Why I stopped saying America’s Pledge of Allegiance

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The American Humanist Association launched a campaign Monday encouraging people to sit out the Pledge of Allegiance until the phrase “under God” is removed from it.

“The Pledge discriminates against atheists and others who are good without a god,” AHA’s executive director Roy Spechkardt argues. But non-believers aren’t the only ones put off by the ritual.

FYI to all you uninitiated international readers, most U.S. classrooms start each day with a school-led recitation of the Pledge.

At the morning bell, students rise in unison, face the American flag, place their right hands over their hearts, and proclaim:

“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.”

Pledge of Allegiance

Pledge of Allegiance

I recently caught the American film Boyhood at a cinema in East London. In one scene, students pledge their allegiance to the U.S. flag, pivot slightly, and pledge their allegiance to the Texas state flag. The non-American audience around me erupted in laughter at this unfamiliar custom. I reflexively joined in.

Much of my formative years were spent in England. When I moved to Wisconsin for middle school, I saw the U.S. as an outsider, with the same bewilderment and bemusement I still view much of the world having lived abroad for nearly a decade.

As most of my classmates droned through the Pledge of Allegiance with zombiesque enthusiasm, I examined each word.

The idea of pledging my loyalty to a piece of cloth symbolizing a federation of states under a republican system of government seemed like a big ask. I was only twelve. Students half my age were making the same commitment. Were we really mature enough to take such a hefty oath?

Then came the part about America being one nation under God, indivisible. I understood a nation to be little more than a large group of people with some common connecter. The U.S. is vast and diverse. Surely there was more than one nation in my midst. My faith orientation was in flux, so the God part was tricky. And the word “indivisible” seemed too good to be true.

This young American empire had expanded rapidly, but I’d just learned about the British Empire’s decline. And with all that talk of Texas secession (I mean, it has its own separate pledge…), “indivisible” seemed unbelievable.

That left “liberty and justice for all,” five words I could stand behind.

After all that reflection, deciding not to say the pledge was obvious. But it wasn’t easy.

Students have been guaranteed the right to opt-out of reciting the Pledge since 1943 when the Supreme Court overturned the chant’s compulsory place in American classrooms.

But think back to your tweens. How easy was it to balk at conformity, let alone make a political stand, when everyone else was going through the motions with varying levels of conviction.

Reciting the Pledge may not be legally required in the U.S., but it’s culturally and socially expected. In many communities, the pressure to stand at attention and to conform is strong.

I felt so uncomfortable sitting out the Pledge in one high school class that I opted to drop that subject entirely. The scrutiny from classmates, even more so from the teacher, was more than I was willing to bear. I stood up for my principles by sitting down, but I was an insecure conformity-craving teen just like everyone around me. To opt out of the Pledge without giving myself hives, I opted out of biology. And to think I could have been a doctor…

The American Humanist Association wants people to sit out the Pledge until “under God” is removed. I’d encourage people to sit out the Pledge until they understand and agree with every single word. Pledging your allegiance to a political body is a significant undertaking. It demands a level of maturity few, I’ll go out on a limb and say zero, six-year-olds have reached.

Ultimately our freedom requires freedom of choice. Freedom of religion and freedom of expression die when we fail to guarantee freedom from coercion and the freedom to remain silent.

So sit down and shut up if you so choose. It’s your constitutional right in America.

For more on the AHA campaign, see Chris Stedman’s RNS post “Atheists challenging ‘under God’ need to win hearts, not just minds” and Kimberly Winston’s story “Atheists want you to sit down for the Pledge of Allegiance.

  • I agree with your basic sentiment that its best not to pledge to something you don’t understand. But your analysis is incredibly shallow. But then maybe you intended to write this from the viewpoint of a 12 year old.

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  • A few years ago I found myself for multiple days in a Common Pleas Courtroom with members of my church. Our regional church body was suing our congregation and a few of our members individually for property we owned for 100 years. It was a big First Amendment mess from the start.

    The judge opened every court session by requiring all in the courtroom to recite the pledge.

    Most of the members of my church were not Americans. Some were pursuing citizenship. Others were here to attend school. Some were not citizens but had children born here who were citizens.

