THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
to the flag of the United States of America
(Added to this website on 7/23/06.)
Back to Critical Thinking
National unity is the basis of national security.
Justice Felix Frankfurter
Those bound in a Fraternity of one mind stand stronger than a fortified city.
Antisthenes (444-370 BCE), Greece
This website was not meant to become involved with national politics. This portion is impartial and yet does become somewhat involved to the extent that what follows will probably alienate members of both major political parties. Since many of the members of these parties seem to be more concerned about party power than the well-being of our nation, the truths shown here are bound to cause some irritation. Please bear in mind that I am not favoring one party over another. In fact, only those whom the shoe fits need wear it.
There is an old saying: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Yet, we have a way of "fixing" things that work quite well. One of the things that once was a source of strength for our nation was our Pledge of Allegiance taken every morning by our school children. This pledge instilled respect for our nation and a duty to prevent its enemies from conquering us from within.
The following was taken from a 1960 edition of Encyclopedia Americana. I prefer the older editions because they were printed before the editors of politically correct editions began to distort the truth.
Pledge to the Flag
As it originally appeared in the Sept. 8, 1892, issue of Youth's Companion, a juvenile magazine published in Boston, the pledge reads:
I pledge allegiance to my flag, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
In compliance with a rule of anonymity established by the principle owner, Daniel S. Ford, the authorship of the pledge was not disclosed at the time or for long after. An article in the Dec. 20, 1917, issue of the Companion first ascribed it to a former editor and part owner, James B. Upham (died 1905) of Malden, Mass., who was said to have been assisted in composing it by editorial colleagues. One of these was Francis Bellamy of Rome, N.Y., a former Baptist minister and, at the time of writing, chairman of a committee to stimulate public school observance of Columbus Day. The claims of Bellamy as sole author of the pledge were conceded by two impartial investigating committees; that of the United States Flag Association in 1939 and the Library of Congress in 1957.
The National Flag Conference in 1923 substituted for "my flag" the phrase "the flag of the united states of America" as the official form from Flag Day (June 14) 1924. On June 14, 1954, President Eisenhower signed a bill which adds the phrase "under God". The pledge now reads:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
1. From the above it is apparent that even the Baptist minister who composed the pledge did not want religion introduced into the pledge. The pledge was meant to unite all who live in the United States, and religion was meant by the founders of this nation to be separate from state. Benjamin Franklin, particularly, attempted to remove references to religion from what would become part of a national tradition created during the founding of the nation. We are supposed be practicing religious tolerance - and partiality to any particular religion or even to religion in general is a means of dividing loyal Americans. If someone chooses not to believe in God, that is his privilege - he is a part of our nation and should be able to say the pledge in its entirety with a clear conscience. Or would it be better for us to deport those who do not believe in God or who have not decided yet whether or not God exists? Is an agnostic or an atheist less loyal than a Christian? Is a Native American or a Buddhist less loyal than a Christian? Why should religion be a part of a pledge of loyalty to our nation?
2. There is a tale being spread that the original pledge included the phrase "under God". Obviously, from the foregoing this is a lie. From 1892 through 1954, the pledge had no reference to God.
3. True to Benjamin Franklin's expectations, adding the phrase "under God" has led to controversy, ill feeling, and division between loyal Americans.
4. Note that the pledge states that our nation is a republic, a fact which is being swept under the rug today by certain factions who do not want the United States to continue to exist. A republic uses representative government rather than popular voting on every issue. Representative government is far better than a pure democracy for the following reasons:
A. It is literally impossible for each of us to become familiar with every issue that must be faced. An elected representative is a specialist who can spend the time necessary to face and resolve the issues.
B. We are a nation of people who come from all walks of life. Therefore, our moral and mental capabilities follow the bell curve. The original intent of electing a representative was for us to elect someone who is more capable morally and mentally to deal with the issues of government.
C. Representative government makes it possible for us to have a better balance between geographic areas and populations. The House is composed of representatives who are elected according to population. The Senate is composed of representatives who are elected according to geographic area. If both houses of Congress were elected according to population, the states with the most cities would be able to put their own self-interest ahead of the states that contribute most with mining, agriculture, and forestry. If a purely democratic national poll were taken on every issue, the foregoing problem would be greatly magnified.
D. In a pure democracy, the number of laws begins to quickly limit everyone's freedom. In fact, this has been happening less quickly but just as surely in this republic of ours, largely due to lawyers and the bureaucracy.
Let us assume that there are three people in a pure democracy: one who prefers to ride horses, a second who prefers to ride motorcycles, and a third who prefers to fly airplanes. Two of these people do not like the smell of horses or horsemanure and (in this instance) they are a majority, so they make a law that no one can have a horse. Two do not like the noise made by a motorcycle and (in this instance) they are a majority, so they make a law that no one can have a motorcycle. Two do not like taking the risk that an airplane might crash into their homes and (in this instance) they are a majority, so they make a law that no one can have an airplane. All of them lose because in a pure democracy there is no protection of the minority - and sooner or later each of us is a part of a minority of some kind. But, you might say, "the men will speak with one another and make deals so that they can enjoy their different pastimes." This might be true for a democracy of only three, but in a large country with large populations, insensibility is dominant because there is little personal contact between those with opposing views. To one of these people, the rest are just numbers. When one person does not know another there is more likelihood of rude and uncalled for behavior. This is very evident when you see the way drivers relate to one another on our streets, or when you visit a big city like New York.
