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Fri Jun 14, 2019, 07:03 AM

65 Years Ago Today; Eisenhower signs bill placing "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pledge_of_Allegiance


Children performing the Bellamy salute to the flag of the United States, 1941.

The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States is an expression of allegiance to the flag of the United States and the republic of the United States of America. It was originally composed by Captain George Thatcher Balch, a Union Army Officer during the Civil War and later a teacher of patriotism in New York City schools. The form of the pledge used today was largely devised by Francis Bellamy in 1892, and formally adopted by Congress as the pledge in 1942. The official name of The Pledge of Allegiance was adopted in 1945. The most recent alteration of its wording came on Flag Day in 1954, when the words "under God" were added.

<snip>

Origins
Balch and Bellamy pledges

The Pledge of Allegiance, as it exists in its current form, was composed in August 1892 by Francis Bellamy (1855–1931), who was a Baptist minister, a Christian socialist, and the cousin of socialist utopian novelist Edward Bellamy (1850–1898). There did exist a previous version created by Captain George T. Balch, a veteran of the Civil War, who later became auditor of the New York Board of Education. Balch's pledge, which existed contemporaneously with the Bellamy version until the 1923 National Flag Conference, read:

We give our heads and hearts to God and our country; one country, one language, one flag!


Balch was a proponent of teaching children, especially those of immigrants, loyalty to the United States, even going so far as to write a book on the subject and work with both the government and private organizations to distribute flags to every classroom and school. Balch's pledge, which predates Bellamy's by 5 years and was embraced by many schools, by the Daughters of the American Revolution until the 1910s, and by the Grand Army of the Republic until the 1923 National Flag Conference, is often overlooked when discussing the history of the Pledge. Bellamy, however, did not approve of the pledge as Balch had written it, referring to the text as "too juvenile and lacking in dignity." The Bellamy "Pledge of Allegiance" was first published in the September 8 issue of the popular children's magazine The Youth's Companion as part of the National Public-School Celebration of Columbus Day, a celebration of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas. The event was conceived and promoted by James B. Upham, a marketer for the magazine, as a campaign to instill the idea of American nationalism in students and to encourage children to raise flags above their schools. According to author Margarette S. Miller, this campaign was in line both with Upham's patriotic vision as well as with his commercial interest. According to Miller, Upham "would often say to his wife: 'Mary, if I can instill into the minds of our American youth a love for their country and the principles on which it was founded, and create in them an ambition to carry on with the ideals which the early founders wrote into The Constitution, I shall not have lived in vain.'"

Bellamy's original Pledge read:

I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.



Students reciting a pledge on Flag Day in 1899

The Pledge was supposed to be quick and to the point. Bellamy designed it to be recited in 15 seconds. As a socialist, he had initially also considered using the words equality and fraternity[ but decided against it, knowing that the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and African Americans.

Francis Bellamy and Upham had lined up the National Education Association to support the Youth's Companion as a sponsor of the Columbus Day observance and the use in that observance of the American flag. By June 29, 1892, Bellamy and Upham had arranged for Congress and President Benjamin Harrison to announce a proclamation making the public school flag ceremony the center of the Columbus Day celebrations. This arrangement was formalized when Harrison issued Presidential Proclamation 335. Subsequently, the Pledge was first used in public schools on October 12, 1892, during Columbus Day observances organized to coincide with the opening of the World's Columbian Exposition (the Chicago World's Fair), Illinois.

Francis Bellamy's account
In his recollection of the creation of the Pledge, Francis Bellamy said, "At the beginning of the nineties patriotism and national feeling was (sic) at a low ebb. The patriotic ardor of the Civil War was an old story ... The time was ripe for a reawakening of simple Americanism and the leaders in the new movement rightly felt that patriotic education should begin in the public schools." James Upham "felt that a flag should be on every schoolhouse," so his publication "fostered a plan of selling flags to schools through the children themselves at cost, which was so successful that 25,000 schools acquired flags in the first year (1892–93).

