America the Beautiful, Part 2

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44 Responses

  1. Diane Hamersley says:

    Thought provoking. Lots of interesting things that I never knew. I probably will continue to pledge allegiance…at least for now.

  2. Tammy Hutchinson says:

    That gives me a lot to think about. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Jen says:

    My sentiments exactly. Well said. Thank you

  4. Kayla says:

    We are a fellow CC family, we’ve also done Awana, Trail Life, etc. The light and truth of His Word. I have always been super conservative, and very outspoken about my political beliefs. However, about two years ago God began convicting me and challenging what I thought were good “Christian” values and really allowed me to see some subjects in a different light. The pledge being one of them. He began challenging my thinking and attitudes about the pledge, but I have mostly remained silent except for one conversation with a family member. This is so refreshing and relieving to see I am not alone in the thoughts you have so-well put into words. I love my country, I’m so grateful for those who have fought for our freedoms, but I have not been able to shake the conviction that the pledge was a form of idolatry and that my only pledge is to Christ. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless.

  5. toni says:

    Very thought provoking!! Grateful you wrote and posted this. Cool conversations with Joe who I just learned happens to agree with you. I now do too. The only part I’ve really considered is the repeating without thinking part. I remember looking around the classroom and wondering if any of us actually knew what we were saying. I look forward to part 3. -toni

  6. Anna Lutz says:

    I leave out indivisible for the same reason!

  7. Jackie Tow says:

    Thank you for this. I am a kindergarten teacher at a Christian school we say the pledge to the Bible and the American flag each day. This past year I have really felt conflicted over this same issue. Especially with everything that is going on today. The church/denomination I was raised in did not believe in taking oaths, but still say the pledge. It was very confusing.

    I will be sharing this on Facebook, hope that’s ok.
    Thank you for your blog, I have been following for a long time.

  8. Haley says:

    Thank you for posting this to the Classical Conversations Facebook page. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. As another CC family that stands respectfully in the back without reciting the pledge during community day each week, I would love to see this ritual reconsidered.

    I think you expressed most of my own thoughts on the pledge better than I could, but I always tell my children that we are grateful to live here and we aim to be good citizens, but we owe our allegiance to Christ; not to an earthly kingdom or an object. Looking forward to reading your next installment.

  9. Rae says:

    Thank you so much for this breath of fresh air. We are a fellow CC family, and the Pledge part of the meeting bothers my conscience each and every week. Why a Christian program would to bind the conscience of the participants in this manner is beyond me. My allegiance is to Christ and Christ alone. Also, every political beliefs I hold opposes this type of socialization, for all the reasons you mentioned. It smacks of Empire worship, not the government by consent that our country is supposed to have. Finally, something you did not mention, is that for many citizens of the US, this country does not provide and has never provided liberty and justice. I will not say something I believe to be a lie.

    • Haley says:

      I so agree with you, Rae! I recently told my husband I don’t understand why CC is so “pledge-crazy.” Frankly, it’s one of the reasons (albeit a small one) we homeschool in the first place. I have longed to find a small group of like-minded Christian homeschoolers and start our own co-op, but I do not know even *one* other family that feels the same way. It’s such a blessing to find other CC families like us, even via the internet.

  10. Lisa Anstett says:

    Very interesting! Did not know any of that!

  11. Sally in Indy says:

    Regarding “Indivisible”: If you go through The Pledge, you get “One Nation, Under God, Indivisible”. For me, the writer of the Pledge was referring to the aftermath of the Civil War, when the US was two countries.

    Francis Bellamy was not the ORIGINAL author of the Pledge…that person was Rear Admiral George Balch, in 1887. Balch was a Civil War veteran, hence (I’m sure) the “Indivisible” portion of the Pledge. Bellamy revised it in 1892, and “Under God” was added in 1954.

    I guess I’ve never thought of WHY I say it and why I WOULDN’T say it. How is it any different than an Oath of Office? Military personnel, judges and politicians all swear an Oath to defend the United States. With the Pledge, aren’t we affirming what we believe? As a Catholic person, at every Mass, I say the Nicene Creed. It is an affirmation of what Catholics believe and what I personally believe.

    What happens if your boys decide on the military for careers? They swear to uphold the Constitution and to defend the US against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Within the context of your justification not to say the Pledge, would this count too?

