Pledging allegiance to the flag – or God?

“The flag is fine, but we’re the only nation that worships the flag. It’s very heathen. The kingdom we live in, we pledge our allegiance to God, not the flag.”

That’s a quote from an Amishman in the PBS film “The Amish”.

American FlagThis struck me as I’ve never really thought about it in those terms. I know that people do object to the pledge on religious grounds, as the Pledge could be considered an oath.  But I’ve never thought of it as “worshiping” the flag, or the nation it represents.

Like countless other grade schoolers I grew up saying the Pledge every morning.  I’m assuming the Pledge is still said in public and many private schools.  One place it’s not said, though, is in Amish schools.  Amish schools do not display American flags (though wall charts of US Presidents are not uncommon).

The Pledge of Allegiance was crafted by Francis Bellamy in 1892.  Bellamy was a Baptist minister who co-founded the Society of Christian Socialists.  The Pledge was at least partially motivated by business.  Bellamy worked for the Youth’s Companion magazine, which sold flags while promoting the schoolhouse flag movement, which sought to place the Stars-and-Stripes in every American school.

Pledge of Allegiance
The Bellamy Salute

In its 120+ years of existence the Pledge has evoked controversy for different reasons.  In 2002 it was even ruled unconstitutional, a decision later overturned by the Supreme Court.

The Pledge itself has morphed in form over time.  For example the original “Bellamy flag salute” was discontinued for its similarities to the Nazi salute (which actually came about later).  The wording has changed as well.  The original version read:

“I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”

The fragment “under God” was added in 1954.  The current version:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Is saying the Pledge just patriotic loyalty?  Do the words “under God” get pledging Christians off the hook?

Or is the Pledge simply “heathen”, as the Amishman says?

Photo credit: US flag-Stuart Seeger/flickr

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    1. Richard from Amish Stories

      I think some schools are stopping saying “the pledge of allegiance” right now or making it a choice to do so, and definitely quite a few are taking out the “god part” as well. I’m waiting for the government to remove “in god we trust” on our American currencie’s. I love my country very much but as far as our government is concerned we all deserve much better, its becoming harder and harder for me to recognize my own country anymore……… Richard

      1. Eric K.


        Richard from Amish Stories said:

        I think some schools are stopping saying “the pledge of allegiance” right now or making it a choice to do so, and definitely quite a few are taking out the “god part” as well.

        Richard, do you have any specific examples of schools that are “taking out the ‘god part'”, or is that just your opinion, based on your “thinking” on the subject?


        1. Carol Ingram

          I work in the school system where I live and they say the pledge where I work. I also know in elementary schools at least the ones my daughter went to says them. And where I go to church the school there. Also pledges the flag.

    2. As a (now) Quaker, I do not say the pledge, or sing the national anthem. I agree with the Amish view that Americans worship their flag and country rather than God. We are citizens of heaven, not of a country.

      1. Robert (UMC)

        Our Flag Represents God

        The reason we look at out flag with reverence is because this nation was founded on Christian values and believed to be God’s nation. Believing those two statements, you can see why it is important to pledge allegiance to our flag.

        1. Betty Hamilton

          Amen Robert. I wish more people today looked at it that way.

        2. Petra S

          There is no God, but God

          “Our Flag Represents God

          The reason we look at out flag with reverence is because this nation was founded on Christian values and believed to be God’s nation. Believing those two statements, you can see why it is important to pledge allegiance to our flag.”

          This is an idea that places the soul in danger of damnation. Just because you believe that it is God’s nation does not make it so. That’s up to God. Nations can also fall out of favor with God… & God may not exactly like the Flag & Nation serving as a sort of proxy for Him. “Thou Shalt Have no other gods before me… for I, the Lord thy God am a jealous god.”

          Jesus (Matthew 22:35-38): You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, & with all your mind.” It doesn’t say to worship the flag & country as a go-between or proxy.

        3. isaiah liggins

          Robert (UMC)

          This is a reply to Robert (UMC). Where does it say, in God’s Holy Word (the Bible) that the USA is GOd’s nation. If I recall He chose Israel as his nation. People have confused this nation as God’s. There is an arrogance here that no other country has espoused. Think about it – In baseball they call it “the World Series, thereby assuming that all other nations in the world competed for this title. Before other countries competed in professional boxing, they call the winner “World Champion”. There’s a worship of nation, flag and anthem that God has never condoned. God is God, and He shall have no other God (idol0 worshipped but Him. It should upset more people that God plays second string to a nation, a flag, and an anthem.

        4. Bob Tomasso

          God Blesses America

          We pledge Allegiance to both the flag and to God. Our military did not love going to war or dying because of it. But let’s be real, they went to war and died so that you and I could go on spending time discrediting it and taking any reference to God away. Yes, that’s exactly what we are doing, folks. But our military went to war and died so we could continue to be a free nation under God. Think! Of all the the attacks on our freedom in any form none defeated us or took away our freedom. Couldn’t it be that God had something to do with that? I know He did. Hey, let’stop wasting time with such ridiculous back and forth commentary that goes nowhere. Instead, let’s be thankful that we have our flag and our God and it’s still Red White and Blue and we are still under God’s love and protection.

