Sunday, January 1, 2017

On Removing the Pledge of Allegiance from our Schools...

Yesterday, a hoax article (that appeared to come from AP and ABC news) circled FB that announced "Obama Signs Executive Order to Ban Pledge of Allegiance in Schools." According to the fake article, Obama did this because it is not "freedom" to make all students claim loyalty to the Christian God.

Before I checked if it was a hoax, I pondered this action. What would it mean for America if a President did in fact make this decision?

I homeschool, so why would I even care, you may ask? I care because I believe in freedom.

If our govenment wants to make a change at some point, I would prefer they just adjust the wording and kept the patriotic spirit for American Citizens--but maybe there is too much history with this pledge to simply alter it. Could you say it without having to ponder the missing words?

But I would say I would have to agree with this action. Our CHRISTIAN founding fathers agreed that there needed to be a separation of church and state. Schools are "state." Children cannot be forced to recite anything that alludes their loyalty to a God they do not choose.

America is great because we are FREE to choose our religion. Forcing all children to say a pledge that includes the God of Christianity is not religious freedom, and I want my religious freedom the same as the next person. I also want my parental freedom, which means being able to educate my children without having to worry that someone will tell them what religion they must accept or adhere to. I don't want my child forced to speak words of loyalty to ANY God or religion.

I don't tell my own children what they have to believe (that would not be freedom). I tell them they have to make their own choice. They have to find their faith or beliefs for themselves. It is my job to present things, to teach them to THINK. To teach them to SEEK. To teach them to LEARN. To teach them to listen to their own hearts and find their own purpose.
That's not the same as giving my own children the freedom to make other types of choices, like stealing, or bullying, or murder, or drugs. They have that freedom, but as a mama, as long as they live under my roof... ... they will have no choice but to be decent human beings who are kind and generous, loving, accepting, non-judgmental, and wise. As an American, they will have no choice but to obey our laws or be punished. We have laws to protect our safety and our possessions--or we really would crumble (you could argue those are Christian laws... but we will just agree that we need governed on a basic sense of decency to survive at all). Even removing speed limits and traffic lights would be disastrous to our society! As humans, we have learned the important aspects of a successful society.

I just read the story of the Mayflower to my boys this morning. Why did the Pilgrims come here? Because they wanted religious freedom. That was the dream. I would hope it still is. America is only America because it is a melting pot for all people who want to be free. I am glad our founding fathers were moral, principled Christians. That got us off to a good constitutional start . But even they understood we all needed to be able to be FREE in what we choose to believe.

I am a Christian. My closest friends may tell you I am one of the fiercest Christians they know--especially after coming face to face with death a few times. I had to get the issue of God and faith sorted out. If you ask me, I will be very frank with you about what I believe (and, sorry, some of you have gotten an earful from me without asking--but only if I love you the most!). I believe God designed us with free will and the ability to make our own choices. Therefore, it is not "God-like" or "Christian" to force anyone to choose to believe in God. As a matter of fact, last I checked, Christians are called to live in peace with others, and be charitable, loving, kind and non-judgmental towards all.

If you feel "called" or inspired called to stand up and preach the Gospel, or speak out on anything--any other religion or issue at all, then by all means do it. You have that freedom, and we have the freedom to listen or not listen and choose whether or not to believe you. How could America be so great if we were not so filled with diversity, and color, and options? There is such depth and possibility! No matter what you believe, your beliefs are only enhanced by the contrast of the others around you! My faith is only strengthened by the contrast and contradictions of others around me. The more your beliefs are challenged, the more strongly you can form them.  You can compare! Think! Reason! Learn! Expand your mind! Know! We are so blessed to have such freedom in America!

As for the pledge being removed from schools, what do I think? No matter what happens, I would hope American schools will always teach children to be patriotic citizens, proud of our great country, and inspire each one to contribute according to his/her strengths. We as parents must teach our children to be patriotic, loyal and helpful to our country however they feel called to do so. 

And don't forget, the greater burden is on the parents, not the schools. Schools have the burden of teaching reading, math, and science. Parents are the ones responsible for raising decent, loving, generous human beings who contribute to society.

If this "Order" is ever signed for real, some Christians will be appalled that I don't oppose it. It is not my calling to get up on a soap box about making America a completely Christian country. Apparently, I am called to step up on a soap box about being thankful for freedom in America. I am thankful to be able to be Catholic (my choice), which is the very religion our founding fathers were escaping when they founded this country.

I pledge allegiance
to the flag
of the United States of America
One nation
Under God 
With Liberty and Justice for all.

Parting thoughts:

What part of "Liberty for all" do you not understand?

And whether we say "Under God" or not. If God really does exist, we are "under Him" no matter what. If God created us, He didn't need permission to create us. He wouldn't need permission to help us, or to destroy us (or the whole world for that matter--just ask Noah). It's my business if I want to believe in a God like that, and your business if you don't. 

I want to be a person who loves. Who is kind. Who is giving, empathetic, and understanding. I want to be someone who encourages love and unity to keep America strong, appreciating each person's unique spirit, strengths, and purpose. This is the type of person my God tells me to be.