Monday, March 24, 2008

I Pledge Allegiance...

Well, several legislators in the Idaho House, as well as the the Idaho Values Alliance, certainly outdid themselves by whining and complaining that Press Corps. members who didn't recite the Pledge of Allegiance should not only have their loyalty questioned but were then advised to not be present while the pledge was recited. See more at Fort Boise "Calculated Malice", the Mountain Goat Report "Of Kerfuffles", and the unequivocal notion "Bryan Fischer's Readers". The first time through I missed Jill's post over at NewWest Boise (sorry Jill), contained within a general post appropriately called Harebrained Absurdities at the Idaho Legislature.

This gross display of ignorance about American history cannot be forgiven just because they recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I sure as hell would like to know where in the U.S. Constitution it says, according to Idaho Values Alliance Executive Director Bryan Fischer,

“This would have been news to the Founding Fathers...since they established the political foundation of our form of government on the concept that our rights are an inalienable gift to us from the Creator. The United States was founded on a religious concept, and the Pledge is a simple way of reaffirming today the original vision of Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the Founders.” (highlighting mine).

First of all, our founding fathers came from a European background of religious harassment and persecution. They deliberately left religion out of the Constitution and only added the first amendment later on. Thus, the only place in the U.S. Constitution that refers to religion is in Article VI which states:

" religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

So much for Fischer's knowledge of U.S. history.

The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." ostensibly because two of the original thirteen states still supported having an established religion. However, Connecticut did away with that idea in 1817 and Massachusetts in 1813.

The Pledge of Allegiance wasn't even written until 1892, and the author was a Christian socialist, Francis Bellamy, who was later thrown out of his church because of his socialist values. As chairman of superintendents for the National Education Association, he helped arrange for this pledge to be recited in all the public schools. In 1923 at the National Flag Conference, the words changed from "my flag" to the "flag of the United States," and in 1924 "of America" was added. Congress officially recognized the pledge in 1945, five years after the Supreme Court mandated it be said in public schools until 1943 when the Supreme Court decided it should no longer be compulsory. It was not until 1954, pushed by a campaign of the Knights of Columbus, that Congress officially added the words "under God."

Indeed, even today students in the state of Idaho are not "...compelled... to recite the Pledge of Allegiance nor sing the national anthem." So, Bryan Fischer and his Republican friends in the legislature would be better off working on the real problems faced by the citizens of Idaho rather than revealing their own ignorance and idiocy by questioning the constitutionally correct behavior of the Idaho Press Corps.

1 comment:

The New Arch Druid's take on the news said...

I had a few things to say at "Adam's blog" when he questioned the "patriotism" of churches that refuse to pledge allegiance esp. before the flag. And simply reminded him that the bible does provide a foundation for those arguments. Such as found in the 10 commandments for example. If it is against church creed or canon to refuse to recite the pledge then there is in fact a 1st amendment right that no gvt entity can force them to do so. No legal claim that they are somehow "anti-American" if they fail to pledge. The 1st amendment grants them full favor to believe as they choose and how they will go about believing as they choose. In no way shape or form could you question loyalty on the basis of a pledge, a flag pin, or even whether people salute the flag. I would quite frankly have more heartburn over the knowledge that for all the human rights abuses that China has visited on Tibet, nonetheless, our president GW wants to attend the Olympic games. Or despite the fact that 15 of the 19 9/11/2001 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, our president GW still wants to do business with them. Actions speak louder than symbolism.