What We Did Yesterday:
…Kids are mystified by most everything in the pledge. But “one nation under God” has the distinction of being a phrase that not even grown-ups are clear on. Congress inserted the words at the height of the Cold War in 1954 to underscore the difference between American values and those of the atheistic Communists. But its actual meaning is up for grabs. Does it affirm our faith in God or assert that we have his special protection? Is it a ceremonial deist formula with no especial religious character? Or is it merely a historical nod to the beliefs of the founders, as the 9th Circuit majority said?
…That ambiguity has certain advantages. But it actually came about because of a linguistic misunderstanding. The words were taken from the Gettysburg Address, where Lincoln asked his listeners to resolve that “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.” Except that in the Gettysburg Address, “under God” didn’t modify “this nation” but the following phrase, “have a new birth of freedom.” In Lincoln’s time, “under God” was a common idiom that meant “with God’s help” or “the Lord willing.” People used it to qualify a bald prediction or promise, mindful of the admonition against vainglory in the book of James.
Actually, my guess is that Lincoln would have inserted the words “under God” if he had written the Pledge of Allegiance, too, although he probably would have put them at the end. He would have been uncomfortable about describing the country as indivisible, just and free without adding a “God willing” somewhere.
By all accounts, inspired by a sermon he attended, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to change the words of the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954. It was the height of the Cold War, and damn what the original author (ironically a Socialist) would have thought, we had to stick it to those godless Commies! And besides, it wasn’t the first time the thing had been changed.
Its been controversial ever since. Fodder for both left and right. Especially the Religious Right.
Source of annoying memes on social media.
Other than the irony I find in from people that repost this usually being offended about the idea of not saying the Pledge, I don’t know what this person is talking about. Sharkbait and Chickadee say the Pledge of Allegiance daily.
On one hand, I don’t care about the phrase “under god” because we (as a polytheistic pantheist family) have what is probably the most expansive possible idea of deity*. But on the other hand, it pisses me off that we cater to the uber-Connies and the Fundies in this country and every time someone points that out, there’s some nutty “how dare you take my rights away, back in the good old days…” reaction. At the risk of offending someone with my cursing (though if they are the sort of person offended by cursing, this entire post is likely to make them explode), Fuck ‘Em.
I’m sick of pandering.
Back in “the good old days”:
So yes, the phrase “under God” offends me. It offends me because I am offended by the people that would look back at our history as “the good old days”–something worthy of going back to or attempting to emulate in this epoch of our history. Despite what these small minded people think, it doesn’t offend me because of the word “god”. Unlike them, my faith and my identity is not threatened by the inclusion (or lack thereof) of a three letter word* in an oath that most kids can’t pronounce and don’t know the meaning of anyhow.
If anything, (linguistic incorrectness aside) the inclusion of the words “under God”, and the idea that every school child should be reciting it, should offend them.
Because when our family says it, we ain’t talkin’ ’bout YHWH.
Honestly, they should be considering the blasphemy that they are participating in as a result of kids like mine say the Pledge as it is written along side their children. If they really believed in it as anything other than a (poorly phrased and overly conceited) political statement**, they would be worried about the wrath of their deity at being invoked as one of many, many gods–about this country being perceived as being under gods, not under God.
And I really pity the fools should they ever manage to bring back school-led prayer to public schools.
*Just because this phrase doesn’t bother me theologically, does not mean that I am not troubled by the lack of regard for the diversity that this phrase causes. We live in a country that is supposed to support freedom of religion and not believe in special tests of such…the recitation of the Pledge, whether it is legislated or not, serves as a social test of religion that children are forced into to satisfy the political and religious inclinations of some parents. I just happen to be more troubled by the vile hatred that is spewed forth by those claiming special ownership over this country and what it means to be American (and Christian).
**If nothing else, these uber-Connie Fundie types should also be offended at the mere notion of a state-sponsored anything as antithetical to their vision of small government and whatever brand of True Freedom™ they are sniffing for the week and…you know, particularly the notion that this nation is indivisible. Heck, one would think, in the interests of intellectual consistency, more of them would rally to abolish the thing in its entirety!
Etymologically speaking, the term flora and fauna was popularized by Linnaeus in the mid 18th century, and means the plant and animal life of a particular religion. The words flora and fauna originate from deity names in the Roman pantheon. Flora is the goddess of flowering plants, whose feast day was celebrated at the end of April, and Fauna is a goddess who is either the daughter, sister, or consort (as Bona Dea) of Faunus, a sort of analog to the Greek Pan considered be a god of the woods and wild lands as well as prophecy. From a Pagan perspective, knowing your flora and fauna is a two-fold idea–both knowing the plants and animals (among other things) of your land-base and knowing the Flora and Fauna (whether or not there is actually a Flora and Fauna in your pantheon) of your land base as well.
