The original Pledge of Allegiance was authored by a socialist minister, Francis Bellamy, but was a secular pledge written at a time of rising nationalism around the globe. While some view the Pledge as a solemn moment to show patriotism, the mandatory inclusion of the Pledge at government functions coerces participation and becomes an exercise of nationalism rather than patriotism. With the 1950s insertion of “under God” into the Pledge, the exercise becomes one of Christian Nationalism.
Many patriotic Americans prefer not to recite the Pledge, often because they do not want to pledge to a deity they do not believe in, or because they object to the notion that the United States lived up to the promise of “liberty and justice for all.” It is contrary to American principles of free speech to coerce participation in the Pledge by including the practice in official government functions, asking the audience to stand, and leading the Pledge from a dais or the front of a classroom. The FFRF Action Fund supports efforts to remove the Pledge from government-sponsored activities for this reason.