    This created a situation that was intimidating to any notion that our views might be heard without prejudice. We were already being accused of “non-allegiance” to our church body. What chance would we have of a fair hearing if we could not stand with the judge—who was assuming authority over all our money and property (some of it personal)—and pledge away?

    After the first embarrassing day, our non-American members asked me to write down the pledge. They wanted to fit in—which really is what the pledge is about.

    I sat in a dark city hall corridor and scribbled it on index cards to alleviate their alienation.

    The judge ruled he has no jurisdiction in court cases. An appeal court agreed but was split. Maybe they were intimidated, too! Maybe forcing compliance creates muddy thinking all around.

    The judge who claimed no jurisdiction then took jurisdiction and gave our property and money to our regional body.

    We felt out of place and intimidated by the mandated pledge of allegiance. Forcing its recitation violates the ideas and ideals it hopes to nurture.

    My son went to Quaker school and does not know the ritual of pledging allegiance. He seems no less patriotic.

  • Kerry

    You don’t agree with him, so his viewpoint is “incredibly shallow”? Someone here is shallow, but it’s not the author.

  • Rodney

    You say that the “Under God” discriminates against atheists. I personally disagree. It’s not saying under God to refer to our physical position. It’s acknowledging that we as a people, and as a country are below the level of God. Even if you do not believe in a god, you can’t put yourself on such a high pedestal that you feel you are equal to or surpassing of a god. I said it every day and it reminded me that we live in the greatest country in the world. It reminded me that I must remain humble. Even atheists should agree that it is better to humble rather than to exalt oneself. Under God should never be removed from the pledge, but hey, like you said, you don’t have to say it anyway

  • Rodney my man, you are out of your mind. It has nothing to do with feeling as if we are better than others, or this so-called “God” of yours. No one should be forced to believe in something they do not believe in just to please people like you. Even the pledge itself is a farce because of lack of true unity in this country. The phrase was not there in the first place, it was forced to be by the ruling body who happened to be Christian (perhaps). Same goes with our money, In God We Trust was also not printed on it originally. Did anyone ask people if they wanted it that way? Hell no! 😉

  • Rodney

    I never said anyone had to believe in my god or any god. I also said that you have a right not to say it. And it has everything to do with not placing ourselves above others. I’m out of my mind? My “so-called god”. I thought you leftys were the tolerant ones? In my life I’ve unfortunately seen nothing but the opposite

  • Diane Win

    Well said Paulo 🙂

  • Verax

    Oh, BS. It should NEVER have been put there in the first place. And until a “god” shows him- or herself and tells us exactly WHAT the attributes of a “god” are, we’ll have to assume there is no way to know.

  • Hifi

    Rodney,
    Actually, I can categorically say, with no sense of self-importance, that my rights of free speech and conscience stand absolutely above that of any unicorn, elf, ghost, or other supernatural fantasy – including the thousands of god characters you can find in collections of old folk tales of this or that tribe.

  • Rodney

    I like that I can make a logical thought out argument but everyone else just uses ad hominems, but you know, it’s whatever I guess

  • mary

    Your argument is flawed because it’s based on the erroneous assumption that such a thing as a god exists, and that such a being would be better or greater than a human. It’s like you’re asking someone to take your argument seriously when you use Santa Claus as evidence. When your assumptions are wrong, the whole argument falls apart.

  • mary

    The point of the Pledge of Allegiance is to not to make you feel humble, but to make you feel superior to the people in all the other countries. Besides, leaving “under God” in it means that we want people to lie. Since when is the point of a pledge to lie? Even if you believe in God (Christians and Jews?), then you would still be lying to claim that the nation is under any god, especially the specific God of Judeo-Christian beliefs. It just isn’t true–there are many gods people worship, also, as well as us atheists.

    I value honesty more than false humility.

  • mary

    To be clear–I was not saying people worship atheists, ha…

  • Bonnie

    LOL, Rodney do you even know what “ad hominem” is?? The bottom line is that people who don’t believe in a god should never be asked to say “under god.” It’s a very simple concept. Also someone using the phrase “your so-called god” is only a reflection of the fact that to say “your god” would be like saying there IS one, which obviously the person who said it doesn’t believe. Your being offended that people don’t want to say this phrase does not automatically equal people being intolerant.

