Tuesday, September 10, 2013

For... seriously?

In what has got to be part of a paid advertising campaign for Fred Rich's novel, Christian Nation, former Bush press secretary and current Fox News talking head Dana Perino commented on a lawsuit challenging the "under God" insertion into the Pledge of Allegiance...
Fox News pundit Dana Perino said she's "tired" of atheists attempting to remove the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, adding, "if these people really don't like it, they don't have to live here."
Wow. Really? The thing I like is the way her comment passes without a murmur from anybody around the table there.

I don't know why conservatives have such a chubby over the Pledge in the first place. Completely aside from the "under God" language being added as a McCarthyite shibboleth in the fifties, since it was a well-known fact that KGB spies would be unable to say "God" without spontaneously combusting, the whole pledge itself is a creepy artifact of the good ol' days when fascism and eugenics were the coming fads.

Pledge inventor* and screaming pinko Francis Bellamy even had a little salute that schoolkids did to accompany their group submission ritual. It was dropped during WWII for what are, I hope, screamingly obvious reasons:
This should creep out any right-thinking small-government freedom-lover. And yet...

*The O.G. Pledge, without the "under God" words, despite Bellamy being an ordained minister and a nationalistic Christian Socialist.


Trevor M said...

You are absolutely right. As usual.

Anonymous said...

My problem is the folks who want to remove God generally want to substitute the word State.

They may not believe in my imaginary all powerful god but I do in fact fear their all too real all powerful state.

If The word God bothers you don't say it. If the pledge bothers you, don't say it.

Don't try that in a country were the State is god.
The National Socialist do come to mind.


Tam said...


It was a National Socialist who invented the pledge.

Wilma the Conqueror said...

Let's talk about removing the "indivisible" part.

RevolverRob said...

The Pledge of Allegiance is disturbing as hell.

I was born in America, the ostensible land of the free and home of the brave. I refused to say "the pledge" starting in 4th grade, when I got my first Ewok-sized Wookie suit.

I recognized then what I know for sure NOW, the pledge is designed to brain-wash children into believing that their 'nation' should be protected at all times with unwavering and worst of all unquestioning support. Foxtrot THAT.


Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Better to pledge the flag, under God or not, than to pledge 0bama or the Congress. But seriously.

Pledge it or don't pledge it, leave in God or not, it's basically social lubricant. I belong to groups that are adamant about it, and I belong to other groups that never even think about pledging the flag. I'm easy, because my love of country doesn't require me to positively assert that love every time I'm in a large group of people.

Stuart the Viking said...


Not everyone who thinks the "under God" doesn't belong in the pledge wants to insert "State" into it.

There are plenty of non-believers (and some believers who get it) that believe the inclusion of "under God" to be an unconstitutional establishment of religion. If the pledge said "of the goddess" wouldn't you want to remove it?


global village idiot said...

Francis Bellamy was a "Christian Socialist," as opposed to a National Socialist, which means...um...well, I'm stumped.

As to the Pledge, I'm ambivalent about it. Every Tuesday I call up my Lodge and invite the members to "join me in pledging allegiance to the flag of our Country." I do this out of tradition and respect for the sensibilities of those present.

If it were up to me alone and if I could count on ruffling no feathers over omitting it (an impossibility), I wouldn't do it. Masonry is universal and nothing in Grand Lodge regulations requires the recitation of the Pledge; in fact, we are forbidden from doing so after Lodge is opened.

One thing I am positively adamant about, though, is courtesy and respect. If the Pledge is being recited and you do not wish to join, simply standing silently (uncovered) is polite; whereas remaining seated or with a hat on gives the impression of contemptuous disregard. Courtesy dictates that we stand during the playing of other nations' anthems during sporting events and (in my experience) military ceremonies, and I see no good reason why we ought not observe the same courtesy with our own colors.


Tam said...


I thoroughly understand the sentiment. ;)

Kristophr said...

The only persons who should be reciting a daily pledge are government workers and politicians, to remind them who they work for.

Anonymous said...


If goddess rocks your boat, I have no problem with it.

I don't see how make a pledge to something greater than yourself establishes a state religion.

