• American Exceptionalism, Under God: Pledging Allegiance to the Homeland

    November 12, 2016

    Posted in: Democracy, Post-Constitution America


    Among the exceptional things about America is that, along with North Korea, we are one of a very few nations that have our schools begin the day with a pledge of allegiance.

    Unlike North Korea, however, our pledge also includes a reference to God. We do enjoy pretending all of this is optional because of “rights,” just as we pretend that the reference to God is perfectly “OK” in a nation that claims it is secular.

    (Fun Thing: Have your child substitute “Allah” for “God” in the pledge at school and see what happens!)

    Under God

    The pledge is a short expression of allegiance to the United States. Originally written in 1887, Congress formally adopted it as the official pledge in 1942 as the U.S. was entering WWII. On Flag Day 1954 the words “under God” were added, in time of the Cold War and McCarthyism.

    In signing the words “under God” into law, President Dwight Eisenhower said:

    “From this day forward, the millions of our schoolchildren will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty… In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource, in peace or in war.”

    The pledge is recited out loud, typically with one’s hand over one’s heart. Want an example of how the pledge is used as a vehicle for a whole range of “patriotic” indoctrination? Here.

    The Right Not to Pledge

    The most common place for reciting the pledge is in public schools. Teacher’s are not required, and in most cases do not, inform little kids they have a right to not participate.

    Most schools’ policy does allow students who otherwise learn about their rights outside of class to refrain from participating as long as they don’t interfere with other kids from doing so, generally interpreted as not protesting or acting in an affirmative manner and just standing with their damn mouths shut. There is a wide dollop of leeway on what constitutes “disruptive behavior,” as seen recently in the fury over some people’s decision to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem, another American ritual.

    This is all more or less in line with the landmark 1943 Supreme Court ruling in West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, where the justices voted 6-3 on behalf of Jehovah’s Witnesses refusing to stand for the pledge on religious grounds. The Court held that expelling the students, as was done in a West Virginia school, violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

    Justice Robert Jackson, who wrote the opinion, didn’t believe the government, including school officials, was constitutionally allowed to use punishments to make people say things they don’t mean:

    “To sustain the compulsory flag salute, we are required to say that a Bill of Rights which guards the individual’s right to speak his own mind left it open to public authorities to compel him to utter what is not in his mind.”

    Not every justice on the court agreed, however, Justice Felix Frankfurter wrote in dissent “freedom of religion did not allow individuals to break laws simply because of religious conscience… Otherwise each individual could set up his own censor against obedience to laws conscientiously deemed for the public good by those whose business it is to make laws.”

    And an exceptional free nation certainly could not have citizens running amok acting on their consciences.

    So How’s That Working Out for Ya?

    In late October, only 73 years after the Supreme Court decision, word apparently has not yet reached Florida, because a middle schooler in Tampa was kicked out of the classroom after refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

    Mark Dawson was yelled at by his teacher and made to leave the classroom after he refused to stand for the daily pledge at the ironically-named Liberty Middle School. A school spokesperson quickly admitted the teacher didn’t know the school district’s policy — as well as the actual Constitution of these United States — allowed for Dawson’s behavior.

    Or did they?

    Florida state law actually requires students to get written permission from parents if they want to abstain from the pledge.

    Although the Supreme Court holds that the Bill of Rights applies to minors, Florida says well, it sort of doesn’t. Florida state courts have upheld the local law by technically treating the matter as an issue of parental authority, as granted or withheld by the state legislature. The law operates under the assumption parents would make their kids stand for the pledge if they happened to be in the classroom at the time.

    Florida’s actions have not yet been tested before the Supreme Court.

    Do Other Countries Say Some Sort of Pledge of Allegiance in School?

    Despite America being “the essential nation” who serves as that “shining city on the hill” (we do have a lot of those kinds of expressions, don’t we?), America more or less stands alone in sort-of, kind-of, compelling/pressuring kids into stating out loud in the presence of their peers allegiance to the nation.

    North Korea also has its school kids say a daily pledge, but that’s a bad thing. The Guardian described the scene as:

    “They are barely seven years old, but these glum-looking children are already being drafted into a tyrannical regime hell bent on waging nuclear war with the world. Standing in arrow-straight rows, their faces are hardly the picture of happiness as they are forced to pledge their allegiance to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and call him ‘father’.”

