Amun-Ra : Pledge of Allegiance

Discussion in 'Amun-Ra' started by Amun-Ra, Jun 28, 2002.

  1. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is an unconstitutional "endorsement of religion" because of the addition of the phrase "under God" in 1954 by Congress. Citing a concurring opinion in a Supreme Court decision, the 9th Circuit said, "The Pledge, as currently codified, is an impermissible government endorsement of religion because it sends a message to unbelievers 'that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community.'"

    Although there is great outrage at the decision which will more than likely be over turned, it indeed may be the proper decision especially considering the religious and non-religious makeup of the United States now. When Congress approved the addition in 1954, the United States was neck deep in the great “godless communist” scare.

    I was in grade school when “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” became “one nation under God.” Francis Bellamy wrote the original Pledge of Allegiance on Columbus Day in 1892. His original Pledge read as follows: 'I pledge allegiance to my Flag and (to*) the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. *added in October of 1892

    It contained no reference to God. Nearly 60 years later, in 1951, a Catholic organization, the Knights of Columbus adopted a resolution to amend the Pledge of Allegiance by the addition of the words "Under God" after the words "one nation". The following year, the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus sent copies of the resolution to the President, Vice President, Speaker of the House, and to each member of both Houses of Congress. Following that, both Houses of Congress adopted a resolution introduced by Congressman Louis C. Rabaut of Michigan. In June of 1954, an amendment was made to add the words "under God".

    This was not the first time the Pledge was changed. In 1923 and 1924 the National Flag Conference, under the 'leadership of the American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution, changed the Pledge's words, 'my Flag,' to 'the Flag of the United States of America.' Bellamy disliked this change, but his protest was ignored. Now the pledge reads as follows: 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 remember 1954 as being infested with Communists and threats of Communism. Joe McCarthy was alive and well, and was persecuting anyone who didn’t agree with his stances on Communism, including writers such as Richard Wright, author of “Black Boy.” Many black artists, activists and dignitaries found themselves being “black-balled” from work. Many left the country and lived in France where life was much simpler than in the charged racial inequity of that time.

    Liberty and Justice were hard to come by in the United States for any black person during those years and any pledge made by any blackperson at that time had to hedged by the reality that white folks were still lynching blacks, judges pretended that most blacks were lawless and Negroes, as we were known at that time, could get a professional job in the United States. Undestanding that should make it clear that any pledge to this country was a hedged bet.

    Still, as a youngster, the change in the Pledge had little significance to me other than as an irritant when I tried to remember to insert the new words in the pledge I had only recently memorized. That was years ago and frankly, I knew it better then than I do now. After the fourth grade it stopped being the lead-in for the school day. Besides, Catholic kids had mountains of prayers to regurgitate before starting catechism classes.

    It was a non-issue for me because I had no reason to remember it until I started writing a book that included a section on the historical separation of church and state upon which this nation was founded despite claims to the contrary. As much as some Christians would like to believe this country was founded as a Christian country, its founding fathers were mostly Deists.

    What is a Deist? Basically, a Deist believes in a supernatural being or presence in the world, but denies the divinity of Jesus Christ and rejects the stories of the Bible as fables. George Washington was a Unitarian, while Madison, Adams and Jefferson were Deists. It makes perfect sense that the United States was not founded as a Christian nation because of the history of the writers of the Constitution. Jefferson, Madison and Monroe all had first hand knowledge of the excesses of religion, especially the Church of England which was the official state religion of England.

    Many people came to the New World to escape the religious tyranny of the state sponsored Church of England. Like most religious states today such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, other religions outside of the Church of England were not tolerated. Intolerance led to the persecution of protestant sects which included murder. The government and the church were the same in the old world. It was this intolerance and proclivity for persecution that the founding fathers wanted to avoid, thus the separation of church and state.

    Under the division of church and state both entities are protected from the excesses of each other. The government is not permitted to favor one religion over another religion or to form its own religion. It cannot shape church policy, practices or programs unless the church runs afoul the civil law. This division also keeps the church out of government and provides protection of the government from ancient dogma, outdated tradition and in some cases, superstition.

    Today there is a cry from conservatives to put more religion in just about everything, but it is a temptation that must be avoided. By the last count, the United States is an overwhelmingly Christian country, although that is starting to change as Islam and other religions are beginning to grow. Nevertheless, a majority of Americans claim to be Christians.

    A short glance at history will show disproportionate violence and intolerance connected with religious backed governments. Often human rights, civil rights and individual rights are lost to the religious government that becomes the dole arbiter of right and wrong.

