On Friday, Senate Republicans, completely ignoring a COVID relief bill currently sitting on Mitch McConnell‘s desk, took the time to pass a resolution celebrating the Pledge of Allegiance.
No debate. No discussion. Just Christian Nationalism at work.
Thom Tillis (NC), Rick Scott (FL), Jerry Moran (KS), James Lankford (OK), Bill Cassidy (LA), Todd Young (IN), Marco Rubio (FL), Kevin Cramer (ND), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Kelly Loeffler (GA), John Boozman (AR), James Risch (IN), Tim Scott (SC), Mike Rounds (SD), Chuck Grassley (IA), John Hoeven (ND), Joni Ernst (IA), David Perdue (GA), John Barrasso (WY), James Inhofe (OK), Deb Fischer (NE), John Cornyn (TX), Tom Cotton (AR), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS).
Whereas the United States was founded on principles of religious freedom by the Founders, many of whom were deeply religious;
Whereas the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States embodies principles intended to guarantee freedom of religion both through the free exercise thereof and by prohibiting the Government from establishing a religion;
Whereas the Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist Minister, and first published in the September 8, 1892, issue of the Youth’s Companion;
Whereas, in 1954, Congress added the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance;
Whereas, for over 60 years, the Pledge of Allegiance has included references to the United States flag, to the country having been established as a union “under God”, and to the country being dedicated to securing “liberty and justice for all”;
Whereas, in 1954, Congress believed it was acting constitutionally when it revised the Pledge of Allegiance;
Whereas the Senate of the 116th Congress believes that the Pledge of Allegiance is a constitutional expression of patriotism;
Whereas patriotic songs, engravings on United States legal tender, and engravings on Federal buildings also contain general references to “God”;
Whereas the Supreme Court overturned Newdow v. United States Congress, 328 F.3d 466 (9th Cir. 2003), a case in which the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance by a student’s public school teacher violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; and
Whereas the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit later concluded that its previous opinion in Newdow was no longer binding precedent, that case law from the Supreme Court of the United States concerning the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States had subsequently changed, and that Congress, when passing the new version of the Pledge of Allegiance, established a secular purpose for the use of the terms “under God” and, thus, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance by public school teachers:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That—
(1) the Pledge of Allegiance has been a valuable part of life for the people of the United States for generations; and
(2) the Senate strongly defends the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance.
I know I’ve said this before — and made an entire podcast series about it — but just to set the record straight…
Francis Bellamy didn’t include “Under God” in the original Pledge. He was also a xenophobic bigot who wrote the Pledge to make sure immigrants pledged their loyalty to the U.S. flag. It’s not even about patriotism; the Pledge was written as a marketing tool to sell flags.
We are not a nation “under God.”
We are not a nation with “liberty and justice for all.”
Reciting a pledge of loyalty to prove your patriotism is inherently unpatriotic. If you love something, you shouldn’t have to say it out loud to remind everyone.
The Supreme Court didn’t overturn Newdow v. United States Congress because Michael Newdow was wrong on the merits. They threw out the case, saying he didn’t have legal standing to bring it. They didn’t rule on whether the Pledge violated the Establishment Clause.
There is no “secular purpose” to saying “under God.” It’s a religious phrase with religious meaning, just like a Christian cross is a religious symbol and not a secular one. In fact, it denigrates Christianity to suggest the cross or the word “God” isn’t religious.
If the Pledge is a “valuable part of life” for you, you lead a very sad life.
Every Republican who sponsored this bill is in lockstep with Donald Trump as he dismantles as much of our democracy as he can. They don’t give a damn about this country; they just want power. Treating a blatantly religious “pledge” as some sort of mark of patriotism is what they do in theocracies.
What a useless resolution to pass. No surprise it’s the work of Republicans who refuse to do anything substantive to make this country better.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)