  • kat

    How can anybody acknowledge themselves to be below or above something that does not exist? And based on what you assume that atheist are lefties? I, for one, am right handed.

  • Bonnie

    Hear, hear!

  • LutherW

    I have been debating taking the Pledge (to sit it out). In the end, it will take it as an example to all those students who will be risking much more than I.

  • opheliart

    Rodney,

    The word ‘God’—name ‘God’—is offensive to some. Atheists, for the most part, do not believe in God—do not believe in ‘a’ God. If a person started a religion called Atheism, and it can be a religion if used religiously (origin in Latin: obligation, bond, reverence … to bind), then it would be permitted the same or similar rights as any other denominational religion. Anything can be religion. Man can also make anything his God, if using God metaphorically/symbolically, which Christians often do. Traditional Religious Christians view God as Person, or three Persons (Likely a direct influence from the writings of Jewish philosopher and theologian, Philo Judaeus—of Alexandria).

    You make a good point in not placing self above others (in Christ ethics, partiality/favoritism is a sin-James 2), but most Atheists do not like to think of self as under something they believe does not exist.

    Peace

  • Earold D. Gunter

    Mary,
    I consider myself a non-theist, and an anti-theist as I don’t believe I’ve seen any evidence a god exists, and I think religion is very bad for humans.

    However, sometimes when I read the comments on an article it feels like I’m part of a brain-storming exercise and often some of the things written triggers some strange thought.

    Your “oops” caused me to ponder “If their was a god, wouldn’t he be an atheist?”

    Just a thought.

  • Earold D. Gunter

    “for the most part”
    Nice!

  • opheliart

    E,

    God is referred to as One.

    However, as gnostic (not of Gnosticism), three in One is more to the Understanding.

    🙂

    Peace

  • Hot Rod, I tolerate peeps like you every day, even ignoring the words and not saying them does not change anything. This country is made up of many people from many religious or nonreligious backgrounds. Now, as I know it, the word “God,” is associated with the Christian/Catholic being worshipped afformentioned groups. Why use it at all if not to force their will upon others who choose to follow their own path? Remember the missionaries, the Crusades, the Inquisition (that was a huge party for the faithful, and you couldn’t Taulcumada anything, ;)). Why did the leaders of this country in the past, place this in the Pledge? As I can see it, the pledge is already a hymn used to worship the flapping cloth that supposedly unites all, although there is not much unity in this country except to gang up on that which is not fully known. The media has become the false idol Moses would have chucked his boulders at, but that would have pissed off his followers because they wanted the calf to cling to. The Lord and the New Creatures. Sailing the sea of deception in order to control the masses. Not me buddy, take your “God” and shove it! I love the Universe, the planets, and those that we are still learning about. Of there are others out there, they will never come here until we actually question things and expand our understanding of the true purpose of humanity.

  • Rodney

    Ok, you people can’t even do this with out name-calling and condescension. I’m gonna go, have fun doing you

  • geri

    We have had this pledge shoved down our throat for so long most people just go along with it. That’s called brainwashing

  • Fran

    I have never recited the pledge of allegiance, I am 60 years young, and am a natural-born citizen of the USA.

    I also try to be a footstep follower of Jesus and worshiper of his Father, Yahweh or Jehovah God. That is why I have never said the pledge because my allegiance goes to God’s kingdom or heavenly government and not to any country’s flag or man’s governments.
    To me, it would be a form of idolatry.

    I also do not believe that any country and/or government can now or will provide “liberty and justice for all” (part of the pledge), except for God’s kingdom, which will provide great blessings for all.

  • Ted

    As an atheist myself (note the lower case “a” in atheist; a capital “A” tends to make it seem like a religion), I have no trouble with others believing in god, God, or gods. Nor do I have any issue with the pledge of allegiance. Typically, the only people I have met that actually have a problem with any mention of religion, god, or faith are those who actively hate it. They may be atheists, but they do not speak for all of us. They are Antitheists (note the capital “A”) who hate gods, or Antireligionists who hate all religions but the one that hates all religions. Namely themselves. Now that I think about it, most of the Antirelionists I know practice self loathing. Hmmm

  • clasqm

    It’s no biggie, but while we’re on the subject, could all those people standing with their right hand over their hearts just become aware of a basic anatomical fact?