    I would be glad to see the Pledge return to its original state. One nation under God may strike some as profound, but to me it takes away from the pledge by adding an element of uncertaintywith its supernatural reference. Left as it originated, the pledge had positive power and was all inclusive without meaning to be, as I am certain that when it was written “liberty and justice for all” only referred to white males, but despite that, the pledge was well-done and needed no doctoring except for the addition of the word “to”.

    By the end of next month, the adulterated version of the Pledge will be back in place and no one will ever know the difference, but just as the pledge probably wasn’t intended to give “liberty and justice” for all blacks in the United States, being one nation “under God” hasn’t had much affect either. Besides, I don’t have to stand in front of Father Barry anymore and recite the Pledge, so it will pass back into the back portions of my memory where it serves as fodder for debate.




    ;)


    Let's wrestle with this one
     
  2. Joyce

    Joyce Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    They may remove Him from the schools,
    They may remove Him from the courts.
    But never, will they remove Him
    From the hearts of His people.

    This is where His throne is...in the hearts.
    No amount of unbelief can wash away
    His memory or His essence.
    For God reigns supreme...in the hearts of His people.

    Pull the Ten Commandments down from the wall.
    Still the most wicked sinner will hear His call.
    Put Him out of the schools,
    Still He will give insight to hardened fools.

    When morning comes
    And you refuse to bow your knee,
    He will still give you breath,
    That He may hear your plea.

    And when the voice of His people
    Can no longer be heard,
    His Spirit will fall on the rocks,
    And they will preach His word.

    He is magnificient in all that he do,
    Yet he humbled Himself to nothing,
    To make a 'something' out of you.

    What a love...what a great love.
    For the the joy that was set before Him,
    He endured the pain of the cross.
    Just to have you and me for eternity,
    Was worth the torturous cost.

    Let them try and remove Him,
    They will see it can't be done.
    For who can remove such a love
    As Jesus Christ...God's Son. :)
     
  3. dbaraka

    dbaraka Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I do believe in God,but I understand why the founding fathers wanted to keep the government and religion separate.Everywhere in the world where religion has gotten involved with politics there have been problems(CHRISTIAN,MUSLIM,HINDU,JEWS,ETC).Does anyone remember the Salem witch trials,or the Spanish inquisition.You teach religion in Sunday school,church,and home.School is about education.(the three r's).Peace
     
  4. Joyce

    Joyce Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    That may be the case for religion and in that case I agree, but when it comes to God Himself...we should not try and keep Him out of anything. He is the source of all knowledge and all wisdom. How can the courts operate without his wisdom...the ten commandments. How can children acquire knowledge unless they recieve it from the very source who brought it into to being as we know it. He is the Master Scientist, the Master Mathematician...He is the judge and His ten commandments are tokens of righteousness that we may all live wisely.
     
  5. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Keep Who Out?

    It seems to me that an all-powerful being can be where he, she or it wants to be and we have little say in the matter. Seriously, mixing government and religion has been a recipe for disaster for centuries. The Crusades, the Inquisition, Salem, the War in Sudan, Ireland, India, etc. For me the pledge was a grade school listing that more or less stuck with me. However, as a black man in this country I must say that this this country has not always been kind to me or mine, regardless if God was in the pledge or not. Any black person who recites the pledge must in the back of their mind have just a little "speed bump" our thoughts roll over. Granted, this in my opinion is the greatest nation on earth. We have our problems, but I would not trade them for anyone elses, but that doesn't mean that I leave anything unquestioned, especially how this country has treated those of darker skin colors. Nor do I leave the existence of God unquestioned. A God who cannot withstand or tolerate examination is not worthy of the name. Religion and government should be kept far away from each other as possible. We have families. The family should teach and enforce beliefs if they believe them to be important. Churches teach relgion. Religion should be in the home and for those who seek it they should go to those places to find it.

    RA

    ;)
     
  6. Joyce

    Joyce Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    You said: It seems to me that an all-powerful being can be where he, she or it wants to be and we have little say in the matter. Seriously, mixing government and religion has been a recipe for disaster for centuries. The Crusades, the Inquisition, Salem, the War in Sudan, Ireland, India, etc. For me the pledge was a grade school listing that more or less stuck with me. However, as a black man in this country I must say that this this country has not always been kind to me or mine, regardless if God was in the pledge or not. (end of quote)

    You are right, God can be where He wants to be. He is all that. Man for centuries has tried to get rid of His presence on earth via the cover of lies...even to the point of feeding those who believed, to lions. God has withstood all examination, even as He hung on the cross in human flesh. Seriously, I don't think the Pledge is a recipe for disaster, despite the fact that as you said, it has not always represented us. I agree with you, that this country has not (and still isn't) always been kind. However, change is taking place, though slow it may be.

