среда, 16. март 2011.

"One Nation, Under Nothing in Particular..."

The religious references in the Pledge of Allegiance are only one part of a bigger problem hitting America today - although it is definitely not exclusive to this country. The separation of church and state seems a great problem in the great US of A, where culture, politics and all codes of conduct are deeply rooted in their puritanical roots. Yet, as Samuel P. Huntington writes in his essay entitled Under God, there are atheists in America, as well as Christians. Obviously, when the Pledge of Allegiance proclaims that everybody is united "under God", eyebrows will be raised.

The idea is cheekily played with in the Gary Markstein's cartoon, where a group of children proclaim to their teacher, "One nation, under nothing in particular..." The joke is obvious - the "God" in the allegiance is no more than proverbial - nothing in particular, really. Religious imagery is just another way of bringing people together under a singular idea, and although it may have positive effects, the singular idea should be that of state, and not of religion, of God. The cartoon expands the idea by contrasting two generations - the teacher is obviously religious.

Many American Christians feel that Christmas is being taken away from them by the politically correct phrase "Happy Holidays". The Pledge of Allegiance issue is of similar character. Huntington states that atheists could feel as outsiders if they were to forced to be united "under God". Obviously, the same goes for non-Christian people. Yet, ultimately, he takes the easy way out and proclaims that atheists "do not have the right to impose their atheism on all those Americans whose beliefs (...) have defined America as a religious nation." If the keyword of the article is outsider, I guess no one wants to be "it".

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