    The heart is behind the breastbone and just *slightly* to the left. It is not way up towards the left shoulder.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart#mediaviewer/File:Surface_anatomy_of_the_heart.png

  • You are correct to defy the pledge. Every should defy it. People who complain only about the two-word deification in the Pledge are strange and completely miss the bigger problem: The pledge is central to the US’s police state and its never-ending spread. The pledge was the origin of the Nazi salute and Nazi behavior (that is one of the amazing discoveries of the historian Dr. Rex Curry, as described by the author Ian Tinny in the book “Pledge of Allegiance and Swastika Secrets”). http://rexcurry.net

    The pledge was written by an American socialist who influenced other
    socialists worldwide, including German socialists (Hitler), who used the
    U.S.’s stiff-armed gesture under their flag’s notorious symbol (their symbol
    was used to represent crossed “S” letters for their “socialist”
    dogma -another of Dr. Curry’s discoveries).

    Hitler’s symbol was a type of cross, a “Hakenkreuz” (hooked cross); he did
    not call it a “swastika.” The misnomer “swastika” was used (and continues to
    be used) to cover up Nazism’s origin in American Christian Socialism, via
    Francis Bellamy and his cousin Edward Bellamy (author of “Looking
    Backward” -the origin of the National Socialist movement).

    Francis Bellamy was a Christian Socialist and the Pledge of Allegiance was a
    small part of a much larger printed program covering 2 newspaper-sized pages
    and those pages included the phrase “under God,” along with hymns, prayers,
    and various references to the Bible and “God.” That is why the original full
    Pledge program is not performed in government schools. That explains why a
    theistic reference was not specifically in the small chant part.

    The original pledge began with a military salute that was then extended
    outward to point at the flag (thus the stiff-arm gesture came from the
    pledge and from the military salute). In practice the second gesture was
    performed palm-down (the classic Nazi gesture, adopted by Hitler later), not
    palm up, and photos and film footage show that children would simply point
    the original military salute at the flag.

    The pledge continues to be the source of Nazi behavior, and that Nazi-style
    behavior was displayed by the Mayor of Winter Garden, Florida (John Rees)
    who had a cop expel a man from a city council meeting because the man did
    not stand for the pledge. No one should stand for nor chant the Pledge of
    Allegiance. End the pledge.

  • I didn’t think it was shallow. And the Pledge of Allegiance is such a bizarred example of the police state in the USA that it makes people in other countries laugh at us and at our pathetic children led in the ritual chanting. Most US children have such a shallow analysis of the pledge, in that they have no analysis of it at all, because government schools (socialist schools) teach them NOT to think about it and to remain ignorant. That is why they do not know that the pledge The pledge was the origin of the Nazi salute and Nazi behavior (that is one of the amazing discoveries of the historian Dr. Rex Curry, as described by the author Ian Tinny in the book “Pledge of Allegiance and Swastika Secrets”). http://rexcurry.net The RNS writer probably does not know that either. She can improve her analysis now, by adding details about the Pledge’ putrid past and how that Americans are so ignorant of it.

  • Jericho

    Rodney, I know you’ll never read this, but you’re awful. You’re so ignorant it hurts. I won’t make this into much of an ad hominem attack, because I know you can’t deal with even the slightest degree of what you call, “condescension,” when people are actually just trying to mellow down your aggressively Christian stance. As an atheist I honestly don’t care what people say in their Morning-Nazi-Salute, because it doesn’t change the fact that the classical conception of God is one drenched with the stench of solipsism and wishful thinking. However, using the phrase, “Under God,” is explicitly disrespectful to both religious and non-religious persons, except you. As a Christian you believe in a personal God, the one referenced in the pledge. Many faiths do not, however, hold the same conception of a deity that you do. Many people do not even consider the notion of a God to be a realistic possibility. To have our children recite the pledge is to force them into a position where they are blindly becoming more privy to Christian ideology and terms, without respecting the vast diversity of beliefs and faiths that exist in our nation. How can we even say that we have freedom of religion when our own pledge of allegiance is biased towards everyone except for Christians? I seriously do not understand how you could think that it was okay for a government, fueled historically by religious zealots, to push their own faith on children who couldn’t know better in the first place. You may not understand what I’m trying to get at here, especially given your juvenile vocabulary and lack of anything resembling debate skills, but I want other people to know that they’re not the only ones that think you are an idiot. Thanks for being a great scapegoat in demonstrating the negative effects of being closed minded and religiously brainwashed at a young age. You are the result of the pledge, and many practices like it.