    I am not condemning your thoughts or beliefs. They are yours and I fully acknowledge and support that. But I’ve never given a second thought to pledging my life and loyalty to the country that I love.

    A pledge to the flag of the US means (to me) a pledge to the country and its people. It’s a public saying and affirmation of “I have your back, I’ll defend you, I’ll give my blood for you.” Like Christ did for us.

    If you look at the flag, its colors are what they are for a reason: White for purity and innocence, Red for hardiness and valor and Blue for vigilance, perseverance and justice. Two of your children carry names that describe the colors in the flag. Coincidence? I think not, though perhaps it wasn’t in your mind.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post, John. I really want to investigate my personal beliefs about the Pledge.

    • Haley says:

      “A pledge to the flag of the US means (to me) a pledge to the country and its people. It’s a public saying and affirmation of “ I have your back, I’ll defend you, I’ll give my blood for you.” Like Christ did for us.”

      Sally, you bring up a good point here in this comment, and I would respectfully point out that this is *not* what the pledge actually means. It is a pledge of allegiance to the flag (object) and to the republic. That is what it actually states. It isn’t poetry, in which we can infer meaning. It is an oath. It says nothing about the armed forces or their sacrifices, nor the people of this country.

      I don’t mean to pick on Sally because I have seen this argument in favor of the pledge repeatedly from many people. I find it interesting because the pledge is so far from this in its actual meaning.

      • Sally in Indy says:

        I guess that’s what the Pledge means to mean personally and how I take it. Right, wrong or indifferent, that is how I see it and say it.

    • John says:

      Sally, excellent question re: military careers (or civil servant careers). First, I would say that I would not prevent my children from going down that path, but neither would I encourage them. I’m not against the military rank and file, but the bureaucrats that put them repeatedly and unnecessarily in harms way do bother me. I guess anyone working for the federal government takes an Oath of Office directed towards upholding the Constitution, which makes sense to me. If you’re going to be part of the government, you need to promise to remain constrained to the powers assigned to your office. It’s the people like me that *aren’t* agents or subjects of the government where the whole pledge thing seems reversed.

      • Sally in Indy says:

        John, I meant to say, too, that Mystery could also go into the military, and I neglected to include her…not just young men can enter the service!

  12. Haley says:

    I can’t find the article anymore on CC’s Facebook page. They may have taken it down.

    • Rae says:

      I would like to know if the original poster took it down, as the page policies state that they will not delete posts often. This post was full of hundreds of mostly respectful comments, and was encouraging to me to see that dozens of other Christian CC members also struggle with the Pledges. More and more it seems that disagreement is not allowed–which is totally against what CC is supposed to stand for and believe. If we parents cannot have a discussion, informed by biblical values and convictions, how are we supposed to teach our kids to be good citizens in a pluralistic society? Finally, many parents put a lot of time and thought into their posts in an attempt to educate others on a perspective they may not have considered. It is incredibly disrespectful to the time and effort of all of the commenters to delete an entire post like that (as opposed to a few comments that might be “unedifying”). Silencing opposition is what creates disunity, not diversity of convictions.

    • Jesse says:

      The guidelines of the CC page specifically state that it is a forum for asking and answering questions about CC, not for debate. Respectfully, the post wasn’t asking a question; it was putting forth an opinion on a culturally controversial topic and inviting debate. That the moderators removed the post is in keeping with these guidelines.

  13. Catherine says:

    Thanks for writing! I also came to similar conclusions several years ago after learning the history of Francis Bellamy. His intention in writing the flag was very disturbing, to say the least. How this pledge, which contradict our founding ideals, has come to be a hallmark of the very people who revere those ideals is an enigma.

    Another strong factor in my decision was realizing that in the Old Testament, God forbid the nation of Israel from even having a flag, much less pledging allegiance to one. In their first battle as a new nation, God would not let them carry a flag into battle like all the other nations. Rather, God had Moses lift up his hands to heaven and as long as his hands were raised to Yahweh, Israel prevailed. When he got tired and allowed his hands to drop, the Amelekites prevailed. Ultimately, Israel was the victor as Aaron & Hur lifted Moses’ hands and they won the battle. After this supernatural victory, Moses built an altar and called God “Jehovah Nissi,” which means “The Lord My Banner.” God was the banner, or the flag, for His people. He would allow no other.

