Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag Under God

The pledge of allegiance is a short verse every American knows. Yet, do we really know what it means. I received an email with a 1969 video with Red Skelton. Red tells the meaning of the pledge. Two points of interest arose during my research on this simple verse: 1.) "under God" verbiage added in 1954 and 2.) the supposed disavowment from a Baptist church for Francis Bellamy(1855 - 1931), the original author of the pledge.

I love God and love the addition of the words "under God". That is all the controversy today. The words under God were add in 1954 and rightfully so. It took us from 1892 to 1954 to finally get it right and yet 60 years later we are debating it? Under God doesn't prescribe a certain religion, it simply acknowledges our commitment and loyalty to a power greater than a person, greater than a nation, greater than even a great nation.

"The Pledge clearly acknowledges the fact that our freedoms in this country come from God, not government."

Jay Alan Sekulow

Pledge of Allegiance

Pledge of Allegiance colorful poster with American flag and four branches of the military depicted by uniform and hat
Pledge of Allegiance colorful poster with American flag and four branches of the military depicted by uniform and hat | Source

Red Skelton's Pledge of Allegiance

Addition of "Under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance

"With the addition of "under God" to the Pledge, it became both "a patriotic oath and a public prayer...Bellamy's granddaughter said he also would have resented this second change." 3

The change was partly motivated by a desire to differentiate between communism, which promotes Atheism, and Western capitalistic democracies, which were at least nominally Christian. The phrase "Atheistic Communists" has been repeated so many times that the public has linked Atheism with communism; the two are often considered synonymous. Many consider Atheism as unpatriotic and "un-American" as communism.

Most communists, worldwide, are Atheists. But, in North America, the reverse is not true; most Atheists are non-communists. Although there are probably many Atheist and Humanist legislators at the federal and state levels, few if any are willing to reveal their beliefs, because of the intense prejudice against persons holding these belief systems.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review this change to the Pledge. The Court has commented in passing on the motto saying that:

"[o]ur previous opinions have considered in dicta the motto and the pledge [of allegiance], characterizing them as consistent with the proposition that government may not communicate an endorsement of religious belief." [Allegheny, 492 U.S.]"[2]

Pledge of Allegiance

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.

According to the United States Flag Code, the Pledge "should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute". Veterans, whether in uniform or out of uniform, may choose to render a salute or place hand over heart.[1]

You will note that during the recital of the pledge not during the story, Red Skelton appropriately places his right hand with his hat over his heart. I was taught over the heart not "over the left shoulder".

John Wayne and the Pledge of Allegiance

History of the Pledge - Who Wrote the Pledge

Sign Language Poster for Pledge of Allegiance

Colorful Sign Language Poster for Pledge of Allegiance
Colorful Sign Language Poster for Pledge of Allegiance | Source

Patriotic Oath

There is simply no contest for me, the words "under God" must be included. Whether Bellamy or all of his heirs disagreed with under God has no merit to me. I agree with the court, the "under God" is a recognition of a higher power, not discriminatory, not meant to be offensive or an endorsement of any particular religion. To me the real controversy is the statement made out on YouTube about the original author of the pledge:

In researching the pledge, I came across a video showcasing the person who wrote the pledge. Interesting one of the comments about the writer of the Pledge of Allegiance, a man who is buried in Rome, NY by the name of Bellamy. Here is a YouTube comment worth noting: "This fails to mention that Bellamy was a member of the Socialist movement and was kicked out of the Baptist denomination because of his Commie/Socialist views...kids use to give the "roman Salute" before putting their hands over their hearts." hardmod777 hardmod777's Channel

If you review history, you will note that America literally exiled Charlie Chaplin for his "beliefs". If find it amazing how we can have a free country but we cannot discuss our differences without banishing people. I am as patriotic as the next person and will fight to the death for my country, my God and my freedom. Part of my fight must be to allow these differences in a civil manner. Bellamy was "kicked" out of his Baptist denomination, Jefferson funded several different religious denominations and Charlie Chaplin was exiled. These are important points in our history that we must remember.

