Talk:Pledge of Allegiance

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Removed quote that was concocted in the book the referenced article relies on and cites[edit]

The quote was removed because it misleadingly made it seem that this was a direct quote from Bellamy. It is clear from reading the source book, "The Pledge: A History of the Pledge of Allegiance" (Amazon, look inside) that the authors concocted this statement from whole cloth. In the same paragraph, they actually admit that Bellamy's views on immigration were voiced years after he wrote the Pledge. There is plenty of first-hand material that explains why every word in the Pledge was originally included without reference to immigrants - and none that does. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kcornwall (talkcontribs) 00:28, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Added Newdow vs Rio Linda Unified School District to the Article[edit]

I have added the recently decided case of Newdow versus Rio Linda Unified School District to the article. Safiel (talk) 17:33, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

why did you change the pledge of allegiance over and over again till the 1950s. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.216.170.50 (talk) 08:42, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

The Jehovah's Witnesses cases[edit]

The article mentions the Jehovah's Witnesses cases in the 40s but does not say the JWs won--one cannot be compelled to say the Pledge. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.94.82.148 (talk) 22:36, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Why to the flag?[edit]

It seems odd that allegiance is being pledged to the flag. Is there any explanation for why this is?173.16.12.107 (talk) 16:20, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

Well, it isn't only to the flag. Did you read the History section? — JohnFromPinckney (talk) 18:01, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Please note that discussion pages are reserved for discussing improvements to the article ONLY, and not discussion of the topic itself. TechBear | Talk | Contributions 04:39, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
"...and to the republic for which it stands..."146.201.16.50 (talk) 18:50, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Erroneous Timeline[edit]

The helpful timeline to the side is not correct. It adds the words "under God" in the first revision in 1892, without bolding to indicate a change. I do not think it was in the pledge at any time before 1954, as the article itself explains. I think I'll just change that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Misha Vargas (talkcontribs) 22:39, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

First Amendment[edit]

The article quotes the first amendment incorrectly as having protections against the establishment of religion. This is wrong. The amendment protects against congress respecting AN establishment of religion not THE establishment of religion. There is a big difference. For example Mcdonalds is an establishment of the fast food industry as is wendy's, subway, etc. while THE fast food establishment includes all of them. The first amendment if written regarding fast food instead of religion would read: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of fast food"......would this mean they could not have pizza delivered for lunch? Of course not, that is absurd but they would be prevented from making a particular establishment the official national fast food. The intent of the amendment is to prevent CONGRESS from making a law to create a state religion. Catholisism is an establishment, Baptists are AN establishment, Lutherens are AN establishment, etc., while they all combined constitute THE establishment. In other words the first amendment does not prevent prayer in school, Under God in the pledge or mandatory prayer when entering city hall. Secondly, the amendment only puts restrictions on Congress from making A LAW. If I demand someone pray upon entering my home I have not violated their rights. It's all pretty simple logic.

This might be simple, but if you mention "God" (capital "G"), this is normally taken to be the god of Abraham. There are religions which have more than one god, or TBH many people who hold to NO gods, but who have made great input to the USA. Effectively, you are saying that they are to be disregarded, or even excluded from the inclusion in your "One Nation". — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2.125.67.22 (talk) 08:10, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.57.225.211 (talk) 21:18, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for bringing your concerns here, but the article does not quote the First Amendment, either correctly or incorrectly. It offers no interpretation as to that amendment's contents or meaning. Besides which, pizza is my religion, so your arguments only confuse me further. — JohnFromPinckney (talk) 04:33, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

This is a distinction without a difference. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.178.199.33 (talk) 15:04, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

This is a matter of interpretation and is likely covered more fully on the First Amendments' own article. The interpretations that come up most regarding the Amendment in relation to the Pledge are:

On the one side those holding that the phrase "no law" means that no law or policy can be implemented that places government in the field rightfully belonging to religion. This is called "strict-seperationism".
This is oppossed by those on the other side who hold "an establishment" means that the government is free to engage in religious activity as long as it does not show preference for any particular religion - i.e. if it gives Faith Based funding to any religion that asks that is okay. This is called "accomodationism".

Currently and historically the courts have taken an accomodationist approach, those holding to strict-seperationism point out the problems with this approach such as forcing Christians to give tax breaks to the Church of Satan, or Satanists being forced to do the same for Christians; or forcing atheists and agnostics to pay for the religious activities of religions that declare they are abominations for not believing in their religious system.

