Friday, August 3, 2012

Our Socialist Pledge - Or, why the 2002 9th Circuit decision won't destroy America

A friend recently intimated to me that America is under attack, somehow, or no longer America, or that our freedom of speech was damaged, because "you can't even say the pledge of allegiance anymore in America!"  This was eventually refined to the idea that you can't say the "real" pledge of allegiance, the original one (you know, the one with "under god" in it) in schools any more.

I have several of problems with that. They are, as usual, factual problems. They will, probably, and as usual, be dismissed with "Well, that's your OPINION!" by friends (and non-friends) who disagree with my factual observations.

But, as usual, opinion's got nothing to do with it... These are the FACTS.

First, you can still say the pledge of allegiance - even the un-American "under god" version - anywhere you damned well please.  The circuit court ruling she was probably reacting to says, quite correctly, that it's a violation of the separation of church and state for a teacher to lead a pledge with those words in a publicly funded school.  Private school? Pledge your ass off.  Or, alternately, if little Billy Brainwashed wants to add the words "under god" as he repeats it back, that's absolutely fine too.

Flasehood one, buried.

Now, as to the "original" and "real" parts...

First, as I've said before, there's little I can think of that's as un-American as taking a bunch of children who are legally too young to form consent, and making them recite an oath of fealty every day.  The founding fathers, I would guess, would be absolutely HORRIFIED at the idea.  (Full disclosure: as implied by the phrase "I would guess..." that part is, of course, opinion.  The pledge is un-American. That's opinion, backed by factual evidence, but opinion no less.  What follows is NOT.)

Maybe that's why, for the first 166 years - the first 70% of our history, and, I think you'll agree, the 70% closer in history to the lives and intents of our founders - there was NO official pledge of allegiance.

A (and pardon me, because I'm going to all caps something, expressly for any Teahadists in the audience) A Christian SOCIALIST minister named Frances Bellamy wrote it in 1892 - already half way into our history, to date - it gained popularity, and was adopted by congress fifty years later, in 1942.

A pastor invented the pledge of allegiance? Why I am shocked... SHOCKED, I say!

But wait... It didn't include the words "Under God".  Oh, no.

In 1948, an Illinois lawyer named Louis Bowman, on Lincoln's birthday, lead a Sons of the American Revolution meeting with an altered version of the pledge, adding the words "under God"... And justifying it by joining a group that claims Lincoln (Who, by the way, said "The bible is not my book, and and Christianity is not my profession (translation into modern American English: "The bible is not my book, and I don't profess to being a Christian") said those words in the Gettysburg Address. (Lincoln's notes don't include it, some press transcriptions do.)

But, of course, that does't mean that's when the words changed.  Remember congress adopting it officially?  They adopted it without the god reference.

People tried to get it amended, of course, but it wasn't working.  Then, some other preacher gave a sermon - again, on Lincoln's birthday, again going with the argument that Lincoln said it... A little while later, on June 14, 1954, Ike signed the amendment that had recently passed congress.

So, only for the last 58 years has our national oath of fealty even contained the words "under God"... Less than half of the time since it was written... Less than 25% of our nation's history.  Hardly "Founding Fathers" stuff.

Falsehood two, buried.

Lastly, this was not a Supreme Court decision - those scaredy cats have been studiously and judiciously - no pun intended - staying well away from this subject for years!  This was a 9th circuit ruling, which means the injunction only holds in 9th circuit states - Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

Have we covered everything?  Let's see...

1) You can still say "under god".  Your government paid teacher just can't MAKE you say "under god"... So, one would hope, most anyone could see that's decidedly NOT an abridgment of free speech.  Kind of exactly the opposite.

2) This pledge was NOT part of America's foundation and fabric, and was added quite a ways into the game, so it's decidedly NOT an attack on the foundation and history of the United States... Kind of exactly the opposite.

3) And, this is apropos of nothing, but I can't get enough of saying it... The Pledge of Allegiance was invented and initially promoted by a socialist who thought "Capitalism" was an inherently sinful false theology or religion, sponsored and popularized by Satan! You can't make this stuff up!

4) Even after our Socialist Pledge was adopted officially, it didn't get "under god" added until the cold war.

5) It's not a US ruling, but a circuit injunction... So, in most of the U.S. it's still safe to force children to practice a little Christian Socialism* every morning.  (No, I'm not saying Christians are socialists (Though, Jesus kind of was) that's just what the ideology this particular preacher belonged to called themselves - Christian Socialists.)

5) Did I mention it was socialist? The pledge? lol... I really can't tell you how much that little fact tickles me.  I mean... Really.  When you picture a bunch of children in an indoctrination center, solemnly promising to obey and defend the mother land... Don't you kind of automatically think of socialist and communist nations?