Thursday, July 01, 2010
The Bored Gods and the Pledge
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.