On being unapologetic


“I am an UN-APOLOGETIC AMERICAN!! I pledge allegiance to the flag of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands, one nation under GOD, indivisible, with LIBERTY and JUSTICE for all!! I grew up reciting this every morning in school. We no longer do that for…fear… of OFFENDING SOMEONE!! Let’s see how many AMERICANS will re-post this & not care about offending someone.”

I did not grow up reciting the Pledge of Alleigiance every morning in school.

I, like many of my classmates, for religious or other personal reasons, remained silent in the classroom or were forced to exit the classroom to remain in the hallway until the Pledge and “Morning Prayer” were completed, and were thus targeted for ridicule and bullying.

Many are claiming they are “unapologetic Americans” and do not care about offending someone, because they recited a version of the Pledge of Allegiance in school. Many of them are unaware (or, as they indicate, don’t care) that the Pledge they are reposting is not the original version of the Pledge and that the Pledge has changed many times in its history, most recently in the 1950sl nor do they seem to be aware that the recitation of the Pledge continues in most schools to this day. To hear them, it was banned under color of “political correctness”, but of course, facts of the matter rarely change their minds.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, who was a Baptist minister and a Christian socialist. Bellamy’s original Pledge read as follows: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The pledge was supposed to be quick and to the point. Bellamy designed it to be recited in 15 seconds. As a socialist, he had initially also considered using the words equality and fraternity but decided against it – knowing that the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and African Americans.

An early version of the salute, adopted in 1892, was known as the Bellamy salute. It started with the hand outstretched toward the flag, palm down, and ended with the palm up. Because of the similarity between the Bellamy salute and the Nazi salute, developed later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted the hand-over-the-heart gesture as the salute to be rendered by civilians during the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem in the United States, instead of the Bellamy salute.

The United States Congress officially recognized the Pledge as the official national pledge, and at the same time also removed the Bellamy salute in facor of Roosevelt’s method, on June 22, 1942: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The phrase “under God” was incorporated into the Pledge of Allegiance June 14, 1954, by a Joint Resolution of Congress amending §7 of the Flag Code enacted in 1942.

Many objections have been raised since the addition of the phrase “under God” to the Pledge in 1954 by both religious and non-religious groups. Some contend that a government requiring or promoting this phrase violates protections against the establishment of religion guaranteed in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

A bill, H.R. 2389, was introduced in Congress in 2005 which, if enacted into law, would have stripped the Supreme Court and most federal courts of the power to consider any legal challenges to government requiring or promoting of the Pledge of Allegiance. H.R. 2389 was passed by the House of Representatives in July 2006, but failed due to the Senate’s not taking it up.

Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, objected to court stripping in regards to the Pledge of Allegiance, “Today’s House adoption of the so-called “Pledge Protection Act” is a shameful effort to strip our federal courts of their ability to uphold the rights of all Americans. By removing the jurisdiction of federal courts, including the Supreme Court, from cases involving the Pledge, this legislation sets a dangerous precedent: threatening religious liberty, compromising the vital system of checks and balances upon which our government was founded, and granting Congress the authority to strip the courts’ jurisdiction on any issue it wishes. Today, the issue was the Pledge of Allegiance, but tomorrow it could be reproductive rights, civil rights, or any other fundamental concern.

In 2006, in the Florida case Frazier v. Alexandre, No. 05-81142 (S.D. Fla. May 31, 2006), a federal district court in Florida ruled that a 1942 state law requiring students to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. As a result of that decision, a Florida school district was ordered to pay $32,500 to a student who chose not to say the pledge and was ridiculed and called “unpatriotic” by a teacher.

In 2009, a Montgomery County, Maryland, teacher berated and had school police remove a 13-year-old girl who refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom. The student’s mother, assisted by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, sought and received an apology from the teacher, as state law and the school’s student handbook both prohibit students from being forced to recite the Pledge.

And yet, the bullying of people over the Pledge continues.

Being unapologetic and uncaring does not make you a better American. It makes you no better than any other bully, and frankly, moves you towards the same class of people who blow up buildings and crash airplanes to make political statements or kill people because they disagree with or otherwise offend you.

Frankly, I would much rather be known for supporting The American’s Creed. The American’s Creed is the national creed of the United States of America, written in 1917 by William Tyler Page as an entry into a patriotic contest. It was adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives April 3, 1918.

“I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.

I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.”

— William Tyler Page, The American’s Creed

(This piece quotes text from Wikipedia.org in several places.)