    Yeah, yeah, I get it, different words, but basically the same idea: a stated pledge to a national symbol. Only kids in North Korea aren’t happy because, whatever, like the U.S., their country has nuclear weapons.

    Fun Fact: South Korea has a pledge, too. But not Canada, Britain, France or the other democracies of Europe.

    Exceptional Homeland!

    Related Articles:

    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • Mitch said...



      Is it that the kids are being drafted?…. Or…. That the ground work is being laid for prosecution, at a later date, for violation of the pledge/oath??

      Not really all that different from violation of oath’s I have had to take from time to time.

      Prosecution for violating the oath’s is not unheard of.

      “welcome to the machine”.


      11/12/16 1:40 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      I refused in the 8th grade. Glad my dad was a lawyer who liked the Constitution.

      11/12/16 3:32 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      The Frankfurter fellow sounds like he’d fit in perfectly with the fascists on both parties. Clueless and dogmatic.

      11/12/16 7:44 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Donna, Debbie, and Dean, three D’s who pledged allegiance to Goddess Hillary.Praise to Allah they will be faced with Karma! Big protest in NYC Union Sq. starting at high noon.

      11/12/16 8:21 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Chuck- I think you meant czarina Hillary. She fancies herself as
      royalty not a goddess.

      11/12/16 8:42 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...



      11/12/16 11:24 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Nancy Pelosi has shortened the time for vote for Leader of Dems in the House. I suggested to Bernier to tell that old man (friend) to get Tulsi Gabbard nominated. The D swine are still trying. They said something like… we need to have a sooner election so Nancy can represent as a women. Chelsea Manning/ 2000/Whatever

      11/12/16 11:32 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      correction… Bernier’s. I have not contacted him yet! Burn in Hell, Allah Bless Amerika1 Wave a flag, or more. A gay relative voted for Donald. Is it true Trump is having the Limo’s etc. painted GOLD. Is sarcasm still allowed here? Have a nice day.

      11/12/16 11:37 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      I’m with her. Pardon Chelsea Manning. Imagine Obama does not, and Trump does? How is that for political theater? Power to the People. Pardon the Whistle blowers. Truth always wins. You know it. If not, get the fuck out of the way. People will work for you anyway! Have a nice day.

      11/12/16 11:41 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      (time out)

      11/12/16 11:41 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      4 dead in… not Ohio

      11/12/16 4:28 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Stop the Wars…Sorry if I annoy you. It is for kids in America. Dog is God spelled backwards. The Empire could be failing. Have a nice day.

      11/12/16 4:31 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      2007 and half….We need more Dems.?!!! A Vagina would do. Chelsea Manning. Truth.

      11/12/16 4:34 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Ru Paul / 2016

      11/12/16 4:51 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Pardon Manning

      11/12/16 4:53 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Fear…(9/11) vs (11/9)

      11/12/16 5:47 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      Hope for the planet earth…..or…. At least journalism….maybe…. Hopefully….

      Hope this clown means it.



      11/12/16 9:54 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      So …the owner of the NYT admits it’s been a lying sack of shit up until today. right. whudda thunk.

      11/13/16 6:01 AM | Comment Link

    • teri said...


      “We cannot deliver the independent, original journalism for which we are known without the loyalty of our subscribers, the letter states.” – from Mitch’s link.

      They must be losing subscribers, that’s all. Now let’s see how this sentence parses out….. Actually, you COULD deliver “independent original journalism” with or without subscribers. The subscribers don’t write the articles, after all. And let’s note that people like PVB and I write independent original articles without any subscribers at all. They are just saying that if the subscribers don’t pony up, they’ll continue with the crappy, hackneyed, non-original journalism they have chosen to offer for some time now. And they are furthermore shifting the blame for their crappy coverage of the issues to the erstwhile subscribers, who apparently aren’t “loyal” enough to make it worth their time to write actual factual articles.

      It’s almost Obama-like in its subtlety and nuance.

      11/13/16 8:08 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      Yep…. Exactly.


      So…… You caught all of that….. Too.

      That’s why I said, hopefully…. Figure he’s having an AA moment. Maybe… Hopefully…..
      It is after all….. Difficult as two faced as he is to go cold turkey on being a lying POS all in one day.

      Sooo……. Anyone hear any good (verified) news on Killary’s divorce????? She must be having a really bad week. Feel really bad for her. ( did that sound sincere??? Been working on my delivery).


