What Will the Supreme Court Do About the Pledge?
Mr. Luker, an Atlanta historian, is co-editor of the first two volumes of The Papers of Martin Luther King.In nine western states covered by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, public schools are now barred from including the words "under God" in students' pledge allegiance to the flag.The circuit courts ruling, re-affirming the judgment of a three-judge panel last June, will be appealed to the United States Supreme Court, where it is likely to and should be overturned.
The Pledge of Allegiance has no ancient lineage. It was drafted as a patriotic gesture by Francis Bellamy in 1892. Bellamy was a Baptist minister and a socialist, whose version was: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." Three decades after the Civil War, his intention was not a religious, but a patriotic one, to affirm that the indivisible unity of the nation was a settled issue. His pledge repudiated the treason of those Americans who had recently fought under an alien flag.
Bellamys version of the Pledge of Allegiance circulated in public schools and voluntary societies for another three decades. After World War I, when immigration to the United States rose to dramatic numbers, the Daughters of the American Revolution and the American Legion convened a National Flag Conference, which gave specificity to Bellamys words, "my Flag," by changing them to "the Flag of the United States of America."
In 1940, on the eve of World War II, the United States Supreme Court ruled, by a vote of eight to one, that school boards could compel students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. "National unity is the basis of national security," reasoned Justice Felix Frankfurter. "The flag is a symbol of our national unity." Yet, three years later, by a vote of six to three, the Court reversed itself. In war against totalitarian regimes, which tyrannically enforced devotion to national symbols, western democracies could demonstrate their devotion to "liberty and justice for all" even those who would not pledge allegiance to their symbols. Today, 26 states require that the pledge of allegiance be said in public schools, but nowhere can a child be forced to say it.
During the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union, the Catholic Knights of Columbus launched a major campaign to add the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance. President Dwight D. Eisenhower sat in the front pew of Washingtons New York Avenue Presbyterian Church as its pastor, the Reverend George M. Docherty, endorsed the amendment. "Apart from ... the phrase the United States of America, it could be the pledge of any republic," said the Presbyterian divine. "I could hear little Muscovites repeat a similar pledge to their hammer-and-sickle flag in Moscow."
In February 1954, a bill to add the words "under God" was introduced in Congress and on Flag Day, 14 June, President Eisenhower signed the bill into law. Clearly, the intention of the amendment was to distinguish American values from those of atheistic Communism. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a fundamentalist Islam which has resorted to terrorism, however, "under God" no longer seems to distinguish us from our enemies abroad.
Moreover, in Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), the United States Supreme Court ruled that law and government practice may not have a religious purpose. Nor can they advance or promote religion primarily or excessively entangle government and religion. Based on Lemons interpretation of the First Amendments exclusion of an establishment of religion, the Ninth Circuit ruled that public school districts may not require school children to recite the pledge "under God."
Yet, those words accord well with the non-doctrinal plea of our finest traditions.
They pledge us to national loyalty, while recognizing that there is a higher
majesty to which all other loyalties must defer. In that spirit, the authors
of the Declaration of Independence appealed to the Creator and to "Natures
God" as authority for their action. In that spirit, Abraham Lincolns
Second Inaugural Address quoted the Psalmist in saying that "the judgments
of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." In that spirit the Supreme
Court hearing the case from the Ninth Circuit will be convened by the words:
"God save the United States and this honorable court."
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leroy bell - 9/2/2006
that is amazing information. You have taught me a lot. Most people have no idea about the pledge's putrid past.
Rex RexCurry.net Curry - 9/18/2005
Shocking facts were exposed by me (Rex Curry) during research for court litigation against the Pledge of Allegiance. Elk Grove’s new Pledge case (9/14/05) virtually guarantees the high court again will consider the constitutionality of the Pledge, and I will be there to tell the whole truth, (including the parts that are hidden by the courts and media). As a libertarian lawyer, I provide pro bono services in schools nationwide to educate the public about the news:
1. The USA’s first Pledge used a straight-arm salute and it was the origin of the salute of the monstrous National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazis). It was not an ancient Roman salute. http://rexcurry.net/pledgesalute.html
2. The Pledge began with a military salute that then stretched outward toward the flag. Historic photographs are at http://rexcurry.net/pledge2.html and at http://rexcurry.net/pledge_military.html Due to the way that both gestures were used, the military salute led to the Nazi salute. The Nazi salute is an extended military salute. http://rexcurry.net/book1a1contents-pledge.html
3. The Pledge’s creator was a self-proclaimed socialist in the nationalism movement in the USA and his dogma influenced socialists in Germany, and his Pledge was the origin of their salute. "Nazi" means "National Socialist German Workers' Party." A mnemonic device is the swastika (Hakenkreuz in German). Although the swastika was an ancient symbol, it was also used sometimes by German National Socialists to represent "S" letters for their "socialism." Hitler altered his own signature to use the same stylized "S" letter for "socialist."
