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I pledge allegiance to American ideals

James Blatter

McCon-nell started abstaining from the pledge today because she is being raised by her parents as a Jehovah’s Witness.

Witnesses do not recite the pledge because they hold to the doctrine that God holds no nation above another and that by pledging allegiance to the flag, they are practicing a form of idolization, a sin against God.

McConnell has been subject to much harassment and intimidation from her classmates and their parents, since she and her mother announced their position.



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I’ve grown up. Why haven’t other people?



Be honest: Until a few weeks ago, was the Pledge of Allegiance an important ritual for you?

Recently, a fascinating bit of jurisprudence took place.

I couldn’t tell you one decision the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ever made until now. Obviously, though, this one is a profound one that will affect our nation in the way the Miranda vs. Arizona, and Brown vs the Board of Education decisions have.



I love this country. Nowhere else in the world is farce quite turned like we do it into fine art.

Did you know we are a nation at war? Just checking. We the people seem to ignore the big picture when something this distracting happens.

The majority of people believe patriotism is a virtue, and that a (wo)man should love their country. They also believe religious faith is an important character feature.

Sometimes the majority is wrong.

The majority of polled citizens also support an anti-flag burning amendment to our Constitution and believe in prayer in schools.

They’re wrong here, too.

I can’t believe it’s not obvious to anyone of any persuasion that the words “under God” impose a religious viewpoint.

Sure, it could be any god, an argument I’ve heard presented by many. Except in this country, God means God. Yahweh. Jehovah. Old and New Testament. It doesn’t include Buddha, Ganesha or Ahriman.

When a person in this country speaks of God in a public place, it has always been religious and blatantly Christian, used to measure and sort people so that their decency and patriotism are known.

I’m a bit contrarian by nature, and I don’t like other people trying to determine my level of decency or patriotism.

I prefer people to follow the course of action outlined in Matthew 5.3 and go into their closet to worship.

I’ve never been much on the Pledge Of Allegiance. Allegiance to a flag? A piece of cloth? What’s up with that? Sure, it’s a symbol of our country, but so is the bald eagle, and when was the last time you pledged allegiance to a bald eagle?

The flag is not America. This nation isn’t even America, not really. The real America is an idea; it’s not tied to the concept of land or borders or pledges or gods.

We all know what this country is supposed to be about.

The United States of America isn’t the government. It isn’t the flag. It isn’t our domestic policy. It isn’t our faith or our affluence.

America is a piece of paper that has the tenets of our beliefs on it. America is an idea, a dream embodied in our Constitution.

Now ask me to pledge allegiance to the Constitution. You would be getting somewhere, then.

So here is my suggestion if you have to pledge allegiance to something. A simple statement created by graphic novelists Dwight Williams and Mike Kelley.

“I pledge allegiance to the Constitution of the United States of America, and to the Republic that it established, one Nation out of many Peoples, with Liberty and Justice for all.”

James Blatter is the news editor of the Citizen Telegram of Rifle. He can be reached at jblatter@cmnm.org


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