Pledge of Allegiance

Freedom From Religion Foundation: The Pledge a collection of links to secular pages about the pledge
Pledge of Allegiance: A Short History
Pledge of Allegiance and Flag Fetishism
Rethinking the Pledge of Allegiance
Socialism and Racism "The Pledge of Allegiance is obedience training."
Weird Republic: The Pledge of Allegiance

" was a schoolteacher, Francis Bellamy, who in 1892 arranged to have children observe the 400th anniversary of Columbus's landing with a little ceremony that centered on a "pledge of allegiance" to the Stars and Stripes that he had written. (It nowhere mentioned God.) Bellamy, chairman of a committee of state superintendents of education, was able to insure that his mini-liturgy of American triumphalism was installed as a regular feature of public-school life.

"A utopian socialist like his cousin the novelist Edward Bellamy, he composed the Pledge, he explained, in "an intensive communing with salient points of our national history...

"Bellamy was well connected, and soon his Pledge of Allegiance was being recited by students all across the country... By the mid-1920s, when nativist opposition to new immigrants prevailed in the National Origins Act, shutting the door to many nationalities and imposing strict quotas, a new Federal Flag Code explained how the flag was to be treated and the Pledge of Allegiance to it recited: the rules of a new secular religion.

"Bellamy's Pledge offended various groups from the start: Jehovah's Witnesses and Mennonites, among others, objected, as any of us might, to the idolatrous worship of the symbols of state power, and believed, as any relgious person might, that saluting the flag contradicted their declared fidelity to God alone, a spiritual commitment that the First Amendment's "free exercise" clause protects... "...Justice Robert Jackson wrote a ferociously eloquent opinion for an 8-to-1 majority that struck down the statutes that.. had enforced salutation of the flag and recitation of the Pledge. This 1943 Barnette opinion, with its robust warning against the authoritarian coercion of belief, still holds as constitutional doctrine:

"We set up government by consent of the governed, and the Bill of Rights denies those in power any legal opportunity to coerce that consent..."

"Jackson's magnificent, lucid words notwithstanding, Bellamy's Pledge continued to inspire secular sanctimony. And flag worship intensified in 1954, when the Knights of Columbus persuaded President Eisenhower to add the words "under God."...

"President Theodore Roosevelt had detested this kind of mush... Congress, however, reflexively favoring banal religiosity, made the motto mandatory on coins, and positive harm ensued...

"Fundamentalist Protestants and conservative Catholics.. want this godly Pledge affirmed as constitutional... Take the Roman Catholic Justice Antonin Scalia. Blithely misinterpreting two centuries of post-Enlightenment political philosophy, he claims "that government--however you want to limit that concept--derives its moral authority from God"...

"As good eighteenth-century deists the Founders... risked their lives for the principle of government created not by divine powers but by ordinary people using their human intelligence and reason. The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, which never mention God, are the great and crowning glories of the secular Enlightenment...

"Justice.. William Brennan argued nonsensically that "ceremonial deistic" language is constitutionally permissable because it has become essentially meaningless...

"Secularists also argue that since prayer is banned in public schools and the Pledge has become a sort of prayer, it should be banned, too. (Elisabeth Sifton. "The Battle Over the Pledge." The Nation, April 5, 2004, 11-16).

"...the extraordinary suffering caused by the Pledge. Before 1943, when the constitutionality of West Virginia's compulsory Pledge recitation law was successfully opposed, hundreds of Jehovah's Witness children were expelled from schools across the country for refusing to salute the flag. Many of these children were beaten. Police in Richwood, West Virginia, forced Witnesses who refused to recite the Pledge to drink castor oil. In the wave of hostility that swept the nation following these well-publicized refusals, vigilantes castrated Witnesses in Nebraska, tarred and feathered them in Wyoming and jailed them "for their own protection" in Illinois. A mob of 2,500 sacked and burned the Witness Kingdom Hall in Kennebunk, Maine" (Letters. The Nation, May 17, 2004: 2).

"What about teachers, who are forced in their workplace not only to recite the Pledge but to lead youngsters daily in this meaningless politico-religious mantra?" (Letters. The Nation, May 17, 2004: 2).

"I grew up in Texas in the 1940s and '50s, and decided early that most references to "God" were attempts to manipulate my brain" (Letters. The Nation, May 17, 2004: 2).

"...the late Texas Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez... strenuously objected to the practice that preceded Congressional sessions. He compared the Pledge to the Nazi incantation, "Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!" Gonzalez told the House: "Some people think the Pledge comes with the Declaration of Independence. That downgrades Thomas Jefferson, for the great Virginian would never have concocted that sort of banal recital!""(Letters. The Nation, May 17, 2004: 19).

Another school year is here and it is time to teach students about their right to reject the Pledge of Allegiance and its robotic ritualism. Please help inform the public about new discoveries showing that the Pledge was the origin of the notorious stiff-arm salute of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazis). (

Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and American students spread flag fetishism, flag chanting, and the stiff-arm salute and military socialism worldwide. (

Colby Glass, MLIS