The Pledge is part of the USA’s growing police-state. The insane government in the U.S. could cause comatose persons to Pledge dis-allegiance, desecrate the flag, and recite a declaration of independence. Remove the Pledge from the flag, remove flags from schools, remove schools from government.
Government schools will never teach children about their Pledge rights, nor the truth about the Pledge and its author.
Most comments fail to ever mention that Francis Bellamy and his cousin Edward Bellamy were National Socialists in the USA, wrote for and supported their "Nationalist" and "New Nation" magazines, the "Nationalist Educational Association" and pushed their totalitarian dogma in their "Nationalism" clubs worldwide, including in Germany, and that the bible of their movement, Edward Bellamy's book "Looking Backward" was translated into every major language including the languages of those countries that became home to totalitarian socialism and the socialist Wholecaust (of which the Holocaust was a part) under the National Socialist German Workers' Party (21 million dead), the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (62 million dead), and the Peoples' Republic of China (35 million dead). It is easy to see why anyone would want to cover all of that up, but it should not be covered up.
In the USA, the Bellamy dogma supported a government takeover of education. The government's schools imposed segregation by law and taught racism as official policy. The USA's behavior was an example for three decades before the Nazis. As under Nazism, the Jehovah's Witnesses, and blacks and the Jewish and others in the USA attended government schools that dictated segregation, taught racism, and persecuted children who refused to perform the straight-arm salute and robotically chant the Pledge. Some kids were expelled from government schools and had to use the many better alternatives. There were acts of violence. When Jesse Owens competed in the 1936 Olympics in Germany, his neighbors attended segregated government schools where they saluted the flag with the Nazi salute. The U.S. practice of official racism even outlasted the horrid party. And the schools and the Pledge still exist. The Pledge is still the most visible sign of the USA's growing police state.
After segregation in government's schools ended, the Bellamy legacy caused more police-state racism of forced busing that destroyed communities and neighborhoods and deepened hostilities.
Bellamy was a self-proclaimed national socialist in the USA, with the "Nationalist" magazine, and he preached what he called "military socialism." The federal flag darkens schools because Bellamy wanted government to take over all schools and to eliminate all of the better alternatives. Worse, Bellamy wanted the government to take over everything, not just schools. He wanted the government to impose the military system on all of society. School flags are a symbol of nationalization, militarism, and socialism.
The Bellamy dogma was the same dogma that led to the "Wholecaust" (of which the Holocaust was a part): 62 million killed under the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; 35 million under the Peoples' Republic of China; 21 million under the National Socialist German Workers' Party. It was so bad that Holocaust Museums could quadruple in size with Wholecaust Museums to document the entire slaughter.
Some schools in the USA are still named after Francis Bellamy. The Bellamy schools should be re-named because they send the wrong message to children and the community. It causes emotional distress to children who attend schools named after a man who popularized the Nazi salute and who helped the government institutionalize racism and segregation. I, and my supporters, will also assist in any legal means to defray the cost of re-naming Bellamy schools.
If government's schools (and the media) told the true history of the Pledge, then no student would chant it. If Americans knew the truth, then the Pledge would cease to exist.
Fight the flag hags and their flag fetish. Government's schools should not teach kids to verbally fellate flags each morning. It is like a brainwashed cult of the omnipotent state. For adults it is childish. Remove the Pledge from the flag, remove flags from schools, remove schools from government.
Listen to audio exposing the flag and the Pledge http://rexcurry.net/rexcurry4.mp3
As an attorney, I am asked if students can be forced to say the Pledge of Allegiance in government schools. Another school year has started, and it is important to educate children about their right to refuse.
Government schools deserve a failing grade for not teaching students about their right to refuse and about the horrid history of the Pledge. There are still some oddball states where government schools are required by law to begin each day with a robotic chant of the Pledge, after students hear the ringing of a bell, like Pavlov's lapdogs of the state.
