While many Christians feel strongly about standing for the Pledge, they may not recognize that there are inherent issues with pledging to something or someone that contradicts the foundations of their beliefs.
Growing up as a Christian, I was taught to follow the Ten Commandments, and from what I’ve learned of other denominations, most Christians also believe in doing their best to follow or embody the values of the Ten Commandments. However, many Christians disagree on the proper interpretation of these commandments, but for the purposes of this argument, I’ll go off of my personal interpretation, which hopefully, readers can accept at least some portion of. The second commandment says, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above… Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them…” In ancient times, this meant “don’t worship idols”. But when applied to modern times, and all times in general, it really means “don’t value physical objects more than God”. Pledging allegiance to a piece of fabric (especially a piece of fabric with stars, a “likeness of [a] thing that is in heaven above”, if we want to get technical) violates this commandment. And yeah, we also Pledge allegiance to our country, but that’s still not God.
It also violates the third commandment, which says, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” That means, “Don’t say the name of God willy-nilly.” We say the name of God every day when we say the Pledge, and does anyone say it with consideration and respect? Of course not. We say it because everyone else is and because our teachers tell us to. There are some who actually want to say the Pledge, but if you tell me that you think deeply about your words every single time you do, I don’t really believe you. Anyone who says the Pledge has definitely said the Lord’s name in vain.
And for those students who aren’t Christian or religious at all, saying the Pledge can be invoking a deity they don’t know or understand. Many kids haven’t heard of God when they show up to their first kindergarten class, and I doubt anybody really understands the complex themes mentioned in the Pledge when they don’t know how to read yet. But we still expect all students to say the name of God at the beginning of their classes from day one. If we really value religious freedom, we shouldn’t do this to our youth or our religious institutions.
People from around the world have come here to escape religious oppression in their home countries. Treating religion so lightly as to make it into what basically constitutes a nursery rhyme for non-religious children is disrespectful to those who have sacrificed so much for the right to worship as they choose. Those who know how serious religion truly is. My own ancestors, Mormon pioneers, were driven out of their homes in the midwest because of their faith, in some cases by state militia — and this was in the mid-19th century under the American government, under the First Amendment. They endured starvation, exposure, and the loss of loved ones in search of religious freedom. Religion may not be a big deal for some, but it is a big deal for me and millions of other Americans. I don’t want it pushed on people who don’t understand it.
In general, our country has a big problem with keeping church and state separate. For example, the president is sworn into office using a Bible. Why are we ok with that? Our leaders should be solely focused on honoring and protecting our country, not God. They should be accountable to the American people for their performance as presidents. It’s not like God voted for them. God isn’t even an American citizen. He loves all of His people regardless of their nationality and operates outside of the relatively meaningless establishments that govern our secular world. As a Christian myself, I personally believe that I will have to answer for my actions on Earth on the Judgement Day, and that gives me some motivation to do the right thing, but no one should need the threat of eternal divine consequences to be a good person. Likewise, presidents shouldn’t have to swear to God to be good presidents, and public school students shouldn’t have to pledge allegiance to a flag to be good citizens.
Removing the Pledge from schools would hurt literally no one, while keeping it makes religion a flippant daily routine that violates the commandments Christians strive to follow and embody. If any believer in God thinks they can’t fully exercise their right to religious freedom without the Pledge, they probably need to reevaluate their spiritual life. And if you really feel a need to say it every day, you can easily do it in your head or at home before you leave for school, which shouldn’t be that hard. Obeying our Constitution and honoring our country’s variety of religious ideas isn’t that hard.