Archive for October 8th, 2010

So now we hear that a judge can lock you up for not repeating the “Pledge of Allegiance”? Really? Apparently so (and you can read about it here) — and in Mississippi of all places!

Danny Lampley refused to recite the Pledge when Chancery Judge Talmadge Littlejohn entered the courtroom and called for everyone to stand and repeat it together. For his trouble attorney Lampley was arrested for contempt of court and put in jail (for four and a half hours).

Ok, let’s talk.

The Pledge of Allegiance has somehow been given semi-inspired status in the minds of most Americans but very few know of its origins. The Pledge was written by “Christian Socialist” Francis Bellamy in August 1892. Francis was the first cousin of Edward Bellamy, author of the American socialist utopian novels, Looking Backward (1888) and Equality (1897).

Francis Bellamy in his sermons and lectures set forth his vision of a planned economy with political, social and economic equality for all (something very similar to another fellow named Marx). Because his devotion to socialism appeared to be greater than his devotion to Jesus, his congregation removed him from the pastorate in 1891. Later, In his retirement in Florida, he stopped attending church altogether.

But in 1892 Bellamy was in charge of planning the program for the public schools’ quadricentennial celebration for Columbus Day. He wrote the pledge to be recited by children during the flag-raising ceremony. The original pledge did not include the words “under God” since Bellamy was opposed to the implications of the phrase. Those words were later added in 1954 during the Eisenhower administration after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus. Bellamy’s granddaughter said he would have resented this change.

Bellamy wrote “one nation indivisible” to emphasize what he viewed as the most important outcome of the War Between the States, i.e. that so-called “States’ rights” were a myth and it was vital that the children of the new Republic understand that now, we were a nation in the full sense of the term. This was the “purpose” of the Civil War, Bellamy wrote, and it was important that it be drilled into the minds of American youth, “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.” Bellamy wanted to instill unquestioned allegiance to the State and use the Pledge as the catechetical tool to accomplish this goal. There must be no higher allegiance than that which we give to the “Republic” for which the flag stands.

Bellamy was a thorough statist. He even wanted to include the famous slogan of the French Revolution in the pledge as well (“Liberty, Fraternity, Equality”) but he thought that might be a bit much for Americans to swallow.

So, the “Pledge” is about as “unAmerican” as you can get — if you mean by “America” anything close to what the Founding Fathers understood they were forming when they declared their independence from Great Britain in 1776. It is a pledge to be loyal to the power State that has now for almost 150 years run roughshod over the liberties that the Founding Fathers thought they were establishing. When it gets down to it, we all ought to refuse to repeat it.

But now a lawyer is judged jail-worthy just because he refused to acknowledge that his supreme allegiance was to the Almighty State?

Well, whacha know.

I’d say Bellamy’s goals have pretty much been attained.

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