Government schools in the U.S. were the origin of the salute of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazis) because the Pledge's original salute was a straight-armed salute. It is a myth that the salute is an old Roman salute. Most students never see the eye-popping historic photographs. http://www.rexcurry.net/pledge2.html
I became involved in litigation about the Pledge of Allegiance before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Wonschik v. United States http://www.supremecourtus.gov/docket/03-10249.htm Research in that case and other litigation involving the Pledge, led to astounding discoveries concerning the Pledge's past.
The history of the Pledge is suppressed because it is unlibertarian. The Pledge was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a self-proclaimed National Socialist, who wanted a government takeover of education to produce an "industrial army" (a Bellamy term) for the authoritarian vision in his cousin Edward Bellamy's book "Looking Backward." The Bellamy cousins promoted national socialism worldwide for decades. It resulted in racist and segregated government schools that lasted through WWII into the 1960's, setting a horrid example for hate-spewing groups worldwide.
A webpage helps students learn that the Pledge was written by a National Socialist and the rest of the Pledge's truly terrifying history:
The eye-popping new version of the popular graphic art "All in favor of gun control raise your right hand" is at http://www.rexcurry.net/pledgewonschik.html
In the new version, the original Nazi-style salute to the U.S. flag is exposed with the phrase: "All in favor of a Pledge of Allegiance raise your right hand."
The graphic art shows the original Pledge of Allegiance on the left and on the right it shows the salute of the National Socialist German Workers' Party.
It explains that the Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. flag is the origin of the salute of the National Socialist German Workers' Party.
In the 1930s, the National Socialist German Workers' Party passed laws that required everyone to pledge allegiance, similar to many state laws in the U.S. that have tried to require school-children to recite the Pledge. Jehovah's Witnesses believed that people who enjoy reciting government pledges are people who worship government. Jehovah's Witnesses were officially banned in Germany for refusing to join the raised palm salute of the National Socialist German Workers' Party in schools and at public events. Many of the German Witnesses were imprisoned in concentration camps.
The National Socialist German Workers' Party had adopted the U.S. salute and forced people to perform it. Many states in the U.S. had a practice similar to that of National Socialist German Workers' Party in forcing people to perform the salute created by a National Socialist in the U.S.
In the 1940's, before the phrase "under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance, Jehovah's Witnesses refused to recite the Pledge in school on the grounds that it constituted worship of government. They hoped for a different response than they had met from the National Socialist German Workers' Party. In 1940, in the case of Minersville School Board v. Gobitas, the Supreme Court ruled that a government school could expel those children for refusing to salute the flag. Three years later (1943), in West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette the Supreme Court reversed itself and decided that school children may not be forced to stand and salute the flag.
In 1940, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter was freaking about France falling to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party when Frankfurter wrote the Gobitas decision that allowed schools to expel students who refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Frankfurter was very concerned about the progress of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party in the war and Frankfurter believed it was important for the country to come together and for everyone to be loyal. Yet, Frankfurter’s decision allowed compelled collective pledges by the government in government schools that were using a straight-arm salute similar to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party salute, for a Pledge of Allegiance that was written by a U.S. socialist who was a member of the "Nationalism" movement and a vice president of its socialist auxiliary group, whose members wanted the federal government to nationalize most of the American economy. It is fortunate that the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Gobitas decision 3 years later.
The original salute to the U.S. flag was the same as the salute of the National Socialist German Workers' Party. An example of the salute is at http://www.rexcurry.net/pledge1.html (historic photographs of the original socialist salute being given to the U.S. flag are collected at that website, so please contact the website with information about any historic photographs of the Pledge).
"Nazi" was an abbreviation of "National Socialist Worker's Party of Germany." They advocated nationalizing the economy. After the Nazi's demonstrated full blown socialism, the U.S. flag salute changed to the modern hand over the heart.
The U.S. Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by a socialist, to promote socialism in the most socialistic institution -- government schools. The author, Francis Bellamy, belonged to a religious socialist movement known as "Christian Socialism," and belonged to a group known for "Nationalism," whose members wanted the federal government to nationalize most of the American economy. He saw government schools as a means to that end.
Libertarians like to say they oppose "the cult of the omnipotent state." There are many parallels between the legal arguments made by Jehovah's Witnesses and the libertarian catchphrase.
