On the Pledge

This post was published in Issue 1 of The Huntingtonian on September 21st, 2006.

Please rise to recite the pledge of alleigance.

I refuse.

Pledging alleigance (read: adherence, devotion, obedience) to the flag is easy. We’ve all done it a number of times, probably since grade school. Like many of the creeds or prayers we say in church it’s easy to go through the motions and not put thought into the implications behind what we are saying.

What we are saying is that we devote ourselves to the flag; what is the flag? The flag stands for America and everything America stands for. Do you agree with everything America stands for? “We” stand for: imperialism, an economy for the wealthy, unacceptable health plans, and a bipartisan and divided country.

Don’t call me a pessimist. This country can be great and I’m blessed to live here. But I don’t have to give my alleigance to the whole thing.

In regards to the religous implications of the phrase “Under God” that may evoke pride in one’s country among many Christians, I question the history behind the phrase. Before this turns into another piece on the constitutional security of such a phrase, keep in mind that it wasn’t added until the fifties during the communist scares – the words were added to draw a distinct religous line between America and the “evil Muscovites.” Do these words really qualify the pledge to such unwavering devotion, or are they only shameless political propaganda?

Don’t take my opinions as an attack on your own beliefs or fath (however misguided) in this country. Still, to those willing to consider: you are allowed to live in a country yet not devote ignorant or unwarranted trust to it. Please, if you feel you need to: rise, put your hand to your heart, and recite those words we all know so well.

I’ll stay put.

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2 thoughts on “On the Pledge

  1. This was originally published in “Letters to the Editor” of Issue 2 of The Huntingtonian.

    Dear Editor,

    Having had experience as the head of a high school newspaper, I understand the difficulty of bringing together a large group of people with differing ideals and convictions to make a successful publication. I was impressed by your first issue of “The Huntingtonian” and I am looking forward to reading more in the future.

    There was one article that drew my attention moreso than any of the others. Ryan Imel’s “I pledge allegiance…or not” was probably the most intriguing article of the entire paper.

    I must say that, although I do not hold Mr. Imel’s particular views, I completely respect his decision to not pledge allegiance to the flag. This country was founded upon the ideal that the spirit of man is not bound by a principality but to the Law laid on man’s hearts by the Creator God. If that means that one feels he should not pledge allegiance to a flag, a nation, a man or anything else, then he is entitled and brings no judgement upon himself for believing so and acting upon this belief.

    I did, however, find myself grossly offended by the statement, “Don’t take my opinions as an attack on your own beliefs or faith (however misguided) in this country” (emphasis mine).

    Those two words and accompanying parantheses turned this article from an excellent demonstration of the freedoms granted to us by the Consitution to a selfrighteous attack on what I hold to be both true and good. My beliefs and my faith are based on God’s Holy Scripture, the perfect, infallible Word of the triune God. If my faith in Jesus Christ’s perfect saving grace and belief that the leaders of our nation should be honored is deemed misguided, then I will gladly bear that cross as I stand and “give to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and give to God what is God’s.”

    In Christ,

    Peter Owens

  2. This was originally published in “Letters to the Editor” of Issue 2 of The Huntingtonian.

    Dear Editor:

    Ryan Imel raises some good points in his last article. I would like to commend him for taking a probably unpopular view about the pledge of allegiance. Imel does not believe in saying the pledge of allegiance because it is a pledge to a nation devoted to “imperialism…economy for the wealthy, unacceptable health plans and a bipartisan and divided country.”

    I agree. You also forgot that we as a country have some major racial issues, are largely homophobic and seem bent on taking over as much territory as possible. I agree, we are an ugly nation. However, I do not agree with Imel’s conclusion. I will continue to say the pledge of allegiance even though it represents slavery and unacceptable health plans.

    The problems you bring up in the United States are not only the problems of the United States. They are your problems and they are my problems and they are humanity’s problems. Christianity makes clear all of us are sinners and sin controls many of our actions. Playing Jeremiah is easy, and it is easy to condemn, saying,

    “They have grown fat, and they are sleek…they do not plead the cause of the fatherless… and the right of the needy they do not defend.” Should it be a surprise that a nation of sinners has done evil? It is not to be proud of sin or to defend it. However, you set yourself outside of the United States, and dismiss it without engaging its problems. I do not think it is possible to change the problems our country faces without engaging them.

    You can not change a country from the outside, from a pristine environment. Yes, the United States is messy. And I will still pledge allegiance to my country, not because of my misguided faith in the United States, but rather because I have pondered the implications of the words I am saying.

    It’s fun to play the prophet in the wilderness, but change must come from work on the inside. So I pledge allegiance to the United States, not supporting all of its policies or its past, but the future that I hope we can create for the United States.

    William Braun

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