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.