag, “or the government for which it stands” still upholds and carries out these values.
What is telling, and even more troubling, are the attitude General Brady expresses at the end of his piece:
“I would not serve in a quad-sexual military, nor would I encourage any young person to enlist in today’s military. I would give my life for the country and military I served. I would not give one drop of blood for the country and military we are becoming. Hopefully, on this birthday of our Army and our flag, Americans will pray that the disasters of this presidency will be reversed.”
Unfortunately this sentiment is all too common by the veterans I know and grew up around.
What about non-Christians supporting the Pledge?
I urge all free thinkers to consider the following. Our pledge was written by Francis Bellamy in 1892. Bellamy, and his family were socialists. His cousin, Edward Bellamy, authored Looking Backward (1888) and Equality (1897) (look those up). Francis supported the idea of planned economies, with distribution of wealth. In fact, his ideas were so crazy he was forced to leave his church in Boston. Daniel Ford, a friend of Francis, hired him to write for The Youth’s Companion.
James Upham, Bellamy’s boss at Youth’s Companion one day had the idea to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus Day at the Chicago World’s Fair, and wanted to highlight the public education system in America as being the “democratizing force in American life.” Just one problem: he needed something to capture this idea and inspire others. Thus the Pledge was born, with the original words as follows:
I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’ He considered placing the word, ‘equality,’ in his Pledge, but knew that the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and African Americans.
In 1919, states started making recitation mandatory. Jehovah’s Witnesses sued, eventually losing at the Supreme Court. Afterwards, the indivisible people committed brutal acts against practitioners of the religious sect, including tar and feathering, castration, and public beatings. I guess it was permissible then though, as “under God” had not yet been added.
At this Point, What Difference Does it Make?
One must care about the origin of the pledge. It was written to conjure up feelings of unity under one banner, and one government. Instead of allegiances to values, states, localities, we were supposed to be one people that loved our dear federal government. The author intended to use the pledge to advance the ideas of socialism and redistribution. Every time we stand up to recite the pledge, we do so to the symbol of the state. A state that has differing policies over time, and that often contradict each other. One day we are fighting for “freedom” abroad, while the next we are wiretapping all Americans here at home and encouraging abortions. And you just pledged your allegiance to the entity that makes and enforces those laws.
So this is a call for someone much more creative (or in possession of more free time than myself) to come up with a new pledge that reflects timeless values.