Thursday, December 23, 2010

Where should we direct our allegiance?

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.

Break out the torches and pitchforks, the Pledge of Allegiance is under attack by the godless commies in Massachusetts!

This is the sort of stuff that used to get me all wound up. From Fox News:

Massachusetts School Issues Permission Slips for Pledge of Allegiance

The principal of a public school in Brookline, Mass., is asking parents to fill out permission slips before their children can participate in a weekly recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Gerardo Martinez, the principal of The Devotion School, informed parents that the school would begin reciting the pledge in January over the public address system.

Attached to the letter was a form that asked parents to check either: "Yes, my child will participate in the weekly Pledge of Allegiance" or "No, my child will not participate in the weekly Pledge of Allegiance."

"I urge you to have a conversation as a family to help your children understand why I will be reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and to support them in feeling comfortable and confident in the decision on whether or not to participate," Martinez wrote in the letter.

The school also sent parents a copy of the Pledge of Allegiance along with a note that defined the words "under God" as meaning "there is one Supreme entity for every citizen."

Of course this is happening in Massachusetts. I read this and wonder what the point is, why is this newsworthy? One public school in Massachusetts sends home a note and it makes the news in multiple outlets. On the one hand, it is a symptom of 24 hour news cycle where almost anything is newsworthy just to fill up space. More importantly, this is the sort of news story that gets people riled up because of the misplaced sense of outrage people feel when our civic religion is challenged. This kerfuffle raises a number of questions for believers living in America…

First, should Christian parents want their children swearing allegiance to the flag of any secular nation?

Second, should our children be invoking some sort of vague deity that represents the civil religion of America?

Third, is there anything less meaningful than small children being taught to repeat a brief pledge that ultimately doesn’t mean anything?

I am sure these sorts of news stories are run to get a rise out of people in the same way that stories about businesses taking down Christmas trees or instructing employees to say “Happy Holidays” are designed to get people upset.

What do you think about this news story and the Pledge of Allegiance in general? Is this an issue to take a stand on? Should Christian children be pledging allegiance to a flag and a secular nation or should our allegiance be restricted to Jesus Christ alone?


Anonymous said...

as an Australian I have no intention of making a pledge to your flag...I read in Matthew this morning about not making oaths...rather let your yes be yes..

Arthur Sido said...

Hi Criag,

Just wondering, is there something similar in Australia? I kind of assume that an early morning pledge is a uniquely American thing.