There's been quite a fervor over the Pledge of Allegiance this week.
Brookline Pax is trying to ban the pledge entirely in public classrooms. Marty Rosenthal, co-chairman of the group, is urging a non-binding resolution to ban the pledge because it is "at odds with America's most important traditions," he told the Boston Herald. The Associated Press further reports that Brookline Pax is arguing a ban on the pledge would protect students who choose not to participate from being bullied.
In 1943, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that schools could not mandate students recite the pledge, and the controversy has continued ever since that time. But it wasn't always that way.
An estimated 12 million students recited the Pledge of Allegiance in school for the first time 119 years ago on Oct. 12, 1892. Following the Pledge, students, teachers, school administrators and public officials either said a prayer or read scripture from the Bible. Each principal at schools in Boston recited Psalm 145.
The first celebration of Columbus Day in 1892 was an original effort to keep American exceptionalism alive and to prevent America from losing its freedom and liberties in becoming a socialist nation. James Upham began uniting Americans in 1891 during a very divisive time, by inspiring patriotism through a campaign to hang an American flag at every school in the nation.
The following year on the first Columbus Day, Upham's idea of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance underneath the flag became a national tradition. Columbus Day is a day to celebrate the discovery of America—a day of patriotism, unity and freedom. The celebration of Columbus Day allowed all Americans to boldly declare their love of our nation and their fortitude to keep America free.
In 1954, the words "under God" were added to the Pledge. The full Pledge reads: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
"The Pledge of Allegiance's proclamation that America is united as one nation under God is consistent with the Declaration of Independence," says Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. "The Judeo-Christian values that formed the foundation of America are the reason for American exceptionalism. When we say the Pledge, we are not Republicans or Democrats. We are Americans."