Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pledge as a Sign of Patriotism

Another set of data showing how the Pledge of Allegiance is used to denigrate atheists and to provide a barrier between atheists and public office.

USA Today had a poll in which they asked people what certain actions said about an individual's patriotism. (See: USA Today Flag Pins, Protests Both Patriotic)

According to the poll, 77 percent of Americans believe that saying the Pledge of Allegiance indicates that a person is patriotic by "a great deal" or "a moderate amount".

The poll did not ask what I think is the more interesting question. Does not saying the Pledge indicate that one is not patriotic?

Since the United States Government has decided to create a Pledge that a large group of Americans cannot say, then it is entirely unfair to hold that not saying the Pledge of Allegiance is a sign of poor patriotism (or that saying the Pledge of Allegiance is a sign of patriotism). Where patriotism is held in high esteem, this gives an unfair advantage to those who are capable of saying the Pledge and puts those who cannot say the Pledge at a disadvantage.

So, where the Pledge itself is discriminatory, the people are wrong to hold that it is a sign of patriotism or virtue. Where the Pledge is taken as a sign of patriotism or virture, it is wrong to have a pledge that is discriminatory. We can have a discriminatory pledge without patriotism, or a patriotic pledge with out discrimination, but no sense of justice can condone having a pledge that is both patriotic and discrimiatory.

1 comment:

Tom: said...

Patriotism is prima facie discriminatory. No meaningful, or at least effective, patriotism can exist without a commonly shared value set. Ethnicity, religion, philosophy...any other sociological moot in this point. As the United States of America becomes more culturally and intellectually diverse, and dare I say it...tolerant...then patriotism will proportionally lose it's relevance and effect.
Values are key. Everyone wants their values to be the guiding values for our culture. Discrimination is the act of making distinctions..value distinction is what makes patriotism possible. It is naive to think otherwise.