As the World's Columbian Exposition was set to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, Upham sought to link the publication's flag drive to the event, "so that every school in the land ... would have a flag raising, under the most impressive conditions." Bellamy was placed in charge of this operation and was soon lobbying "not only the superintendents of education in all the States, but [he] also worked with governors, Congressmen, and even the President of the United States." The publication's efforts paid off when Benjamin Harrison declared Wednesday October 12, 1892, to be Columbus Day for which The Youth's Companion made "an official program for universal use in all the schools." Bellamy recalled that the event "had to be more than a list of exercises. The ritual must be prepared with simplicity and dignity."

Edna Dean Proctor wrote an ode for the event, and "There was also an oration suitable for declamation." Bellamy held that "Of course, the nub of the program was to be the raising of the flag, with a salute to the flag recited by the pupils in unison." He found "There was not a satisfactory enough form for this salute. The Balch salute, which ran, "I give my heart and my hand to my country, one country, one language, one flag," seemed to him too juvenile and lacking in dignity." After working on the idea with Upham, Bellamy concluded, "It was my thought that a vow of loyalty or allegiance to the flag should be the dominant idea. I especially stressed the word 'allegiance'. ... Beginning with the new word allegiance, I first decided that 'pledge' was a better school word than 'vow' or 'swear'; and that the first person singular should be used, and that 'my' flag was preferable to 'the.'" Bellamy considered the words "country, nation, or Republic," choosing the last as "it distinguished the form of government chosen by the founding fathers and established by the Revolution. The true reason for allegiance to the flag is the Republic for which it stands." Bellamy then reflected on the sayings of Revolutionary and Civil War figures, and concluded "all that pictured struggle reduced itself to three words, one Nation indivisible."

Bellamy considered the slogan of the French Revolution, Liberté, égalité, fraternité ("liberty, equality, fraternity", but held that "fraternity was too remote of realization, and … [that] equality was a dubious word." Concluding "Liberty and justice were surely basic, were undebatable, and were all that any one Nation could handle. If they were exercised for all. They involved the spirit of equality and fraternity."

After being reviewed by Upham and other members of The Youth's Companion, the Pledge was approved and put in the official Columbus Day program. Bellamy noted that "in later years the words 'to my flag' were changed to 'to the flag of the United States of America' because of the large number of foreign children in the schools." Bellamy disliked the change, as "it did injure the rhythmic balance of the original composition."

Changes
In 1906, The Daughters of the American Revolution's magazine, The American Monthly, listed the "formula of allegiance" as being the Balch Pledge of Allegiance, which reads:

I pledge allegiance to my flag, and the republic for which it stands. I pledge my head and my heart to God and my country. One country, one language and one flag.


In subsequent publications of the Daughters of the American Revolution, such as in 1915's "Proceedings of the Twenty-Fourth Continental Congress of the Daughters of the American Revolution" and 1916's annual "National Report," the Balch Pledge, listed as official in 1906, is now categorized as "Old Pledge" with Bellamy's version under the heading "New Pledge." However, the "Old Pledge" continued to be used by other organizations until the National Flag Conference established uniform flag procedures in 1923.

In 1923, the National Flag Conference called for the words "my Flag" to be changed to "the Flag of the United States," so that new immigrants would not confuse loyalties between their birth countries and the US. The words "of America" were added a year later. Congress officially recognized the Pledge for the first time, in the following form, on June 22, 1942:

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.


Addition of "under God"
Louis Albert Bowman, an attorney from Illinois, was the first to suggest the addition of "under God" to the pledge. The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution gave him an Award of Merit as the originator of this idea. He spent his adult life in the Chicago area and was chaplain of the Illinois Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. At a meeting on February 12, 1948, he led the society in reciting the pledge with the two words "under God" added. He said that the words came from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Although not all manuscript versions of the Gettysburg Address contain the words "under God", all the reporters' transcripts of the speech as delivered do, as perhaps Lincoln may have deviated from his prepared text and inserted the phrase when he said "that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom." Bowman repeated his revised version of the Pledge at other meetings.

