If you were raised in the United States, your ability to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at any moment is almost assumed. It is a declaration of loyalty engraved in the minds of American youth. Nearly all children in the United States today know the Pledge of Allegiance by heart, but a far less percentage actually understand the words they are saying, and even those students are not guaranteed to believe the words that they are reciting. The writer of the oath himself, Francis Bellamy, said that the Pledge of Allegiance “has been pounding away on the impressionable minds of children for a generation.
The Pledge of Allegiance is an outdated ritual that should no longer be practiced in schools due to its religious implications, social coercion, and overly patriotic influence on the youth of the United States that has caused debates and controversy, so the immediate retirement of the Pledge of Allegiance could eliminate the issues surrounding the oath. Description of Problem The Pledge of Allegiance is a repetitive form of forced patriotism that only incites controversy in the American public. In 46 of the United States, children must recite the Pledge of Allegiance in their classrooms, not necessarily daily, however.
This is a large percentage of American children that are stuck in a cycle of repeating a pledge that they may or may not believe in, words that are forming thoughts in their mind unnaturally. The patriotism of a country’s people should come from their actions and their thoughts, not from the words of the government. The Pledge not only inspires patriotism without opposition, but it also reinforces a dominant religion in the United States, which may or may not suppress the views of those who practice differing religion. The notorious “under God” phrase included in the Pledge of Allegiance stirs up more trouble than the oath itself.
Some officials, like representative Mike Gilb, have argued that “the validity and timelessness of the Ten Commandments, which serve as the basis of our laws, never be questioned,” however it seems undeniable that including a specific deity within an official government document to be recited by millions is not a wise move. Those who do not belong to any religious denomination also feel uncomfortable with their children professing a nation “under God”, this dilemma exemplified when a father brought his issues with the phrase to court in 2002.
Eventually, the problems that were highlighted made their way to the Supreme Court. However, on a technicality regarding the father’s custody of his daughter, he was unable to successfully get the phrase changed. Such a divisive phrase would be better off not being included in the Pledge at all, as it only incites more conflict surrounding the Pledge. The Pledge of Allegiance itself is the issue, however, not just its religious implications. The idea that students are subjected to memorizing and declaring the Pledge throughout their childhood is the issue.
Advocates of the Pledge may argue that students are not forced to utter the words, but the Pittsburgh Post Gazette explains “if they do act on their own consciences, they may have to answer to Mom and Dad or guardian at home, because schools are required to notify them. ” With an increasingly open world with views branching out in such unique ways, children should not be limited by peer pressure or other social forces keeping them with a patriotic viewpoint inflicted so heavily on them.
The Pledge of Allegiance is a document devised around “patriotic force-feeding” that was introduced far later than the country and its values were ever established. Explanation of Causes Though the United States of America had its start in 1776, the Pledge of Allegiance entered Americans’ lives over a century later. The origins of the Pledge are not placed in glory and patriotism, either. It was introduced as a way to calm the storm after the Civil War, citing an indivisible nation, as well as being a means to Americanize the massive wave of immigrants.
This original Pledge read “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands; one Nation, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all. ” A noticeable difference between this Pledge of Allegiance and the one that echoes through Americans’ heads is the “under God” phrase. The “under God” portion of the Pledge of Allegiance was added in response to the growing threat to American life: communism. The Red Scare and the Cold War heavily influenced the viewpoints of the government and its people.
Communists were, generally speaking, of an atheistic perspective. A major portion of how some communists thought of the world was centered around the idea that there is no god or gods. So the American government reacted in the way that they thought would best preserve American ideals. This was a choice strongly encouraged by Roman Catholic groups at the time, particularly the Knights of Columbus. The amended Pledge of Allegiance provoked much more controversy than the original, which had never truly been noted as an issue.
Instead of demanding the weekly or daily ritual of such a controversial pledge, schools should retire the practice of pledging allegiance entirely. Proposed Solution Ending the Pledge of Allegiance would eliminate controversy, encourage a free thinking generation, and simply save time. The Supreme Court has for too long defended an oath that has become obsolete in a world where schools are attempting to break free of routine and make the classroom an engaging and interactive atmosphere.
Two words alone in the Pledge of Allegiance are enough to make people clarify that “our Constitution requires a clear separation between religion and government,” These two words, “under God”, could be removed as many critics are suggesting. However, removing religious context does not erase the politically influential aspects of the Pledge. If the United States wants loyalty, the country should inspire loyalty, not demand it through words forged to brainwash immigrants and pinpoint communists. The message being sent to American youth is that the nation is perfect and must always possess its utmost respect and loyalty.
However, the United States of America is not a perfect country, and students should not believe that they have to devote their attention to honoring it or that they must never question it. American youth should be focused on how they can change the country for the better, because there is always room for improvement. The country is not the indivisible sanctuary the Pledge claims it is, and students should not be coerced into believing that. Conclusion The children and students of America have for years been brainwashed into saluting and honoring a flag without question.
Through repetition and social pressure, students are taught to love their country indubitably, establishing a thoughtless patriotism within their minds. The United States of America should not fear letting go of the Pledge of Allegiance, instead embracing the idea that without it, all patriotism will be built on the original thoughts and wills of its people. For an oath written in two hours, the Pledge of Allegiance has long overstayed its welcome, and the minds of children will be just fine without it.