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I Guess That Could Be Why…

November 11th, 2009 · 11 Comments

Maggie Gallagher:

There is a reason the Pledge of Allegiance asks us to pledge to our country “under God.” The best American tradition has never required people to surrender their first allegiance as a condition of citizenship.

Well… that’s a fair guess, I suppose.  In reality, the Knights of Columbus lobbied to have the phrase added in the 50s—after the pledge sans “under God” had been around for 30 years already—as a way of stressing how different we were from those godless Soviets.

Tags: Religion


       

 

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 raidsmith // Nov 11, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    Great point. But it would also be helpful to point out that her statement is not only inaccurate, it is also the opposite of the truth. Section 9 of Article 1 of the Constitution specifically forbids citizenship if you carry a title of nobility. In other words, if you arrived on America’s shores the Duke of whatever, you had to shed the title to become a citizen. So surrendering your first allegiance literally became a condition of citizenship. She wasn’t even close to the mark on this one.

  • 2 Derek Scruggs // Nov 12, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Even better, the original pledge was written by a bonafide socialist!

  • 3 y81 // Nov 12, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Mr. Sanchez is making a big and unsupported (though possible supportable) leap here, by asserting that the historical origin of a signifier determines, or is even relevant to, its current significance. There would need to be a lot of epistemological groundwork done before I would accept that assertion.

  • 4 Matt D // Nov 12, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    y81–we’re talking about its role as a tradition, though. Seems relevant in that context.

  • 5 Julian Sanchez // Nov 12, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    I assumed y81′s comment was tongue-in-cheek.

  • 6 One Nation Under A Groove « Around The Sphere // Nov 12, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    [...] Julian Sanchez on Gallagher: Well… that’s a fair guess, I suppose.  In reality, the Knights of Columbus lobbied to have the phrase added in the 50s—after the pledge sans “under God” had been around for 30 years already—as a way of stressing how different we were from those godless Soviets. [...]

  • 7 y81 // Nov 13, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    No, not at all. I presume Gallagher would say that the 1950s modification of the Pledge of Allegiance brought it into closer conformity with American tradition, and I certainly would say that the actual factors that brought about that change are unknown to most people, and not relevant to its current meaning.

    Put another way, I don’t believe the etymology of the word “etymology.”

  • 8 RickRussellTX // Nov 13, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    “written by a bonafide socialist!”

    In Bellamy’s defense, if you read what he actually wrote, his “socialism” was of the French republican variety. Brotherhood, equality, and liberty and all that. He wasn’t a Marxist or anti-capitalist.

    His cousin Edward Bellamy was an avowed Marxist and socialist.

  • 9 sam // Nov 16, 2009 at 9:04 am

    I’m old enough to remember reciting the pledge sans the God stuff…and how we all stumbled the first few times we had to insert ‘under God’ between ‘one nation’ and ‘indivisible…’. Even to my tender ears at that time, the addition seemed to upset the rhythm of the pledge.

  • 10 Larry Glickman // Nov 17, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Actually, Francis Bellamy’s Pledge was unveiled at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. So it was around for more than 50 years before this clause was added.

  • 11 Ewe // Nov 17, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    What, Maggie Gallagher couldn’t be bothered to do 90 seconds worth of Google research?

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