If you I pledge to the god as described in CFR 19/35 or some such nonsense I would see your point.


New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

If I have no allegiance to this republic, why bother paying attention to the Bill of Rights? I'm all for keeping the Progressives sticking to the pledge they invented.

Joseph said...

Well said gvi.

The only observance I've ever had a problem with was a group that pledged to the Confederacy. I turned my back on that (literally) and haven't been back since.

As for "Under God" I don't mind it at all and understand that the notes I purchase stuff with also have a reference to God.

rickn8or said...

I personally solved the "under god" problem back in 1969; I simply stoppped saying it.

What I resent is having captive audiences of grade-school and older children required to recite this group of words which have no meaning for them.

And the rest of what all y'all said.

Joanna said...

Back during the 2008 elections, I spoke to a guy who was adamant we had to vote for Huckabee because he was an evangelical Christian. All other qualifications were to be cast aside in the light of this one thing. I told him I was electing a president, not a church elder, and I wasn't going to vote for a guy just because he had a fish on his car. I might has well have said "Elephant tango daffodil, turn right at the clown" for all he understood me.

So the comment from the Fox talking head doesn't really surprise me. It's just the same old tribalism we see everywhere else, dressed up in a blue suit for dinner in the Fellowship Hall.

Tam said...


"...understand that the notes I purchase stuff with also have a reference to God."

That rich tradition dates back to the Founding Fathers... of 1957.

JustSomeGuy said...

I'm for removing "Under God" in the simplest possible fashion: remove the whole creepy thing, forthwith.

Regarding Dana Perino, it bugs the 7-flavored holy hell out of me when people toss off the "if you don't like the arbitrary and ephemeral social construct I've determined to be American you can just leave!" Ack!! She should find someplace else to live...


Woodman said...

"What I resent is having captive audiences of grade-school and older children required to recite this group of words which have no meaning for them. "

I'm not sure why you think it doesn't have meaning for them. Obviously if it's only done by rote yes, a bad thing. But if it's explained and understood that this is one half of a contract then it's not meaningless.

Now, that would require teachers to actually teach, but most schools I'm aware of don't even do the pledge anymore. And the Anthem is only for ball games, sometimes.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"Elephant tango daffodil, turn right at the clown"

I think I just found a new passphrase!

Dave in Indiana said...

Why are some atheists offended by hearing the mention of something that they don't believe exists? Are they afraid that they will magically become believers if they hear the word repeated three times or something?

Some people need to learn how to live and let live instead of being perpetually offended.

Geodkyt said...

Given that the "under God" portion was added at the request of a religious organization (Knights of Columbus; i.e., "the Catholic version of the Masons"), and it is clearly stated in both the Congressional debates and by the President at the signing ceremony that the primary reason for adding those words was to force schoolchildren to pray at least once a day, it's a governmentally sponsored (and mandated) prayer.

Therefor, the Pledge containing the words "under God" is unConstitutional when promulgated by the government. Period.

And I say this as a Christian who truly believes we are "One nation, under God," in the most literal sense possible.

It's just that I can't complain about others infringing on my religious freedom if I'm all good with using the power of the State to inflict my particular religious beliefs on others. I like the First Amendment -- since we cannot trust everyone who might ever get into governmental authority to play fair, EVERYONE needs to keep their dickbeaters the Hell off the Governmentally Approved God stuff.

Matt said...

Even as a child and a member of the subversive organization, boy Scouts of America, that does do the pledge, I always wondered about it.

Why would anyone plege allegiance to a FLAG? Just scraps of cloth sewn together to decorate coffins and identify Naval vessels and troops in the field. Our flag is damn near generic at that since it doesn't have coats or arms, or sunrise or anyting remotely "american" on it. Never understood why we did it to start class. As far as I can tell at this point it never magically induced me to paroxysms of fealty to a state either.

sobriant74 said...

I agree with Matt, never understood why the p[ledge exists other than to foster rabid patriotism. I enjoyed scouting and 4H, and I never minded saying it in school, but if the phrase 'In God we trust" dropped off my money, I really wouldnt mind that either. As has been pointed out by our host, most of that popped up in the 20th century by folks trying to smoke out the reds. As for Fox news....I get my news from SayUncle to avoid bias. ;)

Tam said...

