Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Bored Gods and the Pledge

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored" at the commencement of a Fourth of July weekend! Mannanan MacLir Bless America!

Who?

Mannanan is one of my favorite bored deities. He visits frequently. And if anyone has a beef about the Christian Church, it's Him. He fixed a gold cauldron for a Catholic priest, only to hear that the job was so good it had to have been done by the devil. Incensed, Mannanan took himself to the Isle of Man, where He usually stays except for the week when they have that noisy car race.

The reason I bring up Mannanan MacLir is because of the Pledge of Allegiance. I imagine that pledging allegiance to a flag or banner is a very ancient thing, and that deities of all sorts have been evoked during these pledges for just as long. For most of its life, our national Pledge of Allegiance did not evoke any deity. Then came the Cold War, and the words "under God" were added to our official pledge.

As if this God isn't busy enough. Now he has to listen to millions of school children every day, crediting him with being the ruler of our wide land!

Of course this "under God" business is completely spurious, unconstitutional, and insulting to all the non-Christian Americans out there, be they of other faiths or atheist.

So. Let's band together, all you Pagans, atheists, Sufis, Farsis, Santerians, etc. (let's not forget the followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster), and go have a sit-in on the mall in Washington, DC to protest this unconstitutional outrage!

Ah, never mind. Who wants to plan such a thing? Not me. I can't get a cake baked for the block party.

This is a situation where a big, broad, flexible outlook is quite helpful.

As a school teacher, I have to say the Pledge of Allegiance every day. Before I commenced doing so last September, I talked it over with some bored gods (over tea and biscuits -- it was a lovely afternoon). We collectively decided that saying, "One nation, under the Salmon of Wisdom" would disturb the peace of my classroom.

Therefore, I say the Pledge of Allegiance and omit the part about "under God." Every single day of the school year, I omitted "under God," and my students never noticed. This was good, because I didn't want to spark a debate on the Constitution. I'm an English teacher, not a history teacher.

I'm a fairly patriotic person. My ancestors came here early. They settled in the rugged Appalachians, from which they sallied forth in numbers to lend their hands to wars from the French and Indian to WWII. So I'm down with pledging the flag.

I'm not down with the "under God" part. But most Americans are.

Let sleeping dogs lie, I say. When I pledge, it's just me, and while I think we are one nation, we certainly aren't all "under God."

Pledge the flag -- or not -- as you like, but hey. This battle is not worth fighting. Leave it alone. After all, you could just as easily question the whole "liberty and justice for all" thing, if you look closely at how our country works.

I'm Anne Johnson, and I approve this message.

7 comments:

Erik said...

I actually consider the flag to be a deified object - as does the US Flag Code, which explicitly states that it should be considered a living thing (oh, and that it should never be used for advertising... good thing nobody does *that*, huh? :)

Ave, Libertas!

Intense Guy said...

I havent noticed a whole lot of "justice for all" along with that promised "right to a speedy trial" thing... Or perhaps "speedy" once meant within 6-7-8 months?

I'm not surprised your pupils never noticed the omission - the mindless endless recital of meaningless (to them) words is just something to snooze through. We'd be better off just abolishing the whole pledge and not just a few words of it.

Lavanah said...

Anne, that is exactly how I taught my daughters to recite the pledge!

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

I was in school one day and we always said the pledge of allegiance and then one day the teacher says the pledge is going to be different now..and she told us about the under god part..now I don't remember how old I was..but I do remember thinking..'what a crock of shit, as if God cares.'....even then..trouble maker..

Anonymous said...

I had Yellowdog Granny's experience when I began third grade. I think that as a future English professor I may have been obscurely disturbed already by the way in which the phrase broke up the logic of "one nation indivisible," but I think I also recall feeling: That's church. This is school. Why are these peopole making me do this? Rodger Cunningham

Vivienne Grainger said...

Yay for letting sleeping gods lie.

Lori F - MN said...

McCarthy added 'Under God' so that the pledge of alliegence couldn't be said by just any old commie.