When I was a kid I was taught the pledge of allegiance. It was explained to me that some ideas are so important that it is good to repeat them by rote. Each day before school we stood before the flag and put our hands on our ribs, saying the pledge:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag, and to the republic for which it stands,"

This statement is deceptive in that it claims unconditional allegiance is patriotism, but actually it is serfdom.

"One nation under God,"

Like the Arab states the land contained inside our arbitrary political borders is of course favored by God. This means that we, as a nation, are justified when we commit atrocities - as long as we do it for our country!

"Indivisible" 

How horrible. Taken literally this means no person can ever opt out of being part of the country. And indeed this is what is meant: no secession. In all matters the Federal government is supreme, since they have the most guns and the majority of people are cowards.

"With liberty and justice for all"

That is, unless you are an immigrant, or want to fly on an airplane, or want to ingest a drug, or don't want to pay tax. Or are jailed indefinitely for being a "person of interest" except except except except

Vain repetition is dangerous. Do not support any institution that contradicts your values. This holiday, don't say the pledge. Not even a version modified to remove 'god' from it. Don't take off your hat. Don't stand in respect.

If we are virtuous we must love because of what is, not what some say it is.

Repeating the lies in the pledge help no one and harm everyone by encouraging complacency. 

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Comment by Freethinker31 on July 14, 2014 at 10:14am

Tom......I guess  we should  agree to disagree.....as  far as  Ruth  Bader  Ginsburg is concerned  I would  have to read the South African  Constitution  before  I make  a judgement like you inferred..I bet  their  constitution  was modeled  after  ours...if that is the case it may have  even been improved...We therefore  could  be flattered by that.. If so  why  should   I say  should she move there, she may  be  very pleased  that another  country  is following  in our  footsteps...As far  as  the liberated  countries of Europe, we should  also  be pleased  that they are on the right  track....With that said can these countries  protect themselves from an outside  influence  like Russia. I fear not....Living  in the US  provides us with the best  military in the world so  I will take my chances  here....You shouldn't  be so quick  to write  the US  off Tom....We as Americans have a lot  to be ashamed  of but  I still  strongly  believe  the good we do  out ways  the bad   by a large  margin....just saying....    

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on July 13, 2014 at 11:01pm

Freethinker31, you appear unwilling to compare the reality with the promise.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg compared the 227-year-old US Constitution with the more recent South African Constitution and said she would model a new one after the South African one. Will you invite her to move to South Africa?

Decades ago I compared the US Constitution with the then-draft European Charter of Rights and found that people in the nations that America liberated from the Nazis have more rights than Americans.

Like religious folk, your faith exceeds the facts.

Do some research.

Comment by Freethinker31 on July 13, 2014 at 9:21pm

Well Cenek  if  America  is so bad no one is forcing  you to Iive here....If you feel Latvia, China  and Korea  is  better  I am sure  they will welcome  you with open arms...You say the majority  of the planet enjoys  the  freedoms  that  Americans  have...Are you serious???? America  may  be going through a rough  patch with the Tea Party  and  the worst Congress ever. but that is  temporary and  we will eventually  elect  better  candidates....I bet  most  people  in these  Other countries would  love  to live  in America if they were  given  a chance..I feel blessed  to live here...and would  not want to live  anywhere  else...

Comment by Čenek Sekavec on July 13, 2014 at 6:54pm

"in the end America  remains the greatest  nation on Earth"

By what measure is America the greatest? Sir, respectfully I think you should examine the facts. The majority of the planet enjoys the freedom that we do [1]. We have a lower education rating than Latvia, China, and Korea, (we're #28) [2]. One of the highest religiosity of any western country [3]. 

America is #1 at something... we have initiated more violence in the 20th century than any other country and have the highest military spending. Are we greatest only by right of threat of violence?

Comment by Freethinker31 on July 8, 2014 at 6:15pm

I still believe  the USA  is the greatest country  on Earth....Where else can  people  knock their  country and  castigate those in office  who  will one  day be out of office, and get away  with it.....Sure  some  administrations  have  made  horrible decisions  like  going to war  when i t was not  in our  interest  or  the  shameful use  of Slaves and the imprisonment  of Japanese  Americans  during  WWII.......But we as Americans  always  persevere and in the end America  remains the greatest  nation on Earth....When  wrongs  are   made  we as Americans  try  to make them right...no matter  how long  it takes.......So  if you are unhappy  with something  in this great Nation   you have  the vote and the right  to assemble  in protest......to change  things..... 

Comment by Michael Penn on July 7, 2014 at 4:41am

Tom, I was refering to public schools. That's the only type of schools that I attended. My church at that time (a fundy Pentecostal one) preached "they are trying to take prayer out of our schools" and they certainly were not talking about any private schools. My point was, I do not remember prayer ever being in my school. I never knew anyone that went to a private school, but if they were Catholic and did go to private school, I would have assumed that they prayed.

I'm talking 1956 to 1964 here. Even before and after those dates I simply do not recall school prayer. What the ACLU was doing in those days, I do not know. Apparently what the fundy Pentecostal minister was doing was lying. He was taking a statement and asserting it as fact just to stir people up.

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on July 7, 2014 at 12:18am

Freethinker 31:

I have no problem pledging my allegiance to my country...."

I have trouble because I know of the democratically elected governments "my country" has violently overthrown -- where we installed tyrants and trained those tyrants' secret police in how to frighten their citizens into obedience.

I have trouble too because I know that the promised freedom and justice for all does not exist.

Politically active people in America -- including environmentalists -- learn these words: In this land of the free and home of the brave, people who want to be free have to be brave.

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on July 7, 2014 at 12:00am

Michael, a couple of points.

First, the claim "they are trying to take prayer out of our schools" is both silly and untrue.

It's silly because we know that any schoolkid who wants to pray can do so at any time, such as before an exam, after an exam, or instead of doing an exam.

The claim is untrue because it omits a term such as "officially sanctioned". We do want to take mandated or involuntary prayer out of publicly funded schools.

And second, your "...but I am 68 years old and do not ever recall that prayer was in our schools."

The schools you attended might not have had mandated prayer while you were in them, but might have them now. If they do, it's because attempts by individual teachers or administrators to impose prayer on students continue. The newsletters of the ACLU and other organizations tell of such attempts and of efforts -- letters first, and maybe lawsuits -- to reverse those attempts.

Comment by Freethinker31 on July 6, 2014 at 4:41pm

My only comment  with the Pledge  of Allegiance is the "under god" it is so unfair  to  Non Believers....I have  no problem  pledging  my allegiance  to my country  which I love...If you take  it so literally  sure  you can disagree  but it is  meant to show that citizens love  their freedom  and justice for all....

Comment by Čenek Sekavec on July 6, 2014 at 12:14pm

Thanks for your comments. Good to know there are folks who are thinking about this topic in a sober and careful way. 

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