Remember the Pledge of Allegiance?

1942 Flag with Schoolchildren

Remember the Pledge of Allegiance?

Schoolchildren with the American flag from 1942, notice only 48 stars on the flag.

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 & Justice for all.

Some tangential thought sparked a distant memory of the Pledge of Allegiance and I found myself struggling to recall the words. Funny how it was so ingrained into the long term memory of legions of budding Americans indoctrinated through daily repetition under the public school system. Then seemingly one day, secularism overthrew tradition and the phrase “under God” made the pledge insensitive, intolerant, and obsolete.

Now, verging on my late 20s, I recall the Pledge stopped being part of my daily weekday morning routine sometime in middle school. The last time I remember facing the flag and placing my right hand over my heart occurred in Mrs. Hand’s, first period advisory class. I don’t doubt that there are school districts out there, 15 years later, with classes that still perform the Pledge of Allegiance. I don’t think that it’s necessarily a good or bad thing. But what I do wonder is whether or not the introduction of the subcontext of religion affects the development of young Americans.

Does perceiving what’s referenced by the word “God” as inclusive or not inclusive of the religious figure, if any, established at home affect a child’s sense of belonging on a subliminal level? Does that even matter?

I have no problem with religion; I may have, when I was younger, but I’ve grown to understand that conflict doesn’t stem from religion itself, but rather from what individuals do to each other for the sake of religion. I do think public education should be secularized, but not devoid of religion in its entirety. Religion should be handled like sex education. Both engaging in and condemnation of either in the classroom is a no-no, but pretending like neither exist isn’t going to do anyone any good.

In the end, whether or not the Pledge of Allegiance is still recited in classrooms, today, I hope the focus is less on the words “under God” and more on the phrase that really matters: “indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”

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