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America the Godly
April 15, 2008 1:32 PM   Subscribe

One nation under God. The "bold conservative" GOP Congressman Paul Broun from Georgia is intent upon removing a vexing comma from that phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance, which was amended in 1954 when President Eisenhower was moved by a sermon by one Reverend George M. Docherty on the need to defend America from the "militantly atheistic communism that has already enslaved 800 million of the peoples of the earth, and now menaces the rest of the free world."
posted by digaman (147 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I had heard there was some controversy over how to say the pledge, but this is just too stupid to contemplate. And I am a Christian and a Republican. Sheesh.
posted by konolia at 1:36 PM on April 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


There's also no comma between the parts that go "getting down" and "just for the funk of it."
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:42 PM on April 15, 2008 [21 favorites]


Combining religion and government demean the principles both institutions.
posted by mikeh at 1:42 PM on April 15, 2008 [6 favorites]


lolxtian
posted by found missing at 1:42 PM on April 15, 2008


of both institutions, that is.
posted by mikeh at 1:42 PM on April 15, 2008


*shakes head and moves on*
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:43 PM on April 15, 2008


Do other countries have pledges of allegiance? I don't think we have one here in Canada, certainly not one that is drilled into our heads every single school day.
posted by salishsea at 1:44 PM on April 15, 2008


Dark times call for bold conservatives. And a dumb electorate usually places that call. Still, Castro could threaten to launch an all-out attack of Wim Wenders film sequels, so it's best to stay alert for the Red Menace.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:44 PM on April 15, 2008


Atheistic Overlord: Minion! Begin the invasion of the American Heartland! We will, once and for all, bring an end to their wholesome, democratic ways and make the world safe for atheists! Ready the death ray!

Atheistic Minion: My lord! We are unable to bring the lasers to bear on their targets! Something is interfering!

Atheistic Overlord: What is the cause of this? What could possibly thwart my plans?

Atheistic Minion: It's the Americans, sire. They seam to be... pledging allegiance! To one nation! UNDER GOD!

Atheistic Overlord: Curses! Foiled again!
posted by lekvar at 1:45 PM on April 15, 2008 [26 favorites]


LOLPRESCRIPTIVEGRAMMARIANS!

Oh wait, this post isn't about what I thought it was about. Never mind.
posted by The Bellman at 1:46 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's fine with me, Mr. Broun. But could you also take out the "with liberty and justice for all" part? I don't think we should ask kids to say things that aren't true anymore.
posted by grounded at 1:46 PM on April 15, 2008 [10 favorites]


I have been practicing the Pledge without invoking the name of Undergod.
posted by the Real Dan at 1:48 PM on April 15, 2008 [9 favorites]


He's my representative. Sorry about this, y'all.
posted by ewagoner at 1:49 PM on April 15, 2008


Rep. Broun's thundering voiceover on his website (echoing the very voice of God Himself?) also indicates that the congressman from Georgia does not have a crush on Obama.
posted by digaman at 1:50 PM on April 15, 2008


Personally, I think they should rearrange the whole thing, because the actual nation is sort of an afterthought in the current version. I'd change it to something like:

I pledge allegiance to my country,
The United States of America;
And to the flag
that represents it....

Something like that--I ain't a poet.
posted by halcyon_daze at 1:52 PM on April 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


how come he doesn't say the part about grooveallegiance?
posted by pyramid termite at 1:53 PM on April 15, 2008


We're one mark away from a Commanist regime.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:54 PM on April 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I guess now that the GOP has solved all the big problems...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:57 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think we should replace the comma with an em-dash. And "one" should be replaced with the numeral "1". And I think that we should also somehow quantify how various protectorates and such could be included, so maybe we could have like "1.23 nations"... I don't want to leave out the Guamanians.
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:58 PM on April 15, 2008


"I commend the Ten Commandments Commission for their efforts to remind Americans that we are, in fact, 'one nation under God,'" he said at the time.

Yeah, because I expect a group with that name is really going to go a different way on this subject.

Pffft. I remember when the Ten Commandments Commission used to be cool, before they sold out and got all 'holier then thou'. Fuck them man. There was this time we were getting drunk on the rooftop of Safeway, and TCC was all "WOOO! Rock out with your cock out dude!", back then you just knew it would be a party of the Commish was gonna be involved.

These days? Not so much. Buncha posers.


No, it just doesn't feel right.
posted by quin at 1:59 PM on April 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


I pledge allegiance to the National Logo
and to the brand for which it stands...
Impatient Thundergod!
With low credit and trickle down economics for all. Amen.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:59 PM on April 15, 2008 [10 favorites]


His legislative record isn't terribly surprising.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:00 PM on April 15, 2008


Do other countries have pledges of allegiance? I don't think we have one here in Canada, certainly not one that is drilled into our heads every single school day.