Red Skelton and Charlie Chaplin

Red Skelton and Charlie Chaplin are comedians who loved freedom. Charlie exercised his free speech in a manner that sadly some American governmental officials felt was not patriotic. Red's rendition is much more elegant. Yet both voices - Red's and Charlie's are voices of America.

John Wayne Pledge of Allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance video by John Wayne is simply remarkable. His voice simply resonates the meaning of the words. Note, John Wayne included "under God". His video showcases the thank you to America. To paraphrase John Wayne: People 200 million strong from all corners of the earth. A land that allows no man to become a tyrant. A land where the right of free speech is jealously guarded.

The history of the original author of the Pledge needs to be remembered and honored. The fact that a church found disfavor with the author of the Pledge of Allegiance man is another reason we must remember our history. What are our foundations? Freedom. The church is welcome to kick out someone. A nation founded upon freedom of speech must guard that freedom and take very special care. A democracy will not work if its people do not work to protect the voices of the people.

Protect our freedoms. We are one nation under God - accepting all men as our brothers. In the words of President Kennedy:

Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all.

John F. Kennedy


Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.

John F. Kennedy


Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies. Those whom God has so joined together, let no man put asunder.

John F. Kennedy



© 2010 American_Choices

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Comments 14 comments

rachellrobinson profile image

rachellrobinson 6 years ago from Southwest Missouri

Awesome Hub, thank you for sharing.


Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 6 years ago from Georgia, USA

Great Job! I concur with your assessment and our need to guard our sacred rights. Keep up the good work!


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago

Terrific job! I agree with you. Under God is important and patriotism needs to be reinforced with our children, not to indoctrinate them but to encourage them to love their hard fought freedoms.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

I'm with you all the way. How dare anyone mess with or refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance!? Great Hub!


American_Choices profile image

American_Choices 5 years ago from USA Author

James A Watkins,

Thank you very much for your words of praise. I greatly admire your work and am very honored.


qwark profile image

qwark 5 years ago

G'mornin' American Choices:

Knowing that I would disagree with every facet of this hub, it puzzles me as to why you decided to become a friend (follower.)

I am not an atheist, agnostic, deist or a believer in the supernatural.

If you've read any of my forum comments or my hubs, ya have to know that I detest ALL that monotheism represents and that I feel that to mention a primitive metaphysical divinity in our Pledge of Allegiance is embarrassing and disgusting to any KNOWLEDGEABLE, pragmatic REALIST.

I think that to try to introduce the idea of there being a "god thing" that is real, to a child is "child abuse."

This "god thing" concept has no more crediblity in FACT than Santa Claus.

To make "it" out to be "real" by including it in a pledge that an easily "programmed" child makes to his country, I consider being the same as adding the fictional "Santa Claus" in place of the word "god" to the pledge.

To add Santa Claus or god to our Pledge of Allegiance is disgraceful and an insult to American Constitutional history!

I always read a hub by a new "friend" and respond.

In the case of this hub, my friend, we agree to disagree. :)

Qwark


swordsbane profile image

swordsbane 4 years ago from Wisconsin

The sad thing that people forget is that not everyone believes in God, and the words "under God" are a clear endorsement of religion, even if you could make the (clearly wrong) argument that it doesn't mean the Judeo-Christian god, the words are inherently exlusive of Atheists, which is unconstitutional.

It is amusing to me when religious people claim that religious freedom isn't meant to include freedom FROM religion. You can believe in any god you want to.... but you have to believe in A god. Otherwise you are clearly un-american and deluded.

Bite me. I don't believe in God and I refuse to speak empty words when I say the Pledge of Allegiance, so either "under God" is a phrase that doesn't mean anything (in which case it is silly to include it) or it means that there is no place in America for Atheists (which is wrong). I reject both those choices. It is not what America is all about.


American_Choices profile image

American_Choices 4 years ago from USA Author

swordbane,

I appreciate and respect your opinion - this is what America is about.

Rejecting both choices is an important point that perhaps I did not fully consider.

You are very well spoken and add a fresh point of view to this heart felt argument.

I would never wish to isolate. You make an important point, we must also allow for "freedom" from religion.

I love god and love the words under God but I sincerely understand your concern and have taken a fresh look - thanks to your well stated words.

