Monday, 7 July 2014

"Comment is free but facts are sacred" (C.P.Scott 1846-1932) (2)

A Facebook friend of mine posted this photo’ the other day.
My friend added: “Dam straight we the American people where here first and our founding fathers came up with this. It's not here to offend it's here to let everyone know where we are. A free Country. In china don't they make you respite things only about them? In Russia don't they do the same thing with a little old fashion brain washing!” (sic)
I gently corrected him as to the origin of the pledge, (it was not written by the Founding Fathers) to which he responded:
“I under stand that all. But us feeling like we have to watch every word we say in side our own country? This is getting unreal.” (sic)
I replied:
“What words do you have in mind? (I don't find the need to watch any of my words (except those which could be cruel or unkind).”   (I also should have said “untrue”).
I went on to say: “And of course the Pledge of Allegiance IS said in most schools. It's an urban myth that it can no longer be used, although no child may be forced to say it.”
I am very fond of this particular Facebook friend.  I think that I understand his sentiments. And yet….  “comment is free, but facts are sacred”. I had to remind of a fact ….  the Pledge of Allegiance IS said in most schools.
Here is a potted history of the pledge -  I “lifted this from the web”
The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by the (1) socialist minister Francis Bellamy (1855-1931). It was originally published in The Youth's Companion on September 8, 1892. Bellamy had hoped that the pledge would be used by citizens in any country.

In its original form it read:

"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

In 1923, the words, "the Flag of the United States of America" were added. At this time it read:

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times,
(2) President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words "under God," creating the 31-word pledge we know say today.
I also lifted the following from the web with, in the interests of clarity, some slight but not material changes.
The Supreme Court ruled about the voluntary nature of saying the Pledge way back in1943.
"In the case West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette”, the Supreme Court found that the right to remain silent during the Pledge of Allegiance stems from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Just as the First Amendment protects our right to express our beliefs, it prohibits the government from compelling us to declare a belief that we do not hold.
As the Barnette court wrote, “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” (3)  
(1)  “Shock, horror, disbelief” The original pledge was written by a Socialist.
(2) What a shame that Ike intervened and that Congress got in on the act. What should have been a personal pledge made or not made in private conscience became a quasi-governmental utterance.  That was an example of  the kind of big and interfering Government which I deplore (and it was suggested by a Republican President to a Republican Congress.)
(3)  Can any of us imagine that the present conservative majority and ideologically right wing “Roberts” Supreme Court which, (against all Republican Party principles has been so entirely “judicially activist” in creating new laws),  would be capable of issuing such a constitutionally centered ruling as did the “Barnette” Supreme Court in 1943.

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