Dave In Indiana,

"Why are some atheists offended by hearing the mention of something that they don't believe exists?"

Personally, I'm not offended and I can assure you that a violation of the Establishment Clause is most certainly a thing that exists.

Why are so many Christians offended when people express a preference for the original Pledge?

Sigivald said...

I think a mandatory/pseudo-mandatory Pledge is un-American.

And I think her comment is stupid.

I also think - as an atheist - that I don't give a damn about "Under God", either.

Will Brown said...

@ Matt/sobriant 74

I think the key qualifier you are overlooking is the subsequent phrase, "... and to the Republic for which it stands."

The whole republic isn't in the classroom, but an example of the flag that represents it is. And I agree, this is a horrible example of "the Fascist moment" in American history.

Even the w/v agrees: nationod

Jess said...

I said the pledge a lot back when dirt was new. If my memory serves me, some didn't say the "under God" part and no jackbooted thug held a gun to their head and forced them to do so.

Tam said...


Hey, that's great! It's also not the point.

Ian said...

Watching big crowds of people recite the pledge has always struck me as creepy.

What is worse is when I'm attending gun shows with friends from England and the pledge gets recited over the intercom system. My friends have gotten into the habit of following suit and mumbling something or other, because when they don't they get some pretty angry feedback from the idiot hicks in attendance. Some don't even make the connection when told that a British subject shouldn't be pledging allegiance to the US flag. That's un-Mercan!

Well, yeah, actually...

global village idiot said...

Here's something I wish I'd remembered earlier...

Every spring, our Lodge hosts a series of "Lenten Breakfasts." These are a sort of prayer breakfast held jointly between the Scottish Rite Valley of South Bend and the town's chapter of the Knights of Columbus - sort of a Catholic version of Masonry only with weirder titles for their officers.

Anyway - and I'm rather ashamed of myself that it slipped my mind until just now - at each of these Lenten Breakfasts, those present stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. And the KofCs (or is it Ks of C? I'm not interested enough to find out) tack a bit onto the end, to wit:

"...with liberty and justice for all..."

(born and unborn).

I don't point this out by way of mockery, nor do I really begrudge the Grand-Sir-Knights and Most-Loyal-Navigators and whatever other titles they go by, particularly when meeting as an assembly. If they want to add "...and extra cake for His Holiness the Pope," they have a perfect right to do so.

I make this observation, however, to note that the Pledge is elastic and meanings within it are fungible commodities.


WV: rovaluv: What you get when you combine a Roomba with the "Pleasure Orb" from Woody Allen's Sleeper.

staghounds said...

That fall she was almost six and she came from home for the first school – almost first day – and said in a proud rush:
“Daddy, listen” I pledge allegiance to the flag...”
Her tiny hand was over her heart and when she had finished the blur of words she peered up at me. “There,” she said
breathlessly and held out her hand.
“Then what, my darling?”
“You owe me a dime!”
“Oh? What for?”
“The pledge allegiance. Didn’t I say it right? Oh, I’m sure I did. Didn’t I?”
“Oh. Oh yes, yes I think you did.” At that time I was not a citizen.
“But why a dime?”
“The teacher said every one has to learn it and say it and then your dad or mum gives
you a dime. That’
s what the teacher
I paid her.
“Thank you,” she said, very satisfied. “How about another dime if I say it agai
“One dime at a time. By the way. What’s pledge mean?”
“Pledge? Allegiance?”
She was perplexed. “Pledge allegiance is pledge allegiance!”
“Didn’t your teacher explain what you were learning? Any of those long words?”
Her frown deepened. “We’re to learn it and say it and then we get a di
me. That’s what our teacher said.” Then she added

I know I said it right. I was better than Johnny..

