IPFS Ernest Hancock

More About: Religion: Believers

Are you still Pledging?

Should the words "Under God" be retained in the Pledge? Keep the people asking the questions you want them to and you don't have to answer the tough questions.

America was founded on the idea that it was the individual that was to be pledged allegiance to by our government servants. Arizona's State Constitution is very clear on the purpose of government in our own Declaration of Rights. 'Political Power, purpose of government:' "All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights."

A senior editor at the Cato Institute, Gene Healy, explains in his November 2003 article, "What's Conservative about the Pledge of Allegiance?", how the pledge was written by a Christian Socialist in 1892. Francis Bellamy was inspired by the writings of his cousin Edward Bellamy that advocated that the United States become a worker's paradise where everyone had the same income and would work jobs they were 'drafted' to do at the age of 21. These ideas were popular, but not so popular as to keep Francis Bellamy from being pushed from the pulpit for giving such sermons as "Jesus the Socialist".

Edward Bellamy's book "Looking Backward" inspired "Nationalist Clubs" that campaigned for a government takeover of the economy. Francis saw the public schools as the place to begin the indoctrination and with the help of the National Education Association and the editors of a popular children's magazine "Youth's Companion", the Pledge was adopted as part of the National Public School Celebration on Columbus Day in 1892. Bellamy had considered adding "equality" to the "liberty and justice for all" phrase, but he realized that would draw objections from people opposed to equality for women and African Americans. At its "debut" (October 12, 1892) more than 12 million children recited the "Pledge of Allegiance" thus beginning a required school-day ritual. At the first National Flag Conference in Washington D.C., on June 14, 1923, a change was made. For clarity, the words "the Flag of the United States" replaced "my flag". In 1942, Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance.

When President Dwight Eisenhower signed the 1954 act that added "under God", he declared: "From this day forward, millions of our school children will daily proclaim ... the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty." But people of faith are starting to question the support of this ritual of subordination to a government, that was designed to be subordinate to the individual and their right to worship free of government influence, prohibition. or sanction.

Cato's Mr. Healy describes the original ritual,. "At a signal from the Principal the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the Flag. Another signal is given; every pupil gives the Flag the military salute--right hand lifted, palm downward, to a line with the forehead and close to it... At the words, 'to my Flag,' the right hand is extended gracefully, palm upward, towards the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side." After the rise of Nazism, this form of salute was thought to be in poor taste, to say the least, and replaced with today's hand-on-heart gesture.

We are warned in the book of James 5:12 - "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath."

So if you have determined on your own that swearing an oath of loyalty to any government makes you feel uncomfortable, maybe you'll find some solace in the fact that you are not alone. But what should also be of concern is that the only question being forwarded in the media is 'should we and our children be taught to Pledge Allegiance to a secular state in the name of God?' I think the question, "Should we swear an oath of loyalty to any government", is a far more interesting question worthy of debate.

For further study on your own:

http://www.cato.org/cgi-bin/scripts/printtech.cgi/dailys/11-04-03.html /a>