In 1951, the Knights of Columbus, the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization, also began including the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. In New York City, on April 30, 1951, the board of directors of the Knights of Columbus adopted a resolution to amend the text of their Pledge of Allegiance at the opening of each of the meetings of the 800 Fourth Degree Assemblies of the Knights of Columbus by addition of the words "under God" after the words "one nation." Over the next two years, the idea spread throughout Knights of Columbus organizations nationwide. On August 21, 1952, the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus at its annual meeting adopted a resolution urging that the change be made universal, and copies of this resolution were sent to the President, the Vice President (as Presiding Officer of the Senate), and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The National Fraternal Congress meeting in Boston on September 24, 1952, adopted a similar resolution upon the recommendation of its president, Supreme Knight Luke E. Hart. Several State Fraternal Congresses acted likewise almost immediately thereafter. This campaign led to several official attempts to prompt Congress to adopt the Knights of Columbus policy for the entire nation. These attempts were eventually a success.

At the suggestion of a correspondent, Representative Louis C. Rabaut (D-Mich.), of Michigan sponsored a resolution to add the words "under God" to the Pledge in 1953.


George MacPherson Docherty (left) and President Eisenhower (second from left) on the morning of February 7, 1954, at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Before February 1954, no endeavor to get the pledge officially amended had succeeded. The final successful push came from George MacPherson Docherty. Some American presidents honored Lincoln's birthday by attending services at the church Lincoln attended, New York Avenue Presbyterian Church by sitting in Lincoln's pew on the Sunday nearest February 12. On February 7, 1954, with President Eisenhower sitting in Lincoln's pew, the church's pastor, George MacPherson Docherty, delivered a sermon based on the Gettysburg Address entitled "A New Birth of Freedom." He argued that the nation's might lay not in arms but rather in its spirit and higher purpose. He noted that the Pledge's sentiments could be those of any nation: "There was something missing in the pledge, and that which was missing was the characteristic and definitive factor in the American way of life." He cited Lincoln's words "under God" as defining words that set the US apart from other nations.

President Eisenhower had been baptized a Presbyterian very recently, just a year before. He responded enthusiastically to Docherty in a conversation following the service. Eisenhower acted on his suggestion the next day and on February 8, 1954, Rep. Charles Oakman (R-Mich.), introduced a bill to that effect. Congress passed the necessary legislation and Eisenhower signed the bill into law on Flag Day, June 14, 1954. Eisenhower said:

From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty.... In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource, in peace or in war.

The phrase "under God" was incorporated into the Pledge of Allegiance on June 14, 1954, by a Joint Resolution of Congress amending § 4 of the Flag Code enacted in 1942.

On October 6, 1954, the National Executive Committee of the American Legion adopted a resolution, first approved by the Illinois American Legion Convention in August 1954, which formally recognized the Knights of Columbus for having initiated and brought forward the amendment to the Pledge of Allegiance.

Even though the movement behind inserting "under God" into the pledge might have been initiated by a private religious fraternity and even though references to God appear in previous versions of the pledge, historian Kevin M. Kruse asserts that this movement was an effort by corporate America to instill in the minds of the people that capitalism and free enterprise were heavenly blessed. Kruse acknowledges the insertion of the phrase was influenced by the push-back against Russian atheistic communism during the Cold War, but argues the longer arc of history shows the conflation of Christianity and capitalism as a challenge to the New Deal played the larger role.

Salute
Swearing of the Pledge is accompanied by a salute. An early version of the salute, adopted in 1887, known as the Balch Salute, which accompanied the Balch pledge, instructed students to stand with their right hand outstretched toward the flag, the fingers of which are then brought to the forehead, followed by being placed flat over the heart, and finally falling to the side.

In 1892, Francis Bellamy created what was known as the Bellamy salute. It started with the hand outstretched toward the flag, palm down, and ended with the palm up. Because of the similarity between the Bellamy salute and the Nazi salute, which was adopted in Germany later, the US Congress stipulated that the hand-over-the-heart gesture as the salute to be rendered by civilians during the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem in the US would be the salute to replace the Bellamy salute. Removal of the Bellamy salute occurred on December 22, 1942, when Congress amended the Flag Code language first passed into law on June 22, 1942. Attached to bills passed in Congress in 2008 and then in 2009 (Section 301(b)(1) of title 36, United States Code), language was included which authorized all active duty military personnel and all veterans in civilian clothes to render a proper hand salute during the raising and lowering of the flag, when the colors are presented, and during the National Anthem.

