For years, I’ve had issues with the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what about it bothers me (aside from the interference my own less-than-pro-state politics runs with it), and the argument that some folks use about idolatry has had some personal resonance, but I admit that particular argument has its weak points.

But tonight something else occurred to me — think about procedure (you can read the U.S. Flag Code here). You place your hand on your heart, and then recite the Pledge, which is — make no mistake — a loyalty oath. But here are the words of our Lord:

I say unto you, swear not at all; neither by the heaven, for it is the throne of God; nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, for thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your speech be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: and whatsoever is more than these is of the evil one. (Matthew 5:34-37 ASV)

I would rather err on the side of caution and not swear by my heart than ignore Christ’s commands.