” I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America”. These are the opening words of the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America. Though these words have been a part of our nation since it was written by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, in 1892.
The original version of the pledge did not include the words “under God”. These were added in 1954. Recently these words, “under God”, have been the focus of those who feel that saying these words constitute a breach of the so-called separation of church and state. This has often led to heated debate over whether such a separation exist in any of our founding documents.
But now a new controversy has arisen in the town of Eugene, Oregon. The latest controversy is not over the content of the pledge, but the pledge itself.
The Eugene town council has voted down a proposal by Councilman Mike Clark that would have set aside a time at the beginning of each council meeting to say the pledge of allegiance. Saying the pledge would have been voluntary for the guest at the meetings, as well as for the council people.
The proposal was originally voted down, but was later passed with a compromise that would have the pledge recited four times a year. These occasions would occur at town council meetings closest to the holidays of Fourth of July, Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Flag Day. And though the meeting that this compromise was passed is so close to the upcoming Fourth of July, those who voted down the original motion, said it was just too soon, that they would wait until the next meeting.
Mayor Kitty Piercy called the Pledge of Allegiance divisive. Councilman George Brown who voted against even the compromise said that the Pledge of Allegiance had no place at City Hall. He went on to say that “People can say it in their front yard or backyard,” and “It really doesn’t help move the city business forward. It does not unite us.”
Councilwoman Betty Taylor, who also was opposed to the pledge, compared saying the Pledge of Allegiance to reading from “The Communist Manifesto.”
Jordan Sekulow, director of policy and international operations for the American Center for Law and Justice says about this latest attack on the pledge,“It vindicates all of us who say our Judeo-Christian heritage is under attack,” Sekulow says, “sometimes it’s in the courts, sometimes it’s elected officials and sometimes it’s the media.”
One Eugene resident Anita Sullivan said this, “So you say I pledge allegiance and right there I don’t care for that language,”, “It sort of means loyalty to your country; well, I feel loyalty to the entire world.”
It would seem that this case is not so much about religion as it is about anti nationalism. It would seem that at least some in Eugene, Oregon see the Pledge of Allegiance as some sort of negative nationalistic ritual.
Instead of it being seen as an oath of pride and dedication to the nation, they see it as somehow being anti-world.
My suggestion would be that if the council has a problem with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, then I say cut all federal funding that Eugene, Oregon is receiving.
The town council has every right to choose not to say the pledge. But why should that town council benefit from the revenue of a nation, whose flag they will not honor?
I would also hope that the citizens of Eugene who still love this nation would vote out of office those who voted down the pledge.