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I was having dinner with my 82-year old mom last night and we got to talking politics. Tis the season, after all. I don't remember exactly how this came up, but I think it was in the context of the Republican apoplexy over Democrats dropping reference to God in their party platform and Romney pledging to keep the word God on our coins ('cause I guess that's a key element of his Jobs Program, or something). My mom said she remembered that as a young girl, the Pledge of Allegiance they recited everyday in school was simply, "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." No mention of God anywhere.

My mom my be old, but she's not senile, so I assumed her memory was accurate. Still I decided to Fact Check this morning (it's all the rage these days). A simple search of the tubes confirmed that the words "under God" weren't added to the Pledge until June, 1954 by a Joint Resolution of Congress.

But just as interesting, if not more so, was the Pledge of Allegiance was originally written back in 1892 by an avowed Christian Socialist who thought Capitalism was "idolatrous and rooted in greed". That's right, our nation's Pledge was written by a stinkin' Socialist. How's that for insidious? I don't suppose too many of our Republican friends know this, or I think we'd be seeing a mass epidemic of spontaneous cranial implosions on the streets by now.

Do you think we should tell them and enjoy the ensuing meltdown, or just smile with smug satisfaction every time we see a Republican reciting the Pledge?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh, lets tell... n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Mike, myboo, Louisiana 1976

    Trickle-down theory; the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows. - J.K. Galbraith

    by Eric Twocents on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 12:15:07 PM PDT

  •  I always found it ironic... (9+ / 0-)

    That the phrase 'under God' separated 'one nation' and 'indivisible'.

    β€œAn imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” - Plutarch

    by RichM on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 12:15:23 PM PDT

    •  they have more power together (3+ / 0-)

      rather than being divided by another phrase.

      "one nation, indivisible." ...much better...even if I object to "under god" for different reasons. ;)

      "In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."- Albert Camus

      by valadon on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 12:22:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, sort of. (0+ / 0-)

      The correct punctuation of the current version is "one nation under God, indivisible."

      It's only the automaton-like recitation to which Our Secular Prayer is subjected that makes it come out like three phrases.  

      Perhaps Congress should've approved: "One Godly Nation, indivisible?" . . .

  •  Perhaps we should ask the originalists (3+ / 0-)

    about the pledge.

  •  yeah-'God' is in many cases Cold War posturing-- (4+ / 0-)

    although apparently 'In God We Trust' has actually been on the currency for a long time--since the Civil War period.  But it didn't become the motto until 1956.

  •  and an interesting tidbit here, from the 'pedia: (4+ / 0-)

    The 1956 law was the first establishment of an official motto for the country, although E Pluribus Unum ("from many, one") had been adopted by Act of Congress in 1782 as the motto for the Seal of the United States and had been used on coins and paper money since 1795. Due to this act and uses, it had thus been unofficially considered to be the country's motto. The change from "E Pluribus Unum" to "In God We Trust" was generally considered uncontroversial at the time[citation needed], given the pressures of the Cold War era.

  •  Francis Bellamy was the guy, here's some bio: (4+ / 0-)
    The Baptist Minister Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892. He was forced to leave his Boston church the previous year because of the socialist bent of his sermons. (He shared the political sentiments of his first cousin, Edward Bellamy, who wrote two socialist utopian novels, Looking Backward and Equality.) Francis Bellamy was later hired by the The Youth's Companion, a popular family magazine at the time. His writings reflected a Christian Socialist vision of a government-managed economy with "political, social and economic equality for all."
    While writing for the journal, he was also on the Massachusetts State Education Board and was charged with organizing the state's Columbus Day celebrations in 1892. He decided to craft a pledge that school children would say aloud in front of the flag -- a pledge that would reflect his socialist beliefs. As published in Youth's Companion, the first version read, "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

    Mr. Bellamy considered using the word "equality" as well, but was aware that several members of his education committee were firmly against equal rights for women and African Americans. The phrase "under God," which was added by President Eisenhower in 1954, would not have met with Mr. Bellamy's approval. In his later years, Mr. Bellamy stopped attending services, dismayed by the openly racist sentiments of his church.

    Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. - Einstein

    by moose67 on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 12:26:16 PM PDT

  •  3rd and (maybe) last comment: (4+ / 0-)

    'In God We Trust' has never bothered me on our currency.

    But I DO feel that 'E Pluribus Unum' is a far, far stronger national motto--and one to be proud of--I've never supported attempts to purge things like 'Under God' from the pledge, whether it belongs there or not.  But E Pluribus Unum is beautiful--don't see why it couldn't be the national motto as well as the motto for the Great Seal.

  •  We Must Also (4+ / 0-)

    point out that Francis Bellamy also included a salute (originally invented by James Upham) to go with his Pledge of Allegiance:

    It fell out of favor in the late Thirties, and was replaced by the hand-over-heart salute in 1942.  Can't imagine why . . .

    (By the way, my 77-year-old mother recalls doing the Bellamy Salute in elementary school.)

  •  I was in elementary school in those days (4+ / 0-)

    That was the era of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee and Sen. Joe McCarthy.  In my second and third grade classes one of the catch phrases the kids used was "Point of Order".  It was part of the VRWC in order to sow confusion among the low information types like PhD "historian" Newt Gingrich, who thinks the secularists have taken over the christian nation founded by the Framers.  They call it "christian restoration" to justify a takeover of a free society.  One of the sites I looked at suggested that the main reason for the takeover would be to kill men who are not sufficiently christian.  You get the same BS from Rmoney when he talks about the Declaration of Independence being "inspired"  not by the God of Nature of our Founders who does not play favorites but has simply given us the powers of reason to run the world ourselves, but the RW violent, ordering us to kill version of baggerism.

    Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny--the worst of despotism. It is turnpiking the way to heaven by human law, in order to establish ministerial gates to collect toll. John Leland

    by J Edward on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 12:47:57 PM PDT

  •  Why do we need a Pledge of Allegiance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge

    in the first place?

    We're the only country I know of that has one.

  •  Personal recollection (5+ / 0-)

    I recall coming home from school one day and proudly reciting the pledge, which perhaps we had learned that day, to my mother. This must have been around 1957 or 1958.

    When I got to the "under God" part, she stopped me and told me never to say that because the Constitution said we had freedom of religion and that the God stuff didn't belong in the pledge.

    Now here's the interesting part: my mother and her parents were die-hard Republicans and also members of the Baptist church. And we were living in Kentucky.

    To this day, I've never been able to figure out how it all got twisted around to what we have now. My mother is long gone and so is everyone from her family. They were all, of course, Eisenhower Republicans and I like to think they'd be horrified by today's Repub party.

    •  Back when Baptists were a belittled (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave in Northridge, gffish, litoralis

      minority (and, at the time of the Revolution, justifiably in fear of persecution, because they weren't the state religion in any of the new states), they were very much in favor of a secular government.

      Now that they tend to be close to government power, not so much.

      Strange how that works.  And not just for Baptists, of course.

  •  The God part was inserted because of a concerted (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gffish, BlackSheep1, Citizen Earth

    effort by the Roman Catholic Knights of Columbus aided by Bircher types. Another factoid is that originally the hand was not over the heart during the pledge recital but was extended open palm towards the flag which looked a little too much like Heil Hitler and was dropped in the 30s.

    I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box. "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.” - Frank Zappa

    by OHdog on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 02:01:53 PM PDT

  •  I remember when the changed the pledge on me, (0+ / 0-)

    and I was pissed off because they destroyed the pleasing meter of the godless version.

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by bobdevo on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 02:55:47 PM PDT

  •  For many Christians (0+ / 0-)

    the Pledge is a form of idolatry.  

    I don't say it.

    I love my country, but the flag doesn't need my allegiance.

    Obama/Biden 2012 Leadership - not lies!

    by thunderchi on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 02:58:25 PM PDT

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