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Is the Pledge of Allegiance an Invocation?

I attended a discussion in which the speaker strongly advocated for the total separation of church and state, going so far as to want to ban all prayer on any public property such as schools. This caused the woman sitting next to me to whisper to me, “Is the Pledge of Allegiance an invocation?”

She wondered because someone asked about the Pledge and the speaker reminded the audience that the original Pledge did not have the words “under God” included, that it took an act of Congress in response to “Godless Communism” to add “under God” in 1954.

(Actually, the Pledge has undergone four revisions since Francis Bellamy wrote the original in 1892: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”)

But I didn’t know the answer to her question because I didn’t know the meaning of invocation. So, I looked it up. The first of five definitions read, “the act or process of petitioning for help or support.” I don’t remember the word ever being used this way, outside of asking for something in a prayer.

The second definition: “a prayer of entreaty (as at the beginning of service or worship).” Entreaty means “an act of asking urgently.”

The Pledge is not an invocation, and neither is my favorite parody of it, courtesy of Matt Groening in Life In Hell:

I plead alignment to the flakes of the untitled snakes of a merry cow and to the Republicans for which they scam one nachos, underpants, invisible, with licorice and jugs of wine for owls.

Until next time! Use the right words!


January 13, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , ,

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