        5. Manchu Scout

          A few assertions worth considering objectively

          America is a Christian nation? Native Americans might have a different opinion. They lived here some 8,000 years before the birth of Christ and 9,492 years before the arrival of Christopher Columbus. As to the being referred to these days as “God,” he/she/it isn’t a Christian. The Christian “New Testament” asserts it is God’s offspring, Jesus Christ, who is the Christian. Also of note, the New Testament makes it clear Jesus was a Jew, and that much of Christian law is based on Jewish law. As a consequence, most educated and fair-minded theologians now refer to this country as a Judeo-Christian nation.

          As to the American flag, it is true that there are many who revere it to irrational extremes, but it is not reasonable to posit that any but the most hopelessly demented worship it as though it were an omnipotent, supernatural being.

          Last, the Pledge of Allegiance is exactly that – a pledge, nothing more. It is not a prayer or any form of worship. It is simply a pledge (a promise), to be loyal to the country the flag represents. Neither is the assertion that America is a nation “under god” a prayer. It’s simply an implication that a supernatural being favors the people of this country over those who don’t live here. Such a notion is antithetical to Christian beliefs.

          As a veteran, I served under the American flag and am fully aware of the power of a symbol like that, especially when that power is manipulated by unprincipled politicians and pseudo-patriots who use the flag to legitimize and conceal their dark agendas. The Pledge of Allegiance can be a practice misused by the same unprincipled people in an equally malignant way. In my opinion the flag and the Pledge are potentially dangerous when misunderstood and misused.

        6. Joseph

          That’s patently false.

          1. Stephanie Berkey

            Liberty and Justice for All

            Murdering the Natives? What about the natives savagely murdering and enslaving each other for hundreds of years and then those who immigrated here? How much history has been forgotten and re-written! Have you ever stopped to wonder who is skewing history and why?

            American land wasn’t stolen! God gave it to those who needed religious freedom at a crucial point in world history, to share with decent Native Americans. For the most part Christians, especially the Amish who never would lift up arms even in self defense, took that freedom and greatly blessed others with it. Christian Americans have a long history, albeit imperfect, of sacrificing for peace and freedom for all mankind.

            America, that is the Constitution thereof which is the highest law of our land, was founded upon Christian principles. Before that, the native Americans were continually going to war with one another, and not very enlightened because of their unbelief and idolatry. True Christianity is a great blessing to all people everywhere.

            Christian Americans do not risk their lives for their own selfishness, but for a much higher purpose. To suggest otherwise is outrageously disrespectful. This kind of baloney is what is taught today in many government run schools and universities due to socialist and communist influences, which is the true worship of government where people seek to be taken care of from cradle to grave. We can see the results in places like Russia: bound to fail as It is totally unsupportable. Jesus died to make us all free, and many have given and do risk their lives for the same motive.

            The pledge can mean different things to different people, but I believe it’s meant to remind us that true freedom comes from God and living true principles of freedom that originally made up our republic under the United States Constitution. It says with liberty and justice for all, not just Americans. Please try to show some respect.

        7. JoAnn

          Was it really founded on Christian values

          I dont think it was….hmmm let’s stealing land, murdering the natives of that land, enslaving the natives, then bringing more slaves to build the land while torturing them, hanging them, raping them and more all in the name of ourSavior…nope not founded in my beliefs…I do believe in God. YAHWEH and in His son Yeshua. But this land was supposed to be separate from church and state. I see why because this land was founded by murdering thieves not by true believers…

      2. Anne Hendrix

        I beg to differ, Magdalena. If you were born in this country, enjoy the privileges of freedom, benefit from those who serve in our military and their sacrifices, then you ARE a citizen of this country. Yes, as a Christian I am a citizen of heaven, but as a native born American, I am a citizen of this country. I can understand (a little) your aversion to pledging to the flag or singing the national anthem. I don’t believe it is worship to pledge or sing the anthem. When you say that you are not a citizen of this country, yet you live here and enjoy the privileges of citizenship, you are insulting the memory of all those who DIED so you could have those privileges.

      3. Jonathan

        Ok, I get the argument for choosing not to say the pledge, but making a big deal out of being citizens of God’s kingdom rather than of a country . . . Can’t you be both? I mean, Paul was. He seemed quite happy about his Roman citizenship and took advantage of it, never giving up any loyalty to God. If there was ever a country more “heathen” than the U.S.A., one would have to look to Rome as a prime candidate, but Paul didn’t give up his citizenship because of his faith in God.

        Granted, I get how multiple “allegiances” could get one into trouble, but anyone who’s ever been in a military or other government post has chosen allegiances. I understand that since you’re a Quaker, that you perhaps are a conscientious objector to war, but Jesus surely wasn’t being sarcastic when he said about the Centurion, “I tell you the truth, I have not fount anyone in Israel with such great faith.” He didn’t call the guy aside and tell him to drop his allegiance to Rome. Allegiance does not mean worship any more than it did for all the people who picked sides between David and Absalom (Not that all of them made the right choice–but they weren’t worshiping either of them, they were pledging allegiance . . . or lying about it).

