Food for Thought

Amusing trivia: the pledge of allegiance was written in the 1890s by Francis Bellamy, a Christian Socialist who was forced out of his Baptist congegation for preachin’ liberal views. The pledge was published in a Readers-Digest style magazine at the time. As a member of the National Education Association, he used the pledge in a school flag-raising ceremony on Columbus Day, 1892. In the wake of the Civil War, it was an expression of unity and purpose. At that time, 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 the 1920s, The American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution held Flag Conferences, and officially declared that the pledge had to be changed to use the words ‘The flag of the United States Of America’ instead of ‘my flag.’ Bellamy opposed the change, but the change became commonplace. He died about a decade later.

In the 1940s, Congress officially recognized the Pledge, but the Supreme Court immediately ruled that students could not be forced to recite it. In 1954, the Knights of Columbus vigorously lobbied Congress to add the phrase ‘Under God’ to the pledge, as a means of differentiating us from Godless communists. Congress officially changed the pledge.

The pledge has changed over time. It was originally an organic expression of patriotism by one man – ironically, one who would’ve likely been called Very Unpatriotic had he lived to see the 1950s.

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