Politics Magazine

Don't Say The Pledge

Posted on the 19 October 2014 by Jobsanger

Don't Say The Pledge

There is a move among some atheist organizations right now to encourage people to refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I support this move, and I haven't said the pledge in many years now. Why? Does it mean I'm not patriotic? Of course not. Patriotism doesn't depend on reciting a few words.
I cannot bring myself to recite the pledge because of the phrase "one nation under god". For me, that would mean I pledge my support for the United States being a religious (and probably christian) nation -- and I cannot do that. This nation was founded as a secular nation and that's what it should remain -- because only a secular nation can guarantee religious freedom (which includes the freedom to not be religious).
The pledge has not always contained the offensive god phrase. It was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy. Bellamy was both a Baptist minister and a socialist, but saw no need to include either politics or religion in the pledge. The pledge as he wrote it could be recited by any American -- regardless of their politics or religious views. It was not until 1954 (more than 60 years later) that the god phrase was inserted into the pledge -- turning it into something that millions of attests in America could no longer pledge.
The saddest thing about the current movement to not say the pledge is that many students are being punished by their teachers for refusing to stand and recite the pledge. That is ridiculous -- and it is unconstitutional. No student (or adult) in this country should be punished for exercising their right not to participate in what they consider a religious ritual -- especially in a public (government) school.
I know these teachers (and other christians) don't understand how offensive the word god can be to some people. But they need to ask themselves a question. Could they in good conscience recite the pledge if it contained the phrase "under allah" or "under satan"? I doubt it. I think they would find that far too offensive. They need to understand that the phrase "under god" is just as offensive to many atheists.
Why can't we just go back to the original pledge -- a pledge that anyone can recite without going against their conscience?

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