A pure democracy is the worst form of dictatorship, so our forefathers chose representative government which makes us a republic - not a democracy. Our enemies and those who listen to them attempt to make us believe that we live in a democracy. These same people want us to believe that we will be better off without the electoral college - so that solutions to all issues are decided by popular vote. If we were to move in that direction, life here would become even more intolerable with more laws enacted more quickly and more restrictions placed upon us. Freedom today is curtailed excessively by laws and bureaucracies. With even more curtailing of our freedom, we would be moving closer and closer to the situation facing the Russians before their more recent revolution.
E. It has been taught that a pure democracy cannot work because the people soon learn that they can vote to receive hand-outs from the government without working for them. Actually, our republic is still too democratic for this problem to be completely cured. Local and state governments are not required to emulate our federal government. Consequently, we have majorities at various levels who can dominate without fear of sufficiently strong checks and balances. And in our federal government, there are those who stay in power and prosper for the same reason.
In California both houses of congress are elected according to population due to a state supreme court action that forced this to happen. Here, domination of the majority is most apparent and protection of the minority is minimal - and city people are able to decide what is best for country people.
Many county governments have no decent system of checks and balances so that the county supervisors can vote in their own pay raises and benefits for working only a scant few hours each week.
In the United States Congress the representatives set their own benefits and pay raises while raiding the money collected for social security to be used for pork barrel projects. They have voted in huge pensions for themselves and are not concerned about social security.
In most states, the majority vote for others to pay their taxes for them. In New Jersey in the 1960's the dairy farmers paid a disproportionate amount of taxes as did the military personnel stationed there. In fact, the military personnel were required to vote in their home state and could not vote for New Jersey candidates or on New Jersey issues. So our service people, who were already underpaid, were forced to pay more taxes than the civilians while civilian landlords stole every housing increase or base pay increase that was given to the military personnel.
Returning to the Pledge of Allegiance, it now appears that many schools no longer have children saluting the flag and taking the pledge. This has happened because of the controversy caused by the phrase "under God". Our legislators of 1954 and or enemies have succeeded in creating a division that has led to a certain cynicism and lack of patriotism in general. Most of us seem to be asleep, oblivious to what is happening to us. When are we going to wake up?
If we were to honor the tradition of the pledge, we would return to the words as they were before 1954 and we would reinstate the pledge in our schools. I grew up saying that version of the pledge. It united us then and it will unite us when it is reinstated.
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
In the mail today I received a plea for money because the author had supposedly formed an organization whose current purpose is to impeach Federal Appeals Court Judge Reinhardt. Judge Reinhardt cast the deciding vote to outlaw the Pledge of Allegiance in schools in nine states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. The plea is impassioned, mentioning the Bible, "if-type" supposedly related issues, calling the judge a left-wing liberal, showing the author's distinguished career, and providing other non-related information. The plea completely ignored the other judges who voted, wisely focusing on one who was maligned by Newsweek Magazine.
The background of Judge Reinhardt is not known to me. However, anyone to the left of the religious right is called by the religious right a "left-wing liberal". The only issues involved are the reason or reasons why the Pledge was outlawed. The emotionally-charged overtures are merely examples of propaganda. And the reason that Judge Reinhardt gave for his deciding vote was very simple. He voted the way he did because the Pledge had the words "under God" in it.
This may be the beginning of the end for Pledge because any judge who is familiar with the principle of keeping religion and state separate will vote the same way. Federal judges are supposed to be in favor of the Constitution and the traditions of the founding fathers which include separation of church and state. Otherwise, they should not be federal judges. So who is to blame for the outlawing of the Pledge? Certainly not a judge who was merely doing his duty.
The author of the plea that I received is shifting the blame from his own religious right to one of the judges who caught the religious right in their bigotted skulduggery - as they should have been caught in 1954 before the words "under God" were allowed to be inserted into the Pledge. Shifting the blame by using emotion and irrelevant issues is a favorite trick of propagandists.
From 1892 until 1954, the Pledge was taken without the words "under God". Establishing the Pledge in its traditional form by removing the words "under God" is the logical way for the Pledge to again be part of our national heritage and to be taken by our children as they are growing up. However, the offending words must be removed by an act of Congress - or must they? It is highly unlikely that a majority of members of our current Congress will be bright enough to realize that we have lost another battle to the forces of anti-Americanism - and that they can regain the lost ground by simply restoring the Pledge to its pre-1954 wording. Furthermore, if they were to attempt such a thing, God (yes, I believe in God - but that is not the point) only knows what else they would do to the wording in their zeal to be re-elected. It was bad enough for the federal government to have become involved in 1954, and I wonder what they would have done to the Mona Lisa if they had decided to tinker with it. But if the Pledge were to be taken by our children in its traditional form, as it was before 1954, then it is not the same pledge that has the words "under God" in it and should not be subject to the same law that outlaws the newer (flawed) pledge. Perhaps the state legislatures can see to it that the old pledge is used in the schools. I doubt that anyone would be prosecuted by the federal government for using a pledge that actually unifies us all as patriots of the United States of America.
Back to Critical Thinking