Freedom Includes The Right To Not
Stand And Salute The Flag
By James Donahue
There was a troubling story recently about three eighth-graders in a Minnesota school who were suspended
because they refused to stand for the morning Pledge of Allegiance to the U. S. flag. This, school officials explained, violated
a school policy.
The American Civil Liberties Union has pounced on this issue, and rightly so. The school policy violated
the student’s rights to freedom of speech. And from where we sit, the brainwashing of children in public schools by
forcing them to recite something like the Pledge of Allegiance, should be stopped anyway.
The author of the pledge, Francis Bellamy, was a Baptist minister and a confirmed Christian Socialist.
He published the pledge in 1892 in a popular family magazine, The Youth’s Companion. He not only worked for that magazine,
but Bellamy served as chairman of a committee of state superintendents of education in the National Education Association,
and used his influence to have the pledge recited by school children during a quadricentennial celebration for Columbus Day
Bellamy manipulated the schools and the public to accept the pledge as a patriotic statement of an oath
to the flag and it has been part of a dogma regulating public behavior ever since.
The words in this oath are not only wrong, but until the words “under God” were removed
by the Supreme Court in 1995, were laced with Christian influence in a nation that boasts freedom of religious belief. Atheists
should not be forced to declare an allegiance to anything under a god that they do not think exists.
Most Americans who attended the public school system remember starting each day by standing by our desks,
gazing at a U.S. flag and reciting this same oath of allegiance. It is said during many public events, including athletic
games, city council meetings, county supervisor meetings, and numerous other occasions. People know it by heart, place their
hands over their hearts as taught when in school, and say the words without thinking about what they mean.
While there is nothing wrong with patriotism, and teaching our children a love and respect for their
country, there is something very wrong with teaching a lie. The pledge glorifies a nation that was envisioned by the nation’s
founders, but not longer reflects what America has become.
Had we followed the plan and truly maintained the United States government as a republic, we might be
a far different and perhaps even finer beacon to the world than we are today. The only known republic in history was the Roman
Empire, which lasted for about a thousand years. Its downfall came after Christianity filtered its way into government and
things got corrupted.
The same thing is happening in America today, and we are a nation just over 200 years old. Some question
just how long our nation will last if we stay on the path we are following now.
President George W. Bush never uses the word “republic” when he speaks of our government,
or the government he favors for Iraq and the other nations of the world. Instead he calls us a democracy. He represents an
organization of powerful people who appear to think all nations should fall in lock step with the United States, do away with
kingdoms and dictatorships, and become democracies.
Bush got his way in Iraq. His administration toppled the rule of dictator Saddam Hussein and established
a democracy. But now there is civil strife that is out of control. The problem with democracy is that when in place, the people
rule. But they fight among themselves until the strongest leader gets to be the “king of the mountain.” Then everything
goes back to the old principle of either kingdom or dictatorship.
When we say the pledge of
allegiance to the flag of the United States, “and to the republic for which it stands,” we are not speaking the
truth. We are not a republic and we never have been. It is true that we elect representatives to speak for us in Washington,
but once they get there, they quickly forget their promises to the people back home. Instead, they fall victim to the big
money lobbyists and power structure that really runs the nation. And that represents big business.
It is also questionable when
we say that we are “one nation,” because America has become a mixture of many nations and tongues, all of us packed
in various ethnic groups and struggling to have our voices heard amid the din created by the democratic system we have become.
When we say we enjoy “liberty
and justice for all,” we are uttering yet another falsehood. Justice in America belongs only to those that can afford
to buy it. Everybody else belongs to the downtrodden masses who serve as working whores and slaves to the wealthy. Thus the
word liberty also is a false claim for most of us. It doesn’t exist either.
This is why we support the
right of those three boys in that Minnesota school, and anyone else who chooses not to stand with the crowd in schoolrooms,
city council meetings and football games and recite a pledge to the flag.
Unless it becomes a truth,
and America miraculously turns itself around and becomes a real republic offering all of its people equality and justice as
yet unavailable to most of us, we have no right to say it.