I agree with you on many levels but my heart says the respect for God must over come the intelligent argument for pure freedom.

Thank you so much for sharing.


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

I remember when "under God" was suddenly added to the pledge I had learned years before, and have always resented it. It meant more to me before than it has since. I was 14, later served in the military and was honorably discharged (lest anyone questions my patriotism). I believe qwark and swords got it right. And what of the Moslem and Hindu citizens and patriots? Whose God are we under?


American_Choices profile image

American_Choices 4 years ago from USA Author

xstatic,

You make a very valid point - whose God. I believe that is one of our freedoms. I guess the main offense is to our athesists and anogostics - yet I feel strongly that our military men and woman would want "under God" - yet you prove me wrong!

I don't resent it but I don't resent much other than I have strong feelings for not appreciating our military and not appreciating our freedoms.

We all define our freedoms differently, I find the "under God" proper but I respect your opinion and appreciate you sharing-this is how we all grow and learn.

Thank you very much for contributing and bringing in a new perspective.


swordsbane profile image

swordsbane 4 years ago from Wisconsin

I don't believe God should have anything to do with our government or our military, and certainly not our pledge to our country. My father spent 15 years in the Air Force. I think he said it best: "God doesn't belong in the Pledge. If we can't make things work without God, we don't deserve whatever blessing he can place on us."


American_Choices profile image

American_Choices 4 years ago from USA Author

swardsbane,

Your father's quote, I find fascinating. A true military man takes responsibility. The many military men I have been privilege to have met have all given credit to God. I find this discussion fascinating because I have a profound respect for people and their opinions. I have a special respect for the military and greatly appreciate your contribution.

I am learning more and more.

A great man got up in front of 500 people - Bob Howard - and he unabashedly stated Merry Christmas. He felt strongly we have the right to say "Merry Christmas".

Bob sadly left us in 2009 but his life and his beliefs and his guidance stay with me. Here is more information about this great man: http://rlhtribute.com/

I believe we all need heroes. Your father is a great man to provide you guidance - what a wonderful tribute to quote him. While I disagree and feel strongly God should always be given credit, I admire his words and his sense of responsibility. This attitude is what has made us great. It is because he was in the Air Force that we can openly have this discussion. Thank you and thank you to your father - you are very blessed.


swordsbane profile image

swordsbane 4 years ago from Wisconsin

AC: My father is a firm believer in personal responsibility. He believes in God, but not in worship. He believes in pacifism, but not in consciensous abjectors. He believes in following orders, but not blind faith. He also believes firmly that if it ain't broke... don't fix it. The pledge wasn't broke. We had no business presuming to to be better than the founding fathers and putting "Under God" in the pledge.

He doesn't believe in God being given "credit" for anything. If God wanted the credit, he reasons, He wouldn't do things that left doubt who was responsible, and giving credit to God for... say... a fireman rescuing people from a burning building takes away from the good the fireman does. "I don't thank God for the fireman.... I thank the fireman. God created the universe. He doesn't need another trophy."

Me... I'm a confirmed Atheist. I simply wonder how people can see God in a world that behaves the way we would expect it to behave if God wasn't there. However, if.... for a moment I entertain the notion that there is a God, I am forced into the position that he would rather we ignored him and did what was right then try to decided what we thought he wanted us to do. "Under God" doesn't belong in the pledge for a simple reason; His signature wasn't on any of the documents our founding fathers drew up. God doesn't run the country. WE do.


American_Choices profile image

American_Choices 4 years ago from USA Author

swordsbane,

You are very eloquent and make a point with the foundation founded in solid common sense.

I appreciate and respect your opinion. Yet, my life is not complete IF I cannot give credit to God. I take responsibility but part of my responsibility is appreciate the God given talents and abundance of time and physical energy.

Strangely Mother Nature always reminds us who really is in control. Our farmers are hurting here and nothing can help them but a good rain fall. We live and die by the grace of God - recognizing the higher being I feel is taking responsibility.

I enjoy your opinion and how well it is stated. Thank you so very much.

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    [2]http://www.religioustolerance.org/nat_pled1.htm

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