Every American-raised child can relate to this morning ritual. We all stand up, mumble a few words, and then continue our daily lives.
This act is harmless enough, or is it?
The pledge of allegiance needs to be removed from the public school setting. No child should be indoctrinated into pledging one’s self to a nation. No child should be forced to admit the existence of a god. But most importantly, no child should have to face scorn form their peers for having a different, but valid, ideology.
Indoctrination is a crime. Indoctrination kills intellectual curiosity. Forcing someone to repeat a phrase and hold it to be true does not allow them to think for themselves. This is what the pledge of allegiance does. It is forcing school children to believe that America is “indivisible” and “one nation under god” and has “liberty and justice for all”. I am not here to attack American values. I personally am a non-believer, but I do believe that the American government does its best to give liberty and justice for all. But my opinion, nor the governments, matters in a public school setting. If a child does not believe in any portion of the pledge of allegiance, he/she should not be forced to say it or indoctrinated into believing it. Nationalist indoctrination is as bad as religious indoctrination. They both kill the intellectual curiosity that drives people to think and be creative. We cannot let a Red Scare chant preside in a setting that is supposed to cultivate thought and creativity.
The topic of God is something I will be covering in many future posts. I am Atheist, but I do not believe that the belief in God is detrimental to society. But forcing a child to say that America is “One nation under God” is wrong. Religious values, or lack there of, are very important to most individuals. No one wants them violated in a uninvited way. Unfortunately, the pledge of allegiance does that. Saying this phrase gives credence to the idea of a supernatural, which some people are not willing to do. The pledge of allegiance was originally put into the school setting to have a distinction between the godless Soviets and the Americans. There is no need to emphasize this distinction since the Soviet Union…well it doesn’t exist anymore. This phrase is hindering the value of religious freedom, a value upon which America was built upon.
Numerous times, along with other classmates, I have sat down during the pledge of allegiance. Needless to say, the condescending looks form my other classmates is unwarranted. America is supposed to be the land of opportunity, the land of freedom. It is supposed to foster the belief in different ideologies. Yet when I respectfully disagree with the ideology of the masses, I am scorned upon. People tell me to respect the flag and be American. Heck, I’m not even American. I am not allowed to vote or run for president. I do respect America and I do very much like this country (and I am planing on applying for citizenship). But by not agreeing with the nations ideology does not mean I am disrespecting it. It just means that I am disagreeing. If the United States of America wants all of its citizens and residents to agree with its ideology, it might as well model Nazi Germany. America is a land of ideological diversity, and is great because of that. No one should be forced to believe an ideology, nor be scorned for disagreeing with the ideology held by the masses.
If you are a young non-theist who wants their voice to be heard, consider submitting an article of your own to Generation Atheist. Visit our submissions page for details.