        I will continue to pledge allegiance to the American flag, and I have full confidence that God does not see this as me worshiping the flag or my country in any way.

        1. Ishmael

          I don’t think most “religious” people have a problem with their country. The problem is making a pledge. By definition, a pledge is an oath or a promise.

          Matthew 5:33-37 ESV
          “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ BUT I SAY TO YOU, DO NOT TAKE AN OATH AT ALL, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

        2. FREDDY GALLO


          Those who believe in killing their enemies, do not believe that Jesus said, love your enemies…And if you don’t believe in Jesus words, how can you believe in Him? When Jesus said, love your enemies, He meant for you to love them, not kill them or put them in jail…Jesus said, its being said before, love your friends, and hate your enemies…Under the law of the old covenant, it was an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, and life for life…And the nation of Israel went to war to kill GODS enemies, but only if Israel was keeping the law of GOD…But when Israel did not keep the law, and they went to war, GOD was not with them…In the new covenant, we are not under the works of the law, but under grace…Jesus said, he who is without sin, cast the first stone…No one was able to cast the first stone, because nobody was keeping the law of the old covenant…And no nation has the right to cast the first stone at their enemies, because no one is keeping the law of the old covenant…Jesus said, nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…And those who live by the sword, shall die by the sword…When Jesus heard that Pilate or a Governor was sacrificing humans with fire, Jesus said, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish…Those who believe in the words of Jesus, they can love their enemies, by not killing them, by not putting them in jail, and by feeding them…As it is written; vengeance is mine, I will repay them, says the Lord…Jesus and His disciples loved their enemies, when they laid down their life…Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do Luke 23:34…Lord, do not charge them for this sin Acts 7:60…When we were the enemies of GOD, did GOD kill us? Did GOD put us in jail? Or did GOD loved us and forgave us for our sins? Jesus said to Pilate, I am not of this world, if I was of this world, my servants would fight…And Jesus said to His disciples, you are not of this world, just as I am not of this world…Paul was a Jew by nature, and a Roman citizen, because the Romans were occupying the nation of Israel…The apostle Paul would never went to war against the Romans or against any nation, because his weapons of warfare were not carnal of flesh and blood, but spiritual against principalities in high places…Paul preached the word of GOD in power, in love, and in truth…Paul did not give in to the commandments of men…Unlike today, the churches of GOD are teaching for doctrine, the commandments of men…GOD said, these people draw near to me, and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men, and in vain do they worship me…Jesus said, why calls me, Lord, Lord, and not do what I say? And many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesied in your name, didn’t we cast out demons in your name, didn’t we do wonderful works in your name? And I will declare to them, I never knew you, depart from me, you workers of iniquity.

    3. Beth

      Interesting post. The picture of the school kids making that Hitler type salute was disturbing. I hadn’t given this much thought but it is something we should all think about and be aware of.

      1. It is a bit disturbing Beth, I agree. We are looking at it from this side of WWII and Nazism though. That gesture of course didn’t have the same connotations in the early 20th-century.

        The swastika is another interesting example. There is an old building in Krakow that features a number of swastikas worked into its facade. Had that been placed there during Nazi occupation, rest assured it would be gone today. But the swastika was a widely used ancient symbol before it was co-opted by the Nazis. Apparently it’s still common in places that have nothing to do with Nazism such as Eastern religions.

        I came across that building one day walking through the city. Didn’t expect to see that! Even though it pre-dates the Nazis I am still a little surprised it is up or at the least visible, given the history of this country and bad experience in WWII. But apparently they feel its historical value means it needs to be preserved.

        1. I am curious what the swastika represented in pre-Nazi days? Did the Nazis latch onto it in an effort to build a reputation? How many people would have recognized it in Hitler’s day as a symbol of something other than Nazism?
          You may not have the answers, but I am curious. I never knew it had pre-Nazi origins. Mike

          1. Good questions Mike. I’m not so “up” on the history, but here are a couple paragraphs from the US Holocaust Museum, more at the link:

            “The swastika has an extensive history. It was used at least 5,000 years before Adolf Hitler designed the Nazi flag. The word swastika comes from the Sanskrit svastika, which means “good fortune” or “well-being.” The motif (a hooked cross) appears to have first been used in Neolithic Eurasia, perhaps representing the movement of the sun through the sky. To this day it is a sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Odinism. It is a common sight on temples or houses in India or Indonesia. Swastikas also have an ancient history in Europe, appearing on artifacts from pre-Christian European cultures.

            In the beginning of the twentieth century the swastika was widely used in Europe. It had numerous meanings, the most common being a symbol of good luck and auspiciousness. However, the work of Schliemann soon was taken up by völkisch movements, for whom the swastika was a symbol of “Aryan identity” and German nationalist pride.”


          2. Rick


            The 45th Infantry (Oklahoma’s National Guard)once wore the Swastika as the unit shoulder patch. When the Nazi’s adopted it they changed it to the Thunderbird. Ironically the 45th was one of the first American units into Berlin helping to crush Hitler and the the Nazi’s.

          3. Tracie

            the swastika

            To answer your question, the swastika is actually a Chinese character meaning “peace and love.” The Nazi’s twisted it. According to my friends from China, the Nazi’s really mean it to mean “peace and love” but only toward the “right” people.

