I can't even count how many people I've talked to that insist this country was founded as a xian country, and that all the the founding fathers were xian. When the Treaty of Tripoli is pointed out, they scoff and completely blow it off because it is not part of the actual founding documents. Then they will turn right around and use some passage out of an obscure letter that someone wrote where they mentioned "the creator" as "proof" that they were all xian. They will also chastise me for not knowing anything about the founding fathers until I start quoting page and paragraph from Common Sense. Thomas Paine was very decidedly NOT a xian and had no use whatsoever for the church.
I'm also amazed at how people ignore that the founding fathers (and consequently all the documentation for the founding of our nation) were around LONG before Darwin came up with the Origin of Species. If it had been around before the mid-18th century, almost every founding father would have assuredly understood and accepted the concept without hesitation.
But I digress. My point is that religion as a whole is based on ignorance and misinformation. And, yes, it is very sad.
The Book: Lies My Teacher Told Me is worth reading. It covers the myth of the Pilgrims being the first settlement and as I recall it said they were chased out of England for being extreme religious fanatics, but that may have been in something else I read. In any event -
St. Augustine Florida was the the first continued settlement, and there is plenty of evidence of other settlements such as L'Anse aux Meadows, and of course a the newer Jamestown Settlement. I think it's important to point out how Manifest Destiny was used to wipe out the buffalo and kill the local inhabitants (Indians).
I just had a stunning apiphany! What if the motto was supposed to be "In Gold We Trust" and they just missed the "l"? At least that would make more sense than God...
One day, as a sixth grader, I quietly substituted the word 'Underdog' for 'under God' when I recited the Pledge. My teacher glared at me when she overheard. So I started saying it progressively louder each day with each recitation.
One new kid in the class (who I didn't like at the time) joined me in doing this. Our saying of 'Underdog' quickly surpassed in volume the entire class saying 'under God'. We got detention for three days. Not, according to the principal, for saying Underdog but for disrupting the class. That was 32 years ago. The kid I got detention with is still my closest friend to this day.
I invite my fellow atheists of all ages: do not sit down and be quiet. Instead, participate in the Pledge every time you hear it, and say 'Underdog'. Or say 'Thunderball' or 'Leprechaun' or anything else you like. Say it that way every time. Make sure others know you say it that way.
You really are the 'underdog' in this situation. So you'll make enemies. But you'll make friends too.
That is pretty cool. I've done similar things, but tend to just say "with liberty" really loud and then pause to let everyone else catch up. I've managed to get a few dirty looks that way. hehe
"underdog" is kinda silly, and doesn't really say anything meaningful. I'm sure it was brilliant as a 4th grader, but I'll stick with a silent moment: "One nation....... indivisible with liberty and justice for all"
i suppose if you wanted to be satirical you could say "one nation under Allah..." That would certainly rustle some jimmies.
It's sure become an ingrained civic tradition. I like the pledge, I think it's good for maintaining patriotism and popular unity. I'd love to see 'under God' scrapped, so that the pledge is in line with separation of church and state. Government traditions which validate the enmeshment of church and state are dangerous and unconstitutional.
On a side note, I went to Catholic school for a couple years. Each morning we said 'the Our Father' and then the pledge. I swear I thought the pledge was another prayer for years! Even now when I say the pledge, I sometimes feel like tacking on some gobble-de-gook about Jesus ascending to heaven and being seated at the right hand of the father. Now mixing my prayers up too. :D :-) :-l :-( : [
"I swear I thought the pledge was another prayer"
isn't it? it's a prayer to the United States (rather than God). Recital is required, for brainwashing purposes (there's a reason people are so over-the-top patriotic instead of being open-minded; it's because the US Govt forced young moldable minds to recite the pledge every day of their lives).
There's a wonderful WKUK sketch about it: