In 1892, Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and Christian Socialist, wrote the Pledge of Allegiance as an expression of his socialist ideals. Oh my. The pledge is socialist. Originally, it read: “I pledge allegiance to my flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” I can only surmise that the last phrase was a hope of Bellamy’s; it most surely wasn’t true.
In 1892, former slaves were lynched for even minor transgressions of the separatists practices that were so prevalent in this country. Looking at a white woman, failure to pay due deference to whites and registering to vote could cost a black person his life. Native Americans wasted away in prison camps called reservations and were occasionally slaughtered by the U.S. Cavalry.
In 1924, over Bellamy’s objection, The National Flag Conference changed the pledge to read, “The Flag of the United States of America.” Membership in the Ku Klux Klan ballooned in the 1920s.
In 1954 Congress added the words “under God” on behest of the Knights of Columbus, as a way to distinguish the United States from the “godless communist.” It didn’t make it so. Nothing changed for many Americans who still rode in the back of the bus.
Iran is a nation under God. Their God, Allah. No other God is allowed. Iran is a theocracy not a democracy. In a democracy like ours, many people believe in the God and his son Jesus Christ we learned about in church. You can also believe in Allah, Buddha, any other God you may wish or no God at all. This is a nation of many faiths.
In 1954 women and minorities were still being denied justice. Obviously, we were not a nation under God. We still aren’t. We are too greedy, selfish, violent and ungodly.
One should ask to what God was Congress referring? I see very little evidence that God Almighty has much influence on Congress. If He did, they would be working on things like feeding the poor and healing the sick, instead of trumping up scandals. In 1954 many of these so-called God-fearing congressmen came from states where the blacks were routinely prevented from voting, little black boys and girls were denied an equal education, and most everything was separate and unequal. God Almighty didn’t condone that.
This nation has one of the highest murder rates of all developed nations. Our children are massacred in their schools while we harbor insane people who believe their man-given right to own a gun is God-given, and is more important than the life of any child. Far too many fools worship the gun almighty instead of God Almighty. “One nation under God,” you say.
Many folks, if not most, believe money is the root of all things good and wonderful — not the root of all evil. Terrorism, murder and mayhem throughout the world is financed with the money Americans spend on illegal drugs which we stubbornly refuse to legalize and save thousands of lives.
“One nation under God,” you say. Not hardly, I say. “We aren’t perfect,” you say. No, we aren’t.
We can be better. We must see to it that all little children are fed and medically attended too, get a handle on our violent tendencies, save our planet, treat everyone equally and work on our other shortcomings.
As long as I can remember when citing the pledge, I’ve not spoken the words “under God.” It isn’t true. Not just because this isn’t a theocracy, we don’t act like a nation under God. Saying “liberty and justice for all” is difficult enough. The word justice gets stuck in my throat. Justice in this country comes with strings attached. If you have enough money, you can get fine experienced lawyers and you just might get justice. If you can’t afford an attorney, one is appointed for you. Justice is then iffy. Justice should also mean equal pay for equal work and a fair playing field for all, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
If we’re honest, the pledge would read; “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, of many faiths, which can be better, indivisible, with liberty and justice for some.”
That’s better. I’m a fanatic for truth, justice and the American way.
It’s flag day on Friday. I’ll wave mine proudly, but honestly, making no pretense about the nation for which it stands.
Glen McAdoo, a Churchill County resident, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.