            I know this because I lived in China a couple of years ago. The swastika was very prominent on the silk table dressings of old temples.

    4. The word allied with others

      To give allegiance to something is not the same as worshiping it. I do not worship my favorite sports team, but I am ‘allied’ or give ‘allegiance’ to it as a fan that likes to see them win. I am in an ‘alliance’ with other team members.

      So sure it is a little bit of national indoctrination, but I do not think it conflicts with my faith. But I have to think about it.

    5. Jessica M

      This is something that I have recently come to understand and still struggle some with. The concept of what it means to be a citizen of heaven and what that means for my American citizenship is still tumbling around in my brain. Mennonites teach that because our citizenship is in heaven, we no longer should vote either. Pledging allegiance to the flag and love of country are efforts to put our loyalty in an earthly kingdom. I can see how that can also be a type of worship… when the earthly kingdom says that we aren’t to take up weapons and then the government says we must go to war, who are we following? If we don’t put God first, then are we really worshiping him or are we worshiping the government? I have had conversations with people from other countries and they do get very offended by the American Exceptialism that we grow up with. We think America is the best country, but really it has problems just like every other country out there. It is pride that is ingrained in us that makes us think we are so much better. A recent book released by David Bercot is called “In God We Don’t Trust.” I haven’t been able to read it yet, but I did listen to a short lecture he did on the subject and it was an interesting thing to hear. He pointed out that if our country was founded on Christianity, then the founding fathers would never have led us into rebellion and war against the king. He suggests that this country was never a christian country in the first place, because its very foundation went against the principles of God.

      I was raised a flag waving Southern Baptist kid by two military veterans. 4th of July was always my favorite holiday. I love the flag and the colors and the fireworks and patriotism. But when this country starts equating Christianity with national patriotism so that to not be patriotic is tantamount to being against Christianity, there is a problem.

    6. As a citizen of America, what would fellow citizens think should one of their compatriots go to China and start pledging allegiance to the Chinese flag and the regime for which it stands?
      Well, that is what happens when a citizen of heaven starts pledging allegiance to an earthly kingdom … be it China, France, or USA. Sorry, the kingdom of heaven does not recognize dual citizenship!
      Modern Christianity makes much of Jesus as the Savior. But it tends to neglect that the Messiah was not only God’s Anointed Priest, but the Messiah was also God’s Anointed Prophet and KING. Jesus began a kingdom 2000 years ago and to enter, one must pledge allegiance to the KING and from thence forward consider himself/herself as a foreigner on planet Earth.

      1. Lattice
    7. Citizenship and worship

      Is it possible to belong to a secular body and simultaneously be a Christian? We can say we are only citizens of the kingdom of God, but in some respect that is not really true. In other words I don’t see a lot of people voluntarily renouncing their US citizenship (it’s possible to do that; there are quite a few stateless people in the world).

      I understand the concept and the objection based on Scripture, but equating saying the Pledge with worship of the flag or nation seems to me over-the-top.

      Some of the most religious and devoted people also exhibit some of the most patriotic behavior. I think they are capable of distinguishing paying respect to a country (which has allowed religious freedom to flourish, unlike China) as distinct from worshiping a deity. I don’t think there is any confusion over who is their God among those people.

      We can and should prioritize what we value but I think it’s worth bearing in mind why Anabaptists and other religious groups found this land so attractive, and at least giving it a nod occasionally. Yes people take things to extremes, but in my book it takes a lot more to “worship” something.

      It’s also interesting how you can view the Pledge through different lenses. The inclusion of “under God” irks anti-religious people. People across the spectrum find things they don’t like about it.

      That said, I’m not really comfortable with the roots of the Pledge itself and the movement behind it. I think we should be careful about paying too much homage to government and secular bodies. I don’t love it but don’t really see it as evil as it is currently used. Perhaps if it were re-worded it would be more acceptable to more people.

      1. Renouncing US citizenship

        I understand what you are saying about renouncing citizenship. Technically, that doesn’t happen-so you are right. Although I am (at least claim to be 🙂 ) a citizen of the kingdom of God, I am also a US citizen. But that is only to fulfill legal requirements. I will not use my energies to build up the USA over other countries (sorry, no “Buy only American-Made” attitudes allowed 🙂 ). Political bickering has not done this world any good. What would happen if everyone on earth started living for the good of the whole world instead of for the good of their own particular (often very, very tiny) corner?
        My allegiance is to the kingdom of God. As an ambassador, I live in the USA, but my allegiance is to another kingdom, another KING. I do not participate in building up the political entity of the USA, nor its dominance over other political entities of this world. That said, I am not particularly focusing on tearing down the USA. God has ordained civil governments to control the godless. Without civil government, anarchy would probably quickly destroy us all. So we submit to the civil government where we live, but we really have no particular allegiance to it.
        Ok, I am trying to articulate the doctrine of the two kingdoms, as per Anabaptist interpretation. 🙂

        1. I appreciate what you are saying here P.C. 🙂 I knew we would wade into 2 kingdoms at some point on this post and I’m glad I’m not the one that has to describe it…I read what I can but I’ll admit it’s always been a concept hard for me to wrap my head completely around 🙂

          People can make the State and secular rulers into a god as well too. There are historical examples of that. So even though I might not always agree, I am still glad to hear the “anti-” side of this issue.

