Monday, July 8, 2013

The Pledge of Allegiance

For the people who get all of your history lessons from bumper sticker-length internet memes, take note.

If you can pay attention long enough…

The children’s magazine, The Youth’s Companion, in order to help sell flags for their “schoolhouse flag movement,” hired the Socialist, Francis Bellamy to write the “Pledge of Allegiance.” The Pledge was to be part of the National Public-School Celebration of Columbus Day on the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas – an event conceived and promoted by James B. Upham, the marketer of The Youth’s Companion.

The Pledge was originally published in the September 8th issue of the magazine in 1892 and went as follows:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Francis Bellamy, being a Socialist, had originally considered adding the words “equality” and “fraternity” to the Pledge, but ultimately reconsidered knowing that the superintendents of education were against equality for women and blacks.

According to The Youth’s Companion, the proper procedure for saluting the flag is as follows:

At a signal from the Principal the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the Flag. Another signal is given; every pupil gives the flag the military salute — right hand lifted, palm downward, to a line with the forehead and close to it. Standing thus, all repeat together, slowly, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” At the words, “to my Flag,” the right hand is extended gracefully, palm upward, toward the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side.

In case you have difficulty visualizing this procedure, known as the Bellamy Salute, this is what it looked like:

The Pledge was passed into law by Congress on June 22, 1942.

The accompanying Bellamy salute was dropped during WWII, on December 22, 1942, for obvious reasons, and Congress instituted the current hand-over-heart version.

On February 12, 1948, President Lincoln’s birthday, the Chaplain of the Illinois Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Louis A. Bowman, led the Society meeting with the Pledge. He added “under God” to the Pledge saying it was because the words were from the Gettysburg address. (Although most manuscript versions of Lincoln’s speech do not contain “under God,” reporters’ transcripts of the speech do. It is believed Lincoln improvised while making the speech when he came to this part: "that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom.")

In 1951, the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization began adding “under God” to their recitations of the pledge. They eventually adopted a resolution for it to be the official pledge throughout Knights of Columbus organizations nationwide. Copies of the resolution were sent to the President, Vice President, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Representative Louis C. Rabaut of Michigan sponsored a resolution to add the words "under God" to the Pledge in 1953.

On February 7, 1954, in the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church celebrating Lincoln’s birthday on the closest Sunday to, President Eisenhower listened to pastor George MacPherson Docherty deliver a sermon based on the Gettysburg Address titled "A New Birth of Freedom." He argued in his sermon that the Pledge’s sentiments could be that of any nation and that Lincoln’s words “under God” were the defining words that set the United States of America apart from other nations. Eisenhower, baptized a Presbyterian just the year before, responded enthusiastically.

The next day, Representative Charles Oakman (R-Mich.), introduced a bill to add “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance and Congress passed it. Eisenhower signed it into law on Flag Day, June 14, 1954 stating, "From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty.... In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource, in peace or in war."

The phrase "under God" was incorporated into the Pledge of Allegiance June 14, 1954, by a Joint Resolution of Congress amending subsection 4 of the Flag Code enacted in 1942. The Knights of Columbus are credited as having initiated the amendment.

That’s right, Christians added “under God” to America’s socialist Pledge of Allegiance sixty-two years after it was originally written in order to distinguish the United States from “Godless Communist Russia.” Go, ‘Merica! Of course, let’s not forget it was originally written to promote corporate profits for flag manufacturers.

To everyone who keeps bitching that we have taken the Pledge out of schools – we have not. The Pledge is still recited in schools in every state except these five: Hawaii, Iowa, Oklahoma, Vermont and Wyoming. And even in those states it is not forbidden; there simply isn’t time allotted to its recitation. Stop manufacturing bullshit persecution complexes – for absolutely no fucking reason. To Christians who bitch that there is a war on Christianity – you are mistaking the freedom to practice your religion with not being able to force your religion upon everyone. And remember – Christmas is still the ONLY government-sanctioned holiday.

So, fuck off.

I’m pretty sure that mindlessly reciting a loyalty oath in school or at sporting events has little to do with my actual level of patriotism. I’m also pretty sure that not having a flag sticker on my bumper or not flying a flag on my porch also has little to do with just how patriotic I happen to be. I’m not so insecure in my beliefs that I feel the need to verbally and visually punch you in the face with them repeatedly. YOU’RE NOT WEARING A LAPEL FLAG PIN? WHY DO YOU HATE ‘MERICA?!

Nor do I believe that simply reciting “under God” will defeat the USSR.

Ronald Reagan did that all by himself using his super-de-duper outer space laser missile platform. (Of course, it was Nancy’s astrologer who told him it was a good idea.)

Fuck off again.

It’s not our hollow Facebook posts (Pray For The Victims!) or our meaningless yellow ribbon magnets (Support Our Troops!) or our recitation of inane loyalty oaths (The Pledge of Allegiance) that add value to our existence. No. It’s actually doing something. Donating your time or your money to help those in need. Actively working to better the world we live in. With no expectation of reciprocation. That’s the measure of a person.

And paying taxes. I can’t think of anything less patriotic than political special interest groups applying for and receiving 501c(4) status. Except for billion-dollar profit corporations not paying any taxes while also getting government welfare. Why help poor people when we can hand out millions more in taxpayer money to people who are already multi-millionaires?

Fuck off once more.

You’re no more patriotic than me. In fact, you’re probably a little bit less.

The pledge is fine. Say it all you want. Just knock off the fucking pointless persecution bullshit.

Good day.

P.S. – And you uneducated fucktards in the South waving that stars and bars flag around? Yeah, that is LITERALLY the traitorous flag of a failed insurrection against the United States of America. You really can’t display a more unpatriotic and anti-American sentiment. Assholes.

P.P.S. – Oh, and about that flag…

You toothless dipshits don't even know the correct flag you're trying to celebrate treason with.

*****     *****

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