Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday's Topic: To pledge or not to pledge?

That is the question.

Did you learn the pledge of allegiance as a child? Have you, or are you, teaching it to your child(ren)? Does this line of questioning seem ridiculous to you? Do you want to scream at me, "Of course I know and recite the pledge of allegiance and of course I want to teach it to my child!" That was me once upon a time too. But now I'm not so sure. As Christians, should Chad and I teach Cady the pledge of allegiance? Increasingly we feel it's wrong to teach her to pledge allegiance to anything other than God. We want her to pledge her life to Christ and yet before she's even able to make that decision, she'll be pressured by schools (and some churches!) to pledge to a flag.

I haven't really been doing tons or research or anything, but I have run across a couple of things that are informing my thoughts.

Mennonites and the Flag

Mennonites and the Pledge of Allegiance

Other options for the pledge

Of course being a religious historian and knowing the origin and evolution of America's pledge is also informing my decision. For example, did you know that the phrase "under God" was not added to the pledge until 1954?. It was added, in part, as an attempt by President Eisenhower (and others in power) to unite Americans "under God," thus distinguishing America from the "godless communists."

I know I have more to say on this, but I want to hear what you have to say. I know I have friends on both sides of this issue so convince me that you're right. We're kind of sitting on the fence for now (Okay, I'm kind of sitting on the fence right now; Chad's convinced she shouldn't say it), trying to figure out what we're going to do and being thankful for the international/multicultural emphasis of Montessori that hasn't found it necessary to teach the pledge to C yet.

Now regardless of where we end up on this issue in terms of pledging at schools, sporting events, etc., we will teach our children not to say the pledge of allegiance at church. Why? Because the church should be a place where national boundaries don't exist. The church is universal and should never exclude anyone with national propaganda like pledges and anthems. God is the God of all nations and the church building should be one place that all nationalities can come together on equal footing. It should never be a place where we glorify our nation, the actions of our nation, or the sacrifices of those serving in our military above God and the ultimate sacrfice God made in sending Jesus or the sacrifices we are called to make as Christians living in a secular world.


Meg said...

When I grow up I want to be a thoughtful parent just like you:) That's my comment:)

Bethy said...

I loved this blog. We aren't religious but will probably not be teaching Winona to pledge allegiance to a flag or country or president. We want to teach her to be allegiant to herself and to God.

It seems bizarre to me that I feel this way because there was a time where I would have never even questioned it. Now that I have, it seems bizarre to pledge allegiance to a flag.

Anonymous said...

Probably won't have kids, but if I did, I doubt I'd teach them the pledge. I would teach them ways to respond to the peer pressure to do so. I'm a firm believer in the separations of God from public institutions... for the benefit of the church. Naturally our beliefs influence how we vote other ways of participating in society, but I think that tying God to public oaths of loyalty is immensely problematic.

A. Smith said...

I wish they would change the word "allegiance" in the pledge to something else. I have the same concerns you voiced. I'm not at a school where we have a P.A. system to broadcast it every morning. I feel certain that I am supposed to be leading the children in that pledge (as well as a pledge to the Christian flag and Bible--don't get me started there) each morning...but I don't. And the kids haven't noticed.

I am all for teaching about our country, loving it, supporting what it good, and fighting to change what is not good. I just feel that you can only pledge allegiance to one thing--I mean that is basically the definition of allegiance, right?

laurensmommy said...

Hmmm... you know what I love most about reading your blog, Mandy? (besides the adorable pics of Cady?!) You make me think.

For me- I grew up reciting the pledge because we did so in my public school and I never really questioned it. If I'm being honest, though, I never put a lot of meaning into what I was saying, it was just routine. (that changed as I got older, and also after Sep 11, when patriotism got such a huge boost...)

I hadn't thought much about whether or not we will teach Lauren the pledge of allegiance (to the flag). I assume if she attends public school, she will be taught there?!

I only recently learned (from my brother in law) that there is a pledge to the Bible?! I had never heard it before and I am 30! (and grew up attending church my whole life!)

I will be thinking more about this subject...thanks! :)

laurensmommy said...

Oh, I just read through the comments and I see where Ashley brought up the pledge to the Christian flag and Bible!

I agree with what she said- basically, you can only pledge your "allegiance" to one thing. hmmm...

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