          1. You probably had me in mind when you “knew we would wade into the two kingdoms.” 🙂
            Here is a link to an old Anabaptist writing from the 1500s that we published in our magazine recently, about the two kingdoms.

            1. Thanks Mike, I will check this out–and yes that is quite possible that I did 😉

      2. Stacy A

        I do think that an awful lot of Christian Americans make this country an idol, though. I saw that on a large scale with this last election — many of my Christian friends espouse their party’s view as if it was Holy Writ, even when it conflicts with Biblical values (yes, some of the Republican platform skirts or outright conflicts with values in the Bible, such as how we treat the aliens among us, the poor, etc.) So I think it’s quite possible to be a Christian and still unintentionally idolize America (or any other country). We have to be careful that we don’t put ANYTHING before God, no matter how good it is, no matter how noble. One can be loyal to one’s earthly country, and I think that’s fine, but the Kingdom of God, our true Kingdom, must always come first.

    8. Betsy

      Separation of Church and State and freedom of religion is what attracted the Amish here in centuries past. We are also free not to be a part of any religion, so God really does not belong in the Pledge of Allegiance. People should be , and are , free to say the pledge or not, free to worship God in whatever way they choose, or not worship God at all.

    9. Bonne Campbell

      The term “Heathen” is mentioned as if it’s a bad thing, when in fact it means “of the heath”, that is, one who lives in the country. They tended to be the ones that clung to their beliefs longer after the city dwellers had been converted to Christianity. If you’ve ever been to a NA powwow, you may be stunned to see the dramatic display of patriotism during the Grand Entry. Veterans march in carrying national,state & tribal flags followed by dignitaries & the dancers. The eagle staff signifies the “First Nation” and it precedes the American flag. A Flag Song is sung. Native Americans are of various faiths~but all give respect to the nation to which they belong. I believe it’s more out of respect , not “worship” that allegiance is pledged. Interesting to learn how Amish view it.

      1. Bonne, very interesting–I have wondered how Native Americans perceive and use the US flag/nation, had no idea. I was a little surprised in fact.

      2. Betty Hamilton

        Bonnie Campbell, Thank you so much for sharing that. The NA Pow Wow sounds wonderful.

    10. Naomi

      Interesting post and discussion. Thanks, Erik! I grew up reciting the pledge, and in my early days in a rural school, also singing My Country ‘Tis of Thee and having a moment of silence. When I returned to the school setting as a teacher, I had a *very* hard time facing the flag with my hand over my heart and saying the pledge. If I was in front of students I would do it, of course, but I also tried to avoid it as much as possible. I can’t explain, other than it just felt wrong. And I love my country and consider myself patriotic. This was even before having a sort of “born again” experience that has greatly strengthened my faith, so I wouldn’t have considered religion to be the main conflict.

      1. Naomi, thanks for sharing, very interesting. Somewhere along the line something changed for you, sounds like it’s hard to put a finger on what/when though? Maybe the nature of these songs/pledges are too “exalting” in how they are worded or presented…I wonder if they came in a different form patriotic and religious people such as yourself could feel more comfortable paying the same respect.

    11. Paula

      Keen Observation

      I think the comment is a an extremely insightful, sensitive one. In fact, it was an observation straight out of political science.

      Nationalism is a 200 year old identity/ ideology and its chief symbol, flags, can and do become sources of chauvinistic pride and worship (in all countries).

      It takes sensitive people on the “outside”, like the Amish, to see beyond the “noise” and “static” of the English world.

      I have to tell you-the rich pluralism in this country is a wonderful thing; it keeps us all in check.

      The Amish are an incredible asset.

    12. Elizabeth Snoke

      Jesus said it rather simply: Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars and unto God the things that are God’s.

      What bothers me is one Christian group (or for that matter any religious group)trying to impose it’s beliefs upon everyone else.

      Or one sex trying to dominate another.

      I happen to believe much the same way about life and God as Amish and Mennonites do. I respect them for living their own way and makiing no attempt to influence those not of their faith.

    13. Matt from CT

      Regarding the Swastika, the only example I know of in the West of it still officially being used is by the training brigade of the Finnish Air Force:

      It’s use by the Finnish Air Force well pre-dated Nazi Germany; they did remove it from their planes and most other locations after WWII, but retained it’s use on the flags for the training units.

      Finland’s highest medal also continued to use a swastika as a central theme into the 1960s when they presented one to Charles de Gaulle, at which time it was changed to a floret of roses if I recall correctly.

      Finland’s has always been a bit of an odd duck because of it’s position between the west and Russia / Soviet Union. During WWII one of the top Nazis mentioned the “Jewish Problem” to one of the top Finns, to which the reply was, “That’s your problem, not our problem.” It was the one nation that was allied with Germany (in the enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend type of way) in which Jewish persecution never took place; there were several highly ironic incidents where Germany award Iron Crosses to Finnish officers who were Jews (and refused the medals).

