Mr WordPress on Under Who?
National Briefing | South
Mississippi: Judge Punished for Ordering Pledge
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: June 9, 2011
A judge will be reprimanded and fined $100 for jailing a lawyer who refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in his courtroom. The State Supreme Court affirmed the recommendation from the Commission on Judicial Performance against Chancellor Talmadge Littlejohn of New Albany. The commission said that Judge Littlejohn acknowledged violating the rights of the lawyer, Danny Lampley, in October with a contempt of court order.
Today’s conservatives often describe themselves as strict constructionists, seeking the “original meaning” of the nation’s founding texts. In the case of the Pledge of Allegiance, a much fetishized if not legally binding document, this approach is unlikely to yield the desired political result. As Jeffrey Owen Jones and Peter Meyer note, the original author of the pledge was a former Christian Socialist minister who hoped to redeem the United States from its class and ethnic antagonisms. Interpretations of its meaning have been growing more conservative, not more liberal, ever since.
A History of the Pledge of Allegiance
By Jeffrey Owen Jones and Peter Meyer
214 pp. Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press. $23.99
The author in question was Francis Bellamy, cousin to the novelist Edward Bellamy, whose “Looking Backward” offered the 19th century’s most popular vision of a future welfare-state utopia. In 1892, after abandoning the ministry, Francis was working at The Youth’s Companion, a mass-market magazine aimed at schoolchildren. For promotional purposes, the magazine planned a national youth pageant to mark the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s American landfall. Bellamy was assigned to rally the necessary political support and, at the last minute, to compose a few words appropriate to the occasion. He came up with a statement of what he later called “intelligent patriotism,” designed to counteract some of the nation’s most divisive and reactionary impulses.
His original salute to the flag was just 23 words: “I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the republic for which it stands — one nation indivisible — with liberty and justice for all.” Even so, it contained a subtle political message. Amid the heightened class conflict of the Gilded Age, the phrase “liberty and justice for all” was an idealist’s demand as well as a patriotic affirmation. So, too, was the idea of “one nation indivisible.” Just a generation removed from the Civil War, divided over the new immigrants pouring in from Eastern and Southern Europe, Americans of the era could not take their country’s stability for granted. Bellamy hoped his pledge would bind them together in a celebration of the nation’s traditions — and sell a few magazines along the way.
As Jones and Meyer note, Bellamy himself eventually backed away from his early flirtation with radicalism, emerging by World War I as an advocate of immigration restriction and stringent countersubversion. Much of the nation followed a similar path. In the 1920s, patriotic groups like the American Legion campaigned to change the words “my flag” to “the flag of the United States of America,” anxious that immigrant children might secretly be pledging to the flags of their original homelands. Three decades later, Congress added the words “under God” to distinguish American patriotism from “godless Communism,” thus condemning Bellamy’s high-minded call for national unity to decades of court challenges and contention.
As the pledge grew more restrictive, it also became increasingly mandatory. Today, at least 42 states feature some sort of recitation law, usually aimed at public school children. Politicians on both sides of the aisle pay homage to the pledge as an essential and edifying patriotic rite, advertising their willingness to place hand over heart. (Strict constructionists should note that the original pledge was accompanied by a right-side straight-arm salute, a gesture that mysteriously began to lose popularity in the 1930s.)
Jones and Meyer make a good case that Bellamy’s original pledge was more elegant and rhythmic than today’s clause-laden version. They are less effective in explaining how the former “Youth’s Companion Pledge of Allegiance” evolved from a vaguely progressive one-off promotional spot into a mandatory childhood rite of passage and a political weapon. “The Pledge” often relies on exclamation and enthusiasm in lieu of analysis. (“Only in America!” appears as free-standing commentary.) As a result, the book reads more like an amateur hobbyist’s guide to pledge-related happenings than a fully realized history of American patriotism and national identity.
What “The Pledge” does offer is an enthusiast’s fascination with the odd (if not quite “magical”) string of events that led modern conservatives to adopt the ditty of a 19-century socialist as a 21st-century badge of honor.
Beverly Gage, a history professor at Yale, is writing a biography of J. Edgar Hoover.
As of earlier this week, there has been an uprising of voices in the public school system. A young boy the age of 12 has refused to stand up during The Pledge of Allegiance that morning. “As usual the President says, ‘Good Morning’ and starts the pledge. Everyone student stood up except for one. ” Her eyes battered fast in awe of what kind of voices will be for the Country’s future.
I had a talk with the young boy Robert*. He was your ordinary boy. Brown-eyed, cleaned-cut hair laid short above the ears. He loves playing soccer with his 15 year-old sister after school. Now, you are probably thinking, ‘This is a sweet boy. How can someone so young and innocent know such a controversial issue? “ I don’t know. I just thought it wasn’t for me. Like I wasn’t ready I guess,” as he twiddled this thumbs above his Math homework.
Having a talk to Congress about this issue was a history lesson in itself. They have been running into this a lot but not so highly brought to the surface that our neighbor Robert* had done. “A lot of the people have had a problem having with ‘Under God’ in Nation’s pledge. “The Nation is not forcing any of our citizen’s to say the pledge. We have been given to live this American life with freedom and liberty. A God founded country. To take it out to compromise for the other party would cost money to change currency(monies) and some may forget to NOT say “under God” in the pledge. I surely believe in our Lord and He is the authority and security for the United States of America. God bless the U.S.A.”
Today is Thursday and since Monday families have been speaking up about their children having a “Choice of Voice.” And they are going to make sure of that. “I believe and we all know this is a country of freedom. I will make sure my child is told to believe what they think is right before they step foot out my home,” says a parent after hearing this catastrophe. “No one will force my child to have an oath in something they do not feel is true.”
The United States has always been a country of Freedom and Liberty. Everyone has a say in what they do and believe.
A teacher in Cheyenne City has heard about the denial of natural practices in the morning at Green Dale Middle School. “I just cannot believe a child could do such thing. Especially to have a strong mind to know what he is doing.”
I personally do not think it should be removed. Yes, we have freedom of religion in our country but saying “one nation under God” is acceptable to so many religions. God can be that one diety or many that you worship, whether it be Buddha, Allah, Heavenly Father, etc.
There was actually a pole taken on this subject. 82% of people poled believe in God and do not want that part of the Pledge removed. Why are we catering to that other 18%? Doesn’t majority rule in our country? We have gone way overboard with worrying about whether we are offending someone or not and we start to forget what is truly important.
The fact is, we ARE one nation under God. Is it so wrong to state it? And, is it so wrong to teach our children that there is a supreme being who loves them so much that he provides to them this beautiful country and all of the freedoms that they enjoy? I dare say “NO”, it is not wrong. Pledge on!
http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-03-12/bay-area/18386807_1_pledge-case-michael-newdow-appeals (not prayer but an endorsement of fathers’ philosophy)