Controversy
In 1940, the Supreme Court, in Minersville School District v. Gobitis, ruled that students in public schools, including the respondents in that case—Jehovah's Witnesses who considered the flag salute to be idolatry—could be compelled to swear the Pledge. In 1943, in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, the Supreme Court reversed its decision. Justice Robert H. Jackson, writing for the 6 to 3 majority, went beyond simply ruling in the precise matter presented by the case to say that public school students are not required to say the Pledge on narrow grounds, and asserted that such ideological dogmata are antithetical to the principles of the country, concluding with:

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.

In a later case, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals held that students are also not required to stand for the Pledge.


First graders of Japanese ancestry pledging allegiance to the American flag (1942, photo by Dorothea Lange).

Requiring or promoting of the Pledge on the part of the government has continued to draw criticism and legal challenges on several grounds.

One objection is that a democratic republic built on freedom of dissent should not require its citizens to pledge allegiance to it, and that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right to refrain from speaking or standing, which itself is also a form of speech in the context of the ritual of pledging allegiance. Another objection is that the people who are most likely to recite the Pledge every day, small children in schools, cannot really give their consent or even completely understand the Pledge they are making. Another criticism is that a government requiring or promoting the phrase "under God" violates protections against the establishment of religion guaranteed in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

In 2004, linguist Geoffrey Nunberg said the original supporters of the addition thought that they were simply quoting Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, but to Lincoln and his contemporaries, "under God" meant "God willing", so they would have found its use in the Pledge of Allegiance grammatically incorrect and semantically odd.

Legal challenges
Prominent legal challenges were brought in the 1930s and 1940s by Jehovah's Witnesses, a denomination whose beliefs preclude swearing loyalty to any power other than God, and who objected to policies in public schools requiring students to swear an oath to the flag. They said requiring the pledge violated their freedom of religion guaranteed by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The first case was in 1935, when two children, Lillian and William Gobitas, ages ten and twelve, were expelled from the Minersville, Pennsylvania, public schools that year for failing to salute the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

In a 2002 case brought by atheist Michael Newdow, whose daughter was being taught the Pledge in school, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the phrase "under God" an unconstitutional endorsement of monotheism when the Pledge was promoted in public school. In 2004, the Supreme Court heard Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, an appeal of the ruling, and rejected Newdow's claim on the grounds that he was not the custodial parent, and therefore lacked standing, thus avoiding ruling on the merits of whether the phrase was constitutional in a school-sponsored recitation. On January 3, 2005, a new suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on behalf of three unnamed families. On September 14, 2005, District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled in their favor. Citing the precedent of the 2002 ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Karlton issued an order stating that, upon proper motion, he would enjoin the school district defendants from continuing their practices of leading children in pledging allegiance to "one Nation under God."

In 2006, in the Florida case Frazier v. Alexandre, a federal district court in Florida ruled that a 1942 state law requiring students to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.[53] As a result of that decision, a Florida school district was ordered to pay $32,500 to a student who chose not to say the pledge and was ridiculed and called "unpatriotic" by a teacher.

In 2009, a Montgomery County, Maryland, teacher berated and had school police remove a 13-year-old girl who refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom. The student's mother, assisted by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, sought and received an apology from the teacher, as state law and the school's student handbook both prohibit students from being forced to recite the Pledge.

On March 11, 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance in the case of Newdow v. Rio Linda Union School District. In a 2–1 decision, the appellate court ruled that the words were of a "ceremonial and patriotic nature" and did not constitute an establishment of religion. Judge Stephen Reinhardt dissented, writing that "the state-directed, teacher-led daily recitation in public schools of the amended 'under God' version of the Pledge of Allegiance... violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution."

On November 12, 2010, in a unanimous decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston affirmed a ruling by a New Hampshire lower federal court which found that the pledge's reference to God does not violate non-pledging students' rights if student participation in the pledge is voluntary. A United States Supreme Court appeal of this decision was denied on June 13, 2011.

