Some school rituals die hard. I can see myself straightening up like a yardstick and swallowing my gum if someone calls me out in a harsh enough tone. In unfamiliar circumstances, I instinctively want to apologize and/or raise my hand to ask permission to speak. Going to the bathroom? Yeah, only during lunch.
And despite not having recited it in 20+ years, I still remember the pledge of allegiance word for word. And I bet many other people can too. But not many know who wrote it.
Who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance?
If you want to short circuit a bunch of prominent talking heads who make a living sticking to ideological scripts that only further serve to divide people across the nation, then tell them the story of Francis Bellamy.
He was a minister who wrote the original "Pledge" in 1892, and it was first published in The Youth's Companion on September 8 of that very same year, but the wording is a bit different than its modern rendition.
According to Legion it went like this: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all."
There's no mention of "God" in the original wording of the pledge, indicating that despite Bellamy's vocation as a Minister, he still adhered to the separation of church and state.
There have been several changes to the Pledge's wording over the years.
In 1923, to address an ever-increasing influx of immigrants coming to America and clarifying that their pledge must be to the U.S. flag and not the one of the countries they had left behind, the phrasing "the Flag of the United States of America" was added. Then, in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, looking to combat Communist ideology, added the words "under God."
A common attack of socialism and/or communism was to disparage the belief systems as godless, which is quite ironic given the Pledge's origins. There's no doubt that Francis Bellamy would be an extremely polarizing figure today, as many people wouldn't know where to place him, idealogically speaking.
That's because Francis was a Christian socialist with a penchant for nationalism. He also believed in "inferior" races.
Yes, Bellamy believed that individuals should be proud of their country, while simultaneously believing in Christian socialism, which is more akin to the purported teachings of Jesus Christ. This included looking after the poor and indigent, rectifying wealth inequalities implemented as a form of tyranny over "common folk."
Where he differed in Jesuit teachings, however, was that some races were naturally better than others.
As it stands today, nationalism and religiosity are considered directly at odds with socialism. However, Francis Bellamy believed in individuals being able to reconcile their own spiritual beliefs with the greater good of one's country, while attacking corporate greed and protecting America's "blood" from "inferior" ethnicities. Yikes.
Bellamy, along with other Christian socialists, believed that businesses and individuals who played fast and loose with a nation's economy were "idolatrous" of greed, and supplanted their faith in a higher power to serve fellow members of their species with the pursuit of wealth.
Could you imagine the kind of political pundit Bellamy would be if he were alive today? What network would even have him on?