Intolerance Masked as Patriotism

Facebook exposes you to the most interesting memes, some of which make me think that people don’t take the time to read them before clicking “like” or sharing them with friends and family. Case in point, this “patriotic” post asking people to support the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools.

At first glance, who could be against the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools? It was the standard when I was a student and, other than the “under God” phrase (added in 1954 during the Cold War) which some could construe as state promotion of religion, it seems relatively harmless. In fact, when I was in high school, my drafting teacher, a devout Catholic and believer in separation of church and state, told students that they could omit the words “under God” if they chose to.

My real concern with this internet meme is the way it stifles freedom of speech. Notice that if you like the idea of saying the Pledge in school each day, you simply click the “like” button. But if you leave any comment (even a comment of support), that is tantamount to saying you don’t support the recitation of the Pledge in classrooms.

This mindset, that there is no room for discussion or dissent (even though such dissent is Constitutionally protected), is anathema to the concept of democratic freedoms. Think of the authoritarian regimes around the world – China, Iran, North Korea, and plenty of others – where those who speak out against the government are imprisoned, tortured, or even executed. The freedoms and values the United States flag represents include protecting those who choose to speak up against the government and those very same freedoms and values!

It strikes me as very unpatriotic to demand unquestioning obedience and very dangerous as well. The founders of the nation recognized the dangers of blind obedience. We should, too.


0 thoughts on “Intolerance Masked as Patriotism

  1. I’m as patriotic as anyone, it’s when someone appeals to my patriotism that shows they can’t cough up any better or deeper argument for whatever it is they’re yapping about. You give this person too much credit for relevance, methinks. They show the hallmarks of not having the brains to stifle their own flatulence, much less anything that counts, which their potty little syndication stream almost definitely does not. *grumble* *grumble*

  2. Is there such a thing as “Forced Patriotism”. Discussion is a necessasry part of democracy and so is disagreeing with decisions. The majority may rule but all must be heard.

  3. I think the real meaning of freedom might be missing from some of those die hard-so called freedom fighters. Warm thanks for your brief friendship here on Xanga. I have enjoyed your posts as well as the photos you shared. Best wishes always!!!!

  4. You hit the nail square on the head! We must in a democracy ensure that all opinions be heard (respected even) because without a dialogue choice is removed and without choice we don’t have a democracy at all!

  5. It kind of reminds me of gay marriage. If you like it you’re cool. But if you don’t like it, you’re a bigot.Rodrigo Borgia was also a devout Catholic who happened to be one of the 7 evil popes who plagued Christianity.Being a “devout Catholic” is not a shield from raw ignorance and self interest.Since according to the Declaration of Independence all our human rights are “endowed by our Creator,” it makes perfect sense to say “One nation under God,” not only in the Pledge of Allegiance but anytime anyone refers to America.Further, the 1st Amendment is not violated by anyone who states the truth about the critical relationship between the God and the American nation.Here is link to what will soon be a routine, state-sanctioned practice: Christians being assaulted and beaten by fascist gay rights activists.

  6. You always have such stimulating posts Chris. I suppose to each his own. Like your teacher advised, if anyone wanted to leave “under God”, out of their pledge of allegiance, they should do so. Personally, I like it that way.

  7. @vexations – In God We Trust is the motto of the United State of America. Putting “In God We Trust” on money couldn’t be more apropos to a “Nation Under God.”Understanding that human rights are useless and arbitrary unless they come from God is a matter of simple reason. And it is that reasoning that forms the foundation of the Lockean political philosophy that was used to found and form the greatest nation in human history.

  8. This is an example of a “like” mill. Scammers will shoot out these things to boost their site traffic and then sell it to companies for a quick buck.

  9. good point. i didn’t think of it from this perspective to be honest. it’s still good though that you could voice dissent but there definitely is an unmistakeable “pressure” with the meme.

  10. I’ve come to see Facebook memes as a measure of intelligence, or the lack there of.Liking, commenting on, and/or sharing something doesn’t actually do anything. However, pages with a decent amount of likes, comments, shares & followers are often sold for actual money.Explained in detail over at… first, the page that posted the image is called “Support our troops or get the f-k out”. It’s aiming for a very specific group of people from the start. Second, the “options” the meme gives you tries to get you to interact with it and click on SOMETHING, anything, regardless of whether or not you agree with what it states. Third, the number of likes seem to be in 6 digits, the number of comments seem to be in 5 digits. Since, according the linked article “Pages with 100,000 likes can be sold for $200”, someone just made a few hundred bucks by posting something they found online.The sad thing is, as long as there are controversial issues, and as long as people feel the need to voice their opinion every single time a topic regarding said controversial issues pops up; there will be memes capitalizing on intolerance.

  11. I stopped saying the pledge when our gov’t stopped honoring the Constitution. I love this nation and what it is SUPPOSED to stand for but I will NOT pledge blind obedience to the government!

  12. There is a difference in patriotism and jingoism. I think the latter is more for people that haven’t yet matured as citizens. More than one branch of my family lived in the US before there was a US and no one among my relatives feels the need to go to big lengths to prove our patriotism. Fighting in every war since the US began kind of takes care of that. And we really don’t care to have people that have lived her for a generation or less to lecture us about what patriotism means. Separation of church and state? You bet, just like our forefathers planned. You want to espouse your religious beliefs? The founding fathers made your churches safe for you to do that, go there. Stop confusing churches with schools and other public institutions.Drafting class????