In September 2013, a case was brought before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, arguing that the pledge violates the Equal Rights Amendment of the Constitution of Massachusetts. In May 2014, Massachusetts' highest court ruled that the pledge does not discriminate against atheists, saying that the words "under God" represent a patriotic, not a religious, exercise.

In February 2015 New Jersey Superior Court Judge David F. Bauman dismissed a lawsuit, ruling that "… the Pledge of Allegiance does not violate the rights of those who don't believe in God and does not have to be removed from the patriotic message." The case against the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District had been brought by a student of the district and the American Humanist Association that argued that the phrase "under God" in the pledge created a climate of discrimination because it promoted religion, making non-believers "second-class citizens." In a twenty-one page decision, Bauman wrote, "Under [the association members'] reasoning, the very constitution under which [the members] seek redress for perceived atheistic marginalization could itself be deemed unconstitutional, an absurd proposition which [association members] do not and cannot advance here." Bauman said the student could skip the pledge, but upheld a New Jersey law that says pupils must recite the pledge unless they have "conscientious scruples" that do not allow it. He noted, "As a matter of historical tradition, the words 'under God' can no more be expunged from the national consciousness than the words 'In God We Trust' from every coin in the land, than the words 'so help me God' from every presidential oath since 1789, or than the prayer that has opened every congressional session of legislative business since 1787.”

</snip>


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Reply 65 Years Ago Today; Eisenhower signs bill placing "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance (Original post)
Dennis Donovan Jun 14 OP
no_hypocrisy Jun 14 #1
Dennis Donovan Jun 14 #4
no_hypocrisy Jun 14 #5
ProfessorGAC Jun 14 #2
Tanuki Jun 14 #3
BSdetect Jun 14 #6
spanone Jun 14 #7
hunter Jun 14 #8
rusty fender Jun 14 #9
Hekate Jun 14 #10
llmart Jun 14 #11
kskiska Jun 14 #12

Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Fri Jun 14, 2019, 07:20 AM

1. Reporting from "the Field".

I'm a substitute teacher in NJ. I'm in the classroom every day of the school year. Preschool to eighth grade.

I recite "The Pledge" with the kids but omit "under God." The kids do it mechanically like I did at their age. Some don't bother looking at the flag. It's something you have to do in the morning. Sometimes "The Pledge" is uniformly done (meaning the entire school does it at the same time) with it going over the PA with the Principal or the Office Secretary or some chosen students to do it. Nobody understands what it means. It's just words. There is no patriotism involved, just a recital of a few sentences.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #1)

Fri Jun 14, 2019, 07:27 AM

4. It's a silly ritual...

Because I started doing it in Kindergarten, it meant nothing to me @ 5. Until we started learning US History in any meaningful way (4-5th grade), it meant nothing. By that time, the pledge was automatic and still meant nothing, EXCEPT, by then, we'd learned about the separation of Church and State, and the "under God" part became offensive to me.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #4)

Fri Jun 14, 2019, 07:36 AM

5. When 9/11 happened, I stood outside and looked into my old Kindergarten classroom and wept.

All I could remember was the teacher making a big deal of an individual child holding the American flag while the others saluted it (and you). When I returned, all I could think was "You lied to me!" It was a fake ritual. Saying The Pledge didn't make you any safer than saying the "Hail Mary."

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Fri Jun 14, 2019, 07:22 AM

2. Blech!!!

When I sub junior high, the kids still do the pledge. I do paperwork at that time.
As much as I care about the kids, I refuse to worry about the role model thing during that 45 seconds.
The whole thing is ridiculous.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Fri Jun 14, 2019, 07:22 AM

3. I remember when Sarah Palin, a stable genius in her own right, weighed in on this:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.huffpost.com/us/entry/122965/amp

"In a 2006 questionnaire for Alaska's gubernatorial race, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin seemed to muddle her American history.
Question: Are you offended by the phrase "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

Palin: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I'll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance." (More)


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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Fri Jun 14, 2019, 09:44 AM

6. Inserting "under god" into a pointless pledge is insulting to all of us.

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Response to BSdetect (Reply #6)

Fri Jun 14, 2019, 09:59 AM

7. It should have never been allowed.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Fri Jun 14, 2019, 11:24 AM

8. My mom was a Jehovah's Witness when I started school.

The Witnesses later booted her out because she couldn't stay out of politics and then we were Quakers.

