Pledges of Allegiance

Right & Wrong
Post Reply
Singalphile
Posts: 903
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:46 pm

Pledges of Allegiance

Post by Singalphile » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:50 am

There is a little bit of discussion about the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance in this Awanas thread. I couldn't find a pledge of allegiance thread, and that Awanas thread doesn't seem like the best place to focus on it.
I (Singalphile) wrote:
I read/understand the pledge like so:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, on the condition that it is one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

I would* have no problem saying it with that understanding. That is probably the way it was meant to be understood, I guess. I could say it about any country that I chose to have citizenship in.
darinhouston responded:
darinhouston
A serious question -- do you truly believe the U.S. to be a nation under God and having liberty and justice for all ? If not, then words don't mean anything -- what you mean in that case would be "I don't pledge allegiance, but I would if it were..." -- if so, then that's a sham pledge and so why pledge at all?
No. Not in all areas. When and where it does not meet that standard, then I could* withhold allegiance without breaking my pledge. It's a conditional, true statement of intent, not blind allegiance. I never considered that people might think that that's insincere ("sham-ful"). Good to know.

I don't know how else to interpret the words, though. If I understood it to be an unconditional pledge with a description (often false) just tacked on the end for no particular reason, then I suppose I wouldn't say it. (Is that how it's interpreted?) It would be a sham in that case.

Why pledge? If I were to say it again, I would be* pledging to obey the spirit and letter of the law, but also stating that my overriding allegiance/obligations are to God and liberty and justice. A pledge doesn't have to be unconditional to be meaningful, I think.

General question: Do non-U.S. states/countries (perhaps yours) have a similar kind of pledge?

* Edited: Due to apparent misunderstandings, I edited these sentences in order to make it clear that I haven't said the pledge in many years, and I may never say it again for all I know or care.
Last edited by Singalphile on Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:00 am, edited 2 times in total.
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

User avatar
AaronBDisney
Posts: 98
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:13 am

Re: Pledges of Allegiance

Post by AaronBDisney » Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:21 am

In recent years I've tended to stand with my hand on my heart and my mouth shut during corporate pledges of allegiance to the USA. I may be mistaken, but my assumption is that allegiance is an undivided devotion to a person or entity. I don't mind pledging that to God, but if I also pledge allegiance to the state, I back myself into the corner of almost inevitably needing to break one of the two pledges. I don't know that this would necessarily have been true several decades ago (I guess it depends on your view of Christians in battle because of a draft), but I think it would be an extreme risk now, unless a pledge is something you consider to not be a serious matter when broken. And if so, why pledge at all, if it seems such an easily disposed of thing anyway?

Singalphile
Posts: 903
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:46 pm

Re: Pledges of Allegiance

Post by Singalphile » Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:13 pm

If that's how you interpret the sentence - as requiring undivided devotion regardless of whether the republic is "under God ... with liberty and justice for all" - then I would not want or expect you to say it. I wouldn't either if that's how I understood it.

But as I do understand it (as previously stated), I have no problem with it, and I don't intend or expect to break it. God wants us to obey and be subject to the governing authorities and pay our taxes and such, so it's in line with what God wants anyway, I think.

However, I will try to keep in mind that some people might interpret the pledge differently.
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

User avatar
darinhouston
Posts: 2232
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:45 am

Re: Pledges of Allegiance

Post by darinhouston » Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:26 pm

Granted, but to my mind, the language is so clear that it's hard to honestly see it that way. It sure strikes me as a firm commitment followed by a statement about the perceived reality, not a condition on the prior statement -- if it meant otherwise, it would have been REALLY easy to have worded it so.

Singalphile
Posts: 903
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:46 pm

Re: Pledges of Allegiance

Post by Singalphile » Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:24 pm

darinhouston:
Granted, but to my mind, the language is so clear that it's hard to honestly see it that way. It sure strikes me as a firm commitment followed by a statement about the perceived reality, not a condition on the prior statement -- if it meant otherwise, it would have been REALLY easy to have worded it so.
Well, the last clause doesn't mean anything by itself without adding extra words to join it with the first part. So I guess when you say it (if you say it), you might mean:

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, [which is] one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

If my meaning was not the intended meaning of it, then fine. There's no right or wrong, as far as I'm concerned. I know what I mean by it. It doesn't matter to me what other people mean by it.

Maybe I'll write it out and have some friends/family fill in the missing words there to see what they mean by it.

To be clear, I'm not at all a fan of it. It's kind of pointless, in my opinion. I looked up Canada. They have an oath or pledge, but I think it's only used for swearing in politician's and military enlistees. I would just as soon drop ours. Romans 13 is my pledge of allegiance, which is actually a stronger command (though it's assumed that there are conditions and limits, I'm sure).
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

User avatar
Paidion
Posts: 5027
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:22 pm
Location: Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Pledges of Allegiance

Post by Paidion » Sat Jun 01, 2013 7:22 pm

I pledge allegiance to the Lamb
With all my strength
With all I am
I will seek to honor His command
I pledge allegiance to the Lamb.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 82.

User avatar
AaronBDisney
Posts: 98
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:13 am

Re: Pledges of Allegiance

Post by AaronBDisney » Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:44 pm

Can you not be devoted to the best for your country without pledging allegiance to it?

