The Pledge of Allegiance (a short refresher)

History is such a good teacher, but only if you actually pay attention to it. Consider this history of the Pledge of Allegiance.
1892, in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus: “I pledge allegiance to my flag and [to] the Republic for which it stands—one Nation indivisible—with liberty and justice for all.”
 
1923, in response to rising immigration into the US: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States and to the Republic for which it stands—one Nation indivisible—with liberty and justice for all.”
 
1924, just so there no confusion about which “United States” we mean: “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.”
 
1942, on the 50th anniversary of the pledge: Congress adopted the pledge as part of the national flag code
 
1943: an exception for Jehovah’s Witnesses, because their religion prohibits worshipping a graven image
 
1954, at the urging of the Catholic Knights of Columbus, Congress acts to add “under God” to the pledge: “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.”
 
2004, in response to a lawsuit by an atheist parent on behalf of his school-age child, the Supreme Court declares the reference to God to be constitutionally permissible.
So the country was 178 years old, had fought (and won) against a British invasion, a civil war, and two world wars, had expanded to become the world’s superpower and was in the midst of the greatest economic expansion ever before it became “one nation under God”.
 
Personally, I’d be pretty happy if we were “one Nation indivisible” — but that may be too much to ask. We may have to settle for “one Nation, under God”.

 

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