We have an "Oath of Citizenship", which you get to say at the end of a citizenship ceremony -- friends have told me they are very impressive, serious, and even quite fun occasions, and they were very impressed and happy with them (which made me pretty proud actually). It's very short, though, so it's barely comparable to the American thing:
"I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen."

posted by blacklite at 2:00 PM on April 15, 2008


We've already had a Canadian chime in here, so I'm surprised no one has raised the geographically mostly correct "One Nation Under Canada".
posted by Nick Verstayne at 2:01 PM on April 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Remember in Cub Scouts they said you could three finger salute the flag during the pledge on days that you had your little uniform on? Damn, the US can be a depressing, militarized, confused and pent up fascist state sometimes.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:01 PM on April 15, 2008


I pledge allegiance to Queen Fragg and her mighty state of hysteria.

Smoke that, Mr. Broun.
posted by casarkos at 2:01 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


MoonPie, I am shocked, shocked, that Rep. Broun seems not to be leading the charge to defend marriage against the threat of godless Communism godless gays.
posted by digaman at 2:02 PM on April 15, 2008


I recall as a young kid in the late 60's seeing a photo in a school text book of Soviet Kids being "indoctrinated" they were saluting the red flag and singing some patriotic song or somesuch. Even at the time, Mrs Verstayne's best little boy saw the similarities with our pledge.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 2:05 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


A Broun spokesman even said there should be no pause to emphasize there is "no separation or implied separation between nation and God."

Yes, because there was never any intention by the founders of our country to maintain a separation like that.

The Broun spokesman really sounds like an ass.
posted by quin at 2:06 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I look forward to the day when they roll back the 1954 change, acknowledging it for the Cold War foolishness and KoC pandering that it was.

Not holding my breath, though.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:06 PM on April 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


Do other countries have pledges of allegiance?

Texas does.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:09 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


"One Nation Under Canada".

Sure, if you're a filthy Northist. Some of us don't acknowledge the supposed supremacy of an allegedly upper North.

We would prefer "One Nation Next to Canada"
posted by quin at 2:11 PM on April 15, 2008


Do other countries have pledges of allegiance?

michigan does - "i pledge allegiance to the flag of michigan and the state for which it stands and promise to write home often and turn off the lights if i'm the last one leaving"
posted by pyramid termite at 2:11 PM on April 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


When in this world the headlines read
Of those whose hearts are filled with greed
Who rob and steal from those in need
To right this wrong with blinding speed
Comes. . . Undergod!
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:11 PM on April 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I propose we change the Pledge of Allegiance to read "One nation under our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, as revealed in the King James Bible."

I can't imagine why anyone would object to that.
posted by Avenger at 2:12 PM on April 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


A COMMA DOES NOT REPRESENT A PAUSE AND A COMMA'S ABSENCE DOES NOT REPRESENT THE ABSENCE OF PAUSES.
posted by shmegegge at 2:13 PM on April 15, 2008 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure why we require grade school children to recite a loyalty oath in the first place. Was there some sort of rash of 8 year old defectors in the 50s?
posted by Bonzai at 2:14 PM on April 15, 2008 [8 favorites]


Texas does.

Texas also has the line "all hail the mighty state" in its state song.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:14 PM on April 15, 2008


Do other countries have pledges of allegiance?

Texas does.


Hell, Texas even has an unofficial motto.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:14 PM on April 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm looking forward to going back to E Pluribus Unum - From many, one - which is still a beautiful saying to capture the jumble/melting pot/diversity that America has - from the "In God We Trust" which was a 1950s way of saying, "We're not commies, swear it!" as our motto and on our currency. It's fine to trust in God, but when it's stamped on my money it has a little bit of "Accept This On Blind Faith" to it.

Conservative constitutionalists can't object to turning back this liberal, god-focused agenda to what our forefathers intended, right?
posted by Gucky at 2:15 PM on April 15, 2008


I'm not sure why we require grade school children to recite a loyalty oath in the first place.

Indoctrination is easier when their minds are young and impressionable and their spirits are open to be crushed by the weight of a nationalistic identity.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:15 PM on April 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Every so often someone asks me if I ever intend becoming a citizen. This is actually one of the reasons why I'm putting it off.
posted by Artw at 2:17 PM on April 15, 2008


Your mom, under me. Last night.
posted by Krrrlson at 2:22 PM on April 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well duh. COMMas are COMMunist. Think about it!
posted by languagehat at 2:22 PM on April 15, 2008


Who gives a fuck about an extra comma?