User avatar
darinhouston
Posts: 2232
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:45 am

Re: Pledges of Allegiance

Post by darinhouston » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:21 pm

Do you think Jesus would have made such a pledge of allegiance to Rome ?

thrombomodulin
Posts: 431
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 6:59 am

Re: Pledges of Allegiance

Post by thrombomodulin » Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:43 am

I would like to ask what would motivate anyone to say the pledge their allegiance to "united states of america" (I understand this to be a reference to the current federal government), and "the people for which it stands" (I understand this to be the ~300 million people who live in its jurisdiction? Neither of these seem to me to represent persons or entities that I should oblige myself to show favoritism to over other persons and entities that exist in this world. If, on the other hand, I am not showing favoritism to one side or the other in any dispute, then what other meaning could the pledge possibly have?

The pledge leaves undefined what is expected of those who are committing to support these entities, with the exception of the US being "indivisible". Do you wish to commit to the idea that the union is indivisible? This might be hypothetical at the moment, but it has not always been so, and will likely not always remain so. Those who affirmed the nation was indivisible in the 1860's brought about the death and destruction of many. In my opinion, if a State wants to leave the union they should be free to do so peacefully. One of the reasons I find the pledge objectionable is that I do not wish to compel others to remain in the union. Am I misunderstanding what the pledge is calling for here?

User avatar
Candlepower
Posts: 239
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:26 pm
Location: Missouri

Re: Pledges of Allegiance

Post by Candlepower » Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:52 pm

thrombomodulin wrote:The pledge leaves undefined what is expected of those who are committing to support these entities, with the exception of the US being "indivisible". Do you wish to commit to the idea that the union is indivisible? This might be hypothetical at the moment, but it has not always been so, and will likely not always remain so. Those who affirmed the nation was indivisible in the 1860's brought about the death and destruction of many. In my opinion, if a State wants to leave the union they should be free to do so peacefully. One of the reasons I find the pledge objectionable is that I do not wish to compel others to remain in the union.
As usual, thrombomodulin, your comments are insightful and on-target.

Here are a few things I have learned about the Pledge of Allegience:

1) It was composed in 1892 by a socialist Baptist minister named Francis Bellamy. This is how it originally read: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

2) True to his socialist dogma, Bellamy had initially considered using the slogan of the diabolical French Revolution, “Liberty, equality and fraternity.”

3) The pledge has been modified four times since socialist Bellamy introduced it.

4) Both Francis Bellamy and his brother Edward were Socialists. Edward wrote the famous book, Looking Backward, published in 1888, which was a utopian vision of America “relieved of its social ills through abandonment of the principle of competition and establishment of state ownership of industry.”

5) The pledge was written only a few years after the “War Between the States,” which, I think, accounts for the word “indivisible.” The war was a national tragedy in many ways, and the triumph of the doctrine of indivisibility was one of them. The pledge embodies the collectivist principle of centralization of power in the hands of elitist planners, and of uniform submission to that power by the masses. It is the chant of the ant hill.

6) The National Education Association (long an advocate of compulsory state indoctrination of children) helped promote Bellamy’s seemingly innocent little covenant with the state.

7) Francis Bellamy not only devised the pledge, he also designed a salute to go with it. Appropriately, it was known as “The Bellamy Salute.” Take a look at these pictures of American school children giving the Bellamy Salute.


Image

Image

And here's one of German kids giving the Bellamy Salute...I mean, the Hitler Salute.

Image

Look familiar? Coincidence? Perhaps. But then Hitler, like the Bellamy brothers (not the currently popular singing duo), was a socialist, too. The Bellamy boys dreamed of and worked for a socialist utopia in America. A few decades later, a like-minded socialist named Hitler achieved one in Germany. He fastened State control on the economy. His vision was evil, and the Nazi utopia was a nightmare.

8) In 1940, the Supreme Court ruled that students in the “Land of the Free” could be forced to swear the pledge. Sanely, that ruling was reversed three years later.

9) The US declared war on Germany on December 11, 1941. On December 22, 1942, “Preacher” Bellamy’s salute was discontinued for the obvious reason that it looked very much like the Nazi salute. So, during most of the year 1942, while Germans were raising the Hitler salute to signal devotion to Germany, Americans were raising the Hitler-like Bellamy salute to signal devotion to America. Since December 1942, Americans place their hands over their hearts while vowing to support the American state. Precious little difference, I think.

10) The US Congress officially recognized the Pledge on June 22, 1942.

11) Congress, many other government entities, and many private organizations open their meetings by reciting the Pledge. All but five states give time for the pledge to be recited as part of the school day.

How many hundreds of times I ignorantly chanted The Pledge as a schoolboy and as an adult! I can no longer in good conscience recite it. I am thankful I live in America. I have a special fondness for the Constitution (notice The Pledge says nothing of it). But I will not vow my allegiance to it either. I agree with Paidion. My allegiance is to the risen Christ and His Kingdom, and not to the kingdom of fallen man.
Paidion wrote:I pledge allegiance to the Lamb
With all my strength
With all I am
I will seek to honor His command
I pledge allegiance to the Lamb.
For more information, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pledge_of_Allegiance

Post Reply

Return to “Ethics”