Opinion: The False Pledge

The Pledge of Allegiance is a poem that hides the true face of America in favor of more acceptable ideals. Although the pledge started off as a simple poem made to unite soldiers fighting odds that looked insurmountable, it quickly grew in meaning to the United States. Now, it is time to update the Pledge…
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/mdereje0001/" target="_self">MICHAEL DEREJE</a>


September 2, 2021

The Pledge of Allegiance is a poem that hides the true face of America in favor of more acceptable ideals. Although the pledge started off as a simple poem made to unite soldiers fighting odds that looked insurmountable, it quickly grew in meaning to the United States.

Now, it is time to update the Pledge of Allegiance because it uses the words “Under God” when America has over 310 religions. It also uses false words like “for liberty and justice for all.” In addition, the poem was written in a time where morals were looser, xenophobia was rampant, and that is reflected in the poem. Liberty and justice can now be considered a privilege instead of a right.

The Pledge of Allegiance should either be reworked or stripped down because it only acknowledges Christianity as a religion when there are hundreds more active within America. Most schools in the United States have children stand up and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. For students that believe in other gods or don’t believe in any gods, this is equivalent to indoctrinating them, because they are renouncing their religion by saying that they are loyal to America and that justice is to be served by a God they don’t believe in. Moreover, this poem that promotes American justice and law breaks the constitution because Congress voted on the words “under God” to be included into the pledge.

The First Amendment says the Congress cannot interfere in affairs between religions. In 2006, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco decided that the use of the words “one nation, under God,” in the Pledge of Allegiance constitutes “an official endorsement of Deism — the belief in a single God,” according to ABC News.

Although Congress hasn’t made the pledge into a law, it is still promoting Christianity which is offensive to other religions and ignorant to the United States’ own laws.

The Pledge should be reworked or stripped down also because it uses words like “for liberty and justice for all” when this isn’t truly represented within the United States. It is common knowledge that while there are many examples of bigotry in America, police brutality is one of the biggest. Many people of color, especially Black and Indigenous people, have been targeted or killed by police simply because they were racially profiled.

In a 1996 report published in The Heritage Foundation, Ward Connerly, founder of the American Civil Rights Institute, said it best, how the warranty that Americans have to be free as long as they conduct themselves under the laws of the United States isn’t for everyone.

“This warranty has not always been honored for some of us. Because of the color of our skin or the place from whence we came, some of us were denied the right to vote; we were enslaved; we were denied due process; and the equal treatment granted to others was not ours to enjoy” Connerly said to Heritage.

These false words need to be taken out because if America doesn’t honor the words of its own pledge, then it makes itself out as an unreliable nation that is willing to lie to look good, and that will hurt America’s future prospects.

The original Pledge of Allegiance was not written to inspire the people of America nor was it written for the soldiers, but was written as a way to fill America’s coffers. Americans were becoming concerned because an increasing number of immigrants were entering America. In response, Frances Bellamy was hired by the Youth’s Companion to use the magazine’s existing mail order service to ship out American flags for a discount, and many people bought one as if to affirm themselves that America still belonged to Americans.

Mr. Bellamy was in charge of writing a poem to accompany the flag being raised on Columbus day, a major milestone for the Americans. Although it looked simple, the original Pledge of Allegiance was full of xenophobia. There was no mention of equality which was supported by a statement by Mr. Bellamy was released through The Youth’s Companion.

“All classes of society merge insensibly into one another; every alien immigrant of inferior race may bring corruption to the stock,” Bellamy said. “There are races more or less akin to our own whom we may admit freely and get nothing but advantage by the infusion of their wholesome blood. But there are other races, which we cannot assimilate without lowering our racial standard, which we should be as sacred to us as the sanctity of our homes.”

Bellamy’s statement sparked no outrage as it was an opinion supported by a major number of people. This pledge was accepted for a couple of decades until the wording concerned a good number of Americans in a variety of ways. The people feared that the original wording “my flag” could be confused with the immigrants national flag and decided to specify it to the flag of the United States.

Many people support the Pledge of Allegiance, and this includes military troops. Military troops fight everyday because to them, the pledge represents their end goal. It embodies a day where everybody is free and living a life where if somebody breaks the law they will be aptly penalized for it. That is a nice hope for the future, but while they are fighting for that dream elsewhere, America is not reflecting the ideals of the pledge. There is very little liberty and justice within the United States, and it is proven with demographics provided by Deborah Johnson that show how black men with low education levels are at a much higher risk for incarceration than white men with the same education levels. “Almost 70% of the black high school dropouts in 2009 had been imprisoned at some point by age 30, which was four-and-a-half times the rate of white high school dropouts” (Johnson).

The Pledge of Allegiance is a travesty that needs to be fixed sooner rather than later. This is because it demeans hundreds of other religions by only choosing to acknowledge one. Moreover, the current state of America does not truthfully reflect the words of the pledge, making it a misnomer. Finally, the Pledge of Allegiance was based on xenophobic and racist beliefs, and although times have changed, those messages within the pledge haven’t completely left. These are all major reasons that people within America have recognized, which is why the United States needs to either rewrite the Pledge of Allegiance, or abolish it.

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