During the day I asked all kinds of people, of every age, “You know the ‘I pledge
But before I could finish, at once they would all parrot it, the words a
lmost always equally blurred. In every case I
discovered that not one teacher, ever – or anyone – had ever explained the words to a
nyone of them. Everyone just had to
learn it to say it.
The Children’s Story
came into being that day. It was then that I realized how completely vulnera
ble my child’
s mind was

any mind for that matter – under controlled circumstances.
– I write and rewrite and rewrite, but this story came quickly – almo
st by itself. Barely three words were
changed. It pleased me greatly because it keeps asking me questions...
Questions like – What’s the use of “I pledge allegiance”
without understanding? Like why is it so easy to divert thoughts
and implant others? Like what is freedom and why is it so hard to explain
The Children’s Story
keeps asking me all sorts of questions I cannot answer.
Perhaps you can – then your child will ....


staghounds said...

Or if you prefer the movie version:


Anonymous said...

What Wilma the Conqueror said (comment #4)

- Drifter

Matt G said...

And this is why we can't get anywhere as Libertarians.

Tam questions the necessity of The Pledge and the "conservatives'" love of the insertion of God into it, to the point that they wish to exclude persons from our nation who don't want it.

She points out that the Pledge was written by a socialist, and that it originally didn't have God, even though it was written by a pastor.

-Removal of God means replacement of God with State! (Which would ban God!)

-The Pledge is indoctrination! Eff that!

-The Pledge calls for cohesion as a nation! Eff that!

-Pledge or not. It helps things work.

-God is on our money, by-Gawd!

-I've no allegiance to this republic.

-Why are you atheists so offended by talk of God, huh?

-I'm creeped out by it, but hey, the old guys like it, so we do it still. [Note: this is actually a pretty good summary of religion.]

Etc, etc.

I would LOVE to see our nation drop its enforcement of God in our daily lives. The Establishment Clause means NO ESTABLISHED RELIGION. You say that you don't think that "One Nation Under God" and "In God We Trust" are establishing religion? I'll bet that you would feel differently if "God" were expressed in the plural or feminine forms.

And why not go all the way and say "Jesus Christ, who bled for our sins, and died on a cross, was buried, and arose triumphantly three days later, only to ascend to the Kingdom Of Heaven, to sit with The Father"?

Why not? Because then we'd have to append "...to oversee the Holy Catholic Church/ Baptist/ Southern Baptist/ Methodist/African Methodist Episcopalian/ Snakehandlers/ Eastern Orthodox/ Church Of Christ/ Mormons/ Quakers/ Shakers/ Anglicans/ Presbyterians Etc, etc... in their holy duties."

I don't want to see religion banned. I don't want to see people stop going to church. I just want my government to stop telling me to go.

Windy Wilson said...

1. America won more wars before "under God" was added. I don't know what sort of correlation/causation there might be there.
2. Shouldn't we be pledging allegiance to the Constitution of the United States first and then to the symbol? I've met blood relatives who wore uniforms for both sides of the European portion of WW2, and my friend in Jr high school had parents who had the misfortune of taking an extended vacation to visit the folks in Japan in the fall of 1941, so I am sensitive to the idea of swearing oaths of allegiance to Flags (Fahnen) and people instead of principles and rules.

3. OTOH, as an "establishment of religion", if that's the case, then putting "In God We Trust" on the money is also establishment, as is the presence of the Congressional Chaplain and prayer, as was the presence of the cross on the Los Angeles County seal until the county board of supervisors caved to the possibility of the threat of threats, and if those are establishment of religion, then why not the naming conventions of cities with names like Saint Louis, Santa Barbara, San Jose, Santa Monica, San Diego, Santa Fe, Saint Petersburg, Santa Rosa, and so on? And what about the practice of permitting churches to ring bells on Sunday before services? There is a mosque about 4 miles from my home. Should they have a muezzin call to prayer from one of the minarets?

4. Some of these things fall into the category of "civic religion", what Fuzzy Curmudgeon referred to as a "social lubricant", which should also include collectivly acknowledging that since our rights come from something greater than ourselves and our organizations and institutions, we, through our organizations and institutions cannot abrogate, eliminate or curtail those rights for mere convenience, or even necessity (necessity; the plea of slaves and the creed of tyrants).

