The Pledge of Allegiance – A Short History

Well, today the recital in public schools of the Pledge of Allegiance was struck down on the grounds that the reference to one nation “under God” violates children’s right to be “free from a coercive requirement to affirm God” if they don’t believe in God, or actually, if their parents don’t believe in god.

So here’s a link to the brief history of the pledge, which ironically, has some interesting roots. It was written by a Christian Socalist, Francis Bellamy, author of the American socialist utopian novels, Looking Backward (1888) and Equality (1897).

Interestingly, the original pledge, ‘I pledge allegiance to my Flag and (to*) the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’ omitted the word ‘equality,’ because he knew there the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and blacks. But is was added in October, 1892.

In 1954, Congress after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, added the words, ‘under God,’ to the Pledge. The Pledge was now both a patriotic oath and a public prayer. How they pulled that off, I have no idea if these are the same Knights organization that I remember seeing when growing up in Brooklyn. They have a local chapter on Jamaica Ave and Norwood. But that’s a whole different blog entry….

I just wonder how further polarized this country can become.

The Pledge of Allegiance – A Short History

One thought on “The Pledge of Allegiance – A Short History

  1. From

    A federal judge in California has ruled that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional because the pledge’s reference to “under God” violates school children’s right to be “free from a coercive requirement to affirm God.”

    OK, it’s California, where a guy with a petition to repeal the suffrage of hamsters could get 10,000 signatures in 30 minutes. It’s ironic that ours is a nation where burning the flag is defended as free speech, but kids saying “under God” should be gagged. But really, is this the most pressing issue before a nation at war, a nation rabbit-punched by a hurricane, and a nation with a big al Qaeda target painted on its back?

    On one hand, if God intended to reward us for including him in our daily affirmations before class, He might go a little easier on the hurricanes. I mean, don’t you think that admitting we’re “one nation under God” should invite some tender mercies?

    On the other hand, maybe He doesn’t care what we force schoolkids to say out loud, and is more interested in how we conduct ourselves when nobody else is looking.

    Who knows? The Lord hasn’t really been keeping up his blog, so we’re not sure what He’s thinking. But I can tell you what I’m thinking: These attention-starved atheists are starting to be as annoying as megawatt televangelists.

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