Half the fun with blogging lies in the research, the other half is in going off in a totally different direction to what you intended. Take this current example, for instance.
It started out with our friends at Conservapedia, defending a(nother) bullshit statement made by Sarah Palin. Now it would appear as if the Great White Moose answered a questionnaire put out by the Eagle Forum (that’s the home-schooling university thingy, set up by Andy Schlafly’s mum, Phyllis). One question asked, “Are you offended by the phrase ‘Under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?” to which Palin replied, “Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me and I’ll fight in defence of our Pledge of Allegiance.” (Bold in the original) Conservapedia – in an attempt to usurp St Jude as the patron saint of lost causes goes on to defend it – throwing up a very tenuous (but Schlafly approved) link between the phrase “under God” and George Washington… and thus by default *all* the Founding Fathers. Nothing new when it comes to distorting the truth for CP really.
(As a quick aside, Palin answered the question, “Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?” with, “Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.” One would think that little Bristol might have benefited from some sex-ed, ‘cos clearly “don’t do it, ‘cos God sez it’s bad” didn’t work. Conservapedia also takes time out from being a “trustworthy” encyclopaedia, to offer commentary: “Yet public schools still resist teaching abstinence and instead promote sexual behavior by teenagers.” Another blurring of the lines between blog and encyclopaedia appears. ) blogsurfer.us
But I digress. Admittedly, I’m not a Yank myself, so it took a bit of digging to find out what was wrong with the link between the Pledge and the founding fathers. Thank goodness for Google – because there is no link between the Founding Fathers and the Pledge. None. Nada. Fokol.
For a start, the Pledge was only written and used for the first time in 1892 (and published in a book celebrating another mistake – Columbus’ 400th anniversary of discovering America – notwithstanding the fact he never saw, let alone stood on, mainland America. I still don’t get why they hang onto that mistake so much. Maybe they really don’t like Vikings.), by which time George and the rest of the Founding Fathers were fertilizing cherry trees, or something.
It was written by a Baptist preacher called Francis Bellamy, who was influenced by the socialist ideas of his cousin, the author Edward Bellamy, who wrote the American socialist utopian novels, Looking Backward (1888) and Equality (1897). It’s also interesting to note that for many years the Pledge was accompanied by the “Bellamy salute”, which looked very similar to the Nazi salute (just sayin’), and was only phased out by FDR.
The original quote read:
“I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”
No mention at all of “under God” – or the United States of America for that matter – very strange for those less-enlightened, God-fearing days. Let’s hear from the man himself on how he came by the wording:
“It began as an intensive communing with salient points of our national history, from the Declaration of Independence onwards; with the makings of the Constitution…with the meaning of the Civil War; with the aspiration of the people…
The true reason for allegiance to the Flag is the ‘republic for which it stands.’ …And what does that vast thing, the Republic mean? It is the concise political word for the Nation – the One Nation which the Civil War was fought to prove. To make that One Nation idea clear, we must specify that it is indivisible, as Webster and Lincoln used to repeat in their great speeches. And its future?
Just here arose the temptation of the historic slogan of the French Revolution which meant so much to Jefferson and his friends, ‘Liberty, equality, fraternity.’ No, that would be too fanciful, too many thousands of years off in realization. But we as a nation do stand square on the doctrine of liberty and justice for all…”
Actually, the words “under God” were only added in 1954 during the McCarthy era – probably in an attempt to play down the socialist ideals of the Pledge during those paranoid times – and in effect, they turned the Pledge into a public prayer. Which means that if school kids are required to recite it, then prayer is allowed in American schools.
Oh a final word on this – Bellamy objected to the amendment in 1923 which replaced “my flag” with “the Flag of the United States of America” but his objections were ignored. He’d been forced to leave his church in 1891, because of his socialist sermons, and eventually stopped attending church altogether, because of the “racial bigotry” he found there.
Just another example of the historical revisionism (which is just a fancy way of saying “lying like a cheap rug”) you’ll find on Conservapedia – something firmly rooted in socialism must be linked to the Founding Fathers “because we say so” – and they have the blocking rights to back up their argument.
(Pledge history and info gleaned from here.)