I was taught that God didn't want us to say the pledge, so I didn't. I ignored it entirely, didn't stand up, kept drawing spaceships, reading, whatever.

It added immensely to my weird-kid aura. I had one teacher who pointed me out as an example of religious freedom in the U.S.A. and that may have been worse.

The pledge is a stupid insipid thing. Nationalism and Religion can be very toxic, especially when mixed, sort of like opiates and alcohol.


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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Fri Jun 14, 2019, 01:24 PM

9. The pledge is jingoistic, nationalistic,

and violates the separation of church and state. Maybe we’ll rid ourselves of it in a couple of generations

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Fri Jun 14, 2019, 01:52 PM

10. President Eisenhower, the man who forcibly integrated Southern public schools with troops ...

... (yes, that was Ike) also signed off on adding "under God" to the Pledge. You can't get everything right, and it's not his fault that idjits like Sarah Palin who have no concept of history now think we've had The Pledge since 1776 and that our money has included In God We Trust since the same time. Some of the same ones no doubt villify him for school integration.

Which is by way of saying thanks for a fairly comprehensive overview. I researched it back about 2002 after a friend sent out an email blast to her entire address book that began with a soppy picture of two golden-haired tots with prayerful hands and eyes raised to heaven, backed by a flowing US flag, and went on from there to equate patriotism with religion. My reply was well-researched, historical, and blistering, and of course I hit reply-all.

As for Eisenhower, I respect the man, now that I know more about him. I remember his administration from a child's-eye perspective, which is to say the parts I could see and I didn't necessarily connect them with him. My classmates and I had slogged through learning the Pledge back in first grade, and we all had to stumble every morning until we re-learned it with the addition.

Now I know it was related to the Cold War, which to the old general was serious in every way (it was), and he was open to persuasion that one more thing in the cultural part of the war would be to subtly emphasize that while the Commies were godless (they were officially atheist and brutally suppressed religious expression), the US was not godless.

I don't think for a minute he meant the US was supposed to be solely Christian -- post-WWII / post-Holocaust most public religious expressions on civic occasions in the US tended to be relatively generic and inoffensive to any of the three Abrahamic religious traditions. That is, God was referred to as "father" and not Jesus. Evangelicals called themselves Fundamentalists and were considered a fringe group, socially and politically, not a powerful and fearsome socio-political movement.

As for school integration using military troops -- I wonder how many people even remember that it was Eisenhower? We should. Brown vs Board of Education said "with all deliberate speed," and Ike speeded it up all right. The images coming in on our little B/W tv were absolutely searing, as were the ones in LIFE magazine. Little children like me in every way but color were being screamed at by mommies and daddies ... It was a couple of thousand miles away, yet in our living room.

Why integrate and why Eisenhower? If I had to guess, I'd have to say that to the General who liberated Europe and the concentration camps: because America was supposed to be infinitely better than that. If we were not Commies, we were also not Nazis.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Fri Jun 14, 2019, 02:06 PM

11. I was in elementary school in the early 50's...

My father told us kids we didn't have to say "under God" and told us not to. I was pretty astute as a kid and I remember thinking to myself, "Who's going to know if I'm saying it or not?" So, I'd just stand there and put my hand on my chest and mumble some words. Ha. Ha. Even at six I felt a little guilty faking that part, but now I look back and realize that my father was trying to teach us not to just follow blindly what we were told to do.

As an adult if I'm at a function where they tell you to bow your heads and pray, I deliberately do not bow my head or close my eyes or mumble anything. I am not disrespectful of those that want to, but it's clear to everyone else that I'm not praying. Another thing my father taught me.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Fri Jun 14, 2019, 03:01 PM

12. I remember that.

I was in elementary school and we were instructed to recite the new words.

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