Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Two Words

What hoopla!

Can we have a little decorum here, guys? There is a debate raging that has once again come to light in North Carolina. An atheist group in Raleigh has posted billboards reading "One Nation, Indivisible," the phrase as it appeared in the original version of the Pledge of Allegiance.

The debate is fairly simple. Do these words constitute the establishment of religion as prohibited by the first amendment to the constitution as some say or do these words reveal the intent of the founding fathers?

It is a spurious argument to say that the founding fathers intended the words to be there (as has appeared so often on a number of the discussion boards I have read). The founding fathers had nothing to do with The Pledge of Allegiance. It wasn't even written until 1892, more than a hundred years after the constitution was ratified in 1788.

Another common argument is that the words have been there this long, they should stay. The pledge is, thereby given some immutable property. This argument does not stand even the most basic scrutiny as there are at least three versions that can be found via a simple Google search. The original version as created in 1892:
"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic, for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

The revision as introduced in 1923, clarifying what country the flag belonged to:
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

And finally the 1954 addition of the offending two words:
"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."

There is also made the argument that somehow the pledge without the words is atheistic. This might come as news to its author. Francis Julius Bellamy. Bellamy, a Baptist Minister, wrote the pledge so that school children would have something to remember the reason to be proud to be an American. The addition of the words "Under God" after his death was done over the objection of his surviving daughter.

This discussion could go on for quite some time, and there is more to say, so watch for part two tomorrow.

Wherever you are today, I hope you will take a stand on some issue you feel passionate about.

Don Bergquist – July 20, 2010 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

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