And to the Republic

Yes, I'm going to talk about politics and religion.  I'm very disturbed (and have a very hard time keeping my mouth shut) when I see people who describe themselves as Christians ranting about how everyone should be required to recite the pledge of allegiance.

First of all, reciting a pledge is not going to decrease terrorism, or make someone with terrorist leanings change his/her mind.  Not reciting it is not going to turn anyone against America, or make them any less of a citizen.  And forcing someone to recite something in the hopes they will espouse that belief is simply indoctrination.  The idea to me of a crowd of children being taught, through recitation, blind obedience to their government does not comfort me in any way.  It chills me to the bone.  Most people don't give much thought to the fact that they are pledging allegiance to a particular government.  They just think (because they've been told) that it's the "patriotic thing to do."  Few people question it, but everyone should.

Either it's just words that don't mean anything, or a nostalgic tradition, in which case it's pointless, OR it's a serious commitment of lifelong allegiance.  One's disingenuous and one's dangerous. 

It amuses me when the "uneducated" call me "un-American" because I don't recite the pledge.  Since "un" means "not," that literally translates to "not American," as in, "Anyone who disagrees with me is not American."  Well, last time I checked, I am a legal citizen, born and raised here, and I won't make a fool of myself by acting like a sheep in the name of religion.  I do, however, enjoy this seemingly un-American activity I like to call "thinking for myself."

I'm assuming, since Christ was from the Middle East, that He was "un-American" too, in the same way that I am "un-Chinese" or "un-Israeli," to the best of my knowledge.  People who use the phrase "un-American" are probably trying to say "anti-American," which is a whole different matter.  Their assumption is that anyone who does not engage in the truly obnoxious nationalism they espouse can't possibly care about America.  These are generally very fearful people, who were taught things a certain way, and are scared to death to question it.  Especially if they were taught it by their church.  I'm hoping to dispel a few fears, maybe raise a few eyebrows, and state my case.

Merriam-Webster defines "Christianity" as "the religion that is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ."  I can't possibly imagine Christ pledging allegiance to any government or any flag.  Since Christianity is based on the teachings of Christ, it might be a nifty idea if people actually paid attention to what He had to say.  Take it or leave it, call me un-American, I don't care. 

Over and over, Christ blasts the rulemakers and writers of law, and flouts society's expectations.  Not only do I believe that He would have completely disapproved of the pledge of allegiance, but as protective as He was of children, I imagine He would have been outraged that people would, in His name, subject children to reciting something that was generated as a government pledge.  He exhorted his followers to not divide their loyalties, choosing God even over their own family members.  I'm pretty sure He would have expected them to choose God over their own government.

I've read a little more of the Bible than many people assume.  And the words of Christ show me a man who would be deeply disappointed, even outraged, at the dogma being thrown about as His will, in the name of mind control.  Show me a Bible verse where Jesus exhorts us to pledge allegiance to any government or any flag.  You won't find one.

Far too many people are not aware that the stipulation, "Under God," was not part of the original pledge. It was added in 1952, as a result of widespread fear-mongering.  It was during this same time that "In God We Trust" was added to currency.  It was during the Communist witch hunts.  People inflicted great cruelty on one another and ruined lives and careers, over rumors and gossip.  It was a shameful time.  It hasn't seemed to make a big difference in human behavior to add this to our currency or pledge, has it.  It hasn't resulted in a drop in crime, or an increase in human kindness.  So what was the point?  I don't think Jesus would approve of this mingling of church and state.  He Himself says, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."  (Matthew 22:21)  How did our society become so deluded?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
I feel so strongly about this because some people will do pretty much anything if they can be convinced that God is somehow behind it.  And let's face it, some people don't take much convincing.  I see the bigger picture, and it's not pretty.  The whole "God and country" thing leaves me cold.  That is not mutually inclusive, and it insinuates that our country has carte blanche to do anything it wants because it's already endorsed by God.  Now THAT'S scary.

Many people have been misled that America is some sort of holy, benevolent giant.  They seem to believe that pledging allegiance to our government makes them more Godly.  I call it "obedient."  As Voltaire said, "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."  I refuse to turn a blind eye to the atrocities that have been committed by our country, and so many others, all in the name of God.  And I certainly will not pledge allegiance to any government or nation.  I'm not ruled by, or addicted to fear, and won't be bullied by any Pharisees.  I humbly submit that our highest common good cannot be accomplished through recited words, but through compassion, truth, and integrity.


  1. I don't know if kids still sing "America The Beautiful" ("...God shed his grace on thee..."),"God Bless America" or "My Country 'Tis of Thee" ("...Our Fathers God to Thee..."),they all promote religion going against the First Amendment and they promote the notion that we are "special and unique",a thinking error. I've always though "This Land Is Your Land" would make a better national anthem than the one we have,it's peaceful,inclusive and easy to sing. Even I can chord that one.

    1. As a huge Pete Seeger fan, I think that is a great comment!! I always thought America the Beautiful was good, because at least it wasn't about bombs bursting in air, but I like your idea even better.


Father's Day

I spent this last Father’s Day in silent, burning rage at my dad, and it’s taken me three months to sort it out enough to write.