Forced patriotism is just plain wrong. When kids recite the pledge, they have no idea what it means; it's just words. Instead of forcing people to recite meaningless words, why not try to earn our respect?
posted by mike3k at 2:22 PM on April 15, 2008


Wow, this takes me back to second grade and Mrs. Reis insisting that there is no comma between nation and under.

So, that makes exactly two people in the world who apparently care about this. At least, I think Mrs. Reis is still alive.
posted by dw at 2:23 PM on April 15, 2008


Rather than worrying about punctuation, God and all that poppycock; I think that someone should instead find out who 'Richard Stanz' is and why the republic is for him.
posted by inqb8tr at 2:24 PM on April 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


One nation, under atmosphere, above ground, except for the sekrit railroad...which come to think, is owned by the tri-lat's, so yeah, just the above ground part.
posted by nomisxid at 2:25 PM on April 15, 2008


Well, to be fair Gucky, Annuit Coeptis has been around for a long time and that's got God in it (at least by implication) so it's not exactly a new idea to have Him on your money.
posted by The Bellman at 2:25 PM on April 15, 2008


You know, it really baffles me as to why any protestant with even a brief understanding of the history of the reformation, and how similar oaths to king and church were used to define who was and was not a good citizen and neighbor, would dream of similar blasphemies to inflict on their neighbors today.

But then, I remember that the typical conservative these days has a dim understanding of any history that has not been portrayed by John Wayne or Mel Gibson, and it all makes sense.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:25 PM on April 15, 2008


Your mom, under me. Last night.

she said it would have been better with batteries
posted by pyramid termite at 2:27 PM on April 15, 2008


Jesus Christ, congress should be disbanded.
posted by zzazazz at 2:27 PM on April 15, 2008


Jesus Christ Congress, should be disbanded.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:28 PM on April 15, 2008 [16 favorites]


One thing I've never understood...

What's the point of saying the pledge more than once in a lifetime? Your allegiance can't mean all that much if it must be renewed every school day.
posted by SBMike at 2:29 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Someone needs to tack a rider onto that bill appending quotes before and after "God." Or "under."
posted by ignignokt at 2:31 PM on April 15, 2008


Christ, what an asshole.
Christ what an asshole.
posted by found missing at 2:31 PM on April 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I refuse to say the pledge because of those two words.
posted by empath at 2:33 PM on April 15, 2008


Christ: What an assole!
posted by empath at 2:33 PM on April 15, 2008


I am a child of two evils: an atheist member of a state church, and it has worked fine. (Never bothered leaving, as I see it is important to stay there and use my vote to prevent church from going too conservative.) It is part of American ethos to keep church and state as separate as you can separate, but it isn't obviously the best choice, it is just a theory you are trying: it can be the best option, but not obviously so. Most of the history has been about varying divisions of labor between church and state.

System we have here is that there is one main religion that is recognized as of national importance and participating in all national rituals, one secondary which is recognized as equally important for minority: much like a minority language. Then there are other religions which are important for their believers. One consequence is that the state religion has to stay quite 'worldly': as a part of state it cannot go strongly against for example gays; then most of the members who like me tolerate it's meddling would turn against it. Extreme opinions are marginalized and rejected pretty quickly.

In a working state church Paul Brounes are not part of it, but have their own small fringe churches of extremist people and their small group of extremist voters, whereas most of the religious conservative people vote someone who is both accepted by church and by state. The church is the big brother / father for people who need that for their lives. I don't need to fight it and I don't need to do as it tells me. Elder people have something they emotionally seem to need. It is all quite pragmatic and if our religion is correct (which I really don't believe) we are all saved, which is a bonus.
posted by Free word order! at 2:33 PM on April 15, 2008


Your allegiance can't mean all that much if it must be renewed every school day.

You know the old story, you keep repeating a lie...
posted by Burhanistan at 2:33 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Either I just mistyped, or I subconsciously was unable to use the actual term as applied to our lord and savior.
posted by empath at 2:34 PM on April 15, 2008


The commas…they do nothing!

(It's all about elipses yall)
posted by cashman at 2:35 PM on April 15, 2008


I see it is important to stay there and use my vote to prevent church from going too conservative.

Interesting - do you literally have a vote in church policy?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:36 PM on April 15, 2008


Hell, Texas even has an unofficial motto.

Only two things come from Texas...?
posted by quin at 2:36 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen."

