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Is the Pledge of Allegiance a Form of Indoctrination?
Are our children being brainwashed in the classroom?
Sometimes I like to stir the pot on Twitter. I typically do this by posting something satirical, in which I use humor to make a point. But sometimes I like to ask questions that make people feel uncomfortable.
Yesterday, I posted a tweet asking if the Pledge of Allegiance is a form of indoctrination. So far, it has received nearly 2,000 responses.
I received some angry responses, as you might imagine. But others were more thoughtful. People who are for and against the pledge made reasonable points, but up until now, I haven’t really given my opinion on the matter.
For starters, let us examine the history of the pledge to gain a better understanding of what it means.
The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a preacher named Francis Bellamy, who also happened to be an avowed socialist. In fact, author Brian McGlinchey, in a piece for the Libertarian Institute, noted that he “was run out of his pulpit at a Boston church for preaching against capitalism” and even claimed Jesus Christ was a socialist.
In 1892, Bellamy penned the Pledge of Allegiance to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus. In a summary, the preacher explained that when writing the pledge, he was aiming for brevity and “a rhythmic roll of sound so they would impress the children and have a lasting meaning when they became grown-up citizens.”
As a leader in the Christian socialist movement, Bellamy offered public education classes covering topics “Jesus the Socialist,” and “Socialism versus anarchy.”
It is clear that when Bellamy wrote the pledge, he was advocating for allegiance to a government-dominated society similar to the Soviet Union and Communist China.
Currently, 47 states require the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited in the classroom, although students are allowed to abstain if they wish. The Hill explained:
Forty-seven states in the U.S. require the Pledge of Allegiance be recited in public schools, with varying exemptions for students or staff who wish to opt out. The 1943 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, West Virginia V. Barnette, determined that no school or government can compel someone to recite the Pledge of Allegiance or salute the flag.
But states can still require it while offering exemptions. And states have varying levels of exemptions — for example, Florida and Texas allow for a student to be exempted from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance only if a parent or guardian consents.
There have been instances in which educators have wrongly punished students for refusing to recite the pledge. In 2017, a black student named Mari Oliver refused to write out the pledge due to the government’s treatment of black Americans.
A seven-year-old student in Indiana got in trouble for sitting quietly during the daily Pledge of Allegiance earlier this year. His teacher grabbed him by his hand and took him to the principal’s office for causing trouble. She later “took him aside and forced him to ‘practice’ reciting the Pledge,” according to the National Coalition Against Censorship.
But it is only fair to acknowledge that these incidents are not common as they would have been in the past. Still, I have seen people arguing for the pledge to be required in the classroom, which is indoctrination from where I sit.
Many responded to my tweets acknowledging that reciting the pledge is a form of “good” indoctrination. With the influencing of minds in the classroom becoming more of an issue due to progressive attempts to brainwash kids into their ideology, I thought it would be worthy of discussion.
To me, having children pledge allegiance to the Republic for which our American flag stands is one of several ways the public education system has indoctrinated young children into statism. By itself, it would be harmless — people aren’t going to fall in love with the government just because they recited a pledge, right?
But combined with all the other overt and covert methods of encouraging a blind trust in the government, it is not difficult to see how most of us were conditioned to accept state authority without thinking critically. Progressive efforts to influence young minds and persuade them to embrace their ideology is, in reality, a way to get them to adopt a statist mindset.
If American society is so awful because it victimizes racial minorities, members of the LGBTQ community, and other marginalized groups, the logical course of action is to trust and support the government in its supposed efforts to fix it, right? If you have pledged allegiance to the government promoted by the likes of Bellamy and his modern-day equivalents, this would only further cement this type of thinking in a young mind.
It is for this, and other reasons, why I view the pledge as statist indoctrination. But I do recognize not everyone sees it that way. If you feel comfortable reciting it, that’s your prerogative. I’m not the judgmental type. But I, for one, will find other ways to express my support of this nation.
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