The Pledge of Allegiance

This is one that I should leave alone, but this morning I got one of those “Bible bumper notes” talking about the pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. People are free to write whatever they want, but as thinking people I think it is important that we hold ourselves to higher standard moral excellence.

The Facts

The original Pledge of Allegiance written by Francis Bellamy in 1892, originated on Columbus Day and it contained no reference to God. Ironically, the POA was written by a Baptist minister and Christian Socialist. That’s right a socialist, whose cousin, Edward Bellamy, wrote the utopian/socialist masterpiece Looking Backward. Even more ironically, a Baptist minister, Francis Bellamy, didn't mention "God" in the pledge at all. So how did the phrase get there?

A half century later, in 1951, a Catholic organization, the Knights of Columbus, adopted a resolution to amend the Pledge of Allegiance by the addition of the words "Under God" after the words "one nation,” but this applied only to that Catholic group. The following year, the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus sent copies of the resolution to the President, Vice President, Speaker of the House, and to each member of both Houses of Congress.

Additional History

Nothing happened for awhile, but during this time the infamous Senator Joe McCarthy embarked on his witches hunt labeling people Communist at his discretion and literally tarnishing the names of many prominent Americans including African Americans like James Baldwin, W.E.B. DuBois, Lorraine Hansberry, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, James Weldon Johnson, Lucy E. Parsons, A. Phillip Randolph and many more. Many blacks had to leave the country to escape prosecution.

In 1954, with McCarthyism running rampant, the same kinds of religious nuts scampering around today bombing family planning clinics and gutting science-based education lobbied Eisenhower and Congress to prove that America wasn't “no Commie Atheist Red Pinko” country. Therefore, "under God" ended up in the POA. For three hundred plus years the country did just fine without surviving the Great Depression and World War I and II without it.

Under this smokescreen, both Houses of Congress adopted a resolution introduced by Congressman Louis C. Rabaut of Michigan. In June of 1954, an amendment was made to add the words "under God.”

Off Balance Understanding

Many Christians who see the references to God on national monuments automatically impart their own personal God of Christianity, without understanding the framers of the constitution Deist context. Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.

Parliament of Whores

After the 9/11 terrorist attack the United States Congress recited the Pledge of Allegiance to emphasize the "under God" portion. Of all the words of the pledge, those two are probably the least meaningful. Let's look at the entire thing.

My History

I don’t need to go far because I recited the POA the way it was written. "I pledge allegiance to the flag and to the republic for which it stands one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” The implication being that we have the liberty of choosing or not choosing religion.

Is It Unconstitutional?

If one applies Justice Burger's Lemon Test, the phrase "under God" being added to the POA in 1954 was absolutely unconstitutional. It has no definable secular purpose AT ALL and was scribbled in there for one purpose only: to advance religion. Recently, it was found that the 1952 Congress violated the constitutional separation of church and state when it passed a law adding the words "under God" to the

Pledge to the Flag

"A profession that we are a nation 'under God' is identical…to a profession that we are a nation 'under Jesus,' a nation 'under Vishnu,' a nation 'under Zeus,' or a nation 'under no god,' because none of these professions can be neutral with respect of religion," observed the court.

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Tags: Allegiance, Columbus, Communists, Congress, Knights, McCarthyism, POA, Pledge, of

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Comment by Sentient Biped on April 24, 2012 at 11:16am

Your expression "a Parliament of Whores" is priceless.

Thank you for teaching me that McCarthyism had such an impact on African American intellectuals.  It makes sense to me but I was unaware before now.  And during an era when Jim Crow laws were still prevalent. 

This topic brings me back to my childhood.  I grew up in a small town midwest bible Baptist church that was run by John Birchers.  They were obsessed with Communism, and had a bizarre theory that the civil rights movement was instigated by communist money-obsessed Jews in a conspiracy to take over the US.  This was "American Baptist", not "Southern Baptist".  The church was all white, and excluded any African Americans who happened to come into the doors. Interracial marriage was considered "pollution" of the "pure white race".  They somehow tied together their jingoism, racism, antisemitism and incidental homophobia into a single package.  They also taught that the pope was the Antichrist.  We did say the PofA, and I am sure they would have denied that inclusion of "Under God" was inspired by the Knights of Columbus. 

Comment by Steph S. on April 22, 2012 at 1:33am
Thanks for the background to the pledge .. You did a lot of rsearch on the topic.

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