The Barnette case held that students cannot be forced to recite the Pledge or salute the flag in government schools. One admirable result of the Gobitas case and every Supreme Court case regarding government schools is that many parents removed their children from government schools. And that is the real solution to the Pledge debate and all other issues: reduce government and remove government from education. As Libertarians say: The separation of school and state is as important as the separation of church and state.
For more information on the U.S. flag's Pledge and salute see http://www.rexcurry.net/pledge1.html
Yours in Liberty,
Attorney At Law
Mr. H. Bugler - 7/19/2004
In September 1941, you were attending kindergarten in Hollis, Queens, New York. Perhaps you first learned the Pledge at this state school before you were enrolled at St. Catherines in September 1942. Up the Republic!
Sister Mary Imelda, O. P.
J. Carr - 11/1/2003
Seig heil mein obergruppenfuehrer!
J. Carr - 10/21/2003
The Justices that banned the Pledge were from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals located in San Francisco. The Ninth Circuit has the distinction of being the most overturned court in the United States. Most of its appointees are what was once called liberal Democrats. I guess liberal got to be a bad word so now they can be classified as "progressive" socialists. The Ninth Circuit is little more than a tool of the California Democrats who rule the state. The court is regularly used to strike down any proposition approved by the voters that the Democrats don't like and they are almost always successful.
JOHN W. BUGLER - 6/8/2003
THE PLEDGE IS VOLUNTARY. I PRAY GOD IT WILL ALWAYS BE SO.
THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE DOES NOT IMPOSE ITSELF ON ANYONE. IT IS FREE AND VOLUNTARY. BUT KEEP IN MIND IT IS STILL UP TO THE STATES AND THE LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE PLEDGES IS SAID.AND THAT IS WHAT THIS COUNTRY IS ALL ABOUT. I RESPECT THE RIGHT OF ANYONE TO REFUSE TO SAY THE PLEDGE.
I WILL DIE DEFENDING THAT RIGHT. THAT IS WHAT THIS COUNTRY IS ALL ABOUT. IF WE IN ANY WAY LOOK DOWN ON PEOPLE WHO DO NOT FEEL THE WAY WE DO ABOUT SUCH THINGS THEN WE ARE IN EFFECT ERODING THE PRINCIPLES OF OUR COUNTRY. CONVERSELY THEY SHOULD RESPECT OUR RIGHT TO RECITE THE PLEDGE. I REMEMBER THE FIRST DAY I EVER SAID THE PLEDGE. IT WAS IN THE FIRST GRADE IN ST. CATHARINE OF SIENNA RC GRAMMAR SCHOOL IN ST. ALBANS NY IN THE YEAR 1941.
IT WAS THE BEGINNING OF A LOVE AFFAIR WITH THIS NEW JERUSALEM. AND AFFAIR WHICH TO THIS DAY WARMS MY HEART AND SOUL.
JOHN W. BUGLER - 4/7/2003
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE DOES NOT VIOLATE THE SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE.
THE WORDS "FREE EXERCISE THEREOF" ARE CRITICAL.
NO ONE IS FORCED TO SAY THE PLEDGE.
AND IF WE ARE NOT UNDER GOD, THEN WHO ARE WE UNDER? MAN.
NO THANKS. I TRUST GOD. I WILL NEVER TRUST MAN. SORRY.
MY FRIENDS IN GERMANY TRUSTED HANSOME ADOLF AND THEM REST IS HISTORY.
Bill Heuisler - 4/5/2003
In this great wink of Eternity, who would have guessed?
Quite unexpectedly as Vasserot the armless ambidexterian was lighting a match between his great and second toe and Ralph the lion was engaged in biting the neck of Madame Sossman...
Black wings across the cancelled skies...
Unexpectedly the top blew off...and...
Perhaps one of us should consider hara kiri.
Reid Mitchell - 4/1/2003
I think a pledge to a piece of fabric ridiculous.
And yes, I know the emotional power that piece of farbic has for many; I've written about its impact on soldiers during the Civil War.
A pledge to the Constitution-government restrained by law--would suit me better if a pledge is necessary.
audrey - 3/29/2003
who were the judges that banned the pledge. and what party arethey?
mark safranski - 3/28/2003
The generally liberal to left NEA teacher's union announced via its general counsel, the intent to file a Friend of the Court brief in support of the pledge of allegience when the issue reaches the Supreme Court.
Gus Moner - 3/28/2003
They'll vote for God's inbedment into our socio-political fibre.
