Saturday, September 12, 2009

One nation! Under God! Indivisible?!

There's a lot of discussion about the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. I have no qualm with that phrase. I would, however, be disturbed for it to be removed, for no matter how often the claim is made that "God is dead", I'm convinced He is alive and well and in control, and the nation that acknowledges Him will be blessed above the one that does not.

But I can't recite the Pledge as it is commonly known. I have a problem with the phrase "indivisible".

The very first sentence of the Declaration of Independence, which is the basis for the very existence of the United States of America, emphasizes this right to separate. It says:
When ... it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them ... and to assume ... the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, [it's only respectful to say why].
And then the next paragraph states that when government gets too big for its britches,
it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government....
The War of Northern Aggression (aka The War Between the States, aka The Civil War) was fought over this very principle (the issue of slavery was just the trigger). The South had had enough, and had dissolved the political bands with their Northern brethren, but the North illegally forced, at gunpoint, the South to remain.

In this war, the South was doing the exact same thing the original 13 Colonies had done almost a hundred years earlier, and the North was doing the exact same thing the English had done. The only difference was that in the latter war, the captors won and Freedom, Independence, was lost.

History is written by the victors, and so are cultural bindings such as the Pledge of Allegiance; thus we have the phrase. But I'm standing on the founding principles of the United States of America. Thus I recite:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.
We're still one nation; that's how I prefer it. But the nation is legally not "indivisible".

1 comment:

Josh said...

That's an interesting way of thinking about it; I'd never thought of it that way. Our own political system certainly does provide us the opportunity to have different opinions about almost any aspect of life, thus creating the possibility of divisibility. Perhaps indivisibility (we could use the word "unity," perhaps?) should be a goal for the nation, rather than an enforced law, as per the old proverb, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."