A long way of saying I don't know what to do in this situation. I would like it better if the Pledge was to the Constitution and to the Flag which represents the nation resulting from it.

Stranger said...

Before December 7, 1941, the Heil Hitler salute was common, but "under God" was not in Northfield Minnesota. For the rest of that semester, it was strictly hand on heart. Moving to Texas, by March the Pledge had added the "under God," and some schools saluted, others treated it like the National Anthem.

I cannot say when the Pledge was officially changed to "Under God," but it was common from '42 through '48.

For another footnote, a "Christian Socialist" is a Socialist who attends social functions at a church. Because Socialism and Christianity are philosophically incompatible.

Otherwise, I'm pretty much with Mr. Wilson.


Matt G said...

"Because Socialism and Christianity are philosophically incompatible."

The whole Loaves And Fishes story, and the Water To Wine story, and the story of JC going off on the money changers, and Render Unto Caesar that which is Caesar's all seem to be really compatible with socialism.

When are people going to ditch the whole concept that their politics is supported by their god?

Tam said...

Matt G,

"When are people going to ditch the whole concept that their politics is supported by their god?"

Duh, because Gott Mit Uns, not those other people.

Dave in Indiana said...


Personally, I'm not offended and I can assure you that a violation of the Establishment Clause is most certainly a thing that exists.

Why are so many Christians offended when people express a preference for the original Pledge?

Glad I didn't offend you, personally I'm on the borderline of agnostic and atheist. What get's me is what I see as hypocisy when someone that wants government out of their lives but then wants the government to intervene with things they disagree with. My view is that you can't have it both ways
but you can easily just ignore the petty things and leave the government out of it. But that's just my opinion and I'm probably already on plenty of government watch lists, so I'd probably be better off just shutting up... ;)

og said...

None of it makes any sense to me. Words don't confront me, actions do. You can pledge allegiance to a cow, swear by G-d or by Satan, or promise to love honor and obey Yankee Stadium if you like. How you act is how I decide who you are. But then I never did set much store by yapping, yapping is for entertainment.

Scott J said...

I've stayed out of this one because the topic makes me queasy but I couldn't let Matt G's cherry picking go unanswered.

He completely ignores 2 Thessalonians 3:8-12 which reads:
"8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; 9 not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. 10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. 11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread."

Tam said...

Scott J,

"I've stayed out of this one because the topic makes me queasy but I couldn't let Matt G's cherry picking go unanswered."

Your counter-cherry-picking merely reinforces Matt's point, which was that one can find quotes in there to make God sound like whatever politico-economic view you espouse.

Tam said...

(Basically, Tony Campolo and Joel Osteen could trade Bible verses 'til the cows came home...)

Scott J said...

"Your counter-cherry-picking merely reinforces Matt's point, which was that one can find quotes in there to make God sound like whatever politico-economic view you espouse"

Indeed it can. Much cherry picking has led to much evil over the years (Salem, MA comes to mind).

But on the topic at hand how does acknowledgement = establishment?

Of course then we run the risk of a 30 minute pledge because you have to loop through every variant of $deity to make sure you don't offend anyone.

The fact The Founders (1776 version) had no pledge is sort of telling but lost to lore I'm afraid.

Scott J said...

Civil rights discussions can get really tricky and sticky at times can't they?

Here in AL this year there were civil libertarians twisting themselves in knots over the changes to CCW law with regard to private buisness property.

The law says my employer can no longer have a policy which says I can't lock my CCW in my vehicle in the company parking lot.

That's a win for my RKBA but a loss for private property rights.

Personally, I've always been of a mind that their private property ended where my vehicle's tires begin but both sides of the debate have very valid points.

Justthisguy said...

From time to time, people need to be reminded of that loathesome puritan busy-body Bellamy bastard. Thanks for reminding us, Tam.

The part I hate the most about that bit of neuro-linguistic programming is "one nation, indivisible." (It's understood that we're all under God)

No we are not one nation and never have been, but a federal republic of different states made up of different nations. My nation is The South, well served by my four great-grandfathers who served honorably against the United States to divide the damned thing. I honor their memory.

mustanger said...

