Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I Plege Allegiance to the... Desk?

This is not a new issue for most. Everyday, during second period, the girl that sits next to me refuses to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance.

Now, it's not the lack of patriotism or anything that bothers me (believe me). Here's what it is: she'll be talking, and mid-sentence, the announcements come on. She stops and sits - as if to make a public declaration - as if to make an additional effort to go against the grain and draw attention to herself.

Now granted, she's not the only one. In fact, she's not only the even person in that class who sits during the Pledge... But that's not the point.

As I talked to Danny a couple of hours ago, he was mentioning that he stands during the Pledge at the school he works at... to show respect - but he doesn't say anything. Fine, I respond. To be honest, I don't really care about that.

I've heard some arguments.

For atheists, it's "under God" that they don't like, and instead of leaving that part out, they pit themselves against the principle of the entire thing and neglect the Pledge altogether.

For some, it's "I don't like the idea of giving allegiance to a flag." In my humble opinion though, isn't an inanimate object the best possible thing to give allegiance to? I mean, think about it: it can't do anything wrong. It seems like the only logical thing to give allegiance to.

I guess my point is this. If you don't like the Pledge, fine. If you don't want to say it, all right. If you think you're being brainwashed, so be it. If it contradicts the God you don't believe in, okay. But why do you have to make it a spectacle? Why do you have to be so facetious for something so unimportant? Is it really that big of a deal?

This isn't a religious or patriotic issue for me. It's a "Why are you wasting your time making this statement?" There are others to spend your time on. For the girl next to me, I know you can talk about how much you hate the President or the War. Talk about those to someone... and do something about how you feel. Support the causes you believe in. But you're not accomplishing anything by trying to draw attention to yourself during the Pledge. At least stand up. It's a bunch of high school seniors: they don't care anyway.


WES ELLIS said...

ah, but someone might say, what's the point in making a stand (or, in this case, a sit) for something if you don't draw attention to yourself? Revolution doesn't happen in closets.
Perhaps this person is "doing something."

I actually agree with the atheists on this one, but for totally different reasons. The one line I cringe at the most is "Under God..." (and I cringe at most of them). It's more blasphemous to make the claim that God endorses America (especially allegiance to it) than it is to give your allegiance over to a flag. If you're pledging allegiance to a flag or a country, please don't slap God in the face by appealing to him while you're doing it.

The church has blinded itself to these things all in the name of "respect." The early Christian writers would have had a cow about the pledge of allegiance. Have we forgotten the "emperor cult" of the Roman Empire? Even if we neglect the poor and marginalize gay people, among these hypocritical practices, possibly the greatest step of departure from early Christian worship we have taken, is our shrug toward patriotic allegiance. (not that, by any means, this should be considered more or as important as our responsibility toward the oppressed... that's #1)

The last line in your post is the real problem: "they don't care anyway."

Great thoughts, Mark. Don't get me wrong, I see what you are doing with this post and you are right in pointing out that action should come before inaction. But I only have one allegiance to give.

Mark said...

Well, I disagree on the "under God" part... I don't think that really does any harm... I take that to mean more that there is a God above us - maybe not literally, but at least authoritatively, there definitely is. But there we can agree to disagree since it is a matter of interpretation. But I actually agree with most of what you say, Wes. I really wrote this to address people like that girl next to me who are just trying to publicly announce that they sympathize with the political ideology of Green Day. Not people like you and me.

WES ELLIS said...

I can dig it.
Good thoughts Mark.