Huh. And those of us born to Canadian citizenship are not even made aware of such a thing. At least I never was, or I don't recall it if I was. I'm amazed it is this short - Obviously, we haven't let a royal commission at this thing recently:

"I pledge allegiance to the Queen of Canada, her heirs and successors, her representative (the Governor General), and acknowledge the Maple Leaf as the Flag that stands as a symbol of our Constitutional Monarchy, one Nation of 10 unique provinces, 3 territories, many First Nations and the Metis, divisible if you follow the provisions of the Clarity Act, with hockey, beer, and the CBC for all. "
posted by never used baby shoes at 2:36 PM on April 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


Who gives a fuck about an extra comma?

Who gives a fuck about reminding yourself every morning that you're an American or that you believe in God as if failing to do so means you'll fucking forget or something?

These schmucks do. And they run the goddamn country. Sorry, too late. Go kick your dad in the junk and tell him that's for voting for Reagan.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:38 PM on April 15, 2008 [11 favorites]


Courtesy of wikipedia - new citizens to Australia get this one.

From this time forward, under God,
I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people,
whose democratic beliefs I share,
whose rights and liberties I respect, and
whose laws I will uphold and obey.

All new citizens have the choice of making the pledge with or without the words 'under God'.

Apart from that, the swearing that normally gets done in Australia doesn't seem to have much to do with allegiance, unless it's something like "Carn the fucking 'pies!" (a sporting reference).
posted by b33j at 2:39 PM on April 15, 2008


,
posted by Cedric at 2:40 PM on April 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


No, we don't have kids say the pledge because of McCarthyism. That's just why we have them say the 'under God' part. We have kids say the pledge to drive flag sales. And the 1950s "In God We Trust" was not a pure innovation either; "The Star-Spangled Banner" had the line "And this be our motto—In God is our trust" when written in 1814. (It also had a tune which was well-known as a drinking song. Ah, the American way.)

Personally, I favor the comma-less Pledge, because (a) I'm a big fan of actually knowing what you're saying, and (b) it just sounds idiotic to pause for a big old breath, say "one nation," and immediately pause for another big old breath. Dang two-syllable words tiring us out again, or what?

Of course, I also think it's pretty weird to swear my loyalty either to a colored piece of cloth or to a design for colored pieces of cloth. So I always say, "I pledge allegiance to ... the United States of America, ... the republic ... one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all ahem ahem," and that seems to work out pretty well.
posted by eritain at 2:41 PM on April 15, 2008


Al, Qaeda
posted by digaman at 2:41 PM on April 15, 2008


Darth Puppy finds your lack of distressing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:44 PM on April 15, 2008


Your lack of sentence structure!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:47 PM on April 15, 2008


My first memory of having to say the pledge was probably second or third grade or so.

The interesting bit was, the classroom didn't have a flag hanging in at first. So everyone just faced one particular direction. I don't know, probably east, treating D.C. as a sort of patriotic Mecca. I'm guessing, I didn't have a compass.

The absurdity of this struck me at the time. Looking back, it may well have been a bit of formative absurdity. I recited the pledge, sure, but in the childrens drone, I recited, fervently, "I pledge allegiance to the wall..."

The bad news is, if I ever get advance warning that they intend to tear down that building, I'll have to go to war against the bulldozers.
posted by Drastic at 2:53 PM on April 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


TheOnlyCoolTim: Yes, but the hierarchy is quite complicated. Those voted to church board decide on local money issues and have a vote for religious positions like bishops. I've never bothered to look into it, I've just kept pushing my kinds of people there.
posted by Free word order! at 2:59 PM on April 15, 2008


A COMMA DOES NOT REPRESENT A PAUSE

Yes, it does.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 3:03 PM on April 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Heirs and Successors

Any heir?

I am completely against the added in God clause, but I like the pledge of allegience and I like instilling patriotism and civic duty in kids. There isn't very much else that unites Americans. In fact, nothing that I can think of.

The fact that the Soviets and Nazis (and about a dozen other countries) did or do it doesn't make it a terrible thing. Does anyone besides jonmc want to stop wearing clothes just because Pol Pot wore them? Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:05 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


(That said, there were kids in my class who sat down during the pledge and nothing bad happened to them that I'm aware of. Everyone knew it was just against their family beliefs or religion or whatever. I did it myself for a while til I figured out I could just omit the god section.)
posted by small_ruminant at 3:07 PM on April 15, 2008


Do other countries have pledges of allegiance?

Texas does.


Texas also has a national beer.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:11 PM on April 15, 2008


Hell, Texas even has an unofficial motto.