    I do not believe that we still live under the OT law, so I do not judge others who come to a different conclusion on this topic. But human nature hasn’t changed. People still have this dangerous human tendency to place higher allegiance to country than they do to God. I have family members who refuse to speak to other family members because they disagree on who should be running this country. They are all Christians, mind you, but they have literally disowned other family members over their political affiliation. Their allegiance to the country, or rather their preferred direction for the country, is more important than their allegiance to God. This must truly grieve the heart of our Heavenly Father! My allegiance is to God and God alone. I love this country, but there are many things that I hate about the way it is governed. Ultimately, my allegiance is to God, not man or man-made institutions.

    P.S. I wish that you hadn’t taken the post down on CC’s FB page. I would have never seen it otherwise. I don’t understand how people who study our founding documents so intently can object to seeing those very principles in action. It’s a shame.

    • John says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Catherine. One of the page admins took the post down which I don’t exactly understand, but it is what it is.

      • Catherine says:

        I see. I wondered what happened. I stumbled across the thread yesterday morning and was reading all the replies. I then tried to respond and every time I tried to post I got a notice that said the thread had been deleted by the original poster, not by the admin. So it looked like you took it down. I don’t understand why we cannot post things that directly affect us as CC families simply because some people have polarizing views. Seriously. We homeschool which means our views on education, at the very least, are counter-cultural. We should be used to hearing and expressing contrary views by now.

        Our community says the pledge every week and I respectfully stand but do not participate. It has never been an issue in our community, but I have run across previous CC threads where people have literally castigated me as an ungrateful, anti-veteran, anti-American instigator who should find another place to educate my kids and to live. I did not come to my conclusion about the pledge lightly. Like you, my reasons are not shallow. They are the result of much study and contemplation, and my deep convictions are rooted both in theology and in our founding documents. I completely respect my fellow CC families who arrive at a different conclusion, but they should also respect mine.

        Here’s what really bothers me about the post being taken down… the desire to silence all contrary opinions is plaguing our country these days. The Bill of Rights, which we memorize in this cycle of CC, is dead in pop culture and in academia. Revolts and riots are breaking out across the country when someone dares to offer a contrary opinion on a college campus. This reality is a major contributing factor in my choice to homeschool, and I am not alone with my convictions. I homeschool so that we can continue to debate all the issues that our culture has settled and refuses to discuss anymore. So when my online homeschool community starts censoring threads with contrary opinions, wow. Just wow. I hate to see that kind of thinking seeping into the very place that I have come to escape that kind of thinking. Of all people, we should embrace the opportunity to respectfully offer, consider, and dialogue about contrary opinions that directly affect us. So as far as the official CC FB page is concerned, we value the Bill of Rights enough to memorize it, but not to actually practice it. That is sad. I guess we will have to gather elsewhere. Shalom.

  14. Haley says:

    John, I noticed a few of the Facebook commenters yesterday attempting to make the argument that we are commanded by God to say the pledge, based off of Romans 13. Have you heard this before? I have not and was wondering what you make of it.

    • Catherine says:

      Hey Haley… I’m not John, but I thought that I would weigh in here. I have heard this argument before and I don’t find it to be theologically or even logically sound. Yes, Romans 13 tells us to submit to our governing authorities but our governing authorities do not require us to pledge our allegiance to them or to the flag. Some countries do demand this kind of allegiance, but not ours. So to suggest that Romans 13 requires us to submit to our governing authorities by doing something that our governing authorities do not require is illogical. I suspect that people who proffer this argument personally believe that pledging to the flag is a sign of respect for our country and for them it is an act of submission, and that is fine. But to suggest that Romans 13 requires us to do something that our own government does not require simply to appease the personal convictions of some citizens is not consistent with Scripture or with our First Amendment.

      • Haley says:

        Thank you, Catherine. I knew the Romans 13 argument was illogical and unBiblical but was struggling to pinpoint exactly why. Your explanation makes perfect sense.

        • Catherine says:

          You are welcome. It is important to note that the kind of countries that do demand this kind of submission through an oath or pledge are totalitarian regimes which deny human dignity and restrict freedom, like Communist China, North Korea, and many middle eastern countries. In other words, they are decidedly un-Christian countries who actually persecute Christians. To use the Christian holy Text to mandate a practice only mandated in countries which persecute Christians is more than a bit ironic. I wish that we could have these discussions on the CC FB page. It think that they are necessary. Blessings!