  • Gary

    I agree with the author. Why should he have to stand for the use of the word “God” in this established practice when he personally feels defensive about it. I am new to atheism and I’m still sort of learning my way around, but it seems to me that the “God” word shouldn’t really be that rellevent.

  • Bonnie

    Thank you for the reference and for the info, this is interesting.

  • Bonnie

    Just thank you.

  • Hifi

    Ted,
    For most of us the problem is Christians using government to impose the idea of God and the fact that God and patriotism go hand-in-hand on our kids, every day in public, SECULAR, schools.

    My kids had never even heard about gods until kindergarten and the Pledge brought it up. They weren’t sheltered, it’s just that there aren’t any gods around to be aware, not until comes a believer starts talking about his/her imaginary friend. No different than a schizophrenic bringing up the idea of being controlled by aliens via a radio in their head (yeah, you might run into one someday).

    As an aside, when my kids did start to learn about gods, learning about mythology, Greek, Roman, aborignal, Christian, it resulted in a cool incident. A coach asked my 8 year old, “Where did you get those beautiful blue eyes?” She didn’t reply right away, so he added, “from God?”

    She answered, “No, from my parents.” Curious, he asked, “Don’t you believe in God?” To which she immediately replied, “Which one?” Goes without saying, he was speechless. There shouldn’t be anything in school that would counter this perspective, but the Pledge does, and it does it relentlessly.

    Personally, I could care less what words are in the Pledge, just as long as the government, in schools and civic meetings, doesn’t offer it. This is not limiting anyone’s freedom of speech. All the hyper religio-patriots out there can salute the flag all day out in their yard until they are blue in the face, or before every prayer in their nationalist churches. No one would care.

  • Luke

    I stand respectfully for the pledge, but I will not say it because I do not have to. I am opting out until there is liberty and justice for all.

  • Hifi

    Luke,
    Standing looks to all observers like you are in entire agreement.

    Just curious, when you say, “respectfully,” what are you respecting?

  • opheliart

    Part of comment: “Rodney, I know you’ll never read this, but you’re awful. You’re so ignorant it hurts.”

    Was this necessary? It sounds an awful lot like bullying to me. Glad my children did not grow up with this.

    People may dislike the pledge, but it is in no way as serious a concern as the sexual abuse/abuse of children still occurring in ALL institutions. Pledge or no pledge, how are you going to keep your children safe from militants and mobs?

  • Marc Mielke

    I can’t feel that I an equal to or surpass a god I do not believe in? Yeah, but I don’t see any point mentioning it. Do you go around telling people you’re not quite as strong as Superman, or that Batman could kick your ass? Seems a pretty strange thing to go on about.

  • Fran

    Tiffany,

    I remember seeing a picture of kids in an American school “heiling” the American flag posted on Facebook … It was pretty scary!

  • Bonnie

    Hooray for you! I love this!

  • Hifi

    You have no idea how proud I am of my kids. They have never once stood for the Pledge and both are now in high school.

    It’ll be nice if this movement gains momentum for them to have some company.

    Hey, if two girls have the courage of their conviction to do this every day with school peers all around them, then maybe it will inspire some of the adults who are on the fence about this to man up, on the rare occasion when they around when the Pledge is conducted.

  • Bonnie

    My son got into arguments with kids about believing in gods when he was in kindergarten. He is autistic and his logical arguments caused some friction.

  • rob

    when I say the pledge

    I say under Jesus Christ, God over all.

  • smokedsalmoned

    What percent of those who refuse to say the lords prayer are pro abortion folks.

  • Tim

    Absolutely. It’s amazing to me how many of us that claim Christian faith know and understand what the scriptures actually say and imply. But that’s partly because American society and Christianity have become so conflated in many areas.