"Try the hot wings. You'll be mildly surprised."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:12 PM on April 15, 2008


I noticed that he still observes all the other traditional no-comma pauses in the Pledge, but balances it out by saying his favorite part really fast.

"I pledge allegiance
to the Flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic
for which it stands,
oneNationunderGod,
indivisible,
with liberty
and justice
for all."
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 3:14 PM on April 15, 2008


I find it almost sweet and endearing that there are adults that think that the pledge of allegience means more than nothing to kids.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 3:15 PM on April 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ah, The Pledge of Allegiance -- written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy (Baptist minister and Vice President of Education, Society of Christian Socialists) at 142 Berkeley St./209 Columbus Ave., Boston -- the building (known as The Historical Pledge of Allegiance Building) in which is now located (among others) the New England Bartending School ... and long-standing gay bar Club Café.
posted by ericb at 3:23 PM on April 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Jesus Christ, congress should be disbanded.

Are you by any chance using congress in the OED's sense 4 "Sexual union, copulation, coition"? (First cite: 1589 PUTTENHAM Eng. Poesie II. "It is two strange serpents entertangled in their amorous congresse.")
posted by languagehat at 3:25 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


digaman loves languagehat.
posted by digaman at 3:30 PM on April 15, 2008


lekvar: I'd say that's true of conservative Christians, not atheists, without the 'under god' part.

In any case, I prefer a non-theocratic country, thanks.

-an atheist .
posted by kldickson at 3:32 PM on April 15, 2008


Jesus Christ Congress, should be disbanded.

Didn't know Shatner had an account here...
posted by recoveringsophist at 3:32 PM on April 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


In Soviet Russia, pledge puts you in coma.

Comma. Whatever.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:34 PM on April 15, 2008


I live in one of the most liberal neighborhoods of a very liberal city (shout out to my Wallingford homies!). At our Democratic Party caucus this year, they began with the traditional reading of the rules and procedures.

The woman running the caucus then paused and said "Now, as required by the Washington State Democratic Party, we will begin the caucus by saying the Pledge of Allegiance."

*nervous silence, as we all look around the room*

A lone voice from the back: "Oh come on! This is Seattle!"

Raucous laughter and a loud, sarcastic Pledge of Allegiance followed. I had never felt so proud to be a citizen as that moment.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 3:38 PM on April 15, 2008 [9 favorites]


In Soviet Russia, pledge puts you in coma.

try spraying it on the cloth first, then huffing it
posted by pyramid termite at 3:38 PM on April 15, 2008


A COMMA DOES NOT REPRESENT A PAUSE

Yes, it does.


"Yesitdoes."

"Yes...it does."

No, it doesn't.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:44 PM on April 15, 2008


clearly, it represents a pollywog.
posted by stubby phillips at 3:46 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Al, Qaeda

You Can Call Me 'Al'.
posted by ericb at 3:47 PM on April 15, 2008


Fuck the poor. Ignore the health care crisis. Don't worry about the war. It's a fucking comma in the Pledge of Allegiance that leaves our future as a country hanging in the balance.

Could we possibly hire any stupider people to run the country? It absolutely defies comprehension. (How long before this moron gets caught fucking his secretary or blowing an aide?) My faith in this system wanes more each day.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:47 PM on April 15, 2008


BTW -- the pledge, written by Bellamy in honor of Columbus Day, was originally accompanied by the Bellamy Salute.
"At a signal from the Principal the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the Flag. Another signal is given; every pupil gives the flag the military salute -- right hand lifted, palm downward, to a line with the forehead and close to it. Standing thus, all repeat together, slowly, 'I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.' At the words, 'to my Flag,' the right hand is extended gracefully, palm upward, toward the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side."
It was replaced in 1942 with the "hand-over-the-heart" gesture because of its similarity to the Hitler salute.
posted by ericb at 3:53 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Under god" is a disclaimer -- without it, the pledge of allegiance is a blatant violation of commandment #1 - especially since the wording of the pledge makes it clear that we're pledging allegiance to both the symbol and that which it symbolizes.
posted by ripple at 3:53 PM on April 15, 2008


No, it doesn't.

It clearly does, as your examples prove.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 3:54 PM on April 15, 2008


One Nation, Under God?
posted by Parasite Unseen at 4:00 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


When I was very young, I thought the Culture Club song was

Comma comma
Comma comma
Comma chameleon


and that's really about all I have to say about that.
posted by cortex at 4:01 PM on April 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Commas can be costly.

The Comma That Costs 1 Million Dollars (Canadian).

