Yesterday a Facebook friend was trying to convince others, via her status, that Pepsi was debuting a new can that included the whole Pledge of Allegiance except for the words “under God” (the HEATHENS!). We were all supposed to put this in our statuses and NEVER EVER drink that devilish drink AGAIN!
Now I know very well by now that 99.9% of such internet claims are lies. Some are feel-good lies, like all those sappy “inspirational” stories that are mostly just not true or are exaggerated for effect. I don’t usually bother bursting anyone’s bubble over those. But others, like this one, damage the reputations of individuals and businesses. It only takes a few seconds to go to Snopes and check their validity, and so I always do and always will, even if I hated Pepsi and wished the company would go out of business! Because, you know, truth is important, and if you have to tell lies to bolster your argument (now I’m thinking of political email forwards) then maybe you need to reconsider your position.
Anyway, the Snopes article did mention that the words “under God” are a late addition to the Pledge anyway, which I think I knew but had forgotten. And since it’s truthful to say that our nation IS under God (because isn’t everything?) I think it’s a fine addition and I’m proud to say it.
However, this got me thinking about the Pledge, and about a practice that you might be surprised that I object to. Frequently, at gatherings of pro-life folks, the Pledge is recited, with a postscript at the end: “with liberty and justice for all, born and unborn.” I don’t like that addition, and I won’t say it. And you know why? Because it isn’t true. And no amount of saying it is going to make it true.
You might argue that even the “with liberty and justice for all” part isn’t true, you anti-American you! But even if it isn’t always true, it’s supposed to be. Our laws support that ideal for the most part, as do our courts. On the other hand, our laws explicitly reject liberty and justice for the unborn.
When we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, we are pledging allegiance to a government that has said it is okay to abort babies up until the day they are born. That is simply a fact. It is a government that has allowed and sanctioned and approved and codified many other things, some that I object to and some that you do. I love my country and will continue to pledge allegiance to it, but that doesn’t make me blind to its faults, nor is it unpatriotic of me to think some changes are in order.
What do people mean when they say the Pledge in this altered way? Are they saying that they aren’t really pledging allegiance to this country, but that they will if the abortion laws are changed? Are they just pretending that what they wish was true is true? They cannot claim that they are pledging allegiance to some sort of ideal that the flag itself symbolizes, because the pledge makes it quite clear that those reciting it are pledging allegiance to the country as well.
I know pro-lifers well, because I am one. And I know many of them have worked tirelessly for changes in the country’s abortion laws. But adding a phrase to the Pledge that amounts to nothing more than wishful thinking is at best pointless and at worst dishonest and counterproductive.