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  • Stefany

    I think it’s silly how people foreign to the U.S. will insult and laugh at customs common to the country. They go on and on how ignorant and stupid people from the U. S. are. I don’t say the pledge for my own reasons. I don’t know who made the movie but it’s not a regular thing to pledge to the Texas flag. When I watch a film and it takes place in another country I don’t laugh or make fun of their daily routines because I know that people from different countries and cultures are going to have their own rituals. I think that the people viewing the film need to be more open minded. A film from the US doesn’t necessarily portray life in the country correctly and the same goes for other films set in other countries.

  • Stefany

    The English people laugh but they seem to forget that the pledge was written by their English people. These English men believed in God. There weren’t many religions in the Americas at that time. The country has changed since the pledge was created but the the pledge hasn’t changed. They should do away with the pledge but not because it has to do with God. There isn’t true freedom in the Americas because of the English and European people. I say the English and Europeans of the past not the new generations.

  • Hifi

    Stefany,
    Your history is a little off.
    Written by the English people? The Pledge was written in 1892 by an American. The Pledge has changed multiple times since it was written – and for the worst. The last was in 1954 when ‘under God’ was inserted when there were hundreds of religions in America at the time. But the Christian majority was good at trampling others’ rights then. They still try to. But it was an unconstitutional act to add that phrase back then, a wrong that needs to be righted.

  • At my middle school. We are forced to stand for the pledge because it is “respectful.” We can be respectful anytime of day, week and year. We have a transfer student from Poland. She didn’t want to do the pledge or stand up for it but they made her. I have a couple of friends that don’t do the pledge and want to sit down. My sister had to sit on the floor in the hallway like a dog because she refused to do the pledge. I was called a “brat” for being “disrespectful” and that was from teachers as well as students. I am only in 7th grade but I need the courage now to not stand for the pledge then to disregard my own beliefs as well as others.

  • Mariah

    When I was younger I was always thought it was required to say the pledge. Now since i’m older I didn’t say the pledge because of religious reasons. But the teachers would still tell us to stand. So I did because I didn’t really think about it. One day one of my best friends was at my house and she told me about not standing for the pledge, and she very well convinced me it was a good reason not to. As I kept talking to her and doing some research for myself. When you say the pledge, people don’t realize that they’re pledging themselves to a symbol, not just their country. Besides, pledging yourself to your country and giving them exclusive devotion no matter what?! That’s kinda scary don’t you think?!! What if we ended up like Nazi Germany? Would you still have your exclusive devotion then? Think about it. In my school our teachers keep asking us or trying to make us stand for the pledge. Oh yeah we’re being so disrespectful to your beliefs by not standing but your not being disrespectful by asking us to go against ours?! “Makes perfect sense!” I’m glad my friends and I are taking a stand because no one and I mean no one will make me stand for the pledge!

  • Mike

    I wholeheartedly agree with you. I may not believe in religion like you, but I do know where you are coming from, my friend. 🙂

  • Mike

    Yeah, I find that if I use cold hard facts against theists, some will be civil, but others will resort to anger quite quickly. 😛 heh.

  • Mike

    Hold your horses everybody!!! WE GOT A GUY LOOKING FOR A FIGHT OVER HERE :O :O :O :O
    The flying spaghetti monster told me that you are anti-abortion.

  • Mike

    And might we all remember that the pledge was written by Francis Bellany, a defrocked priest… (religious nut anybody?)

  • I think you are right but God is dead he is surly alive.People who don’t believe read the bible it can be proved.I believe in God and you should to.:]

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  • Natalie Miller

    Proved? Where is it proven that a god exists? I grew up in religion and studied that book cover to cover for years. No where is there PROOF that a god exists. Just like there is no proof of unicorns, fairies, gnomes, ogres, etc. There are plenty of stories written about them but that doesn’t mean they are real or ever were.
    If you choose to believe go for it, but don’t be all preachy and tell everyone else that we should believe what you believe. It’s not your place and none of your business. So thanks for your invite to “the truth”, but no thank you.

  • Nat Westphal

    I have a very simple solution to this. I get this idea from a friend of mine who isn’t christian. Just don’t say under God. This is easy people. We can still be loyal to our country, just say it without it like you’re trying to get the government to make everyone do. Freedom of religion not only means that people don’t have to be Christian, but also that they can if they want to. Let people believe what they want, but at least respect the country you are part of.