  15. Jesse says:

    John, a very thoughtful post from you. I always enjoy the way you stretch my thinking. I would like to take a moment to respond to your four primary points.

    1. Indivisible: I agree with your premise that the Declaration of Independence explicitly grants the right of a people to overturn their system of government if that government should prove itself hostile to the people. By extension, I would point out that the Union’s position that it was illegal for the Southern states to secede was unsupported by the country’s founding documents, but history is written by the victors. The origins of the Pledge, following on the heels of the Civil War, seem to me to be written in part to support the Unionists’ position that secession was/is illegal. However, whatever the original intention of including “indivisible” I submit that the common understanding of that word, in modern context, is that Americans are one people (united), not that they have given up the natural right of secession. This connotation may contribute to the general political ignorance of the citizenry – and, for those better informed and with a different perspective, may certainly produce a different reaction than most – but I don’t think a widely understood meaning should be overlooked.

    2. Indoctrination: I think it is wise for parents to exercise wisdom and caution about what their children are learning – hence homeschool! – but I think it is inconsistent for Christians to categorically oppose mass recitation without understanding (“The first thing my child will learn not to do is thoughtlessly repeat what others say.”). The entire premise of a classical education is information memorization from a young age that is only later placed into context. Furthermore, catechization of our kids (whether a formal catechism, one of the Creeds, the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, the Fruit of the Spirit… whatever) is us doing exactly the same thing. That Bellamy uses the same means we do as Christian parents doesn’t necessarily invalidate those means.

    Along those same lines, what Bellamy intended and what actually happened are not necessarily the same thing either. Some people in this very comment thread believe “to the flag, and to the republic for which it stands” refer to the people of the country, and others to the government itself. I am not commenting on which is right but these divergent views suggest to me that a socialist/fascist indoctrination – the state rules over all and provides all good things – has been, at best, only partially successful.

    3. Allegiance: Neither you nor anyone else should offer unthinking allegiance to anything, and you rightly observe our nation does not demand such a thing. Having said that, I don’t think we err by offering that allegiance willingly. I would note that the Pledge doesn’t include any assertion that our allegiance is in any sense ultimate (more on that next).

    4. In Christ Alone: I already discussed the lack of ultimate-ness in the Pledge, but I think at the end of the day there are inferior but still godly oaths we take. You mentioned your wedding vows, and there are others: the oath that all federal civil servants, including the military, take (where we pledge to uphold the Constitution and defend it from all enemies foreign and domestic – allegiance to the laws and people of the nation); formal church membership (where we pledge to submit to the elders of the church – allegiance to a local body of believers); legal documents (where we pledge to faithfully repay our mortgage loan – allegiance to the agreement); even baptism (where we pledge ourselves to the body of Christ universal through public identification with them – allegiance to His people catholic). Some of these are commanded by Scripture and some are not, but even if they are inferior they are still oaths – pledges of allegiance, if you will – in their own ways. As Christians, Christ holds our ultimate allegiance, but I respectfully submit that the argument that this renders pointless our other oaths, or worse, idolatrous, is incorrect. Underpinning all of our actions, whether formalized in an oath or not, is the position of “if the Lord wills.” God willing, I will be faithful to all the oaths I have made, but if He calls me to oppose those who hold lesser oaths, I will. My response to competing calls between Christ and other oath-holders reveals my idolatry or lack thereof; the fact that I have pledged allegiance to sometimes-competing loyalties doesn’t.

    tldr: I agree in part and disagree in part with your post.

    As I said up front, I think this is an excellent article, and I think your opposition to saying the Pledge is both principled and respectable. I appreciate the tact and gentleness with which you have engaged this topic as well. I hope, by offering an alternate perspective, to invite others to critique my own thinking while helping to do the same for you, for the benefit of all. This post has given me good food for thought stretched me to think more carefully about my own position. Certainly I see more clearly the need to talk through the Pledge with my own kids. Thanks!