      11/13/16 8:50 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      I want Trump to shut down NYTimes as an unregistered lobbyist for Israel. It is a nasty Zionist propaganda machine. Maybe Trump would have the guts. I hope so. I have subscribed for almost thirty years but am ending my subscription to “All the news that fits the agenda of Israel” That has been their real motto since inception.

      11/13/16 11:59 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      11/13/16 2:22 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      ” You do have to admire some one who can blatantly tell Harry Reid to shut the hell up….”

      hmmmm. And here I thought we had a 1st Amendment. dumb me.

      By the time Trump is in office for a year, every libel attorney in the US will be working for him. And the NSA. FBI and DHS. He’ll make Nixon look like a amateur.

      11/13/16 6:42 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      Too cool… But …. That does work both ways.

      If you had not guessed…. I’m not a Reid fan.

      right now…. I’m going to keep the jury out for a bit longer on Trump.

      Not crazy about him…. Never have been. But… He’s saying he’s going to serve for free. Get rid of NAFTA, kill TPP, bitchslap obummer care… And… Put Reid in his place…. Reid is Almost as big a crook as Killary.

      Yeah… I’m going to keep the jury out…


      11/13/16 7:11 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Reid could be a character witness for Hillary. “She has no character just like me your honor”.

      11/13/16 7:18 PM | Comment Link

    • jo6pac said...


      11/13/16 11:44 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      I’m imagining that social scientists are going to be tearing this election apart for years ( of course of the good of mankind, and not to gain strategic knowledge for future elections) to try and grasp what the hell actually happened.

      Looking for everyway to justify the ass whipping Killary received.

      The link above above, and 6pacs links, and a bunch of others say it pretty clear.

      “We The People” are pissed off at being ignored and being told what we think, how we think, and when we are gojng to think it.

      I think the biggest mistake the Killary crowd made was making the people fit the polls, the strategy, the “plan” ….instead of the other way around. As if a “poll ” by the NYT’s showing an 85% lead is going to effect the vote. Or…. Make people who were not going to vote, inclined to get out and vote, just to insure Killary did not win.

      Beyond that…. Trump is manipulating well. Picking the clown from RNC as chief of staff….. Nice way to assure both houses work with him.

      And so…….. Mr Toad’s wild ride begins. Keep all hands, feet, and personal belongings inside the ride at all times.

      This will be an “E” ticket ride.


      11/14/16 4:46 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Jo6 Thanks for links especially the “Pie” in the Face to Liberals with Her!

      11/14/16 5:42 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      Says it all. On a variety of topics.



      11/14/16 7:18 AM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      I pledge allegiance to the warstate for which it stands, fascist, invisible with no justice for the poor, and liberty to destroy the world.

      11/14/16 10:16 AM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      The world has looked behind our curtain and knows now what a fraud we are.

      11/14/16 10:19 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      I wish you were joking.


      11/14/16 10:24 AM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      the joke is on US

      11/14/16 10:27 AM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      The Trump coup has set the stage for civil war. All it needs is for Isis to shoot protestors, blame it on the police, firebomb a Trump property and blame it on the protestors. Trump invokes martial law, Peter seeks asylum as he is deemed an enemy of state for blogging and inciting. Anyone not giving allegiance to Trump their dark lord and savior will be arrested.

      11/14/16 10:35 AM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      I am starting an emigration web service for Americans.

      11/14/16 10:37 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      Think Killary and Obummer were not going to do the same thing that you have outlined?

      Interesting thing…. All of Obummers exec orders have laid the ground work for Trump to do exactly what you have outlined….

      But….. Trump won…. Not who was supposed to win.

      Just a thought.


      11/14/16 11:50 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Will Obomber OK the North Dakota Pipeline soon? Watch out if he does.

      11/14/16 12:07 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Many responding here are giving Trump a very sinister agenda. I don’t see him becoming an American Hitler but if he does I won’t be meekly climbing aboard a train headed for hidden “work” camps in Utah. Anyone else at this site thinking what happened in Nazi Germany could ever happen in the USA? -I’d be interested in hearing a succinct argument.

      11/14/16 12:08 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      John Poole,

      My thoughts and argument is simple.

      We don’t really know what Trump will do.

      We do know he has broken the system of professional Politicians.
      We know he has made wild ass statements, and says he will do some wild ass things.

      Such as…. Doing the hardest job on the planet for a dollar a year.

      But….he has not really done anything yet…. So far… A lot of talk…. Which is why… My personal jury is still out.

