America’s Worst Pastime*: The Pledge of Allegiance

*I’m glad I said arguably the last time I used this title because this definitely takes the crown.

Imagine going to a foreign country and visiting its schools to get a sense of the country’s culture. Now, further imagine that, before class every day, all of the students across the country simultaneously stood up, posed uniformly, thoughtlessly acknowledged God’s existence, and expressed slavish devolution to their country. This sounds quite reflective of a totalitarian culture, doesn’t it?

Well, unfortunately this occurs every day in almost every school in the United States when the Pledge of Allegiance is recited.  There have been and continue to be many legal battles surrounding the pledge, but I will not delve into them. Suffice it to say, the Pledge of Allegiance is an abomination and Americans should be ashamed that many school children are coerced into reciting it blindly every day. What first-grader knows what “indivisible” means or even “allegiance” for that matter? By the time children get to an age where they can actually comprehend the Pledge’s meaning, they have been so accustomed to saying it that they don’t think twice before reciting it on queue. A Christian Socialist minister, Francis Bellamy, initially authored the pledge and it shows: Children are forced to worship their country independently of what they think. The picture on the left is an appalling depiction of the Bellamy salute, which looks remarkably similar to the Hitler salute, the picture on the right.

The act of saying the pledge is contradictory to itself: The Pledge praises liberty, yet encourages conformity. A country that needs a Pledge is a country whose ideals are lacking, a country that promotes intolerance, racism, or thoughtless nationalism. The only way these types of ideals could be promoted is without thought. But, the United States has meaningful ideals: If a country is so proud of its ideals, why do people need to be coerced to express their loyalty towards those ideals? Aren’t the ideals enough?


6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dan on July 8, 2009 at 11:38 PM

    if you read the wikipedia articles you took the pictures from, you will see that the salute predates Nazism (and we changed our salute after the Nazis adopted theirs) …


    • Posted by Dan on July 8, 2009 at 11:39 PM

      (knowledge of which was the result of wikipedia searches before i completed reading your post)


    • Posted by Josh on July 8, 2009 at 11:45 PM

      I’m well aware the Bellamy salute predates the Hitler salute. My point was not that the Bellamy salute was based on the Hitler salute; that would make no sense given the time gap. Rather, I’m implying that the similarity to the Hitler salute is reflective of the fact that the Pledge (and its accompanying salute) is suited for totalitarianism and uniformity, not democracy and liberty.


      • Your point about the Pledge and nazism is right on the mark. Neo-nazis on wikipedia delete the whole story so that even wakipedia won’t reveal it. The Pledge WAS the origin of the salute adopted later by the National Socialist German Workers Party. It was NOT an ancient Roman salute. The Bellamys were self-proclaimed national socialists long before the NSDAP was created and the Bellamy dogma influenced the NSDAP dogma, symbols and rituals (e.g. robotic chanting to flags et cetera). See the work of the historian Dr. Rex Curry (author of “Pledge of Allegiance Secrets”).


  2. […] “Oh yeah” or make odd doglike sounds and the audience would blindly repeat after him. Just as I don’t like how the Pledge reflects conformity, I don’t like the mentality of mass obedience this sort of behavior represents. Suffice it to […]


  3. […] property are sometimes permitted, and many public schools recite a pledge (a pledge, I should note, that I’m not a fan of) calling the U.S. a nation “under […]


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