The Pledge of Allegiance

There are a number of issues I have with the pledge.

First of all, there’s the issue that several groups of Christians regularly bring up – that a “pledge” is quite close to being a sacred promise – in other words, an oath – something Jesus clearly preferred we avoid.

Secondly, we are primarily pledging our loyalty to the flag ITSELF – a piece of cloth – and only secondarily to the “republic for which is stands”. Pledging allegiance to a piece of cloth is rather odd, if not idolatrous.

Then there is the phrase “one nation, under God, indivisible”

Setting aside “under God” for the moment – the phrase “one nation…indivisible” seems clearly aimed as a slap in the face at the South for their attempt at succession. While I’m very happy the Civil War ended slavery, I personally think the balance of power has swung too far away from states rights. In their succession argument, at least, I think the South was right. If a large, consolidated geographic area is controlled and inhabited almost exclusively by a population who believe they are not fairly represented by a central federal government, I believe they have a right of succession. The United States has endorsed this right for all sorts of territories, particularly the former Soviet satellites.

Then there is “with liberty and justice for all”.

By saying the pledge, am I promising to work for this goal (a worthy program) or am I affirming that such a state already EXISTS (an obvious misstatement)? The language makes it sound very much like the latter.

Finally, just what am I committing to or promising in making the pledge? What does my “allegiance” consist of? That I obey the state’s orders without question or criticism? I can’t promise that in advance. The state may ask immoral actions of me. That I fight in or support its wars? Most of them have been immoral and unjustified, and all or nearly all violence violates Jesus’ commandments. That I prefer the interests of my country over another? Jesus commands us to love all impartially and not prefer our own group of people over other groups.

I believe it has been previously mentioned that the pledge has an odd and questionable history, and that its promulgation had dubious motives.

In short, I will NOT say the pledge. I will not allow my children to say the pledge, and I think nothing good comes of pressuring school children to say the pledge. The phrase “under God”, if anything, becomes a deceptive veneer over an otherwise purely secular piece of coercion – tempting religious people to support what would otherwise be questionable.

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