      He starts some sort of cattle car treatment of anyone… Anywhere…. Look the hell out…. I’m kind of a bulldog on right and wrong… And… I believe I won’t be alone.

      Killary Rotten Clinton….

      Where do you start the list of things she has DONE???

      Not talked about…. Not said…. Has Done?????
      Some pretty evil things. And… She continues.

      my personal choice would have been Jill…. But the system is set so no third party will ever be elected.

      Beyond that, Mr. Poole…. Still owe you lunch.

      Thanks for the voice of reason.


      11/14/16 12:21 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich bauer said...


      Mitch, Trump has only ripped the curtain away that hid the fascist government that has waged illegal war since 1963. The FBI involvement also let slip the fascist organization that controls law enforcement in this dumbass country. If Hillarious had won the electoral college and Trump the popular vote by more than 2,000,000, yes the Isis divideand conquer strategy would be possible. But the level of street protests would be much reduced as the Trump voters have gotten used to getting fucked by the corrupt system. Let US focus on the present.. Obomber handed the keys to Trump to make it a reality.

      11/14/16 1:49 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      I think we need to listen to the Liar in Chief speak today, and think… I deleted the rest, but look it up in the cloud. Who gave Trump the power to know it all and Tues. make hit lists? D/DNC teams

      11/14/16 2:21 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      I hoping and praying your wrong. Hope for the best… Prepare for the worst. BIGTIME prepare for the worst.

      I fully understand, Trump will have the power to make us all glow in, what…. 2 months?

      If he holds to his promise of undoing every executive order done by Obummer in the first week… Then… And only then… Will I let my personal jury start coming back in.

      I think I understand Trump… I think…. I’m not sure yet… The next couple months will tell.

      Question for you…. If Trump… Immediately starts undoing the, what 6,000 executive orders of the last 8 years,( there by curbing the executive powers, incredibly curbing) will you start giving him a chance to maybe start treating government as a business, rather than a special interest cash cow?


      11/14/16 3:29 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      Btw…. If your thinking I will even think of defending ANY war the USA has been in since… Oh…. The Mexican/American war… And that one is questionable…

      Believe me… Your at the wrong tree.

      WW1… Based on LIES… WW2… Based on the Lies on WW1… Korea, Vietnam, shit… Everything execpt Grenada. All bullshit for resources and expansion.

      Hell, even the B.S. In N.D . Right now…. Just another deadly damn game for the wealthy to get more.

      You see, I started reading Peter’s page, because of an essay he wrote called… “why we are at war”.

      Damn near every third line was….. “and they lied”.

      And…. They… The government…. Lied. A LOT!!!


      11/14/16 3:38 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Swaet loges are good. I am glad Her did not win. I think the man, the Empire is sweating. Everybody, work for the People. We will be O Tay! The People United will never be Divided.

      11/14/16 3:44 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Obama is not honest. He looks like a failed person in his press talk. He is blessed, a tool. First half white president bombing 7 countries (is sarcasm allowed her?).

      11/14/16 3:53 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      How many countries will Trump bomb, and will they all be of color? Are there odds? I may bet. Will Isil stil donate to the Clinton Foundation? How is Clean Coal going. I am so glad Gitmo is closed. Hope, Change, Believe. Go Team……..?

      11/14/16 3:57 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Hey Barry press guy… Does bombing 7 countries help carbo emissions? What about flying to Greece to save Bankster4? Have a nice day.

      11/14/16 4:29 PM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      Is the USA the walking dead? Watching Obama congratulate Trump was similar to Rick thanking Negan. Trump doesnt have Negans sense of humor.

      11/14/16 5:59 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Here we go again!-and it hasn’t even been a week. The MSM is now warning of the disastrous calamity of a Giuliani AG. You’d think that they would have been chastened somewhat by being exposed for their blinkered bias but damned if they aren’t back saying the sky is about to collapse in the homeland. The NYtimes, Washington Post, Huffington Post and many others should do humanity a favor and fold up shop and disappear.

      11/14/16 10:19 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Chuck- you nailed it about the American military’s monstrous carbon footprint burning an unimaginable amount of distilled fossil fuel to keep all their fancy hardware in the air, on the seas and tamping down desert sand.

      11/14/16 10:32 PM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      What can go wrong with an idiot as AG? Let US ask one….Fredo. Guiliani wants Sec State…where he can do no damage.

      11/15/16 7:19 AM | Comment Link

    Leave A Comment

    Mail (will not be published) (required)