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Date: Tue, 04 Nov 1997 16:02:19 -0800
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: Pledge allegiance to what? (fwd)

>I Pledge Allegiance to What?
>When Patriotic Emblems Contradict Constitutional Principles
>	 by Rev. Phillip J. Palmertree
>	The flag of a people occupies a place of singular affection.  In
>the United States this is easily demonstrated.  The subject of the US
>national anthem is not the beauty and majesty of the land, not the ideals
>of the founders, not the Constitution, but a particular flag at Fort
>McHenry which survived a night of fierce bombardment. The statue of
>valiant Marines raising the Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima is arguably the
>most striking image of World War II. From Olympic medal ceremonies to
>small-town Fourth of July parades, the flag is the uncontested object of
>modern American patriotism. However, for many sensible Southrons, the
>Pledge of Allegiance to the US Flag ought to raise some questions.
>	First, we ought to note the history of the Pledge. The Pledge of
>Allegiance is of relatively recent origin. Francis Bellamy, a former
>Baptist minister in New York, published the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892
>in Youth's Companion, and later that year school children first recited
>it at the dedication of the World's Fair in Chicago. Congress adopted the
>Pledge in the years following World War II, and in 1954 the words under
>God were added. According to Bellamy, a desire to establish Columbus Day
>as a national holiday and to create a ‘universal doxology' for all
>Americans served as the occasion for his drafting the Pledge. During the
>early 1900's Bellamy's Pledge came to supplant Col. George T. Balch's
>unofficial pledge: ‘We give our heads! And our hearts! To our country!
>One country! One language! One flag!'
>	The text of the Pledge causes greatest concern because it
>contains a falsehood, which, although perhaps well-intentioned,
>misrepresents the nature of loyalty and patriotism. The Pledge says this
>nation is indivisible. This is not merely a desire for political and
>social stability; rather, this is a brazen ontological claim, i.e., ‘this
>nation cannot be divided.' Few things could be more dishonouring to our
>Confederate ancestors than to confess publicly that they were shedding
>their blood for something which was not only unpatriotic, but also
>impossible-- dividing an indivisible nation! We may oppose division
>depending upon the times and circumstances, but we ought to admit that it
>is possible. If not, why was there a War for Southern Independence in the
>first place? Were not their ancestors in 1776 unpatriotic for spurning
>the British flag in favour of independence?  Nations rise and fall, and
>it seems quite arrogant to declare that we are uniquely immune from ‘the
>course of human events.'
>	If the surname Bellamy sounds familiar, it should.  Francis
>Bellamy was first cousin of famous American socialist Edward Bellamy, who
>died in 1898. Edward Bellamy is best known for lending his name to
>informal socialistic associations around the U.S. (‘Bellamy Clubs') and
>for writing Looking Backward, a novel in which a man falls asleep in
>Boston and wakes up in the year 2000 to find a socialist utopia there
>(Time's running out for them!).  After Edward's death, cousin Francis
>took it upon himself to revise, edit, and write an introduction for
>future editions of his late cousin's works. Is blood thicker than
>	The relationship between Edward and Francis is enlightened
>further by noting the 19th-century use of the term ‘one nation.'  The
>Oxford English Dictionary (Vol.X, 2nd edition) registers among the usages
>of word ‘nation' a separate entry ‘two nations,' defined as ‘...two
>groups within a given nation divided from each other by marked social
>inequality; hence one nation, a nation which is not divided by social
>inequalities' (emphasis in original). The first usage of ‘two nations'
>occurs in an 1845 work by Disraeli; the second in Francis Bellamy's
>Pledge: ‘one nation indivisible.'  A 1988 article in Rochester Review
>cites an interview with Francis Bellamy's widow in which she recalls her
>husband's desire to conclude the Pledge with the phrase ‘with liberty,
>equality, and fraternity for all'--invoking the Jacobin slogan of the
>French Revolution! She recalled that he decided against it, commenting,
>‘We're about a thousand years away from that.'
>	Certainly few, if any, of us were consciously repudiating the
>Confederate cause and pledging our allegiance to the Jacobin, socialistic
>ideals of the Bellamies all these years.  We were simply doing the
>patriotic thing. But the question must be raised: What ought we to do
>when patriotic emblems contradict constitutional principles?
>	It is an invidious task to call into question patriotic symbols. 
>The South has traditionally been the most patriotic region of the US and
>has given a disproportionately large number of her sons in the wars of
>the 20th century. Many Southrons, and war veterans in particular, would
>brand as anti-American, intolerant, and ungrateful any who would suggest
>that such a revered act as the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance
>requires subscription to statist, socialistic, and patently false
>notions. These objections deserve an answer.
>	Often the appeal is made that ‘The past is past.  We are
>Americans first!'  This appeal fails to reckon with the reasons why our
>ancestors felt compelled to act in an ‘unpatriotic' manner by seceding
>from the Union in the first place, not to mention waging a defensive war
>against an army marching beneath the Stars and Stripes. They understood
>the moral principles which underlie our Constitution, our institutions,
>and our national character. As Patrick Henry boldly declared, ‘My first
>desire is for American liberty; the second desire for American union.' 
>Without fidelity to the principles of liberty and constitutional
>self-rule, union and all its patriotic trappings are meaningless. This
>principle is most poignantly illustrated in the agonizing decision of
>Robert E. Lee, who, although not a secessionist, saw his duty as a
>Virginian taking precedence over ‘national' concerns, and thus refused
>command of the Northern armies and cast his lot with his State and
>ultimately with the entire Southland. 
>	Furthermore, an appeal to Southrons serving honourably in the
>Federal Government and in the Armed Services and to US military successes
>is nothing more than a red herring.  Those who did so and do so today in
>good conscience deserve honour and appreciation.  But it is a false
>dilemma to suggest that conscientious objection to the Pledge exhibits an
>ungrateful spirit to those who have so served.
>	Bellamy deserves credit for ably employing the catechetical
>principle which served generations of Presbyterians in Scotland and the
>United States so well. Inculcating foundational principles in the minds
>of children is a sound and effective tool of learning. The contemporary 
>prevalence of Jacobin egalitarianism is adequate testimony 
>to the effectiveness of the Pledge. But we know that patriotism is
>grounded not in the recitation of a dubious pledge, but rather in a
>vigilant, unwavering, common commitment to the Constitution, to honour,
>duty, and love of our homeland and liberty. Is Bellamy's Pledge the
>standard by which we ought to be judged as patriotic? If so, then I will
>proudly bear the opprobrium which fell upon my forebears who fought for
>an independent South in the days when the red banner streamed over the
>+ + +
>(Phillip Palmertree is a Presbyterian minister residing in Auburn,
>This article was published in SOUTHERN EVENTS
>A Publication of the League of the South of Alabama

Paul Andrew Mitchell, Sui Juris      : Counselor at Law, federal witness 01
B.A.: Political Science, UCLA;   M.S.: Public Administration, U.C.Irvine 02
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