When I was a kid I was taught the pledge of allegiance. It was explained to me that some ideas are so important that it is good to repeat them by rote. Each day before school we stood before the flag and put our hands on our ribs, saying the pledge:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag, and to the republic for which it stands,"

This statement is deceptive in that it claims unconditional allegiance is patriotism, but actually it is serfdom.

"One nation under God,"

Like the Arab states the land contained inside our arbitrary political borders is of course favored by God. This means that we, as a nation, are justified when we commit atrocities - as long as we do it for our country!


How horrible. Taken literally this means no person can ever opt out of being part of the country. And indeed this is what is meant: no secession. In all matters the Federal government is supreme, since they have the most guns and the majority of people are cowards.

"With liberty and justice for all"

That is, unless you are an immigrant, or want to fly on an airplane, or want to ingest a drug, or don't want to pay tax. Or are jailed indefinitely for being a "person of interest" except except except except

Vain repetition is dangerous. Do not support any institution that contradicts your values. This holiday, don't say the pledge. Not even a version modified to remove 'god' from it. Don't take off your hat. Don't stand in respect.

If we are virtuous we must love because of what is, not what some say it is.

Repeating the lies in the pledge help no one and harm everyone by encouraging complacency. 

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Comment by tom sarbeck on July 13, 2014 at 11:01pm

Freethinker31, you appear unwilling to compare the reality with the promise.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg compared the 227-year-old US Constitution with the more recent South African Constitution and said she would model a new one after the South African one. Will you invite her to move to South Africa?

Decades ago I compared the US Constitution with the then-draft European Charter of Rights and found that people in the nations that America liberated from the Nazis have more rights than Americans.

Like religious folk, your faith exceeds the facts.

Do some research.

Comment by Čenek Sekavec on July 13, 2014 at 6:54pm

"in the end America  remains the greatest  nation on Earth"

By what measure is America the greatest? Sir, respectfully I think you should examine the facts. The majority of the planet enjoys the freedom that we do [1]. We have a lower education rating than Latvia, China, and Korea, (we're #28) [2]. One of the highest religiosity of any western country [3]. 

America is #1 at something... we have initiated more violence in the 20th century than any other country and have the highest military spending. Are we greatest only by right of threat of violence?

Comment by Michael Penn on July 7, 2014 at 4:41am

Tom, I was refering to public schools. That's the only type of schools that I attended. My church at that time (a fundy Pentecostal one) preached "they are trying to take prayer out of our schools" and they certainly were not talking about any private schools. My point was, I do not remember prayer ever being in my school. I never knew anyone that went to a private school, but if they were Catholic and did go to private school, I would have assumed that they prayed.

I'm talking 1956 to 1964 here. Even before and after those dates I simply do not recall school prayer. What the ACLU was doing in those days, I do not know. Apparently what the fundy Pentecostal minister was doing was lying. He was taking a statement and asserting it as fact just to stir people up.

Comment by tom sarbeck on July 7, 2014 at 12:18am

Freethinker 31:

I have no problem pledging my allegiance to my country...."

I have trouble because I know of the democratically elected governments "my country" has violently overthrown -- where we installed tyrants and trained those tyrants' secret police in how to frighten their citizens into obedience.

I have trouble too because I know that the promised freedom and justice for all does not exist.

Politically active people in America -- including environmentalists -- learn these words: In this land of the free and home of the brave, people who want to be free have to be brave.

Comment by tom sarbeck on July 7, 2014 at 12:00am

Michael, a couple of points.

First, the claim "they are trying to take prayer out of our schools" is both silly and untrue.

It's silly because we know that any schoolkid who wants to pray can do so at any time, such as before an exam, after an exam, or instead of doing an exam.

The claim is untrue because it omits a term such as "officially sanctioned". We do want to take mandated or involuntary prayer out of publicly funded schools.

And second, your "...but I am 68 years old and do not ever recall that prayer was in our schools."

The schools you attended might not have had mandated prayer while you were in them, but might have them now. If they do, it's because attempts by individual teachers or administrators to impose prayer on students continue. The newsletters of the ACLU and other organizations tell of such attempts and of efforts -- letters first, and maybe lawsuits -- to reverse those attempts.

Comment by Čenek Sekavec on July 6, 2014 at 12:14pm

Thanks for your comments. Good to know there are folks who are thinking about this topic in a sober and careful way. 

Comment by Michael Penn on July 6, 2014 at 10:50am

I've said some of this before and will now say it hear again.

* My entire life I have heard that "we came to America so we could have religious freedom." That is not true and never was true. Why don't they read up on it?

* Another one was "why don't they put prayer back in school where it belongs?" The alternate was "they are trying to take prayer out of our schools." Just who are THEY? I'm sorry, but I am 68 years old and do not ever recall that prayer was in our schools.

* You have to be a part of the nation but we have never had "justice and liberty for all." It's a big myth.

* "One nation under god." Look up when that was added to the pledge and why. It was a politcal statement at the time of addition, but shortly before Eisenhour added "under god" he had become a new theist baptised into his new faith. Look it up and read it. We wre fighting "godless communism" then.

It's July 6th now and soon everyone will run out of fireworks. That will make me happy. Are these people celibrating our independence? Hell, no! This is like people in a bad western movie who suddenly take out their guns and start shooting them in the air. It's all done because they want to, and they can.

Comment by tom sarbeck on July 2, 2014 at 2:30am

The pledge is for children, said the US Supreme Court. Here are the relevant words:

… conduct required of all the other children in the promotion of national cohesion.

… the desirable ends to be secured by having its public school children share a common experience at those periods of development when their minds are supposedly receptive to its assimilation,

… designed to evoke in [public school children] appreciation of the nation’s hopes and dreams, its sufferings and sacrifices.

The wisdom of training children in patriotic impulses by those compulsions....

We are dealing here with the formative period in the development of citizenship....

… the best way to train the children for their place in society.

… that a particular program or exercise will best promote in the minds of children who attend the common schools and attachment to the institutions of their country.

… the right to awaken in the child's mind considerations as to the significance of the flag.

… an exemption [from the exercise] might introduce elements of difficulty into the school discipline, might cast doubts in the minds of the other children which would themselves weaken the effect of the exercise.

"...when I became a man, I put away childish things." said Paul in 1 Corinthians 13: 11.

(I don't use the buybul for a guide; I use it to embarrass xians. They don't embarrass easily.)

Comment by Michael Penn on July 1, 2014 at 8:15am

I stand when they say the pledge, but anymore that's all I do. Not bad for ex-military.

When I was in public school I must have heard a thousand times that people came to America because they "wanted religious freedom." That was the lie that some still believe today. The king must have been a mean old guy.

My entire life I have heard about prayer being removed from our school system, and we need to get prayer "back in school where it belongs." Strange that I do not remember anyone praying in my school system.

As the 4th nears I hear the repeated "bang" of fireworks. It starts 2 weeks early and does so every year. I wish I had the money to buy firecrackers and do this, but I don't. Better yet, I could use a lighter and just lite the money on fire and watch it burn. Some hear me and think I am stingy and not very "patriotic." The merchant selling the fireworks wants you to be very "patriotic" because it makes lots of money for him. What are people celibrating? Most likely they are simply doing fireworks because they can. They are doing fireworks because it is that time of year. Nothing hear has to do with a celibration or our independance.

What do I do on the 4th of July? Not much. I reflect on what the day is meant to be, and I might grill some meat. I don't need fireworks as I hear them from everyone else. Do I watch special programs on TV at this time? Hell no! Bah, humbug!



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