    14. Bridget

      I don’t see this as being “just loyalty”. Both the US and God expect loyalty. How can I pledge loyalty to both if their expectations sometimes conflict? We cannot serve two masters; we will end up honoring one and ignoring the other.

      And if I don’t really mean at least one of the pledges, I would lie by giving it (not to mention the problem of swearing an oath at all).

      Not swearing allegiance to one’s country doesn’t mean not liking it or not respecting it. I respect the US enough not to make promises to it that, when push comes to shove, I can’t keep because my understanding of God’s expectations is different.

    15. Laura

      I have always viewed saying the pledge, or singing the national anthem, as affirming my belief in the constitution of the United States and the principles it establishes. You will note that our politicians and military all swear or affirm to uphold the constitution, not any individual person; and the principles laid down in the constitution provide for dissenters as well as adherents to its ideals.

      So it doesn’t equate to worship to me, simply an affirmation of the freedom of thought, of worship, of belief that governs us. I can understand why a pledge to support an earthly government could be an issue for people who believe that the Kingdom of Heaven is the only true governing body, but at the same time I appreciate the fact that as a US citizen I’m given a lot more responsibility to form my own beliefs than in many other parts of the world.

      It’s an interesting debate. I can see both sides. But I also have no problem with being a patriotic US citizen because I believe our system of government is about as good as it gets for here on earth, and my singing or reciting is simply acknowledging to the people around me that while I’m here, I want to support our constitutional principles. We need some form of government here on earth, after all!

    16. It did not always have today's connotation

      Years ago, the symbol was used in a quilt pattern called “Fly Foot” as a symbol of good luck – see here:

      and here is an interesting article about the symbol before the Nazis used it:

      I had never thought of how we revere the flag in these terms, but I truly can see the Amish point of view. Sadly, our country is on a slippery slope away from God and that cannot bring good.

      1. Paula

        I would say it’s the other way around. It’s blurring the line between state and religion-and THAT is no good.

        Democracy and secularism need not be inextricably tied to religion or nationalism (which can be a religion unto its own).

        Anyhow, my two cents. Thanks.

    17. Lattice

      “I pledge allegiance
      to Almighty God,
      the creator of Heaven and Earth.

      And to the people
      that this offends:
      Our nation – should bow down-
      to our Lord and Savior,
      And pray for Grace for us all.”

      1. Betsy

        It doesn’t offend me Lattice, just don’t make me say it.

        1. Lattice

          Ha! I love it! Well said. No one (especially in the land of the free) should be forced to say anything.

    18. Bill

      Christian worship often less Christian then P.C.

      Having spent 5 yrs in S.A. I learned a great deal many Christians from other traditions countries including the need to examine how we worship.
      I’d rather have no flags in the building and try never to sing patriotic songs – even on the 4th of July. As a vet ( 1968-1971) generally I’m accorded that right.

    19. I will start by saying that I am not American for those who do not know.

      I do not consider myself a patriot although I am glad to live in a democratic country that respects the rights of people. I think that Sweden is a beautiful country and love its nature and scenery. I love the fact that strong patriotism is not very common here because I think that it can create a ‘us vs. them’ attitude that I do not find constructive.

      I was a scout through most of my childhood and in our old scout song there is a phrase that I always found questionable where scouts sing that they will be ready to serve ‘god, king and fatherland’. At the time I was not a believer, I am still a strong proponent of turning Sweden into a republic and I do not believe in the general idea of a fatherland. I used to not sing this phrase but it still bothered me. We also saluted the flag with the scout’s salute and I also never saw the point of that. The flag is a piece of fabric to me and nothing else. Although I loved the scouts I was always uneasy even with these pretty mildly patriotic features.

    20. Kate H.

      Another Quaker perspective

      Like Magdalena, I am a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). My son goes to a Quaker school, and he did not learn the Pledge of Allegiance.

      Quakers historically went further to forbid the swearing of oaths, such as putting one’s hand on the Bible to swear to tell the truth on the witness stand. (This is based on the notion that it’s a double standard–one is expected to tell the truth at all times–and that one is forbidden from swearing oaths in the Ten Commandments.) That is why the Commonwealth of Pennslvania allows Quakers to “affirm” oaths rather than swear them. I do not know if any other state has this provision.

      I inadvertently tested the Pennsylvania law when I enrolled as a student at Penn State almost 25 years ago. I had to sign a loyalty oath to the United States to receive financial aid, and I refused. There was a little kerfluffle until someone in the administration confirmed that Quakers are exempt, and I was allowed to affirm my support of the U.S.

      1. Tom

        Strange, a loyalty oath for financial aid. Today the only thing you sign for financial aid is your life away on a master promissory note . LOL

      2. Mackenzie

        Our right to affirm instead of swear is Constitutionally protected, as I understand it.

        So imagine my surprise last week when asked to swear an oath in order to be a juror!

        1. Petra S

          Juror oath

          As a Quaker you can alter the oath… & simply affirm. All you have to do is state that you do not swear or take oaths…. & just “affirm”… This predates the Constitution. My ancestors refused to Sign the Articles of Association in 1776 because it was was an oath of Allegiance. Nothing adverse happened. It was an area with many Quaker families… their name went on a list “Refused to Sign”…. many today thinks that meant they were Tories… but everyone back then knew why they refused to sign…. they were Quakers.