    • John says:

      Thanks for the thoughtful response, Jessie. I’ll have to chew on some of this for a while.
      1. very interesting about the Reconstruction era. “United” or “undivided” would have been easier for me to accept that “indivisible”
      2. agree with you on education, but it’s my role as a parent to do that, and it’s annoying when the state tries to intervene. It’s not the teaching before they’re old enough to fully understand that’s the main problem (I acknowledge the pull quote I pulled off another blog stated it that way) but the matter of what’s being taught. I feel like Bellamy’s objective is successful every time people make comments on how they feel some sense of unpayable debt to the nation therefore they are happy to pledge their loyalty to the death.
      3-4. good points, and as I mentioned in the post, reasonable people are going to disagree on whether the country “deserves” our allegiance, and I see that there is a wide range of how people understand “allegiance.” I probably see the word as more serious/binding than most.

  16. Catherine says:

    John, I wanted to suggest that you try posting this article on the Classical Conversations “Let Us Reason” FB page. This page was created by a fellow CC mom, Kimberly Duffy, for the purpose of discussing and debating educational, theological, cultural, and political topics. This post would be welcomed there. You might still get some polarizing view points, but that page exists to debate topics like this. Hope to see you over there!

  17. sarahethompsonplus5 says:

    John, It seems as though you have GREAT DESIRE TO LIVE OUT A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW, yet your perspective does not include important DIRECT BIBLICAL TRUTH AND GUIDANCE RELATED TO THE GOD-ORDAINED INSTITUTION OF GOVERNMENT. Additionally, considering that our nation was founded with Judeo-Christian foundation that was humbly and reverently sought BY THE PEOPLE who indeed toiled and wrote our Constitution, Bill of Rights, etc., we have great reason as Christians to both engage in governmental support, representation, and specific honor. Every new citizen of our country pledges allegiance TO our country. It is basic. Our family encourages you to go straight to scripture on this. Our Challenge 1 student is studying American Government. “Words Aptly Spoken, American Documents” has a wealth of little-read information on what has made our nation so special &, indeed, an extension of the nation of Israel in many respects. Also, loyalty, devotion, and commitment is VERY different from a covenant promise, such as marriage, and the Bible and our history books are full of examples of people who left home and family to defend their dear nation FOR their dear families and posterity.

    There are about 55 scriptural references to government, but these are just a few that highlight how the citizen should relate to government:

    Proverbs 8:15-16 – ordained
    “By me kings reign, And rulers decree justice. “By me princes rule, and nobles, All who judge rightly.

    Daniel 2:37-38 – Hebrew citizen in relationship to secular king
    “You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold.

    Daniel 4:17 – quality of God-ordained leaders varies
    “This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers And the decision is a command of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, And bestows it on whom He wishes And sets over it the lowliest of men.”

    Matthew 22:17-21 – owe respect, honor, loyalty, finances
    “Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? “Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius. read more.
And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”

    2 Peter 2:13 – submission
    Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,

    Romans 13:1 – subordination
    Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.

    Genesis 9:5-6 – defend your people/nation
    “Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man. “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.

    Romans 13:2-3 – follow the law
    Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;

    Romans 13:3 – reverence for authority is good
    For rulers are objects of fear, not to good works, but to the evil. Will you not have respect for the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from it.

    1. loyalty or commitment of a subordinate to a superior or of an individual to a group or cause.”those wishing to receive citizenship must swear allegiance to the republic”
    2. synonyms:
    3. loyalty, faithfulness, fidelity, obedience, homage, devotion; 

    • John says:

      All of Scripture is written for all of humanity, and all of the Scripture you used applies to monarchies and dictatorships and governments very opposite of our own, where people are recognized to have freedom and autonomy and sovereignty, and our government is positionally below us, not above us.

      • sarahethompsonplus5 says:

        John, Indeed there have been many ‘good’ sorts of governments throughout history, none exactly the same & God considers all worthy of deference. Besides, these biblical references are not all about certain types of governments; much are clear guidance to citizens period.

        Do you believe that Romans 13:1-7 could not possibly refer to Americans? You believe that because our government is not EXACTLY as it was in Babylon or Germany, God didn’t really mean what he said and you are ‘off the hook’ in not feeling like you should be willfully allegiant/loyal/true as a United States Citizen?

        Romans 13:1-7 ESV

        Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. …

        Romans 13:3 – reverence for authority is good
        For rulers are objects of fear, not to good works, but to the evil. Will you not have respect for the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from it.

