Here We Go Again

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Will the left and right never stop bickering over the most meaningless political distractions?

A liberal judge rules that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance are "unconstitutional," and it’s pandemonium on right-wing talk radio. Quick! To the barricades! The pinkos are at the gates, ready to conquer. It will not be long before Old Glory’s white and blue will be purged, leaving only the commie red. Today we lose the Pledge to the anti-Americans, tomorrow we lose America.

Most lefties, of course, respond with comparable hysteria. Hooray for the ruling that "under God" violates the First Amendment! So long as American kids pledge their allegiance to a state with no explicit relationship to religion, we are a free and rational country! Let this Cold War relic remain, and theocracy will prevail, soon followed by witch-hunts, inquisitions and crusades of all sorts.

This is a distraction within a distraction within a distraction. Whether or not "under God" is in the Pledge or not, the Pledge itself is a monstrosity. Why should American children be instructed to pledge allegiance to the government? The Pledge, penned by proto-national socialist Francis Bellamy, who did not include a mention of God in the original version although he fancied himself a Christian, fit nicely with his agenda to nationalize the minds of America’s children, especially immigrant students, and turn them all into soldiers for the consolidated Lincolnian state. It is purely disgusting that public schoolteachers, paid by tax dollars, continue to indoctrinate young minds with this evil religion of state-worship.

I’ve actually heard one or two liberals come out against the Pledge itself, which surprised me. Usually they defend the fascistic oath but only dislike its monotheistic clause. The right, on the other hand, appears to be forever devoted to the sick idea that America’s children should pledge their allegiance to an "indivisible" "republic" and that somehow it is all holy and good if God’s mentioned as well.

The way young Americans originally pledged their loyalty to the U.S. government before Hitler made the gesture unpopular.

What we see in the debate over the Pledge, for the most part, is actually the Pledge doing its job. Few Americans are willing to question the loyalty oath itself. Even fewer will question the collectivist school system that violates the freedom of conscience in every last thing it does. And even fewer than that will fundamentally question the role of state in society, to the point that we now have a thoroughly socialized and militarized culture with the government creeping into every facet of our lives and attempting to remake the world in its image, and most Americans think little of it.

Thus we see the school system in general and the pledge in particular perfectly fulfilling their roles: distracting politically-minded Americans from the actions of their criminal government while simultaneously inciting them to compete with each other in a game of "who’s more patriotic" and "who’s more dedicated to the founding principles of our country," trumping up the glories of the state the whole time. The left sees the state as their savior from religious persecution. The right sees it as the protector of religious virtue. But the founding principles of our country — the good ones, anyway — had nothing to do with pledging allegiance to either a secular state or a religious one. The American Revolution was about rejecting the state, not projecting it into every classroom, relying on it to adjudicate national thoughts on religion and social consciousness, or elevating it to be worshipped, whether side by side with, or instead of, God.

The conservatives argue that the left always wants government to displace religion, and so it opposes God in the Pledge. But the right seems to think that it is the job of the government to uphold religion, or at least that injecting religion into government can make it run better. The Pledge itself represents all the secular socialism the conservatives claim to oppose, even as they have done nothing but sanctify the oath since 1954 when they first dragged God into the mess. Surely the conservative warnings that the Pledge as they prefer it is all that’s keeping big government at bay must be taken with a grain of salt. Since when has the Pledge done anything to protect liberty and justice?

Overall, I have to agree with the left on the narrow question of separating church and state, but why stop there? Separate all of society from the state, and now we’re talking real freedom. Indeed, it is impossible to have true freedom of religion, thought and association so long as the state is so involved in our lives. In particular, as long as we have public education and the federal leviathan as its overseer, none of these controversies over religious freedom can be settled "fairly." Anything done in public schools with tax dollars and coerced attendees is bound to offend somebody’s senses. The whole atrocity is an imposition on all Americans, such that those who are deeply religious will object to perceived attacks on their religion carried out in schools they are compelled to finance, while many of those who are more secular will recoil at the thought of their stolen loot being used to teach children about religion. It’s all very understandable, but as long as the two sides of the issue fail to see that the problem is the entire compulsory school system including its nasty Pledge, millions of Americans will continue to feel their religious freedom threatened with no solution in sight.

The politicians love this, of course. Their power over the minds of children and the lives of us all remains intact, regardless of whether the nationalist Pledge is secular or religious. This issue, emblematic of the "culture war," allows both wings of the establishment to mobilize their grassroots troops, get the votes out, and keep the campaign dollars coming in. Nothing so enhances the state as distracting and endless arguments over non-fundamentals.

The foreign butchery in our name continues while our economy is sucked dry and the Bill of Rights mutilated by the parasites in Washington, and all that some people can worry about is whether an unholy and wholly un-American Pledge of Allegiance to the state is better or worse if it includes an idolatrous mention of God. Francis Bellamy, you are a brilliant rascal.

Anthony Gregory [send him mail] is a writer and musician who lives in Berkeley, California. He is a research analyst at the Independent Institute. See his webpage for more articles and personal information.

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