    I also agree with you that religion should be kep far away from government. However, God is another thing. How can you "truthfully" teach science or math and then tell children, there is no God. Sure as a teacher, I can just act like He doesn't exist...but is that teaching truth...or is it a cover of deceit? Again, as I said earlier...we cannot place God under a cover of lies. We only hurt ourselves.

    I too examined the validity of God. He gives us that freedom, thus we are not robots. However, we see through a dark glass and go the rest of the way by faith...ahhh the power of faith, hope and love.
     
  7. Thandiwe

    Thandiwe Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I dont believe in "God"

    I don't pledge the allegience nor do i sing the american national anthem.

    I have a problems with the pledge, for one, america still has not lived up to the purpose.

    secondly, it forces me to make allegience to the concept of their "god". i do not have the same images or beliefs in "god" as our founding fathers and other responsible for shaping this country.

    i actually don't think need to go about preaching about "god". whatever your relationship with the "higher being" (which i do believe in, be it the just the universe) it is a personal relationship. I feel that one person's ways of worshipping shouldn't infringe upon the rights of others.

    especially in the wake of 9/11. america has a problem of thinking we are the almighty. that shows when the president and other leaders took to stating "god bless america". that to me, was like wishing hell upon others of different religions besides christianity.

    all religions have different taking on hell, heaven, and those who qualify for those spots. again, i think religion is one the most destructive tools in bringing peace and unity amongst us all.
     
  8. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The Pledge

    As you say, we have not lived up to all that is implied in that pledge--I cannot think of another place that I would rather live than here, but HERE got problems--of course as far as God is concerned, I don't have any belief in the God of the Bible, Koran, Pentatuch, etc. These are the same petty tyrants who once were named Zeus, Odin, Thor, Vishnu, etc. They tend to be the gods of the gaps. They show up for extraordinary events and then disappear.

    But back to the pledge. I see no reason to put God in the pledge, especially since it wasn't there in the first place. In 1954, Joseph McCarthy was on a "red" hunt and smelled communists under every rock. At that time communism was associated with "godlessness", so what a covenient peice of propaganda to add that "under God" to our pledge.

    It has no place in the pledge, no place in our schools and I am not certain that it even has a place in this world considering all the damage that has been done in their names. Of course, that's another discussion and one that I would tackle gleefully. The pledge as it stands violates the concept of the division of church and state. Contrary to popular belief, the founders of this country were not Christians. At best they were Deists which is a far cry from a Christian.

    The Treaty of Tripoli
    Signed by John Adams

    As the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims] ... it is declared ... that no pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever product an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries....
    The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation.
    -- Treaty of Tripoli (1797), the English version of which was carried unanimously by the Senate, signed into law by John Adams, and translated into Arabic (the original language is by Joel Barlow, U.S. Consul)


    No way were are a nation founded on Christianity, but as I said that is another argument.

    Ra

    :heart:
     
  9. Thandiwe

    Thandiwe Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    i agree...

    i had some other ranting here but lost it when i tried to post.

    but in short, i do agree. religion should not be in our schools or government. it does not respect those who have different beliefs.

    what is your opinion on school vouchers and them being used mostly in private, religious schools?
     
  10. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    This is a Tough One!

    Vouchers for use in private schools is a tough nut because of the probelms we have in our public schools. Normally, I would say no to any such move, but I have seen the schools and they leave a lot to be desired. Are all of them like that--of course not, but I cannot fault someone with wanting a better and safer education for their child.

    However, I can fault them for not helping to make public schools more accountable, more learning enabled and more responsive to student needs. When we we say private school, let's call it what it is--religious schools. The majority of these private schools are Catholic and other Christian denominations. The education tends to be better across the board at these schools as far as some learning is concerned, but it is not all better. Religious schools have a down side and that down side is what is can do to that religion. I know that Catholic school ruined many a budding Catholic, but the education was top flight.

    Mixing dogma with thinking is dangerous to religion and secularity because it adds unnecessary to confusion to both. Should we pay for them vouchers? No! Should we provide our children with top flight, safe educations? Yes! This is the crux of the problem. So far, public education seems to be sinking lower and lower and for a variety of reasons and chief among them is the inability to draw sufficient teaching talent to the places where it is needed most. Notmany volunteer for the ghetto. Does that make it right? No. But, it is realty.

    I'm for kids getting a good education. To prevent this mixing of the secular with the sacred we need to "vouch" some of that money toward improving the schools we have, solving the education problems we have and working to make our public schools reflect our commitment to education, otherwise the voucher will rule.

    I will not send my kid to a substandard school. However, I also will not have them indoctrinated into relgion either. It is a difficult subject to discuss rationally and requires much more space and time than I have here, but feel free to contact me any time at my e-mail address.


    Ra

    ;)
     
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