If you aren’t Christian, you aren’t American.

I think the point of this clown’s speech is that you aren’t really an American unless you believe in the Christian god. The sentiment is nothing new. I’ll say this, though, Congressman Clownpants: I may not be a Christian, and therefore not an American, but I can recite the Pledge of Allegiance without flubbing it up.

That this fathead was so intent on emphasizing the least important part of the Pledge that he forgot to mention the most important part is very telling, to me. The Pledge, as originally written (that is, without the “under God” clause) is a very powerful statement. We are one nation, indivisible. To me, that means that all Americans stand together, no matter their differences. When you say the original, unaltered Pledge you are saying, “I promise to be loyal to America, for I am an American, no matter my beliefs or beginnings, no matter my religion, color, or creed. I am first and foremost an American.” The original Pledge is something every American citizen can say in good faith, and mean it. It is something that unites us.

The current Pledge is something different. No atheist, pagan, Jew, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Wiccan, Scientologist, Elvis-worshipper or Jedi Knight can say the Pledge in its current form and mean it. The phrase “under God” divides us. It dilutes the importance of the word “indivisible”. The pledge is no longer “All Americans stand together” but “All Americans stand together, as long as they’re Christian.” And here I thought forcing a populace to convert to the state’s religion was something that went out of style in the 19th century.

As a boy I was made to say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at school, facing the American flag with a hand over my heart. Years of rote memorization taught me the words, but not the meaning. (And “indivisible” is a big word. It was all most of us could do to keep from saying “invisible”.) I suppose it’s comforting to know that nobody else seems to know what it means, either.

1 comment to If you aren’t Christian, you aren’t American.

  • Dean

    Rick, if you want to drive this issue you could go into politics, pose as an ultraconservative Christian, and campaign to have the word “indivisible” removed from the pledge. Say that you’re continuing the job started by whoever inserted the phrase “under God”, to sharpen the line in the sand between who is and isn’t an American. Then, the many defenders of the word “indivisible”, most of whom are at least somewhat religious and don’t have the heart to attack the phrase “under God”, would compromise by arguing to get rid of the pledge entirely, or at least getting the rote recitation of it out of public schools. Is that a good result?

    I’d like to point out that Britain still has a queen, whose position I think has theocratic roots, so the US isn’t the only country in the English speaking world, let alone entire world, that confuses church and state.

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