Allegiance To The Republic

Events occurring and how they relate/affect Anabaptist faith and culture.
Heirbyadoption
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Allegiance To The Republic

Postby Heirbyadoption » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:56 am

On another forum, a young lady from one of our local churches has been wrestling with how to explain to her young students why she does not engage in the Pledge of Allegiance. I'd like to hear (from those who have no objection to saying the Pledge and ALSO from those who feel they cannot) what it means to you for someone to rise, to place their hand on their heart, and most specifically, to publicly state that they Pledge ALLEGIANCE To The Republic. Is it just words, is it just respect, are there greater ramifications, etc? Thank you in advance for your civility.
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Neto
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Re: Allegiance To The Republic

Postby Neto » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:12 pm

Speaking as one who was once deeply patriotic, I view it as an act of worship, expressed in both the words of the pledge (or anthem), and in the action of placing the hand over the heart. I would say that we should stand out of respect anytime the flag passes (like in a parade), or when the pledge is being made or the anthem being sung by others. (I regard patriotism as a natural human response, an extension of the identity of self as one relates to their group. But it is a response of the natural man, not of the new man. The new man must save all adoration & worship for the King of glory.)
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KingdomBuilder
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Re: Allegiance To The Republic

Postby KingdomBuilder » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:16 pm

Many American-loving Christians claim it's not an oath. I believe the language makes it very clear that the Pledge of Allegiance is. I think the social ramifications of not reciting the pledge speaks to the state of those who say the pledge...
As such, I do not say the pledge. My allegiance is to one and one Kingdom only... to swear that I will support and stand by whatever this barren land proclaims is very much against the Scripture.
I'm in public schools frequently, so this is a real, conscious decision for me. I often try to time a bathroom visit during pledge time; if not, I merely stand at the back of the class so attention isn't raised.
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Dan Z
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Re: Allegiance To The Republic

Postby Dan Z » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:19 pm

I didn't grow up Anabaptist, and went to public school - faithfully pledging allegiance every day at school - and singing the national anthem or "my country 'tis of thee" with gusto.

In my 20's, I began to understand more deeply Christ's and his Apostle's call to become citizens of the Kingdom of God - and thus that framed my role as a "stranger and alien" when relating to powers outside of the spiritual boundaries of God's Kingdom. I came to see that my fellow citizens, in this regard, were other Christ-followers - regardless of their nationality - not necessarily the people in the geo-ploitical boundaries in which I found myself. I also learned that my interface with society was to be ambassadorial - as "salt and light" - bearing witness to the way of Christ, and doing good to all men on his behalf.

When I finally realized that dual citizenship was not an idea Jesus was promoting("You cannot serve two masters"), and that my vocation as a Christ-follower was all encompassing ("Die to self" "Give all that you have"), I grew uncomfortable pledging allegiance to any power other than Jesus and his Kingdom. Not to mention that it feels like an oath to me - hand on the heart and all - which is a violation of Christ's teaching in the sermon on the mount. Oh...and pledging reminds me of OT idolatry in some ways.

My five years living in Haiti cemented this perspective as I understood more deeply the boundless nature of the Kingdom of God. And while I still appreciate my beautiful country deeply, I also grew uncomfortable singing songs glorifying this country of my birth and the military action that brought it about.

My wife and I haven't pledged allegiance or sung patriotic songs in about 30 years. In public settings, we do generally stand respectfully, hands by our sides, when the pledge is recited or national anthem is sung - I'm not looking to pick a fight or be a militant. In Christian settings, however, we have at times remained seated as a form of mild protest when the mood get's too patriotic.
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RZehr
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Re: Allegiance To The Republic

Postby RZehr » Tue Feb 14, 2017 4:16 pm

I'm very seldom in a place where the pledge of allegiance is done. But if I was, I wouldn't have a problem standing, but I wouldn't say the pledge. I also wouldn't place my hand over my heart.
My actions are not in protest - or else I would refuse to stand. I stand out of politeness, as when a judge walks into the courtroom. I am not looking for a place to make a statement. It is as if I'm in a foreign land and I want to avoid causing offence to local customs as much as possible.

I believe our primary goal as Christians is not to be simply a mirror to society, showing them how wrong they are, but rather our primary goal ought to be inviting them to change their allegiance and citizenship to a heavenly one.
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Neto
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Re: Allegiance To The Republic

Postby Neto » Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:51 pm

RZehr wrote: .... It is as if I'm in a foreign land and I want to avoid causing offence to local customs as much as possible.
....


I can identify with this, as some of our language teachers in Brazil were offended when they saw that we did not sing their anthem, or salute their flag. They were less offended after I told them that we didn't here, either.
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Judas Maccabeus
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Re: Allegiance To The Republic

Postby Judas Maccabeus » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:53 pm

Neto wrote:
RZehr wrote: .... It is as if I'm in a foreign land and I want to avoid causing offence to local customs as much as possible.
....


I can identify with this, as some of our language teachers in Brazil were offended when they saw that we did not sing their anthem, or salute their flag. They were less offended after I told them that we didn't here, either.


In the place where I served, you were merely expected to stand.

I had a former pastor who actually led the church in a recitation of the pledge of allegiance........with a guy in the National Guard holding a flag in the front of the church. If I was not running sound, I would have walked out. I had to tell him if he does that again, it would be my last service there. There never was a repeat. But the undercurrents continued for many years.

J.M.
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Neto
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Re: Allegiance To The Republic

Postby Neto » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:17 pm

This is an aside (bunny trail), but I will say that I am also uneasy with the Christian flag, and its pledge of allegiance. (And to some extent with a cross in the front of the church house, and with songs that seem to glorify it.)
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Heirbyadoption
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Re: Allegiance To The Republic

Postby Heirbyadoption » Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:15 pm

So much for taking a bathroom break or standing at the back, at least for me. We are part of a Classical Conversations homeschool group, and each family gets to lead one class day with a family presentation, prayer and the Pledge. Not wanting to make any waves, but staying in my chair is out of the question. I suppose I could ask one of the other dads to do it, I just struggle with asking someone else to do something I'm honestly convicted not to.
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Bootstrap
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Re: Allegiance To The Republic

Postby Bootstrap » Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:27 pm

Heirbyadoption wrote:So much for taking a bathroom break or standing at the back, at least for me. We are part of a Classical Conversations homeschool group, and each family gets to lead one class day with a family presentation, prayer and the Pledge. Not wanting to make any waves, but staying in my chair is out of the question. I suppose I could ask one of the other dads to do it, I just struggle with asking someone else to do something I'm honestly convicted not to.


I have the same problem once a year when I play a collection of flutes, penny whistle, and recorders for a homeschool group, which they always seem to schedule for the first period. The first year, they asked me to lead the Pledge of Allegiance, and I had to mumble my way out of that in front of the kids.

Awkward ... I snuck to the back of the room and stood respectfully.

I had the same problem when I student taught in Flint. The teacher was very surprised that you could be a Christian and not say the Pledge of Allegiance.
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