A Journal for Western Man




Pledge to Do What?

Harry Roolaart

Issue VIII- October 19, 2002


On June 26, 2002, the often controversial 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance widely recited in public schools across the country and declared the Pledge unconstitutional. Though the 9th Court has often rendered bizarre rulings, in this instance, we at HARRYROOLAART.COM stand by the 9th Circuit ruling because the phrase "under God" is an endorsement of religion. Given that California law forces school children to recite and/or witness the Pledge, and therefore swear allegiance to "one nation under God", this then constitutes a violation of the separation clause which forbids government endorsement of religion in any way. Not only that, but the entire Pledge itself violates the basic tenets of the U.S. Constitution in that we are a free people who ought not to be forced to swear allegiance to anyone or anything, including the United States government. This, as long as we remain law abiding, and respectful of the rights of others.

Perhaps a brief history of the Pledge of Allegiance will make the above abundantly clear.

Most histories of the Pledge simply state how one day the Pledge appeared in the September 8th, 1892 issue of
The Youth's Companion and that in all likelihood, the Pledge was authored by a Francis Bellamy. Nothing is said of its author; no explanation made as to the author's intent, other than to signify it, over the years, as being an " oath of loyalty to the U.S. national emblem and to the nation it symbolizes." This last most likely occurred under the 'leadership of the American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution', an organization that in 1924 made off with Bellamy's Pledge and changed its words, 'my Flag,' to 'the Flag of the United States of America'. Bellamy disliked this change, but his protests were ignored.

Then, in 1954, a period when anticommunism moved to the ideological center of American politics, Bellamy's Pledge of Allegiance underwent its second edit. Congress, after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men's organization who sermonized that the pledge needed to be distinguished from similar orations used by "godless communists," added the words, 'under God,' to the Pledge as a means to distance the Pledge of Allegiance's phrasing from its uncomfortable similarities to those pledges recited by the Soviet proletariat.

Was this a valid claim by the Knights of Columbus? Yes it was. Turns out that Francis Bellamy was a Baptist minister, turned Christian Socialist. Not many people know that today. In the Pledge, Bellamy was expressing the ideas espoused by his first, and much more famous cousin, Edward Bellamy: author of the American Socialist utopian novels
Looking Backward and Equality. Edward Bellamy in these novels and articles described in detail how the middle class could create a planned economy with political, social and economic equality for all. In fact, it was Edward who later was to inspire socialist America through his magazine The Nationalist, and to some extent its successor, the New Nation.

Francis Bellamy was an impressionable man, heavily inspired by his socialist cousin, Edward. He was a young man who wrote a simple Pledge that he published in the leading family magazine of the day. Then, later while becoming a chairman of a committee of state superintendents of education in the National Education Association, Bellamy had the dubious honor of having President Benjamin Harrison, by proclamation, demand that the young man's pledge be used in public schools during Columbus Day celebrations. So the Knights of Columbus were not wrong in discerning collectivist and Socialistic sentiments within our own Pledge of Allegiance.

Here's the Pledge as it was rewritten in 1954:
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.

The same, but not the same. In one fell swoop, the Pledge of Allegiance had become both Statist propaganda
and State sponsored public prayer sold to the public as a coerced " oath of loyalty and patriotism to one's country". As it stands, American children today are obliged each day to uphold a socialistic Pledge, while simultaneously being asked to pledge their allegiance to a God the children may not even acknowledge, nor believe in.

Speaking Thursday at the G-8 summit in Canada, Bush said the ruling was "out of step with the history and traditions of America," and said it highlighted the need for "common sense judges that understand that our rights are derived from God." Clearly, our own President is as confused about the religious views of our Deist Founding Fathers as are most Americans.

Even more disturbing is the outright refusal by lawmakers to acknowledge that we are a nation under the Rule of Law. "This absurd decision was made by a court run amok," said House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, R-Texas. "This Congress is not going to let anyone strip our nation of our proud heritage -- not now, not ever," Members of Congress went as far as to say that the ruling ought to be simply ignored.

And if that isn't enough, then how about the justices themselves abandoning all pretenses that their rulings matter in any way or form? One day after rendering his decision, Judge Goodwin upon hearing of the national outcry, blocked his own ruling in order to appease the consensus (i.e. mob). Senator Byrd called Goodwin, who wrote the decision, an "atheist lawyer. I hope his name never comes before this body for any promotion, because he will be remembered," Byrd said.

And so, we stand with the Pledge as it was amended in 1954 –official State propaganda and State sponsored prayer to the Judeo-Christian God, along with a judge's final affront to the American Constitution: his failure to do his job for fear of a lawmaker's threats and the overt threats made by a mob consensus. And, just in case we assign such undesirable actions to a lone judge, let us remember that our own lawmakers, if not the President himself, when being presented with the notion of removing religious endorsement from government, actually encouraged citizens to ignore the Rule of Law, thereby rendering our entire Justice system to the subjective whim of a few, and the majority vengeance of mob rule."

Review Bellamy's history and judge your own comfort level at your children's recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance – words born in the mind of an adherent to Socialism. Then, review the words of our Founding Fathers, mostly Deists, who frowned both upon Statism and the power of the Church, let alone any effort to fuse the two, and you will come to realize that the Court's ruling was the only proper ruling possible…and that it didn't go far enough.

In closing, let it be said that the United States of America is the greatest country on this earth,
in spite of the actions taken by government to undermine its core principles. Let us not give fealty to a State, but rather to the principles conveniently left unmentioned in the current pledge: individual rights and the freedoms which derive from such rights.

Harry Roolaart is the founder and creator of the harryroolaart.com website and is a writer and artist living and working in Charlotte, North Carolina.  You may contact him personally at hroolaart@harryroolaart.com.

This TRA feature has been edited in accordance with TRA’s Statement of Policy.

Click here to return to TRA's Issue VIII Index.

Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's new comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, at http://www.geocities.com/rational_argumentator/rc.html.