Pop Quiz: Liberty and Justice for All
Yesterday Librarienne posted a link in the Tuesday Required Readings about the American Humanist Association launching a campaign to encourage people to sit out the Pledge of Allegiance until the phrase “under God” is removed. This is a purely academic issue for the vast majority of American citizens. Beyond school I cannot think of a place where The Pledge of Allegiance is recited (please feel free to correct me if I am wrong), but for the teachers and students who are atheist this is a daily point of conscientious objection.
For those of you not in the know the Pledge of Allegiance was published in September of 1892 by The Youth’s Companion and was written by Francis Bellamy. Apparently Bellamy hoped that the pledge would be used by any citizen of any country. The original pledge was this:
I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
In 1923 the words “the flag of the United States of America” were added.
In 1954 in response to the communist threat the words “under God” were added by the U.S. Congress.
The current pledge is:
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.
Every morning the announcements start in homeroom with the words, “Please stand … I pledge allegiance to the flag….”
I have had a good number of years to think about these words. Words mean a great deal to me. I am an American. I am the daughter and granddaughter of service men and women. I stand, hand on my heart, but I cannot say the words. I am loyal and committed to my country, especially to working toward the dreams of “liberty and justice” for all, but god no longer holds a place in my heart.
One year my homeroom was full of non-christian immigrants or the children of non-christian immigrants. Granted there were a few Anglos in the room, but most were not. As the year progressed and the culture of the room was established I found myself, the person who stands silent hand on her heart, having to say, “You don’t need to say it, you don’t need to stand, but it is considered respectful of others to at the very least remain quiet”
I know logically that my America is not everyone’s America, but the reality of the situation hit me then, and I want the Pledge to change.
The Pledge of Allegiance is a national wish. It is a wish for Liberty and Justice for ALL people regardless of race, religion or socioeconomic class. I want god to be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance so that every day I can wish for liberty and justice for all people of the world, and maybe if every child in the United States wishes for it it will become a reality.
How do you feel about the Pledge of Allegiance? DO you believe in it? Do you say? Why? If you are not in America how does your school start its day?
Featured image Earth day Flag, Planet Earth, Waving Wind Blowing by Beverly