In light of our patriotic holiday this week and the world-wide terrorist alert with which it coincides, the Fly would like to temporarily suspend his license to poke fun and seriously consider a topic of great controversy: the Pledge of Allegiance. Alarms have been sounded since pledge was deemed unconstitutional because of the phrase under God. Christians, including President George W. Bush, who has claimed that all of our rights as Americans are derived from the Almighty, are outraged by this decision.
In a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, the flag is an abstract representation, not of geographical boundaries or a strict national policy but the collective ideas and actions of all Americans: monotheistic, polytheistic, and willfully heretical. To force, no matter how subtly, religious concepts into the mouths and minds of Americans naturally creates divisiveness, and to even pretend that we are specifically a Christian nation is in total opposition to the precepts of our founding fathers and mothers.
When we pledge our allegiance to the flag, we are pledging allegiance to our Fellow Americans. All of them. That s what makes our nation indivisible and strong. As we are fighting what appears to be an open-ended war against an enemy that cannot be defined as a nation or represent4ed by a flag, and whose greatest strengths may be found in our greatest weaknesses, now is not the time to separate into factions over our religious differences and their ideally nonexistent relationship to government. After all, extreme fundamentalists and the belief that religion equals government define the very nature of our enemy.
Perhaps it s time to put away the idea of pledging allegiance to symbols and instead pledge allegiance to something more concrete, like the constitution. If we recited the Bill of Rights daily, we would all have a better understanding of what it means to be American, and we would prove that allegiance, the close kin of faith, does not have to be blind.