        • John says:

          Romans 13 talks about obedience to authority, and in the United States, authority is not the rule of man but the rule of law. And laws are instituted by the people. Positionally, the people in this country are at the top, and our government—the one that belongs to *us*—is underneath. This is so critical and why I feel the Pledge has it upside down.

          So do I obey laws? Yes. Do I pay taxes? Of course. Find me anything written by the Continental Congress or in the Federalist Papers that suggests our nation depends on people being allegiant/loyal/true and I’ll show you dozens and of passages where our Founders declare us to be free.

    • Catherine says:

      There are some curious claims that you make here. First, new citizens are not required to pledge allegiance to the flag. They are (were) required to state an oath of allegiance to the Country that renounces any prior allegiance to a foreign nation. That oath also affirms a citizen’s responsibility to uphold the Constitution, the laws of the land, and a few other things. (BTW, this requirement was lifted in 2015). But neither the Constitution nor any law requires a citizen to participate in the pledge to the flag. It is a symbolic gesture that is not required by our Constitution, any law, or any governing official.

      You encourage those who do not pledge to go straight to Scripture on this issue. Ok:

      I notice that you mention some Old Testament Scriptures in defense of pledging to the flag and yet fail to mention the fact that God would not allow the nation of ancient Israel to even carry a flag, much less pledge their allegiance to one. Check out Exodus 17. In their first battle as a new nation, God would not allow Israel carry a flag into battle like all the other nations. Rather, God had Moses lift up his hands to heaven and as long as his hands were raised to Yahweh, Israel prevailed. When he got tired and allowed his hands to drop, the Amelekites prevailed. Ultimately, Israel was the victor as Aaron & Hur lifted Moses’ hands and they won the battle. After this supernatural victory, Moses built an altar and called God “Jehovah Nissi,” which means “The Lord My Banner.” Moses was making the clear declaration that God was the banner, or the flag, for His people. And God was adamant that He would allow no other, because He knew that human beings have a dangerous tendency to be more loyal to their nation than they are to Him. So there is strong Scriptural precedent for not pledging to the flag. (That alone didn’t get me to the place where I felt a conviction about pledging to the flag, but this coupled with the communist writer of the pledge and the intent he had in writing it raised some serious red flags for me. Pun intended;-)

      You mention Romans 13 repeatedly, which certainly requires us to submit to our governing authorities, but our governing authorities do not require us to pledge our allegiance to them or to the flag. Some countries do demand this kind of allegiance, mostly totalitarian and communist nations, but not ours. So to suggest that Romans 13 requires us to submit to our governing authorities by doing something that our governing authorities do not require is illogical. I suspect that pledging to the flag is something that you personally see as a sign of respect for our country and for you it is an act of honor and submission, and that is fine. I completely respect that. But to suggest that Romans 13 requires other Christians to do something that our own government does not require simply to appease the personal convictions of some Christians is not consistent with Scripture or with our First Amendment.

      No one is disputing the fact that we must honor our governing official and the nation that we live in. We must obey the laws as long as they do not require us to sin. Scripture is completely clear on these requirements. I don’t dispute the teaching of any of the Scriptures that you mention above. But I do dispute your application. To apply those Scriptures by suggesting that they mean we must pledge allegiance to the flag is not a jump that Scripture makes. In fact, the most direct and applicable Scriptural parallel to the flag most certainly occurs with Moses at the inception of the new nation of Israel in which God forbid His people to even have a flag. And there is no change in that requirement in the New Testament/Covenant.

      If the laws of our nation required us to pledge to the flag and we refused, then you could at least make the case that we were in error. But our laws do not require this. The only case that you can make Scripturally is that we must honor our nation, our founders, and our laws and to YOU, standing silently and respectfully during the pledge is dishonorable. But that is your standard, not Scripture’s. Or God’s. I honestly don’t think that it is wrong to pledge allegiance to the flag. I think that this is a matter of personal conviction, and I appreciate that your personal conviction leads you to honor our nation by pledging your allegiance to the flag. But for you to suggest that Scripture requires this of every believer is simply not supported.

  18. sarahethompsonplus5 says:

    Additionally, in regards to ‘following the logic trail’ of practical application, we all have a role to play in recognizing/reporting terror, espionage, and treason in our nation. If we cannot pledge our loyalty to our nation as a United States of America, our very security is at stake on so many levels.

