Monday, October 17, 2011

Pledges, Oaths and Testimonies



Several years ago there was a movie with Steve Martin and John Candy, Plains, Trains and Automobiles; but that has nothing to do with my title choice for today’s article, Pledges, Oaths and Testimonies.  You’ll have to forgive me; my word association test results given to the police psychiatrist must have been similarly amusing. 

According to a story listed on the Blaze out of McAllen Texas:

“Students in a Texas public high school were made to stand up and recite the Mexican national anthem and Mexican pledge of allegiance as part of a Spanish class assignment, but the school district maintains there was nothing wrong with the lesson.”

Things have changed a bit since I took Spanish in high school.  Back in my day we sang Christmas Carols “en Espanol” and recited how to order spaghetti while at the bibliotheca; it’s been a long time so the recitation might be off a bit.  In today’s public school environment there’s no way students would be singing Christmas Carols; but what’s this nonsense about the Mexican national anthem and Mexican pledge of allegiance?

“School district spokesman Mark May defended the presentations, saying it’s a state requirement for upper-level language classes to teach about foreign culture.”

Let’s say it was a poor choice on the part of the teacher and give her the benefit of the doubt; it might be better for students than eating spaghetti in the library with the chance of getting tomato sauce on all those books intended to indoctrinate our children with progressive leanings.  I don’t believe that any more than you do; but I’m still willing to give it the benefit of doubt.

Back in the late 70’s I thought about taking Kung Fu and began looking at various schools in the area.  Victor Chang’s name came up as one of the better instructors so I went over one day to observe.  

I was asked to quietly sit on a bench during class.  Each student upon entering the room bowed reverently which caught my attention.  There was a recess in the wall which, given my position, kept me from seeing what was within that recess; but clearly each student would bow in front of it.  In my mind there was an immediate “red flag”; I’m a good Christian and there’s no way I was going to bow before Buddha or any other pagan image.

After the class was completed I mentioned my concerns to Victor in his office.  He broke out in laughter as he explained, “There no idol there, student miss target and kick wall, make hole.  Students showing respect for class and teacher.”  

There’s a lesson in there somewhere, something about not jumping to conclusions.  I wasn’t very good at Kung Fu; but that’s a “whole other story” as we say here in Texas.

Several years ago I flew out to see my folks and attended my dad’s Presbyterian church so we could enjoy the morning together.  During the service the congregation was asked to stand and recite the Nicene Creed.  Out of respect for my dad I stood next to him; but remained silent as I found the creed to be in conflict with my beliefs as found in the Articles of Faith .

The words we speak are important, what we pledge allegiance to, what we hold sacred and what we will defend, even until death.  If we raise our arm to the square we are taking a solemn oath, one which requires more than lip service.  Maybe that’s what grabbed my attention to a high school class being asked to recite the Mexican national anthem and Mexican pledge of allegiance as part of a Spanish class assignment; it’s not the same as reciting a poem or any other so called cultural experience. 

I mention this, picturing in my mind every public servant from a local police officer on the day he/she receives their badge with an oath to protect, serve, enforce the laws and defend the Constitution all the way up to the President of the United States of America as the Oath of Office is administered, an oath to uphold the Constitution.  When we raise our arm to the square it is a promise to our fellow citizens that our words are true as well as a covenant with God; there is never a time when Pledges, Oaths and Testimonies are to be treated lightly.

4 comments:

The probligo said...

Hi TF. A lot in there which really rang true with me - giving and keeping one's word, one's honour; having respect for the beliefs and culture of others; what is important in one's own beliefs; what is important in the beliefs of others.

Your description of standing in a Presbyterian Church out of respect is something that I have done many times myself. I have attended (but not partaken) Catholic High Mass at both a funeral and at Christmas; an ordination at the Anglican Cathedral, Auckland; many ordinary services at church for weddings, baptisms (including my own two children), funerals, reading of banns, and just normal Sunday Service. I participate out of respect for those whose beliefs are embodied in that place, just as you did, without in any compromising my own beliefs.

Thank you.

What is the difference between bowing to Bhudda and kneeling before a representation of the crucifixion?

T. F. Stern said...

Probligo, You asked, "What is the difference between bowing to Bhudda and kneeling before a representation of the crucifixion?" For me there would be no difference since I don't do either, not being Catholic. Thanks for leaving your input.

MK said...

"Let’s say it was a poor choice on the part of the teacher and give her the benefit of the doubt...."

Those days are gone now TF, these days the choices are poor and it's intentional and the end game is nefarious.

I don't trust these types because far too often their so-called good intentions have only turned everything to crap.

T. F. Stern said...

MK, I as good as said the same thing, not believing for even half a moment this was simply a poor choice. Thanks for leaving your comment.