In regards to the Pledge strict-seperationists point out that the state is calling on children of various faiths that are all mutually exclusive and go through a rite communally when they would not be allowed to participate in such a manner in actual places of worship (i.e. a Hindu would not be allowed to receive Communion in a Catholic Church as they don't worship the same god/gods) so the Pledge is opposed as creating an artificial religious community for the sake of promoting unity towards the state. Atheists and agnostics also oppose this as they can not be consistent with their positions without appearing to be opposed to the state.
Concerning the original post in this thread, the Supreme Court ruled in Engels v. Vitale that students may of course continue to voluntarily pray as they desire, but they could not be led in prayer by the government. This is because school prayers are written by the state, and are led by teachers and principles who work for the state - this was viewed as an infringement by the state in an area that rightfully belongs to religion.
You are correct that the first Amendment does not apply to private individuals but only to the government. Though the Civil rights laws in the 1960s made it illegal to fire or refuse to hire someone based on their religion or refuse to rent or sell things to them based on that as well. i.e. you can no longer post "No Catholics need apply" or refuse to hire someone because you find out they are Jewish, though this was the case for most of American history.
Wowaconia (talk) 19:48, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Undue weight on controversy[edit]

Half this article is about the "controversy surrounding the pledge", this is a clear violation of WP:UNDUE and WP:CRITICISM. Is it possible to try and incorporate all that into the main section?

===This is inherently controversial and a political wedge issue. The substance is requirement to give a pledge, which the final and standing decision by the S.C. is that it is unconstitutional. Yet, it remains politically advantageous as both major political parties support the strong pressures on individuals to recite this pledge. This is not criticism by Wiki editors, but recounting the conflict between the legislative and judicial branches of our country. The focus on this controversy is not disproportional at all, in my opinion. Arodb (talk) 01:18, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Replaced heading "Controversy" with "Supreme Court Rejection of Compulsion of Recitation"[edit]

A law that had been interpreted as requiring recitation having this requirement removed is not a controversy, but a change in the essential nature of the law. Although every state has a different law on the conditions of this ritual being recited in school, none after the Barnette decision may require it of the students. This is not a controversy in the same meaning as there is a controversy over abortion or entitlements. The Barnette decision changed the meaning of the subject under discussion, and stands to this day. No main article on The Pledge Of Allegiance that does not, at the very least, excerpt the words of Justice Jackson (even through a more extensive quote is in the "controversy article") is not presenting the appropriate historical narrative of this subjectArodb (talk) 01:34, 4 March 2014 (UTC)


Seniortrend (talk) 05:46, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

Substitution of the words "under Law"[edit]

This entire section is sourced by nothing other than a primary source and, IMHO, requires either additional WP:RS third-party sourcing or removal. Anyone else? JakeInJoisey (talk) 00:55, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

States requiring the Pledge[edit]

I think the following seems to be a better reference for the assertion near the end of the article that about half the states require the Pledge in one way or another - I am not sure this site is mentioned anywhere, but it seems like another good reference:

http://undergod.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000074

Nicholas Duchon — Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.112.122.205 (talk) 06:04, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

Another question (to which I don't know the answer; ignorant Scot, sorry) is 'when it says 'require' does that refer to public schools or to private schools as well? Is that true of all the states which 'require' things or does it vary?' This is a question which would need answered (and doesn't appear to be answered by the page linked to) if one were wanting to further disambiguate the article from what it says at the moment (which to my mind is acceptable). 94.193.220.27 (talk) 11:47, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

Proper citation?[edit]

Can someone please investigate the correct version of the pledge in 1942? The 'Official versions' table shows that between 1924 and 1954, the pledge was "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."

Yet in the Changes section it is quoted as being accepted on June 22, 1942 as "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."

In the first one there is a semi-colon after 'stands'. In the second there is a comma in that spot, along with an additional comma after 'indivisible'.

Thanks, WesT (talk) 21:22, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

Point of View[edit]

This article is written from a purely American point of view and could be considerably improved if other perspectives were taken into account. For example, are children (of American parents) in other countries required to take the pledge of allegiance and are there laws requiring them to do so and have these been tested to the same degree? Are there pledges of allegiance in other countries like Vanuatu or Sierra Leone or whatever and how do their words differ from the single version offered in this article? Additionally, has anyone considered that requiring servicemen to, "remain silent throughout" might contravene their freedom of speech and has this ever been tested in the courts? Think big, guys, and this might become a really great article. Cottonshirtτ 19:54, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