    21. Yoder

      Ray Boltz wrote a song “I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb.”

    22. Mackenzie

      Just to add in to the history of the pledge:
      Bellamy actually wanted the end of that line to be “with liberty, justice, and equality for all,” paralleling the French “liberty, fraternity, equality,” but as he wanted his suggested pledge to be chosen over all others that were submitted, and he knew the powerful folks of the time would be not so interested in anything that suggested women might be equal to men or black folks equal to white folks or anything as controversial as that…he left out the “equality” piece. Additionally, his daughter (or was it granddaughter?) fought against the addition of “under God” on the basis that Bellamy believed strongly in the separation of Church and State.

    23. don


      After reading all these comments, its unbelievable that people living here in the USA actually are not patriotic enough to be proud to salute our flag & say the pledge of alligence!
      In my opinion,anyone claiming to be an American, should take a long,hard look at the history of our National flag & its true meaning,people not wanting to assimilate into our society need to leave the USA & go back to a country they think is right for them.
      Hiding behind religious beliefs does not cut it,& they should be ashamed for doing so.
      I’m just an old Korean vet, but I like to tell it like it is!—OR should be!!!

      1. Karen

        Don, the people here who say their allegiance is to God are not from other countries, it’s seems they’ve spent their lives in America. Their point is that Jesus told us that “his kingdom is not of this world, and his disciples are not to be part of this world.” Because a country is founded on Christian principles does not make it sanctioned by God, and it does not give anyone the right to demand others pledge their allegiance…if that were the case than we’d be dictators. Most people who are hopeful bers of “God’s Kingdom,” are usually the best American citizens you will find, they pay their taxes, they are good people.

      2. J. G.

        Agreed with Karen. Why do religious beliefs “not cut it?” Doesn’t American society include the Amish and others who believe in pledging allegiance only to the kingdom of God? Where could the Amish go back to, seeing as they have been American for generations? Do you really think they should assimilate into the lowest common denominator of American society? If all must do that, then what was the point of any war or pledge? America is a free country, and just on the basis of that freedom, the Amish must have Tue right and protection to abstain from swearing allegiance to it. It is no treason when the object of their higher allegiance is no earthly country.

      3. Estevan Megel


        Why can’t you see other people’s viewpoint? If you wish to worship the state why do you want to force others to?
        If some view this idolatrous act as worship of an idol who are you to render negative judgement? The same churches that have the Ten Commandments in the yard have a flag on stage, the very thing the second commandment condemns in clear language. It takes courage to not follow the crowd and to follow God.

    24. pledgeS

      In Texas, we still say the pledge to the US Flag AND the Texas flag — all the way through 12th grade. I consider it a cultural thing, as I realize not all states do this. And I certainly understand the Amish opinion on this issue … we’re a nation that allows for different opinions. And for that, I am thankful.

    25. Dody

      I agree with the Amish, you should not have to pledge to anything. It is a very weird thing to do. My children are home schooled and we never even taught them the current pledge. It was only when they joined 4-H that they were required to say the pledge and then we left 4-H too. It’s not something I think is a productive use of a child’s time, talking to a flag and making oaths to it. If they love their country, and their country loves them, they will do what they should as citizens…it’s a given. It is only when a country does not care for it’s youngest and weakest that it need worry about making them pledge lest they not love their country.

    26. Jessica

      Two Kingdoms

      I am a Mennonite living in Canada and we do not display flags, sing the national anthem or recite pledges. As Christians we believe we are citizens of another country, the heavenly Kingdom, and our earthly citizenship is only secondary. I know that in America, where Christianity is so interconnected with patriotism, our position can be very hard to understand. It’s not that we are unpatriotic, we just pledge our allegiance to a higher authority.

    27. Robert Osenenko

      Faith Flag & Country

      After WWII we found that immigrants and returning soldiers had settled in by 1950. With them they brought home harshly learned lessons. They found most churches had played an unfortunate role in WWII. But by 1955, there was a noticeable change in US religious services, as the Flag began to appear on the altar. Grandma Anna and my tutors warned against this practice. Ya know, they were right. This alliance has developed into the present “approved” and “disapproved” federal government funded church program called Faith Based Initiatives. We used to hold this practice in contempt only attributed to the Soviet Federation and China.

    28. Patrick

      It is an image

      It is an image purchased by blood. It is worshipped and above God by those who are misled. Preachers were also teaching and preaching eugenics in the early 1900s; so just because it came from a “Christian” doesn’t mean it is justified. All you have to do is follow the money trail. America and it’s symbols of freedom are god to many misled people. People willing to murder for their politicians because they give the pledge of allegiance.

      In Jesus name

      There is no other name given to man in order to be saved.

      Jesus said, I come in my Father’s name, the Holy Ghost will come in my name and

      Peter said to be baptized in Jesus name. The name of the Father, the name

      Of the Son and the name of the Holy Ghost is JESUS!

