True Freedom means Pledge of Allegiance is optional

The other night a friend posted a link on Facebook to an article that caught my eye.  I really should save this post for Flag Day but that’s months away and this is on my mind right now.

Many just recited the Simpsons version of the Pledge

From the Fox News link my friend provide, it sounds like a group tried to ban the Pledge of Allegiance in its entirety and one Samantha Jones single-handedly fought and won a case against these opponents of freedom. When you follow the linkage though, it seems instead that the point of contention was not the pledge itself but the words “under God” and the requiring/forcing people to recite it.  Also, Ms Jones had some help from The Becket Fund.

Whenever I hear a story about Some_Group trying to stop someone from doing something, I remind myself that these things seldom begin in a vacuum. It’s possible the American Humanist Association (AHA) woke up one morning and decided “hey wouldn’t it be fun if we hired a bunch of lawyers and take our chances with getting the judicial system to outlaw kids from learning the Pledge of Allegiance or having to recite it in school. More than likely this is in response to some other volley in the battle.

When it comes to the Pledge of Allegiance, there are two things which I believe true and that are not mutually exclusive:

  • There should never be a law banning reciting the Pledge of Allegiance;
  • There should never be a law requiring anyone to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

These concepts are not mutually exclusive but some people balk at the second one. That’s probably because they feel you should feel the way they do about the pledge and this country and be grateful for all our freedoms.  To be sure, one should be very grateful and appreciative for all the freedoms we have in this country and it would be really swell if you did acknowledge that freedom by pleading allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.

You should also eat more vegetables, exercise and help those less fortunate than oneself too.

If you have any faith in your convictions, you can handle being in the same classroom — the same assemble,  the same public event — with people who don’t believe exactly as you do. Furthermore not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance doesn’t make one an unpatriotic or an enemy of the Nation.

Even Samantha Jones gets it:

I defend the right of kids to sit out the Pledge. In fact, I am proud to live in a country that is so respectful of everyone’s beliefs. We are a diverse country and we celebrate that diversity in many ways. — Samantha Jones

Freedom is defined the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. and Liberty is the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views. And ironically, Liberty is mentioned in the Pledge of Allegiance. It’s like by design or something.

The thing about freedom is that true freedom requires me to let you do what you want if I want you to let me do what I want. Barring doing something that is harmful to others or society.

So if you want to recite the Pledge of Allegiance you have every right to and I should not be able to stop you. At the same time, if I don’t want to participate, I should be able to do so without any repercussions, explicit or implicit.

And honestly, for something as important and meaningful as the Pledge of Allegiance, would you rather have someone going through the motions of half mouthing the words and not giving a shit on the inside, or someone only reciting it because it does have some meaning to them?

That Under God thing

The Pledge of Allegiance was written 123 years by Francis Bellamy (1855–1931), a Christian socialist. Relax, that’s the good kind of socialist. The pledge was written as part of a campaign to instill the idea of American nationalism in students and sell flags to public schools. (Yay capitalism, I mean patriotism).  Thirty-one years late we specified to the Flag of the United States because apparently, so many people were confusing it with the Banana Republic.

62 years later we had to add “under God” because, Communism. and that has stood for 61 years and counting. There’s  danger in making patriotism compulsory, see Nazi Germany for more details.

Right now a lot of people are questioning Islam by saying something along the lines of “if your God is so fragile that any picture depicting him is a threat, how valid is your belief system.”

Hello pot have you met kettle?

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