'A Basic Rule of Punctuation'
"It could be the most costly piece of punctuation in Canada. A grammatical blunder may force Rogers Communications Inc. to pay an extra $2.13-million to use utility poles in the Maritimes after the placement of a comma in a contract permitted the deal's cancellation."
posted by ericb at 4:09 PM on April 15, 2008


I vote we change it to "One nation under Grodd." That'll teach those damn atheists.
posted by klangklangston at 4:18 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I remember giving my oath of obedience when I joined the Army. We were given the option of not including the 'so help me God' part, and I left it out. Everyone else at the ceremony noticed and glared at me. Peer pressure I guess; didn't work. I guess I'd rather fight for principles I do believe in than fight for a God I don't believe in. Seems like everyone would've been happier with me if I had lied, but that's just not me.

Seems to me that for an ostensibly secular society, there's an awful lot of God-talk that infects our government, especially around election time. You'd think we'd be better about separation of church and state than we are. I mean, we've had more than two centuries to get the hang of it, but there are always some (usually many!) conservative asshole politicians willing to pander to the religionists. I wish the Flying Spaghetti Monster would zoom down, grab all those assholes in its Holy Tentacles, and rip their balls off.
posted by jamstigator at 4:18 PM on April 15, 2008


It clearly does, as your examples prove.

Let's ask the residents of Hell, Texas.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:27 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Of course he doesn't want that comma! You know what commas are, dontcha? I mean, take a good close look at one of them lil suckers.

It's a sperm! A sperm for words!

Now would you say a pledge that someone just jizzed all over? I don't think so. Do you want your kids, all innocent with their hands over their hearts, getting spermed on by their pledge? Think about that. Tomorrow morning, your little Billy or Sandy could be getting ejaculated on over the PA system by the horrible, horrible wordsperm.

So thank God for heartfelt, decent folks like Representative Broun! I mean, this puts him in a tough spot. He's one of those Abstinence Only in Our Schools types, right? But to really keep that worksperm out of the pledge and save our kids, he has to go down on the floor of Congress and condom it.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:56 PM on April 15, 2008 [2 favorites]



When I was very young, I thought the Culture Club song was...

Man, that chick was hot. What ever happened to her?
posted by tkchrist at 4:56 PM on April 15, 2008


Rep. Broun's thundering voiceover on his website (echoing the very voice of God Himself?)

Well, dude, Charlton Heston just died, so Broun was stuck doing it himself.
posted by jonmc at 4:56 PM on April 15, 2008


Man, that chick was hot. What ever happened to her?
posted by ericb at 5:08 PM on April 15, 2008


Man, I left out my 'indivisible.' Now you all know my real views on states' rights ... Rebublic of Cascadia, here I come. First agendum: Exchange ambassadors with Green Mountain Republic.
posted by eritain at 5:18 PM on April 15, 2008


I had one elementary school teacher in the 60's (I forget which one, they've all morphed into the same spinster by now) who insisted in the ...for which it stands, onenationundrgod, indivisible... delivery. It didn't turn me into a conservative republican, but damned if I don't vote like one.
posted by Rafaelloello at 6:05 PM on April 15, 2008


I find it odd that some ppl want to effectively force others to pray, and thus, in effect, worship their god. Im not sure that kind of state is what the founders envisioned.
posted by MrLint at 6:18 PM on April 15, 2008


Let's ask the residents of Hell, Texas.

Or Buttfuck, Iowa?
posted by Pinback at 6:24 PM on April 15, 2008


Oxford Comma

Thanks ericb for posting one of my all-time favorite songs
posted by mike3k at 6:31 PM on April 15, 2008


No, it doesn't.

It clearly does, as your examples prove.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 3:54 PM on April 15 [+] [!]


Please elaborate. My examples are two ways of pronouncing the exact same written phrase. So I rather thought it clearly demonstrated that commas are merely written punctuation to help clarify meaning. Pauses are part of vocalizing those words, which can be done variously depending upon the speaker's inclination and intent. But I'm open to other theories.
posted by Mental Wimp at 6:41 PM on April 15, 2008


Paul Broun is an anagram of "U B Ron Paul".

Coincidence?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:44 PM on April 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


He's my representative. Sorry about this, y'all.

Seconded here; unfortunately this is the part of the republic where shrub's approval ratings remain above 50% and so these are the people we elect.
posted by TedW at 6:47 PM on April 15, 2008


In my kindergarten class, there were two children who didn't say the Pledge with "under God." One was David, the Jehovah's Witness kid who didn't say anything during the morning ritual. The other was me, and all I did was omit the "under God" part. Even when I was five, I reasoned that a nation with Freedom of Religion® had no business claiming to be under divine protection.

