“The Pledge of Allegiance was written for the popular children’s magazine Youth’s Companion by socialist author and Baptist minister Francis Bellamy on September 7, 1892…..
….In 1923 and 1924 the National Flag Conference called for the words my Flag to be changed to the Flag of the United States of America. The reason given was to ensure that immigrants knew to which flag reference was being made. The U.S. Congress officially recognized the Pledge as the official national pledge on December 28, 1945.
In 1940 the Supreme Court, in deciding the case of Minersville School District v. Gobitis, ruled that students in public schools could be compelled to recite the Pledge, even Jehovah’s Witnesses like the Gobitises, who considered the flag salute to be idolatry. In the wake of this ruling, there was a rash of mob violence and intimidation against Jehovah’s Witnesses. In 1943 the Supreme Court reversed its decision, ruling in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette that “compulsory unification of opinion” violated the First Amendment.
Before World War II, the Pledge would begin with the right hand over the heart during the phrase “I pledge allegiance”. The arm was then extended toward the Flag at the phrase “to the Flag”, and it remained outstretched during the rest of the pledge, with the palm facing upward, as if to lift the flag.
An early version of the salute, adopted in 1892, was known as the Bellamy salute. It also ended with the arm outstretched and the palm upwards, but began with the right hand outstretched, palm facing downward. However, during World War II the outstretched arm became identified with Nazism and Fascism, and the custom was changed: today the Pledge is said from beginning to end with the right hand over the heart….(Wikipedia)
Actually, the pledge in itself would be harmless. But it adds to what’s called civic religion, doesn’t it?
Neurolinguistic programming (NLP) techniques demonstrate that you can change your emotional state by forcing yourself to smile or by adopting a posture or making a gesture which you’ve already associated with that emotion. Every time you make the gesture, you then automatically switch into that emotional state. The pledge is a form of NLP….
If this conditioning is repeated through out your life, from childhood, every day (sometimes more than once), how likely is it that you’ll be able to avoid feeling a surge of emotion everytime you see or hear something connected to the flag and the government? And would the average person be likely to separate that programming from the genuine love he has for his country, its traditions and religion, its music and art, the land, the people….Wouldn’t he be likely to think of that programmed emotion and his individual feelings toward his community or toward its music and art as one and inseparable?
Are they? Is the state the same as culture and is culture one single thing? Can we keep the English language, parliaments, P.G. Wodehouse, and tea and crumpets and throw out Churchill, imperialism and taxation without representation?
Of course, we can.