Friday, July 21, 2006
If this is what passes for spirituality,
Do you have a spiritual heritage, do you believe this nation has a spiritual heritage?
I don't believe in either.
Spirits exist outside time and nations. The thought that one might have a spirit has had a liberating influence in American history.
For instance, in the Second Great Awakening, a denomination was born-- the African Methodist Episcopal church. It was created by people who believed that spirituality and faith gave them the freedom and equality that their nation and culture had denied them time & time again.
The rational underpinning of the antislavery movement in this country came from two sources: the Declaration of Independence and the Second Great Awakening. Because if every spirit is equal in the eyes of God, it isn't much of a leap toward the idea that all human beings should be equal in each others' eyes and should be treated equally by the society, culture, polity and government.
It isn't much of a leap to assert that the powerful have no right to weaken and destroy the impoverished.
The problem with this is that the Second Great Awakening postdates the founding of the nation, and the Pledge of Allegiance postdates both the Declaration of Independence and the Second Great Awakening.
The Declaration of Independence takes time to read and understand.
Similarly, the Second Great Awakening is a historical event that is absolutely seminal to the development of American culture.
The Pledge of Allegiance was created in a time where people, in their xenophobia and obsession with simplicity and order, wanted simple formulas to say that would show loyalty without requiring understanding.
The Pledge of Allegiance should be scrapped, never said in public again. It belongs on the trash heap of history, to be studied as a document of the American Gilded Age, nothing more.
Because simple formulas are more appropriate for people who don't want to think, and therefore inappropriate and even inimical to a democratic society.