  13. @ImNotUglyIJustNeedLove – If I recall, “In God We Trust” was also added in the 1950s as part of a push against “godless” Communism. But, more importantly, I think you missed the point of my post. I wasn’t writing specifically about whether “under God” is in the pledge of allegiance. I was writing about how this particular Facebook meme equates discussion (commenting) with lack of patriotism. The ability for us to freely discuss issues such as this one is the very hallmark of a democracy.@ImNotUglyIJustNeedLove – I can see how you could draw a comparison between opposition to same-sex marriage being automatically categorized as bad and opposition to recitation of the pledge of allegiance in classroom being automatically categorized as unpatriotic. In both cases, I think the ideas of freedom of expression and trying to understand the points of views of others remain critical to a healthy democracy.

  14. @Ricardo98 – Yes, drafting class with papers and pencils! We didn’t even have computers yet. Ha ha… I’m not sure that the people who support these types of memes are necessarily recent arrivals to America. They, too, could have been here for many generations.@radicalramblings – It would be an interesting discussion, whether pledging allegiance to the republic for which the flag stands is the same as pledging allegiance to the government itself. Isn’t the republic “we the people” not just “the government”?@Lakakalo – And you mean “capitalizing” in the most Capitalistic way! =D@dreadpirate – Ha ha ha! Holding Xanga hostage, huh?@coolmonkey – So it is just a cynical ploy to drive internet traffic? Sad, sad, sad…@l0311879l – It took me a few minutes to put my finger on what I didn’t like about the meme. I’m actually in favor of saying the pledge in schools, but the idea that commenting was tantamount to disagreeing got my nose out of joint.@ZSA_MD – You know, though, I sure wish I could just stick to food and travel posts! =D@vexations – Interesting legacy of the Cold War that too few people appreciate. Personally, I always preferred “e pluribus unum” – out of many, one. That seems to truly capture the diversity that has always been an important aspect of our nation.@ElusiveWords – Honestly, I think most people do not think very deeply. They respond impulsively to things.@murisopsis – Thank you for summarizing it so succinctly. Wish I could have condensed four paragraphs into that neat sentence.@Fatcat723 – I think they call it “conscription”.@n_e_i_l – Ha ha… grumpy Neil mode…

  15. I actually thought about the Pledge of Allegiance when I saw this Time article about this one students parents, fightin the school, saying that the words ‘under God’ is against their religion.Surprisingly, my high school cut the Pledge out of the daily rituals.

  16. @christao408 – “In God We Trust” has always been a fundamental principle of American government and American culture. That it was officially named as a motto in 1956 shows progress and development in our public understanding of the fundamentals of American political philosophy.The rejection of God and Christian values by liberals shows a degeneration to the days of slavery, bone grinding poverty and general ignorance that had always plagued mankind before the development of the Christian West.

  17. @Devilzgaysianboi – There are religions, one in specific is the Lutheran Church – Wisconsin Synod, that believes community prayer is sacrilegious. As a member of that church we were taught to not participate in baccalaureate services, school prayer and to say the pledge without the use of the words “Under God” The belief is that community prayer includes many religions some of which have extremely different beliefs about god. In sum, do not teach me as a child to participate in community prayer as it is against my religion.

  18. @vexations – The Christian view of man is that he is a fallen creature prone to sin. And since money brings out the worst in people, putting “In God We Trust” on each bill and coin is in keeping with America’s close relationship with God as savior of mankind.

  19. @ImNotUglyIJustNeedLove – I am well aware of the Christian view of humans. My conservative Christian upbringing taught me to not pray with those outside of my faith and that government should not attempt to influence my religious beliefs in any way as it is not the purpose of government.

  20. @vexations – You had a wacko “Christian” upbringing, not a conservative Christian upbringing.Jesus taught everyone how to pray and he taught the importance of tolerance and unity. Religions like the one you grew up in are exclusive cults and have little to do with authentic Christian teachings.It simply isn’t fair to impose your bitterness against religion upon a nation who for the most part embraces it.

  21. @vexationsI used the word “wacko” because that’s what “conservative” means when a liberal uses that world.By saying, “Please stay out of my government with their religion,” you just proved what I already knew: that you’re an intolerant bigot.There is nothing wrong with religion either inside or outside the government. Just as long as it isn’t imposed by law, it doesn’t violate the 1st Amendment.Obama thinks like you do about religion. And now he’s forcing them by law, to violate their beliefs. That is the only violation of the 1st Amendment that is taking place.But you’re okay with that aren’t you.

  22. @ImNotUglyIJustNeedLove – @vexations – A few months ago, I read a fascinating book by Forrest Church, “So Help Me God: The Founding Fathers and the First Great Battle Over Church and State“. This debate has been around as long as the republic and it seems that absolute claims that our founding fathers all shared the same understanding or belief about God, religion, and its role in the state, are unsupported by their own words and actions. In any case, it isn’t a topic we will resolve in this blog entry but I appreciate both of you sharing your opinions.

  23. @christao408 – What you’ve done here are logical fallacies called moving the goal post and creating a straw man argument.That the Founding Fathers didn’t share the same views on the Church/State relationship really doesn’t impact our discussion. The Founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The original intent of those documents couldn’t be more clear, just as the history of our nation couldn’t be more clear.Here is a quote from the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. I’ve put this quote up for you before but evidence, facts, reason and the meaning of words are meaningless to people bound to an agenda:”Art. 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”Religion, morality (that would be Christian morality) and knowledge (not an agenda) are encouraged by the Colonial government as a principled part of a just regime. Religion in schools is not a violation of the 1st Amendment. And neither is putting “In God We Trust” on money or saying “One Nation Under God,” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

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