    • John says:

      I didn’t keep this in the final draft of the blog, but it is interesting to me that our country’s founders did not have any sort of “loyalty pledge,” even though their very neighbors could easily have been Tories. Maybe they were content to let their “yes” mean “yes” and their “no” mean “no”

      • sarahethompsonplus5 says:

        So, you think that the Sons of Liberty had no possible oaths or formalities of mutual agreement among themselves? They did indeed have a flag that had great meaning and significance. They were an extremely organized insurgency network & once demanded oath of resignation/loyalty (on record) of someone they were hanging, for sure.

        Comparing a club in one geographical area that disbanded after a few years to a 241-yr-old nation of 320 million people and spread out over thousands of square miles is interesting indeed. Our nation does not exist because of momentary promisory agreements, but because of long-standing commitments, loyalty, unwavering respect, generational lines of service, precious laws carefully made by the people to hem themselves in with revered judiciary to measure them, promises kept, blood shed, sacrifices made and YES oaths made by our citizen sailors, soldiers, moms, dads, grandmothers, punk rockers, learning junior citizens, and ball players alike. These impact you and your family every single day.

        Our country still exists today because people have not only taken / lived by oaths of allegiance to their nation, but also serve the one true God which is of higher perfection than any institution of man. As it is, most citizens today claim only allegiance to country, and not God. I THANK God that they are stirred to reverence for his ordained institution of our USA government / OUR NATION. It is built in to man the desire to revere something greatly and if this reverence is directed, justly, toward what God told us to revere and respect, then AMEN & HALLELUJAH. God bless America!

      • sarahethompsonplus5 says:

        John, So very sorry – my discussion of the Sons of Liberty was not exactly suited to your reply. CC Week 3 on the brain.

        You referred to the 200 or so souls involved in the framing of our national government. Those who write their pledges directly into the founding documents. There are several instances, but here is one very initial one:::

        The final sentence of the Declaration of Independence is a promise among the signers, to “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor,” and many of them and their fellow patriots did in fact sacrifice their lives and fortunes in service to our country. 

        It seems that you could have a fundamental misunderstanding of Matthew 5:33-37 and James 5:12. Sins of Jewish custom of swearing falsely BY heaven, earth, Jerusalem, other and attempting to evade the judgment of God for their lie. These sorts of oaths are of similar crisis sin such as adultery, divorce, murder, and grouped in scriptural context next to these sins. Ordinary oaths, our very daily words should be as unto God, from the least to the greatest. We ought to pledge by God truly as under oath to tell the truth, doing and standing for the good he tells us to accomplish in our lives for the good of those with whom we stand.

        THIS is the sacred footing that our founding fathers took. These are the BASIS for the oaths they took in their job of, by faith, in Christ, establishing the government under which we live. This is the footing on which our Presidents pledge an oath upon the Bible. Still, Christians should also be ready to disavow an oath if made to conduct themselves in a manner unworthy of the higher calling of Christ, as in forcible murder, abuse, evil conduct, etc.

        Your willingness to live as a law-abiding citizen in our country without professing true allegiance is synonymous with wanting to attend a church without formal membership. Biblically, we ARE members of the body, so proclaim it /// we are citizens of our natural country, so profess it (AND indeed live with the highest God-empowered decorum as citizens of the kingdom of God).

        • John says:

          I’m glad you brought up church membership, because that’s exactly how I *don’t* view my citizenship. I’m a Christian who lives in America, rather than an “American Christian.” If you want to be an American Christian, peace be with you, but I see in my own life that sort of jingoism obscures God’s direction in loving brothers and sisters from all over the planet. We don’t have to keep this conversation going; I tried very sincerely to explain that I don’t break fellowship with many believers who will continue to say the Pledge.

        • John says:

          And Sarah, I’m sure you’re a kinder person in real life than you are commenting on a stranger’s blog. Ad hominem attacks are disapproved. We think about the meaning of some Scripture differently. We think about freedom differently. Live and let live.

  19. Maria C. Mitchell says:

    It is a lonely argument, but there are a few of us out here. Totally agree with you.

  20. Maria C. Mitchell says:

    This is a very good article. Not only do I think it’s anti-biblical, I think it’s un-American. When you know the history of the pledge, it’s kind of a no-brainer.

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