Don Williams - 3/26/2003
This nation does not provide "liberty and justice for all" -- and neither it's leadership nor it's magistrates show any inclination to redress that shortcoming
I concur that we owe loyalty to our land and our people. The government is another matter --especially when it shows a tendency to lie to the people, to promote corruption, and to wrap private business agendas in the flag.
Ralph E. Luker - 3/25/2003
Take a break from nastiness, John, and get out a history book. The Bill of Rights was in effect for several decades when Connecticut still had an established church. No court held that Connecticut was in violation of the Bill of Rights. I'm not arguing for an establishment of religion, but the freedom of religion under the American constitution is considerably broader than a crabbed atheism can quite contemplate.
I didn't say that the schools coerce anything. Your little atheist offspring are not obliged to say the pledge. Indeed, without the words "under God," I think Christians, Moslims and Jews should abstain from saying the pledge at all because it becomes idolatrous.
John G. Fought - 3/25/2003
I think I understood you the first time. Have I got this right: since these State school systems coerce students into reciting the Pledge through peer and authority pressure, despite the Supreme Court ruling that nobody can be forced to recite it, then we might as well throw in some coerced religion as well? Coerced public displays of loyalty to the State are to be somehow mitigated by adding on coerced public displays of religious conformity? I can imagine a simpler, more effective remedy. Can't you? Where in the Bill of Rights do you start paying attention, Mr. Luker?
Ralph E. Luker - 3/25/2003
To both Dr. Fought and Mr. Wiener:
The kind of peer pressure to say the pledge of allegiance is operative, whether or not "under God" is there or not, and regardless of Supreme Court decisions that children may not be coerced to say the pledge. Public schools in 26 states are obliged by state law to observe the pledge. At best, that's an odd distribution of obligation, coersion and freedom. If we are to do this in our public schools (and I think there is a reasonable civic rationale for doing so), the phrase "under God" makes an important statement that the state/the nation/the United States is not the highest majesty to which one may be obliged. It allows that there may be, indeed, is a higher loyalty -- to an abstract notion of justice, human rights, a universal human community, or even to a personal God -- to which loyalty to the nation may have to defer. Without that language in the pledge, it makes the nation the center of one's highest obligation. It seems to me that that is objectionable and it should be, even to persons who are thoughtful atheists or agnostics.
John G. Fought - 3/25/2003
We meet again, Mr. Luker. I will not be the first to point out that the uproar against restoring the pledge to its original form refutes any claim that those two words are unimportant and non-doctrinal. The deity invoked is neither Krishna nor Chac, the Rain God. You should remember that many Americans were and are neither Christians nor Jews. (If you have clear evidence showing that either Jefferson or Lincoln were ever practicing Christians, pray share it.) But regardless of that, quite a number of less distinguished Americans live and die as honorably and as patriotically as anyone else, quite outside the limits of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Some of them do not practice any religion or believe in any divinity at all. Many of these people, including me, find the complacent pieties of Christian patrioteers irritating at any time, but now above all, based as they are on a comfortable assumption that Jesus has an American flag on his mailbox, and paraded as they are against a backdrop of recent public exposure of acts of clerical hypocrisy on a vast, nondenominational scale. Nothing worthwhile would be lost, and something precious would be gained for the United States as a whole, if these barnacles were scraped off the ship of state. Ultimately, you can't honestly have it both ways. I stopped saying the Pledge in 1954, because I have principles too.
Steve Wiener - 3/25/2003
I commend this accurate historical account but totally disagree with the illogical, self-contradictory conclusion. How can anyone argue that coercing (one notch below forcing) easily impressed school children to recite a pledge placing our country "under God" is "non-doctrinal"? Many Americans are not monotheistic; many are agnostics and atheists. Federal courts have consistently and historically ruled that public schools are held to a higher standard of separation of church and state than other government institutions. This is correctly due to the fact that school children are very diverse and easily subject to peer and official pressure to conform--politically and religiously. If the Founding Fathers were so "spiritual," why is the only mention of any deity in the entire Constitution "year of our Lord," a merely poetic reference to the Christian calendar. The most revolutionary concept of our Constitution and country is separation of church and state. If all formal prayers in public school by students and teachers are unconstitutional (as they are/should be), then "under God" in the pledge and even a teacher saying "God bless you" to a student who sneezes are prayers that should be prohibitted.
dan - 3/25/2003
Interesting how people fanatically for the pledge area also fanatically opposed to Kwaanza because it doesn't have deep roots!
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