Ken, our newest contributor over at Conservative Hideout 2.0 wrote so eloquently in an article there about his feelings for this great country of ours. In it he said, “To them (his sons), I pledge my allegiance as I do to the Flag of these United States called America, and to the Republic for which it stands, One Nation, Under GOD, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all, even the unborn.”
This got me to thinking about a short performance given by one of the greatest comedians of all time, Red Skelton. He spoke of a teacher that had touched his heart and stirred his soul. This teacher, a Mr. Lasswell, gave a touching rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance. But what is this Pledge of Allegiance we have come to know as a keystone to Americana?
It was written by Francis Bellamy in 1892. Interestingly enough, he was a Christian Socialist. When he wrote it, he intended it to express the ideals of the socialist utopian novels, Looking Backward and Equality (Edward Bellamy, 1888 & 1897 respectively) which were written by his cousin. The Youth’s Companion, kind of the Reader’s Digest of its day, published the pledge.
According to Bellamy himself, some of his thoughts as to the words he chose are:
“It began as an intensive communing with salient points of our national history, from the Declaration of Independence onwards; with the makings of the Constitution…with the meaning of the Civil War; with the aspiration of the people…
The true reason for allegiance to the Flag is the ‘republic for which it stands.’ …And what does that vast thing, the Republic mean? It is the concise political word for the Nation – the One Nation which the Civil War was fought to prove. To make that One Nation idea clear, we must specify that it is indivisible, as Webster and Lincoln used to repeat in their great speeches. And its future?
Just here arose the temptation of the historic slogan of the French Revolution which meant so much to Jefferson and his friends, ‘Liberty, equality, fraternity.’ No, that would be too fanciful, too many thousands of years off in realization. But we as a nation do stand square on the doctrine of liberty and justice for all…”
I am sure we all have opinions as to Mr. Bellamy’s intentions when he wrote the Pledge of Allegiance. It isn’t my intention in my writings today to pick apart his thoughts listed above as they pertain to it. No, instead I want to point out two things. First, even though this was written as a means to push a utopian socialist view, it has become something uniquely American and has been a boon to our patriotism. Secondly let me just say that were it not for the freedoms and liberties in this country, Mr. Bellamy might not have been even allowed to write this. It is because we live in a free Republic that he could express himself like this. I am sure that he is probably none too happy with the fact that his pledge has been bestowed by the American public with such patriotism.
But, back to Red Skelton’s January 14th, 1969 Pledge of Allegiance in which he explained the meaning of the words as they were told to him by his teacher. His version was read into the Congressional Record of the United States twice, receiving numerous awards.
RED SKELTON: “I remember this one teacher. To me, he was the greatest teacher, a real sage…of my time, anyhow. He had such wisdom. And we were all reciting the Pledge Of Allegiance one day and he walked over, this little teacher. Mr. Lasswell. Mr. Lasswell was his name… He says: “I’ve been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge Of Allegiance all semester and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word?
I – Me; an individual; a committee of one.
Pledge – Dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.
Allegiance – My love and my devotion.
To the Flag – Our standard; Old Glory ; a symbol of Freedom; wherever she waves there’s respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts, Freedom is everybody’s job.
United – That means that we have all come together.
States – Individual communities that have united into forty-eight great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose. All divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that’s love for country.
And to the Republic – Republic — a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people; and it’s from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.
For which it stands
One Nation – One Nation — meaning, so blessed by God.
Indivisible – Incapable of being divided.
With Liberty – Which is Freedom; the right of power to live one’s own life, without threats, fear, or some sort of retaliation.
And Justice – The principle or qualities of dealing fairly with others…
For All – For All — which means, boys and girls, it’s as much your country as it is mine. And now, boys and girls let me hear you recite the Pledge of Allegiance:
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.
Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance: Under God. Wouldn’t it be a pity if someone said that is a prayer and that would be eliminated from schools, too?”
Ironically Red was correct in his prophesy. For in 2002 to 2004 it was contested, (where else? – in the courts) to take out “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.
Hat tip to clown-ministry.com for the following:
“On June 26, 2002, the Pledge of Allegiance was banned from the public schools. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that, since the pledge contains the phrase “under God,” it is an unconstitutional establishment of a religion. The court, shocked by popular outrage, put a stay on the order until the entire 9th Circuit Court could review it. As of March 28,2003, the 9th Circuit Court has done so — and upheld the original judgment. Attorney General John Ashcroft condemned the decision and said the Justice Department will “spare no effort to preserve the rights of all our citizens to pledge allegiance to the American flag.” On June 15th, 2004, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled unanimously that the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance would remain intact as a patriotic oath in public schools, despite efforts by atheist Michael Newdow to remove the phrase as a First Amendment violation. The 8-0 ruling (with Antonin Scalia having removed himself) came ironically on Flag Day, and exactly 50 years after Congress added the phrase “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. As a result, the Pledge of Allegiance, in it’s entirety will continue to be recited by public school students as an oath to their country.
However, the court effectively ruled on a technicality — since Mr. Newdow did not have primary custody of his daughter, in whose name he sued, he had no right to bring legal suit in the first place. The Supreme Court did not rule on the constitutionality of the phrase “under God” nor on the supposedly constitution “separation of church and state.”
We live in perilous times my friends. The statist is attacking and chipping away at the fiber of our Republic on many fronts. They are relentless and never rest, but we must stand resolute in our determination to hold dear the cause of liberty, teach our children the meaning of freedom and cherish our democracy so that we remain a free people.