"Elephant tango daffodil, turn right at the clown"

Joanna, I gotta use that line sometime soon. I've been having a good laugh over it the last few minutes... made it hard to read at times... plus I know somebody it's sure to confuse.

WV: 1174 ysnovis... huh?

Anonymous said...

The Bellamy Salute was the United States' civilian salute, dating to before he was even thought of, the beginning of the nation. Since his was the first accepted pledge, he got to steal it and name it after himself. We'd probably still be doing it if not for the Italians and Germans of the 1930's and 1940's. Heck, we had to be a year into a war with them before rethinking the extended arm thing.

I'm a bit taken aback at all of this pledge busting and hating on. You almost have to make an oath or pledge in nearly any organization, re-pledging as you rise in levels in some places, and almost every darn software package I download asks me for an oath not to jerry-rig or monkey-shine with it. When I buy a bottle of weed killer concentrate, the purchase comes with the affirmation that I will not misuse the product and use it only as directed. The brain washing, socialist Pledge of Allegiance? Is there no consideration for banding as a bunch of individuals into a republic to a certain degree that isn't Level 10 screaming "fasces" all the time?

My favorite version is the Red Skelton one, but I may be the only person in the room who knows of that.


perlhaqr said...

When I was still in grade school, and the did the pledge in the morning, I first refused to do it, and that worked for me for a while.

And then I started just doing a different one.

"I pledge allegiance to the Constitution, of the United States of America, and to the Republic which it formed, one nation (----- ---) indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all."

I'm not sure I'd still recite that one (I wasn't an anarchist in the 11th grade) but it meant a whole lot more to me even then than the regular pledge to the flag did.

And yes, Dana Perino should go back to the original salute when she says the pledge.

mustanger said...

"My favorite version is the Red Skelton one, but I may be the only person in the room who knows of that."

I've known of it for a long time. Red Skelton actually explains the meaning, unlike some descriptions upthread.

I've tended to feel like the US Oath of Allegiance, required to become a citizen, carries a lot more weight. BTW, it ends "so help me God" too.

Matt said...

My ingest gripe with the pledge, after being forced to recite it in school, isn't with violations of the establishment clause. It has always even with the lie of liberty and justice for all. That has never existed I this country, ask the Japanese that were interred during WWII if you doubt me.

Joseph said...

Elephant tango daffodil, turn right at the clown?

Everybody knows that.

Ed said...

Simple recap:


More extensive background:



Mandated conduct in Florida public schools:


Student compliance not required in Florida public schools despite state of Florida law:


Historical precedent for non-establishment of a particular religion - namely that the Puritan settlers of Boston would not support the "Papist" Church of England in any way, especially tithes and taxes, when the Governorship of the Massachusetts Colony was forcibly changed from Puritan elected to British Crown appointed under King James II:



More fun from the British Crown in Boston:


What matters more than the Pledge of Allegiance:




ACTA NON VERBA - Deeds, not words.

Jim said...

I turned right at the clown, and all I got was this greasy cheeseburger, fries and heartburn.

Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Ken said...

Form rally square on Wilma the Conqueror! :-)

The Old Guy said...

What I don't understand is the difference between the Pledge of Allegiance and my wedding vows, which I spoke only once.

My wife needs attention, and reassurance, but she does not expect me to recite our vows each morning.

Is that vow still in effect? You had better believe it! Failure to fulfill any part of that vow will get me into a world of hurt.

Why isn't the same true of the pledge?

Matt G said...

Scott J:
Absolutely and for-sure, I was cherry-picking. No argument, there. But my point is made, that according to the Bible, Christianity is not incompatible with socialism. Nor is it incompatible with war, the death penalty, drinking, polygamy, monogamy, giving peace a chance, sobriety, droit du seigneur, etc, etc, etc. We could cherry pick all day long.

Chas Clifton said...

Didn't Bellamy intend for citizens of all republics to say the same generic pledge to their particular flags?

(I am late to this party since I have been traveling away from the computer.)

Anonymous said...

To me, the creepiness of the pledge of allegiance is best expressed in this sketch..


Srsly. Commies didn't have any similar kind of daily ritual.