We can only write about what we find in reliable sources. If you can find a reliable source which addresses these issues then it would probably be appropriate to add something about them. But we can't do so based only on our own thoughts and conclusions.   Will Beback  talk  21:18, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Considered nationalist?[edit]

I have a question which could possibly be worked into the article: Is the pledge of allegiance not considered nationalist or even fascist in the USA? Over here in Europe it would be kind of odd to swear children in on their country like durig the dark ages of fashism in the 1930s and 40s. The only time you have to pledge something (at least iN Austria, where I'm living) is when you do your mandatory army service or when you start working for the government eg as a teacher, but it is more like an oath to the office. Could these considerations be taken into account under a possible "criticism - reception" heading? As far as I understand it the pledge of allegiance is also criticised within the US.--Schmutzman (talk) 09:19, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

My experience would confirm the coverage in the Controversy section of the article: most of the criticism regards religious issues rather than nationalism, but see Criticism of the Pledge of Allegiance for some sourced material on the subject. AV3000 (talk) 05:34, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

As an American schoolchild in the 1950's, I certainly found the Pledge to be fascist (though I did not know the word at the time} by intuition, and did not like being forced to recite it daily. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.178.199.33 (talk) 15:01, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

I'd agree with the above posts. To the rest of the world this does seem nationalistic or even fascist. The whole idea of expecting people to make this pledge strikes me as something only a dictatorship would do.--109.114.123.186 (talk) 22:14, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

"Under God"[edit]

@ Robin Lionheart: There are no weasel words in "some suggest," but only greater accuracy. Author Scott A. Merriman has observed that the introduction of "under God" in the 1950s was done during the Cold War, as a way to differentiate the U.S. from the concept of communist state atheism limits the "observation" to one individual; I also cited to Nunberg, which makes 2, which = some. The phrase "in the 1950s" is redundant because it was just said that "under God" was added in 1954. The phrase, "as a way to differentiate the U.S. from the concept of communist state atheism," is awkward, comparing a nation with a concept.
I propose that this is a better sentence: Because the words "under God" were introduced during the Cold War, some suggest it was a way to contrast American values with those of communist state atheism.
Or, we could take Nunberg's words as definitive, and boldly assert, The words "under God" were introduced during the Cold War as a way to contrast American values with those of communist state atheism. Yopienso (talk) 17:25, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

Yes, it has long been my understanding that the "under God" was added to underline another difference from the "godless Commies" during the post-war Red scare. --Piledhigheranddeeper (talk) 21:31, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
User Yopienso says, "There are no weasel words in 'some suggest,'" indicating a lack of understanding of what the term "weasel words" means to Wikipedia. The verb to weasel, in this context, means to squirm out of attributing the words or ideas being quoted to their proper source. Saying, "some suggest" means you do not hold those who suggested accountable for their words and are granting yourself leeway to escape charges of misattribution. If you have, as you seem to have in this case, two sources, then attribute them. Try this: "Merriman and Nunberg said that the introduction of "under God" in the 1950s was done to differentiate the U.S. from the concept of communist state atheism". No weasel words, no vacuous, "some suggest", just clear, concise, encyclopedic attribution to the correct source. You would of course need to link to or reference your sources aswell, but you already know that. Good luck. Cottonshirtτ 02:19, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

internal contradiction, Bellamy salute[edit]

The first image from 1899 shows students saluting the flag with arm across the chest, right hand turned down and held horizontally above the left breast. The Bellamy Salute section says that the salute with the arm across the chest wasn't introduced until 1940s and that the former salute from 1892(?) was that shown in the given image - the image shows the "Nazi salute" style of salute. This appears to be contradictory or at least is unclear. Perhaps the Bellamy salute entails the movement of the arm from lying across the breast to being presented forward of the body, straight and angled up? Needs some work to address clarity/consistency. Pbhj (talk) 15:01, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

This comment is taken from the "Triva" section of the imdb article on "The Red Pony:"

"In one of the school scenes, the children say the Pledge of Allegiance with their right arms extended, pointed toward the flag. This was the Bellamy Salute suggested by Francis Bellamy, who wrote the original version of the Pledge. Due to its similarity to the Nazi and Fascist salute, President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the position to hand-over-the-heart. This was later codified into law in 1942."

