Friday, November 21, 2008

The Pledge Project: Dear Abby and Standing for the Pledge

Dear Abby devoted her whole column on November 20 to the thesis that all people must stand for the Pledge of Allegiance as a sign of respect.

(See, for example, Standing for the Pledge a Sign of Respect)

Of course, I disagree. A person has no obligation to stand and show respect for others while those others insult and denigrate him in public. The Pledge equates seclarism and atheism with rebellion, tyranny, and injustice for all. It is used as a tool to reduce the status of those who do not support a nation 'under God' in this society, and as a social filter, 99.99% successful, for keeping atheists out of public office.

I wrote the book A Perspective on the Pledge, an expansion on the blog posting More Perspective on the Pledge

You can also find a link to more arguments against this project at The Pledge Projct: Table of Contents

And I say this as somebody who is proud of his father, who became 100% disabled while serving in the U.S. Military. Equating my father to those who support rebellion, tyranny, and injustice is one of the most offensive aspects of the current Pledge. I am supposed to stand and show respect for the government's practice of insulting people like my father and other atheists who gave up so much in its defense? That is not going to happen.

Given the very public forum that Dear Abbey represents, I would like to request that people provide her with a better understanding of what she is asking.

The article I linked to provides an address for Dear Abby: P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.

And see if you can encourage a few others to send their comments in as well. The more the better.


Anonymous said...

I'll get one together for her.


Anonymous said...

Alonzo, you wrote: "I am suppost [sic] to stand and show respect for the practice of peole [sic] like my fater [sic] and other atheists who gave up so much in its defense?" You must have written that in a bit of a hurry. :-) You're missing a negative in there somewhere -- either "*dis*respect for...", or "respect for the practice of *denigrating* people like..."

Alonzo Fyfe said...


Thank you. I wrote that in a hurry while rushing to prepare for work.

Corrections have been made.

CrypticLife said...

I've provided one at her website submission form here.

I pointed out that I could not respect a practice which denigrated me and my children.

CrypticLife said...

Note also that the newspaper you linked did not include all the responses listed at One could be interpreted as positive towards atheists:

DEAR ABBY: On Flag Day, June 14, 1943, right in the middle of the greatest patriotic war in history, the U.S. Supreme Court passed a resolution, which is still in effect today, that no man, woman or child shall be required to stand for or salute the flag of this country, or to stand for the singing of the National Anthem. Anyone who berates another for not standing or participating in either is denying that person his legal rights as given by the U.S. Supreme Court. Therefore aliens, visitors, religious believers and dutiful citizens have the right to stand, salute and sing -- or NOT. -- NATIVE AMERICAN CITIZEN AND WWII VETERAN"

Bill Cooney said...

I also sense capitulation in my bones when I stand for the Pledge. (It's the "under God" part - naturally - that gets me.)

Have you ever looked at the related scenario of not standing during portions of religious services? I recently attended a Catholic funeral, and during the high point of the service (the consecration of the host and performance of the transsubstantiation 'miracle') I proceeded to sit down. I got a glare or two - and that was only from the people I could see. (I was sitting in the front row.) I can only imagine what was going on behind me. But I thought it was the respectful thing to do - not disrespectful.

RichardBarnes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RichardBarnes said...

Nowhere in our constitution does it state one must pledge allegiance to anything to be accorded the rights and liberties of an American citizen. Inalienable rights and liberty are not contingent on pledges. They are contingent on the fact one has life. That is reason one why I do not and will not speak a pledge or stand for one. The second reason is I am not, never have been nor ever will be "under" anyone else's unsupportable concept of a supernatural deity. If we are one nation, we must be a nation of individuals with respect above all else for individual rights and the liberty to exercise them while according the same to our neighbors.

I, Naumadd, pledge allegiance to consistent respect for inalienable individual rights and the protected liberty to exercise them in myself and in all others and with all who pledge the same in their every word, by their every deed.


Only in such common respect do we become a nation. Without it, we are mere competing tribes.