I’ve come to be used to the daily morning announcements at my school that say “if you would like to stand for the pledge, please do so now…” and most mornings I don’t notice as I’m in the hallway walking to the piano rooms while they’re doing it, but yesterday it was brought to my attention yet again as they said it at a Diversity Conference I attended.
“If you so choose to we will now say the pledge” they went and I immediately thought “seriously?”
First of all, nationalism doesn’t really have much to do with diversity. Sure, I can buy the argument that it shows that there’s diversity within the nation, but since they never really state that was the intention you can’t expect that to be the message that comes across from saying it.
As we all know, the controversial bit of the pledge comes with the “One nation under God” part which indicates worship of a monotheistic deity. This would seemingly exclude all those who don’t worship a monotheisitic deity. Well, OMG, excluding diverse religions or irreligion would seem to actually hurt the whole diversity idea!
Admittedly, done more out of anger than reason, at the end of that sentence I was compelled to let out a blasphemous “boo” which prompted a circle of heads to turn in my direction with glares, an also-seated Wiccan kid to grab my mouth and prevent me from speaking, and a Hispanic girl in front of me to turn ’round and say “I respect your rights, but that was highly disrespectful, you’re at a diversity conference, you need to respect other people’s religion” to which I said “as an under-represented minority due to unbelief I find the Pledge highly disrespectful”.
So it came across more as an insult to Christianity than anything else and it wasn’t effective communication, etc. I admit all this but submit to you that if I were to express my discontent with their choice to exclude me it was going to be limited to sound-byte form.
Whatever. I’m making the point of my three-letter protest clear now since I didn’t have the luxury of a non-sound-byte response then. It’s the height of hypocrisy to say the pledge and claim diversity, even if you don’t make other people say it, because that line still affirms that it is one nation under a monotheistic deity. In fact, I think it’s worse to preface it with “if you wish to say the pledge” because you have acknowledged there are people that clause excludes and have chosen to say it anyway.
And for my own sake and credit, couldn’t they have paused to think for a second what I really meant by my protest rather than to have jumped to the conclusion I was intentionally trying to offend worshippers of the Abrahamic religions? I suppose stirring thought with a heat-of-the-moment sound-byte is just the best you can hope for.