Thursday, September 15, 2005

CHILDREN IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS should not be required to affirm the existence of God when they or their families may not believe in God. That is the simple principle behind yesterday's ruling, by U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton, that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional.

The case was filed on behalf of three anonymous families whose children attend public schools in three Sacramento, California, school districts. Those districts will be enjoined by the court from reciting the Pledge in their schools. If the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds Karlton's ruling, nine Western states will be barred from reciting the Pledge in public schools. If the case reaches the Supreme Court, and is upheld, all public schools in the United States will have to stop reciting the Pledge.

The words "under God" were inserted into the Pledge by Congress in 1954, at the height of the McCarthy anti-communist hysteria; but the Pledge itself was written by Francis Bellamy, a Christian Socialist, in 1892.

... In his Pledge, he is expressing the ideas of his first cousin, Edward Bellamy, author of the American socialist utopian novels, Looking Backward (1888) and Equality (1897).

Francis Bellamy in his sermons and lectures and Edward Bellamy in his novels and articles described in detail how the middle class could create a planned economy with political, social and economic equality for all. The government would run a peace time economy similar to our present military industrial complex.
His original Pledge read as follows: 'I pledge allegiance to my Flag and (to*) the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.' He considered placing the word, 'equality,' in his Pledge, but knew that the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and African Americans. [ * 'to' added in October, 1892.]

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