      Stop following pagan idolatry and hear what the spirit is saying to

      “true” believers.



      The founding fathers of the U.S. made carved images of the stars in the likeness of heaven above, and set the carved images of the stars in the flag to serve them, and the flag is high and lifted up on a flag pole…The founding fathers made a carved image of a bird(eagle)in the likeness of the earth below, and set the carved image of the bird(eagle)on government personnel to serve…When you put your right hand to your heart or to your forehead, and you pledge your allegiance to the flag or to the bird, you are serving idols(Exodus chapter 20, and Deuteronomy 4:15-19…The mark of the beast in the right hand or on the forehead is identical to when you put your right hand to your heart or to your forehead, and you pledge your allegiance to the flag…Speaking spiritually, the mark of the beast in the right hand stands for the heart, and the mark of the beast on the forehead stands for the mind…For with the heart you believe, and with the mind you serve…True liberty does not come from men, but from God(Galatians 5:1)…Your founding fathers did not paid the price for your liberty, it was Jesus who paid the price for your liberty on Calvary(Luke 23:33-34).If you have liberty in Christ, you don’t need to go fight for your liberty(Galatians 5:1)…If you are not of this world, you don’t need to fight for this world(John 17:16)…If your wars are spiritual in high places, you don’t need physical weapons to fight your wars(Ephesians 6;12)…Jesus said, he who is without sin, cast the first stone(John 8:7)…If no nation of the world can deliver you from death, why trust in any nation to deliver you? If God is for us, who can be against us?

    30. aaaa

      no, veterans did not die for our freedom. they died for their own ideals.

      I disagree with the statement that not pledging allegiance to the flag is disrespect to those who died for the flag. First of all, those who serve in the military do so because THEY ARE FIGHTING FOR SOMETHING THEY BELIEVE IN. They did not fight for me, but for their own ideals.

      We do not force people to believe that Christ died for our sins, why do we force people to believe that veterans died for our freedom?

      Furthermore, the assumption that veterans die for our freedom itself, is very controversial and requires an almost blind allegiance to the military. Our last ‘just war’, in my opinion, was world war II. After that thousands if not millions have died, in wars around the world, that I did not support nor vote for. If someone wants to join the military and fight for the American government, because it is their calling, I don’t consider it superior to my calling, which is to not go to war to kill innocent people around the world, many of which are women and children.

      To me the pledge of allegiance is a ‘civic religion’ and worse than that, because while we have freedom of religion we have no choice on whether or not to pledge allegiance without being refused benefits and respect and certain job positions. I am grateful that conservative religions in the US like the amish, quakers and seventh day Adventists, have kept true to their convictions and religion even in an environment where the entire nation is crazed in bloodthirsty ‘patriotism’

    31. gretab

      Pledege with "under God"

      Including or excluidng the words doesnt change the basic meaning of worshipping something other than God. The 1943 SCOTUS WV BOE v Barnette ruling against forcing school children to say the pledge pre-dated the addition of that phrase. If anything, I think it makes it worse for a Christian, as it denies the worldwide, loving brotherhood we are supposed to feel for Christians of other countries.

    32. Jon

      Nothing wrong wih an allegiance to your country

      So who do the Anabaptist’s and other pacifists expect to defend the nation that they thrive in on their behalf?

      History is replete with examples of the defenseless being violently trampled, enslaved and killed.

      Righteous nations must stand against oppression, wickedness and evil. It often means taking up arms. The old testament clearly demonstrates that God sanctioned Israelite right to defend itself and wage war. Those men clearly had and still have a strong allegiance to their nation.

      Countless men and women have sacrificed for your right to liberty, the pursuit of happiness and to practice the faith of your choosing. Be grateful!!!

      I am a Christian. I love this nation. I feel it is the best one on earth. I pledged my life in it’s defense for 32 years. If you feel that you have no allegiance to it or it’s government and constitution are idolatrous and evil than find another! But don’t sit back and throw rocks and slander it while living under it’s umbrella of protection.

    33. Stephanie Berkey

      There will always be those who attack freedom in many different ways: by relentlessly distorting history with shaming accusations and slander, subtly or openly, or working to gradually degrade our morality to make us weak and Godless. There will always be those born here or who come here, not to share in America’s goodness, but to try to ruin it. May we be ever vigilant in defending liberty, for once lost it’ll be a looonnnggg BLOODY HELL trying to get it back again.

      When I say the pledge, I a promise to remember the great sacrifices made for and to support true principles of freedom founded on the gospel of Jesus Christ. True Christian Americans have risked everything for a much higher purpose than their own benefit. To suggest otherwise is outrageous, but these kinds of misconceptions are promoted through the media and some government institutions, due to socialist influences, in which Americans are encouraged to feel entitled yet shame about their heritage. Honestly comparing conditions around the world can reveal the blessings America’s Christian roots.

      Jesus died to make us all free, and many others have too. Just because there are instances to the contrary doesn’t justify denying that or failing to be grateful. His grace is sufficient that we may be perfected in Him.

      America has always been God’s land and He led those here whom He chose. Native Americans have their own imperfect history, but why dwell on these rather than appreciate the overall goodness of all cultures? United we stand.