Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – PA Rep. Babette Josephs and the Pledge of Allegiance

1892 Pledge banner – no god needed

Not sure how I missed this story.  State Representative Babette Josephs (D-Philadelphia) was asked to lead the Pledge of Allegiance in the state house.  She refused, saying “”Based on my First Amendment rights and based on the fact that I really think it’s a prayer, I don’t pray in public.”

Well, if she’s Christian, she has some good back up in that JC himself supposedly said that praying in public is questionable at best and to be avoided.   

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. – Matthew 6

Many Christians forget this, and it’s practically endemic for many Christian politicians who really really want people to think they are the most pious people in the land.  If she’s an agnostic or atheist, she has every right not to have to pray to some magical entity that she doesn’t believe in.  Now, Rep. Josephs is retiring so she can risk a stand like this.  I wish she would have said the pledge and simply returned it to its pre-1954 Communist hysteria form. 

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.

Of course, our favorite clueless conservative, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, had this to say ” “I think it is shocking that any elected official would not pledge allegiance to the flag. It’s a person’s right to not say the pledge, but I don’t believe anybody should be in elected office that holds that position, and I think a majority of Americans wouldn’t elect somebody if they held that position.”  Ah, Daryl, you do so much to avoid the truth of a matter.  How about we have a history lesson?

The Pledge of Allegiance did not have the words “under God” in it originally.  I suspect you know this but golly isn’t willful ignorance useful when you have to get all indignant and lie?  It wasn’t in the Pledge through two world wars and the Korean War, and the US did perfectly fine without any prating to a magical deity.  It was added in 1954 by Congress in a fit of anti-Communism nonsense, as if putting God in the pledge would what?  Make those “godless commies” burst into flame when they recited it?   You know, Daryl,  people don’t do that.  I’ll tell you a secret, even us atheists say God and we can go into churches and nothing happens. 

Daryl, did you know that the Pledge was written by a Christian *socialist* named Francis Bellamy, a Baptist preacher?  Did you know that he was going to add “equality” and “fraternity” to the list of liberty and justice, but didn’t think the bigoted people of his time would accept that?  Did you know that it was the Catholics who really chimed into have the “under God” piece put in?  That alone would make it unacceptable to far too many protestant/evangelical Christians.  President Eisenhower made the ridiculous claim that adding this nonsense to the pledge gave us some magical “spiritual weapon”, which again, we didn’t need at all in WWI, WWII and the Korean War.  Would you like to tell the veterans of those wars that they were just “lucky”? 

Now, with all of this furor, there is one easy thing to do to end it.  Change the pledge back, so everyone can say it with no aspersions cast on their patriotism or their religion.  Then we can truly have no qualifiers for serving the United States based on one interpretation of one religion as Daryl wants to have.  I’m sure that Daryl would have a fit about The American’s Creed too (adopted by the US House of Reps), since he can’t prate about how great he and his religion is and lie about how awful everyone else simply *must* be. No Christian God defined by Daryl Metcalfe needed at all.

I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.

I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies. – William Tyler Page