There has been a lot of talk lately in certain social circles and legislative bodies, including here in the Republic, that the laws mandating schoolchildren to recite the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance every day that they attend their local public schools should be better enforced than they currently are now. The most outspoken voices come from military veterans. That stalwart group of men and women who, carrying the most modern of weaponry, marched to war to oppress foreign peoples to protect Americans when Americans choose to exercise their natural right to live free, now believe that forcing young people to recite an oath of loyalty to the U.S. government, before these young people have the chance to reach a stage of emotional and intellectual maturity at which point they could decide for themselves to do so or not, is the patriotic thing to do.
Well, is it? I have a small quiz here for folks that might be straddling the fence on this issue. It will only take a few minutes to complete:
1. Francis Bellamy, the author of the seminal piece of prose that would become the P.O.A., wrote his particular loyalty oath for children to promote what form of government?
2. The first persons to challenge laws mandating recital of the P.O.A. on First Amendment grounds that those laws forced them to violate their religious convictions were:
3. The original hand salute that was proscribed by Mr. Bellamy to accompany the "Pledge of Allegiance" was:
(A) The right hand over the heart just like today
(B) The right hand at the forehead like a military salute
(C) The right hand pointed up with palm forward like when one swears an oath in a court of law
Now I'm not going to give you the answers for this quiz, but will instead leave it for you to do your own research on the subject (I have provided a few links to get you started). But if you are one of those liberty-loving Americans who thinks that forcing young people to swear to something before they have a chance to reach adulthood is the patriotic thing to do for "Truth, Justice, and the American Way," then you just might find reality to be a bit (D)-pressing...