Government Education and The Pledge of Allegiance 11/11/2006
The students at Orange Coast Community College recently voted to drop the Pledge of Allegiance http://www.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATION/11/10/no.pledge.ap/index.html. One student argued that the pledge: (1) inspires nationalism. (2) violates the separation of Church and State. (3) is irrelevant to the business of student government.
A spokesperson for the district said the decision is up to the students, because they run their own show.
The event and the response to it demonstrate why so-called higher education is in large part to blame for the continuing failure of government elementary and secondary schools throughout the land.
First let me say that students are generally supported by tax dollars, and therefore should be subject to the taxpaying public, not the whims of immature student leaders. Students should learn responsibility and decision making, but it should be under the guidance of those tutors entrusted with the task. In other words, the taxpaying public should be able to set the parameter under which they are taught.
When I hear students bemoan the fact that “The Pledge” inspires nationalism, I groan in my spirit. We are Americans and we should be proud of that fact. I’ve traveled widely in the world, and other countries are much more nationalistic than America. We have been blessed to live in a land flowing with rich natural resources. Ours is a land which has stood for over two centuries as a beacon to the world that men can live free in a society where they can develop their talents to the degree they are willing to discipline and apply themselves. Ours is a land where one can travel the length and breath without having to stop regularly along the way to justify his movement. Ours is a land where a young man from a poor East Central Mississippi Community can travel the world and speak with leaders of states and countries as an equal. Ours is a land where one can choose the career he or she wishes to pursue. Ours is a land where a dramatic change of government can be accomplished without the firing of a single shot.
Yes, a thousand times yes, “The Pledge” inspires nationalism. I am now in the sixth decade of my life, yet I still have chill bumps when the National Anthem is played, or when someone sings “God Bless America”. We should teach nationalism. We should teach our children that being an American is a blessing that men and women the world over would die to have.
The second premise the young student argued was that “The Pledge” violates the separation of Church and State. Those who hold such views either ignorantly, or deliberately, ignore the fact that America was established on New Testament Christian principles. Godless, humanistic philosophers have somehow stolen away the Biblical heritage of our great country and relegated the dramatic intervention of Almighty God in the establishment of America to “good fortune”, “luck”, and “brilliant strategy”. No clause ever intended that America be a country separate from God. Founding father after founding father promoted the notion that we are a nation set aside by and under God. “The Pledge” is simply a latter day reflection of that which is posited in the daily record of the accounts of early legislative activity.
Yes, we are “under God”. Only the supreme egotist could imagine that we have risen to dominate the world as no nation in history because of our wisdom, goodness, and inherent strength. Our language has become the business language of the world. Our currency is accepted and coveted in the most remote regions. Our citizens are welcomed with open arms in the homes of citizens around the globe. Is because we of ourselves are so great? No. A thousand times No. For some reason Almighty God has chosen to raise us up at this time for His own unfathomable purposes. However, we need take care lest we like the Biblical Nebuchadnezzar be cast out into the wasteland as wild beasts.
The third premise espoused by the young student leader was that “The Pledge” is irrelevant to the business of governing. This premise also demonstrates the total lack of education of our young. Without a standard to guide us in the deliberations of life, we are will be blown thither and yon by whatever wind of public opinion is most pressing at the moment. For the business man it is a clearly defined business plan, the faithful and energetic execution of which he depends upon for his success. For the non-profit leader it is a succinct purpose statement so designed as to keep him focused on the ultimate goal. For those in government education, one purpose is the recognition that they have a fiduciary duty to promote allegiance to the government which represents the citizens who have made possible such education.
These students, should they be allowed to maintain their disastrous course, will set precedent the end of which is to lower the bar of responsibility throughout the government educational system even more than is already apparent. Somewhere, somehow, someone must step forward and exercise responsibility and authority to say enough is enough.