Monday, May 29, 2017

On God, flags, and pledges

The Daily Star’s print edition has a full page ad from Jim Click, the head of Tucson’s automobile empire. He encourages everyone to fly the US flag on this Memorial Day. I won’t do that. I never have. Here’s why.

How many people who fly the flag outside of their residence actually served their country? How many members of Congress who wear those lapel pins served in the armed forces? The fact that I choose not to fly the flag does not diminish my patriotism. That I choose not to wear the lapel pin does not devalue my respect for those who have died or been injured in service of our country. You want to challenge my patriotism? I am a Vietnam Era Vet. I enlisted in the US Army and served for 3.5 years. How many years did you serve?

Another thing I don’t do is utter the words “under God.” Those two words are completely inconsistent with the rest of the Pledge of Allegiance. So before you recite the pledge, consider how “under God” squares with “liberty and justice for all.”

With those thoughts in mind, I found it interesting and appropriate on this day that the Daily Kos presents Ten True Facts Guaranteed to Short-Circuit Republican Brains By Richard Riis (2012/09/04). I here list the first two.

As a public service to those who find themselves inextricably cornered by aggressively ill-informed Republicans at work, on the train or at family gatherings, presented here are ten indisputably true facts that will seriously challenge a Republican’s worldview and probably blow a brain cell or two. At the very least, any one of these GOP-busters should stun and confuse them long enough for you to slip quietly away from a pointless debate and allow you to get on about your business.

  • The United States is not a Christian nation, and the Bible is not the cornerstone of our law.
  • Don’t take my word for it. Let these Founding Fathers speak for themselves:

    John Adams: “The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” (Treaty of Tripoli, 1797)

    Thomas Jefferson: “Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.” (Letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814)

    James Madison: “The civil government … functions with complete success … by the total separation of the Church from the State.” (Writings, 8:432, 1819)

    George Washington: “If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.” (Letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789)

    You can find a multitude of similar quotes from these men and most others who signed the Declaration of Independence and/or formulated the United States Constitution. These are hardly the words of men who believed that America should be a Christian nation governed by the Bible, as a disturbingly growing number of Republicans like to claim.

  • The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist.
  • The Pledge was written in 1892 for public school celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in the Americas. Its author was Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, Christian socialist and cousin of socialist utopian novelist Edward Bellamy. Christian socialism maintains, among other ideas, that capitalism is idolatrous and rooted in greed, and the underlying cause of much of the world’s social inequity. Definitely more “Occupy Wall Street” than “Grand Old Party” by anyone’s standard.

    Now read the Kos post for the other, really great, eight.

    BTW: Jim Click’s ad says “We invite everyone to visit our dealerships on Memorial Day, May 29th, to enjoy hot dogs and refreshments.”

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