I’m sure I will have lots to say about American national religion before this is all said and done, but I think a good place to start is with the Pledge of Allegiance. I have not doubt that the Pledge was initially meant to be nothing more than a loyalty oath for immigrants (and from a quick look at its original, Socialist-penned form seems to confirm that ), but in recent decades it has taken on — if not explicit — implicit religious overtones.

It’s more uncommon to enter an American church and NOT find the national flag there, and many churches will have at least one service a year in which worshipers recite the Pledge of Allegiance. (Similarly, most American Protestant hymnals have the national anthem and other patriotic hymns such as “America the Beautiful.”)

Somewhere through the years, Evangelicals have made their own Pledges patterned after the Pledge of Allegiance, the Pledge to the Christian flag and the Pledge to the Bible.

Pledge to the Christian Flag:

“I pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands. One brotherhood, uniting all mankind, in service and love.”

Pledge to the Bible:

I pledge to the Bible God’s Holy word, and will take it as a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path, and hide it’s words in my heart that I may not sin against God.

What makes me link a sense of religious devotion of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Christian pledges is that rarely are the pledges to the Christian flag and the pledge to the Bible recited without the Pledge of Allegiance.

When I was a child, attending Bible schools in Baptist churches, all three pledges were recited every morning for the entire week; the Pledge of Allegiance led, followed by the pledge to the Christian flag and then the pledge to the Bible. Even if it was not intended to send such a message, it was a blended message of God and state.

I’ll have more to say about this later.

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