To her credit, Mrs. Minter never called me on it. It's a good thing, too, because I doubt my reasoning would have been as clear or witty as it is above.

Having said all of that, I don't care if this guy changes the pledge to say "one nation under Cthulu." There are more important things to legislate.
posted by infinitewindow at 6:54 PM on April 15, 2008


My examples are two ways of pronouncing the exact same written phrase. So I rather thought it clearly demonstrated that commas are merely written punctuation to help clarify meaning. Pauses are part of vocalizing those words, which can be done variously depending upon the speaker's inclination and intent. But I'm open to other theories.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:41 PM on April 15


People usually pause at a comma, the same way they pause (for a bit longer) at a period. Of course, nobody is forcing a speaker to pause at a comma - writers not having invented mind control (yet!) - but that's the convention. Would you argue that periods don't indicate that the reader should pause?
posted by joannemerriam at 7:00 PM on April 15, 2008


and all I did was omit the "under God" part

Too bad you didn't vomit the 'under god' part.
posted by grounded at 7:03 PM on April 15, 2008


I'm surprised no one has raised the geographically mostly correct "One Nation Under Canada"

Well, as a Detroiter, I'm afraid I'd be lying if I swore to/affirmed that oath. Just sayin'.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:09 PM on April 15, 2008


Do other countries have pledges of allegiance? I don't think we have one here in Canada, certainly not one that is drilled into our heads every single school day.

To my Flag and to the country it represents, I pledge RESPECT and LOYALTY.
Wave with PRIDE from sea to sea and within your folds, keep us ever UNITED.
Be for all a symbol of LOVE, FREEDOM and JUSTICE
God keep our FLAG
God protect our CANADA


À mon drapeau et au pays qu'il représente, je promets RESPECT et FIDÉLITÉ.
D'une mer à l'autre, flotte avec FIERTÉ et dans tes plis garde nous toujours UNIS.
Sois, pour nous tous, un symbole de l'AMOUR, de la LIBERTÉ et de la JUSTICE.
Dieu garde notre DRAPEAU.
Dieu protège notre CANADA.

Actually, this isn't official but apparently this was recited for some time in the 60s and 70s. It was proposed by the Right Honourable Alexandre Cyr and apparently some schools (private Catholic schools, apparently) still recite it from time to time.
posted by champthom at 7:14 PM on April 15, 2008


Hey, champthom, we never said that in our schools (60's & 70's), but then again maybe missionaries hadn't yet made it to our part of northwestern Ontario.
posted by Artful Codger at 7:22 PM on April 15, 2008


Wow, I'm glad I didn't have to say an all-caps pledge of whatever in class, that would have been annoying.

Also: you have to face the flag when you say the American pledge of allegiance? I think even 5-year-old me would have rather gone to the principal's office. What a weird country.
posted by blacklite at 7:28 PM on April 15, 2008


Artful Codger: Like I said, it's unofficial but apparently some Canadian school children recited it.

Also, turns out the Philippines have a pledge too:

I am a Filipino
I pledge my allegiance
To the flag of the Philippines
And to the country it represents
With honor, justice and freedom
Put in motion by one nation
For God, Nature,
Humanity and
Country.
posted by champthom at 7:33 PM on April 15, 2008


My creative writing teach always said that ellipses were for showing that something was being left out. If you just wanted to show a pause, according to him, you should use an em dash.

Lone Star is the worst beer I've ever tasted.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:57 PM on April 15, 2008


Modern Humorist has pretty much permanently improved the pledge for me. I never really think of it any other way.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:44 PM on April 15, 2008


Mmmm, militantly atheistic communism. Where do I pledge for that?
posted by Abiezer at 9:10 PM on April 15, 2008


Mmmm, militantly atheistic communism. Where do I pledge for that?

Er, well, if that's your flavor, there's still a few places. . .
posted by Lord Chancellor at 9:36 PM on April 15, 2008


Slarty Bartfast: Raucous laughter and a loud, sarcastic Pledge of Allegiance followed. I had never felt so proud to be a citizen as that moment.

Wish I lived in your district. There wasn't any irony at Ingraham High School.
posted by owhydididoit at 9:43 PM on April 15, 2008


One nation: UNDERPANTS

Do other countries have pledges of allegiance? I don't think we have one here in Canada, certainly not one that is drilled into our heads every single school day.

