The Bellamy Salute
July 2, 2013
What a creepy and thought-provoking picture:
Yes, kids used to utter the Pledge of Allegiance with this Nazi-style salute. Another blogger posits that the pledge was originally drafted by a socialist and was designed to propagandize children into pledging that they will follow their government.
For the record, I don’t think there’s any merit to the common objection to the phrase “under God” in the pledge, at least from a Constitutional standpoint. As far as that objection goes, no one is forced to say the pledge (if a school punished a child for not saying it, that would be a problem), and if a parent objects then he/she should consider a number of options: teaching one’s child to abstain from saying the pledge, visiting a school board meeting to raise the issue, and/or seeking another school or an alternate educational arrangement. If nobody else in your community cares about your complaint, your child is going to end up in an environment of such people and such worldviews regardless whether the pledge is spoken. The pledge (and the phrase “under God”) is not the problem, it’s a symptom of a problem that will never go away. Communities and schools always have unspoken worldviews and I see little in the Constitution that mandates that communities be prevented from expressing those worldviews through their public institutions (they are going to do so anyway, it’s unavoidable).
Anyway, back to my point: is pledging allegiance a good thing? Isn’t that like writing a blank check to the government, promising to follow regardless of whatever evil thing it might do? Sure, some of us would resist an evil governmental action, but for the regular duty-following folk, a lifetime of stating the pledge of allegiance may have fostered some problematic inner attitudes (such as intolerance for dissent against the government).
For you monotheists out there (Christians/Jews/Muslims), is the pledge a form of idolatry? Should Christians, as “strangers in a foreign land,” pledge allegiance to any government?