  • Thinh

    Do you know that while you are here fighting about little things, like not standing up for the pledge in school, some kids around the world cannot afford to go to school? They would trade with you in a heartbeat. I will always stand and proudly recite the pledge, and will teach my kids to do that. You have your right to not stand for the pledge, but I can introduce you to someone who cannot stand anymore, because he defended that right.

  • Thinh

    That is your right to not stand, but here is a list of people who died to defend that right.
    http://thefallen.militarytimes.com/the-people-behind-the-sacrifice

    Please consider carefully when you do that. The national flag represents the soul and spirit of a country. It is the national flag that will drape my coffin once I die.
    It also draped on the coffins of my brothers and sisters who laid there lives for us.

  • Don

    I can’t say if Rodney knows the term or not, but he is certainly correct that many of these comments are personal attacks and not positional ones. In fact, many of these comments are specifically inflammatory. The people here who do not believe in God are making no less a personal belief argument than those who do. Many are not going to like it, but they cannot prove a God does not exist. Taking a superior and arrogant position based on nothing more than opinion doesn’t make them right. Prove it without silly arguments of how one simply know or it isn’t logical. If someone can prove it either way by the use of real logic (not pretend logic) then by all means begin. That would be considerably more useful than the adhominem attacks which Rodney so astutely and correctly pointed out.

  • Rudy

    I agree and I disagree. We should not be pledging allegiance to the flag not because you think it should or should not have the word God in it but really because and I don’t mean to offend anyone but because it’s a flag. A piece of cloth with colors on it. America is the biggest gang out there. Colors are Red white and blue. They steel from American and the rest of the world every day. Crimes include money laundering by printing money with no value, trafficking by using foreighners for cheap labor, drugs buy giving people pharmasuticle drugs that get people sick forcing them to spend money on shit that they don’t need. If I could leave America where I was born I would.

  • Frank

    What school do you attend. Civil liberty lawyers may be interested. My respects to your sister. Former SSGT, USMC.

  • Frank

    Rudy, you are free to leave anytime. That is one of the wonderful benefits of living in the U.S.A. We are all free to leave. Or, we can stay and work together to make changes. As a former Marine who served 12 years, I claim all of the liberties and freedom detailed in the Constitution. I do not do anything just because of peer pressure. I earned my right freedom and I most certainly claim it. I pledged to defend, protect and uphold the Constitution which is the last and only pledge I plan to make to my Country. My suggestion to all of the people on this site is to stand or sit for what you believe, do not compromise those beliefs, and look your would be oppressors in the eye, daring them to do anything about it. You are a free people. Millions have died for your freedom. Claim that freedom, hold to it tightly and repel any and all attacks against it. Stand tall, hold your head up. Do what you know to be right, true and just.

  • Ismae

    Finally, someone who understands.

  • Charlotte

    We were immigrating to Canada but our paperwork was held up. My uncle (an American lawyer) had us stay with him in the meantime in the US. I couldn’t stand for the pledge of allegiance. My parents had filled out paperwork that promised we didn’t intend to stay or work in the US. My parents aren’t liars. Participating in the pledge suggests an intent to stay.

    It didn’t go over well with my teacher or fellow students. “You want me to be a liar?” It was a frequent and embarrassing disagreement. I am not American, I’m not going to be American, my parents don’t want me to become an American. That would be a lie dishonoring a host country.

    In Canada we were asked to stand and sing the national anthem at school. I happily obliged. My parents intention was to become Canadian citizens (which we did). That felt like the truth.

    I don’t think the teachers or students in my American class understood what an oath is or how seriously it should be taken.

  • Sarah

    Contact the American Humanist Association. No one can make you say or stand for the pledge. That is against the law. The AHA can give you the resources you need if you are interested.

  • Sarah

    Sounds like she has considered it carefully. What you are asking her to do is to stand in respect for those who have died serving the USA. That is not what standing for the pledge is about. If they died for her right not to salute the flag, then she shouldn’t have to salute the flag to say “thank you” to them.

  • Claire

    If you really really truly believe in not saying the pledge, then you shouldn’t care what other people think of you. It’s difficult, yes, but that’s called being human. And you know what’s also human? Having the ability to make choices. So choose to not care what other people think. The pledge is not legally required. You have the right to sit down if you want to. So do it. And it’s also in human nature to take offense. Easily.