The scene appears on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VA0A0ymd0CM — Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.253.130.5 (talk) 02:17, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

I do not know when the "Bellamy Salute" began but I quote from a descriptive passage in <"Flags of America: from the time of Columbus to the present day." Sesqui-Centennial Edition ©1926. John Wanamaker, Philadelphia. 28pp., illustrated. [Presently in my personal library.]> In this booklet, the Hon. John Wanamaker, who claims to have raised the first million dollars for 1876's Centennial Exhibition, and had been a member of that exhibition's Centennial Board of Finance, as well as Chairman of the 1876 Centennial Celebration in Independence Square, herein claims to be the "Originator" in 1916 of the Sesqui-Centennial idea for 1926. There follows eighteen pages of color illustrations of the nation's historical flags.

Of interesting note and relevant to the discussion here, there appears on its final page gestural instructions accompanying the Pledge of Allegiance as follows: "Standing with the hand over the heart, at the words 'the Flag,' the right-hand is extended palm up, toward the flag, and this position is held until the end, when the hand, after the words 'justice for all,' drops to the side." Although as described here, the gesture is not identical to the Facist salute, it was obviously similar enough to be abandoned in favor of the hand-over-the-heart gesture referenced above.Sam I am47 (talk) 22:51, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

I was born in 1932, and this is exactly the way I remember saying the pledge until the early days of WWII. Thanks for the reference. GeorgeLouis (talk) 06:42, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

Picture for "Home of Pledge of Allegiance"[edit]

I took a picture of a sign when driving into Mount Morris that reads "Welcome to Mount Morris NY - Home of Pledge of Allegiance - Founded 1794". - On the MM wiki it shows "Francis Bellamy, author of the Pledge of Allegiance was born there." Not sure if there is a place for that picture on this page. JHolicky (talk) 15:54, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

I think it would make more sense to have it in the Francis Bellamy article, as it indicates his continued notability that his home town is publicly celebrating him. --Wowaconia (talk) 17:22, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

More explanation of this bizarre ritual needed[edit]

The article is well-written and explains the origins and procedures very well but the rest of the world want to know more. Essentially we want to know why America has this strange ritual. To us on the outside it seems similar to what you would expect in North Korea and seems so odd that a democratic nation would practise and expect its citizens to do such things. Even if it's not added to the article I would still be interesting in reading all this on the talk page.--109.114.123.186 (talk) 22:09, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

Americans, particularly those who love and respect their country, would take exception to calling this ceremony a "bizarre ritual". The article speaks for itself in its current form. Read it and stop posting stupid comments. — QuicksilverT @ 20:55, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
I would like to make a request to the US government for the inclusion of a subsection to the pledge, similar to what is stated on the Scout Oath when it says "To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight". I mean, since both the Pledge and the Scout Oath already have a section citing God ("under God" on the Pledge, "to do my duty to God" on the Scout Oath)... --Marce 11:13, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
as an American I agree that it is kind of odd, and speaks mostly to the mental insecurity of people and politicians who have no scruples.
I would suggest that the current US President, Mr. Barack Obama, change the form in which schoolchildren and all other civilians show respect to the flag WITHOUT the hand being over the heart, because that IS disrespectful when my country's flag (Argentina's) is displayed or its anthem is played. I would suggest that everyone merely stand at attention, again, WITHOUT the hand being over the heart. This is because of this so-called "bizarre" ritual. --Marce 18:38, 13 May 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fandelasketchup (talkcontribs)

More photos and film clips needed[edit]

All the photos of the Bellamy salute currently at Wikimedia Commons show the second phase of the salute, the part with outstretched arm. To better explain and illustrate the article, photos or video clips should be located showing the entire sequence of the salute. Film would probably be available from the 1930s, up to December 1942, and should be free of copyright restrictions. — QuicksilverT @ 20:59, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

Any instances of teachers refusing to lead the pledge?[edit]

Have there been any instances of schoolteachers refusing to lead students in reciting the pledge, and has that been the subject of litigation? -75.57.5.160 (talk) 04:35, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

history of adoption in schools ?[edit]

Does anyone know if public schools have been using the pledge for a long time ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 50.195.10.169 (talk) 15:05, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

Used by Christopher Hitchens[edit]

For what it's worth, the history of the pledge has been mentioned by Hitchens in reference to the recent addition of "under God" on multiple occasions. Some include: The 5th Annual Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture at the Pen American Center, in the article The Best Woman?, in his review of Godless: The Church of Liberalism by Ann Coulter Joel.sbateman (talk) 22:42, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

Popular culture[edit]

How about a "In popular culture" section, mentioning how it's been used in music, such as the intro of Mosh by Eminem or in the music video of Jeremy by Pearl Jam? --PWNGWN (talk) 16:18, 10 October 2014 (UTC)