“I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all” — I probably learned to memorize this at about the same age I memorized my parents’ home phone number.
But the Pledge of Allegiance, which lately seems to cause so much consternation among liberals, had a surprisingly liberal — in fact, socialist — beginning.
It was Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and a leading Christian socialist who penned the original pledge in 1892 to express his outrage at the nation’s widening economic divide. Bellamy, according to the Huffington Post, believed that unbridled capitalism, materialism and individualism betrayed America’s promise. He hoped the Pledge of Allegiance would promote a different moral vision to counter the rampant greed he thought was undermining the nation.
The words, “the flag, of the United States of America” were added in 1932, and in 1954, in response to the threat of God-less Communism, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words “under God.”
But did you know we didn’t always put our hands over our hearts during the pledge? The original “Bellamy salute,” first described in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, began with a military salute, and after reciting the words “to the flag,” the arm was extended toward the flag. However, the gesture began to make too many Americans uncomfortable during World War II, as it too closely resembled the Nazi’s “Heil Hitler” salute. So in 1942, Congress amended the Flag Code, decreeing that the Pledge of Allegiance should “be rendered by standing with the right hand over the heart.” And so it has remained to this day.
Perhaps if more liberals understood its socialist origin, they wouldn’t object to children’s recitation of the Pledge. But no one should ever forget why we have the freedom to recite it. As is often said, we are the land of the free because we are home of the brave.