Why Publicize The Pledge In School, But Not Prayer?

Lyrikal Rose Ruth Jenkins | Contributor

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28

MARCH, 2017

Young Voices

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As a 16 year old high school student, the idea of making a promise to a “not so American flag” concerns me. I will elaborate. In my opinion, it is less patriotic to retain the display of the “American flag” if it was manufactured in another country. You see, I believe the pledge and the flag are contradicting.

I previously used the phrase “not so American flag” because an ample amount of flags that are being utilized in the U.S. were created in a country that is 7,233 miles away. This country is China. Why does China assemble our American flags? Well, according to my research it is cheaper to have flags imported from overseas than it is to create an actual American flag here in the U.S. However, our government would rather disburse money on other things that are highly irrelevant. Alright, now I will go back to the topic of the Pledge. Did you know that before it was called the Pledge of Allegiance it was known as the Bellamy Salute in 1892? You’re probably wondering what the difference is. Well, I’ll show you.

Bellamy Salute (from Wikipedia)

Pledge of Allegience (from TBO.com)

Wait a minute. Does the Bellamy Salute remind you of anything? That’s right. Hitler and his followers. For those of you who may not know Hitler, he was the leader of the Nazi party. Basically, he was the cause of World War II and the Holocaust which consisted of about six million European Jews who were killed by the Nazi Germany and other Nazi supporters.

Why does China assemble our American flags?

I can understand why the alternation of the hand placement occurred, but I am still bewildered about the reason of why we as Americans say the pledge. Honestly, it is just a semantic satiation. I truly believe that the Pledge of Allegiance has lost its meaning because we have been programmed to say it an ample amount of times over the years. Think about it. Children begin saying the pledge as young as 3 years old and continue it throughout elementary, middle school, high school, and so on. But do we even know what we’re saying. I mean yeah, we can hear the words coming out of our mouth, but do we truly understand that we are making a promise to a flag, a country, an entire nation?! I wonder what would happen if those young children ever broke that promise. Will they be penalized? Would we be penalized? Reciting the pledge of Allegiance is like expounding a script or speech that you have read over and over and over and over and over and over again. Eventually, it will become tiring. Similar to saying the pledge. I’ve seen an ample amount of students, including myself, who dragged their words and could care less about saying the pledge, but we said it anyway because we felt as though we are obligated to. However, I stopped reciting the pledge after doing my research and realized that it was not benefiting me in any way, shape, or form. This brings me to another question. Why keep the pledge, but get rid of prayer?

Lyrikal Rose Ruth Jenkins

Lyrikal Rose Ruth Jenkins

Student | Artist | Business Owner

Daughter of LaTrossica Wilson and stepdaughter of Shon Wilson. She is a 16yr old Creative and Performing Art student at Overton High School. Lyrikal is an artist who has been honored to have her artwork featured all over Memphis, such as First TN Bank, The Brooks Museum, and Memphis College of Arts. Lyrikal is one of the youngest entrepreneurs in Memphis to have owned her own business (Amazing Creations by Lyrikal) since the age of 12. She creates duct-tape crafts, paintings, drawings, and photography. Hobbies (a short list): sewing, skating, and spending time with family. Lyrikal’s dream is to become a well-known actress and artist inspiring children and teens all over the world to make their dreams a reality.

As a Christian, I am a witness of the effects of prayer and how it can influence the lives of many, but I cannot say the same about the pledge. I know there are a variety of religions in the world, but being exposed to other religions gradually decreases the stereotypes of individuals who share an opposing belief. Prayer in schools can also be an opportunity for students, teachers, principals, and others to promote religious tolerance and acceptance. In my opinion, inviting prayer may allow more students or even adults to feel more comfortable about publicly displaying their faith. I say this because many individuals may be embarrassed and tend to shy away from their religious beliefs due to the lack of religion exposure. However, if prayer is allowed to be publicly displayed in school and vocalized over the intercom similar to announcing the pledge, then students will most likely feel more confident about their beliefs and they might even develop a closer connection with their God. With that being said, there may be less teen crimes, drop outs, and other negative activities involving the youth if we weren’t all bullied into saying the pledge regardless of our own individual beliefs.

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