My memory is sketchy at best going any further back than yesterday, but I seem to remember chanting some damn thing every morning when I was in elementary school in Ontario. Can't remember for the life of me what it was, though? The Lord's Prayer maybe?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:53 PM on April 15, 2008


fuckin' commas. I mean commies. I mean commas. Ah, fuck.
posted by unSane at 9:57 PM on April 15, 2008


Worst. Punction. Suggestion. Ever.
posted by klarck at 10:03 PM on April 15, 2008


2nd. Worst. Spelling. Ever.
posted by klarck at 10:03 PM on April 15, 2008


Well, if "punction" isn't a word, it should be.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:13 PM on April 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Why would you lie about how much god you have? Why would you lie about something dumb like that?

I'm not sure why we require grade school children to recite a loyalty oath in the first place. Was there some sort of rash of 8 year old defectors in the 50s?

They started doing the pledge in after the Civil war, before which people really did mainly consider themselves citizens of various states, rather then the U.S, at least from what I've read. Obviously it did a pretty good job of turning Americans into pretty patriotic people. The "Under god" bit was done in the 1950s in order to fight atheistic communism.
posted by delmoi at 10:48 PM on April 15, 2008


One nation under GOP.
posted by lightweight at 12:53 AM on April 16, 2008


Well, if "punction" isn't a word, it should be.

It's obsolete, but it's a word. OED:

1. The action or an act of pricking or puncturing; a prick; a puncture. Also fig.
[Sample citations:]
1548 Hall's Vnion: Richard III f. liijv, A punccion and pricke of hys synfull conscience.
1677 W. HARRIS tr. N. Lemery Course Chym. (ed. 3) 254 Its Emetick quality.. can proceed from nothing but a punction made in the stomach.

2. A pricking or prickling sensation.
[Sample citations:]
1596 P. LOWE Easie Method to Cure & Preuent Spanish Sicknes v. sig. B4, He shall haue great drought with want of appetite, punctions throgh all his body like poynts of needles, [etc.].
1607 E. TOPSELL Hist. Fovre-footed Beastes 257 Goats cheese also represseth all dolors and punctions.
1688 R. HOLME Acad. Armory II. 387/2 A Punction, or Punctious feeling.
posted by languagehat at 8:24 AM on April 16, 2008


I seem to remember chanting some damn thing every morning when I was in elementary school in Ontario. Can't remember for the life of me what it was, though? The Lord's Prayer maybe?

Yep.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:41 AM on April 16, 2008


What a jerk! While he and others blather the two adulterating words, I simply pause until I can join in again.
posted by emmaglitch at 10:18 AM on April 16, 2008


Do other countries have pledges of allegiance?

Mexico has one:

¡Bandera de México!
Legado de nuestros héroes
Símbolo de la unidad
De nuestros padres y nuestros hermanos;
Te prometemos ser siempre fieles,
A los principios de libertad y de justicia
Que hacen de nuestra Patria
Una nación independiente
Humana y generosa
A la que entregamos nuestra existencia.


My quick translation:

Mexican Flag!
Legacy of our heroes
Symbol of the unity
Of our parents and our brothers;
We promise to always be faithful
To the principles of liberty and justice
That make of our Country
An independent nation
Humane and generous
To which we give our existence.

posted by Penks at 10:38 AM on April 16, 2008


One nation, Underdog
posted by Turd Ferguson at 11:41 AM on April 16, 2008


Also: you have to face the flag when you say the American pledge of allegiance? I think even 5-year-old me would have rather gone to the principal's office. What a weird country.

Just to be clear, it's not universal - it's up to the school what they want to do. I went to several different public and private schools in NY and MA, and I'm pretty sure I never said the pledge of allegiance at any of them. My high school in MA had a school song we had to sing once a week, but I don't even remember if there were flags around. And I definitely didn't say it in my hippie elementary school on Hudson street...
posted by mdn at 12:26 PM on April 16, 2008


During my last year teaching in this pisshole state, the Texas legislature passed a law making the National and State pledges mandatory.

I let the kids do it if they wanted and read a book myself.
Guess how many of the kids said the pledge. Guess.
posted by Seamus at 2:55 PM on April 16, 2008


Please don't guess.
I don't remember because I was always reading.
I'm pretty sure it was never any more than none.
posted by Seamus at 2:56 PM on April 16, 2008


Texas has schools?
posted by Artw at 3:13 PM on April 16, 2008


texas has kids?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:21 PM on April 16, 2008


Well, in the homeschools surely… or working in the fields.
posted by Artw at 3:22 PM on April 16, 2008


texas has kids?

Around 400 of them according to the latest news reports.
posted by TedW at 6:43 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's obsolete, but it's a word. OED:

[In a C. Montgomery Burns voice]Eeexxcellent!
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:34 AM on April 17, 2008


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