AHA: Don’t Say the Pledge of Allegiance

The American Humanist Association has launched a new campaign called Don’t Say the Pledge, urging people not to say the pledge of allegiance until the phrase “under God” is taken out of it (which isn’t going to happen, almost certainly). Their argument is that the pledge as currently written ties patriotism to religious belief.

Before 1954, the Pledge affirmed that we were “one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Indivisible means we can rise above our differences, religious or otherwise. Liberty means the right to act and speak freely no matter what one’s faith or philosophy may be. And Justice, of course, means equal rights for all, regardless of whether or not we believe in a deity. The Knights of Columbus – a Catholic men’s group – led the lobbying effort to add “under God.” Now the Pledge is twisted, with divisive religious language that implies true patriots must be believers.

With “under God” added, the Pledge is not a statement of patriotism. Instead, extremist preachers and politicians point to the language to validate their view that those who don’t believe in God don’t belong.

Religious or not, don’t say this altered Pledge

Until the Pledge is restored to its inclusive version, we can take it upon ourselves to refuse to participate in what’s become a discriminatory exercise. (Note: A Supreme Court case – West Virginia vs. Barnette – gives students the absolute right to sit out the Pledge, for any reason. Schools might not tell you about this right, but if anyone questions you about sitting out the Pledge, contact the AHA’s Legal Center.)

Whether you are religious or not, you can make a statement for true inclusiveness. Support liberty and justice for all, and support indivisibility. Stand up for America by sitting down during the Pledge of Allegiance until the inclusive version is restored.

Eh. Okay. But even if “under God” is taken out, I’m still not saying it. The problem isn’t just that the pledge is religious in nature, it’s that it’s vaguely fascist to have such a thing in the first place. I will not pledge allegiance to anything but a set of principles, certainly not a flag or a government.

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  • Kevin Kehres

    The pledge was written by a socialist.

  • kantalope

    Even 3rd grade me knew reciting the pledge was bogus…I started just flapping my gums and saying any words that came into my head…I pledge the coffee table to keep it free of dust…

  • Sastra

    Well, as I see it the flag is a symbol of the set of principles, so I do say the pledge. Without the “Under God” part. Clearly and in a strong voice, with no pause between “nation” and “indivisible.” And I do it as if it were the standard way to do it, finishing first and remaining silent while others catch up.

    A different way to protest. People do notice — and I talk right over their ‘prayer.’ Let the words “under God” and its demure little catch of the throat get drowned out by “indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”

    Though if it looks like AHA is going to gain enough attention using their strategy then I can change tactics.

  • http://cheapsignals.blogspot.com Gretchen

    The quote cites West Virginia vs. Barnette, a decision with my favorite passage of any from SCOTUS:

    The case is made difficult not because the principles of its decision are obscure but because the flag involved is our own. Nevertheless, we apply the limitations of the Constitution with no fear that freedom to be intellectually and spiritually diverse or even contrary will disintegrate the social organization. To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds. We can have intellectual individualism and the rich cultural diversities that we owe to exceptional minds only at the price of occasional eccentricity and abnormal attitudes. When they are so harmless to others or to the State as those we deal with here, the price is not too great. But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.

    If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.

    That is called freedom of conscience. And that is what’s wrong with having a pledge in the first place, without or without “God” in it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=597316935 ashleybell

    yeah, even w/o the ‘under god’ part, the rest of the jingoistic claptrap is JUST AS objectionable IMO…Truth is, America the Beautiful is WAY better and even then I don’t mind so much the ‘God shed his Grace on Thee’ part… The song lacks pretty much ANY nationalistic pandering.. Just a nice itemized list of some of the geographical features of this truly beautiful country

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    When the government starts obeying its constitution, then I’ll think about having any allegiance to it. As it stands, I consider the social contract voided.

  • Synfandel

    Kevin Kehres:

    The pledge was written by a socialist.


  • Synfandel

    I served in the military during the height of the Cold War, I have worked in public service and in the private sector, I pay my taxes, I obey the law, I have been called to jury duty, I am active in politics and public affairs, I donate to charities, I am a conscientious friend and neighbour, I am a devoted husband, brother, son, and uncle, and anyone who says that I can’t be patriotic without reciting an oath can go f**k himself.

  • Synfandel

    And, by the way, Kevin Kehres, I am also a socialist.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    I have to go along with the logic of a Marine vet friend, who refuses to say The Pledge™ until that “liberty and justice for all” part comes true.

  • Trebuchet

    Maybe we should say it with the original salute?


  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_R2XG9CnOj8 Olav

    Relevant: GIF.

  • vereverum

    You won’t have to say it at the opening of the city commission meeting in Winter Garden FL.


  • some bastard on the internet

    With “under God” added, the Pledge is not a statement of patriotism. Instead, extremist preachers and politicians point to the language to validate their view that those who don’t believe in God don’t belong.

    Trust me, Dave, there are more than enough ‘furious, flag-wrapping, freedom-lovers’ (dibs on the band name) out there who’ll be more than happy to declare that anyone who isn’t part of a particular group doesn’t ‘belong,’ with or without the God-sturbation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.ivester davidivester

    The government’s addition of the words “under God” to the pledge of allegiance in 1954 and adoption of the phrase “In God we trust” as a national motto in 1956 were mistakes, which should be corrected. Under our Constitution, the government has no business proclaiming that “we trust” “In God.” Some of us do, and some of us don’t; each of us enjoys the freedom to make that choice; the government does not and should not purport to speak for us in this regard. Nor does the government have any business calling on its citizens to voice affirmation of a god in any circumstances, let alone in the very pledge the government prescribes for affirming allegiance to the country. The unnecessary insertion of an affirmation of a god in the pledge puts atheists and other nonbelievers in a Catch 22: Either recite the pledge with rank hypocrisy or accept exclusion from one of the basic rituals of citizenship enjoyed by all other citizens. The government has no business forcing citizens to this choice on religious grounds, and it certainly has no business assembling citizens’ children in public schools and prescribing their recitation of the pledge–affirmation of a god and all–as a daily routine.

  • peterh

    Do these Hair On Fire™ types realize the original pledge was written by a Baptist minister? Had he felt the need for some theocratic mention in a purely secular statement, he would have included one. It was the Red Menace Among Us™ types who created a very special type of Frankenstein’s Monster.

  • Dave Maier

    But how will the Pledge become a meaningless string of syllables if you don’t say them every day?

  • matty1

    “I swear by God this sacred oath to the leader of…”

    Oh wait, wrong pledge.