Once again, this gets back to the idea of loving where you live as an active devotion–of spiritual bioregionalism. Every one of us lives in a unique ecosystem with a unique history. ” Our individual ecosystem can strengthen us, can teach us, can shape us…if we let it. If we know how to talk to it–and more importantly, if we know how to listen to it. I’ve said it enough times that I think I’m a broken record on the subject, but part of being a witch is being part of one’s environment. That means knowing my local plants and animals, knowing where my water comes from, what my geography means for my weather patterns, what the natural AND human history of my landbase is, and where my soil comes from.”*
You can’t be part of your environment without knowing your landbase…and you can’t know your landbase if you don’t know whom you share it with. Maybe it seems like a daunting task…after all, there are 1.3 million described species (as of 2013), and (perhaps) an estimated 8.7 million species in total. So start small, and close to home…
Who are your neighbors (two legged, four legged, feathered, finned and leafy)? Start in your backyard–learn the trees, the grasses, the “weeds”, wildflowers and shrubs, the birds and small mammals that visit, look for amphibians and reptiles, get to know your insects. Once you have those down, learn your neighborhood, and then the parks and wild spaces where you live. Get field guides specific to your state or your ecosystem (or both), and learn your flora and fauna as a way to know your Flora and Fauna!
You may not have known, but its apparently not enough to just read to your children at bed time.
Really. There’s actually a technique to it…
I’m pretty fond of this, since its pretty close to what we naturally do anyhow when we read a story. But…I’m amused that it has its own acronym!
Act out the story using different voices for different characters, inflection and enunciation, etc. Be dramatic and make it fun. Point out key words. Encourage the kids to follow along with you. If there are repetitive terms or words, point them out, and develop a cue so they can chime in and help tell the story.
Every few pages, stop and look at the illustrations. Have the kids describe in their own words what is going on. Further explain difficult concepts and ideas.
Ask comprehension questions. Have children retell the story using the illustrations as a guide. Discuss the characters and their motivations, the underlying message of the story, etc. Discuss if they have ever felt like the character or what they think it would be like to be in a similar situation, etc.
I should really call these “musings” posts, blogging for the ADHD crowd! I’m sure Sharkbait (once he learns to read) would approve…
Last pot of tea, yesterday: Chamomile, lemon balm and mint–very relaxing!
First pot of tea, this morning: Sassafras–very refreshing!
First real thought of the day, courtesy of Facebook (as opposed to that “just woke up” fuzzy head): Standardized testing sucks! (I’ve even mentioned it in my discussions of the Delphic Maxims) Here’s why, in a share-able pic:
But there may be (maybe) hope in sight! Teachers in Seattle are boycotting the test (seemingly supported by their school officials) and even in Texas, 80% of schools and teachers have signed a national resolution against standardized testing.
Funny story on the idea of an individual’s score varying from day to day… When I was a junior in high school I took the ACT. Both times I took it, I got the same overall score, but wildly different subject scores. The first time I took it, I had a 102 degree fever and felt like crap. I scored awfully in math, but awesome in the reading portions, and better on everything else (but still not great). The second time, I was in my first car accident…and for some reason, I scored really, really well in math and sort of ‘meh’ in everything else (not badly, but not great). Combining my best scores gave me a 34…combining my worst scores, a 22…and my overall composite score was a 30–which is a damn good ACT score, don’t get me wrong. But the point is that taking a test like this isn’t indicative of what you actually know, and what you are actually able to do.
And here’s more of the “to Pagan or not” debate that I blogged about the other day. This blogger has a huge list of other bloggers that have covered the subject so far…and here’s another post on the subject as well. I’ve been reading through some of these, and I can’t help but think the real problem really is that (as I said in the comments discussion of my post), “I honestly think these people really do feel like they have been left behind, or have moved beyond what they think Paganism is now. Except Paganism now isn’t much different than it was 10 or 20 years ago–except more accepted in some public arenas…so there is also part of me that wonders if their expectations weren’t being met and that Paganism just isn’t what they had made it to be in their mind.” To me, all this kerfuffle really does seem like the problem is more that the criticism over who the “real” Pagans are (or are not) is that they just don’t “like sharing (their) toys with those Other People that also want to be Pagan.” Perhaps its an unfair assessment, or maybe we are watching The Pagan Reformation! More likely than not, its just round 143 of this same old, same old.
And now for something completely different, how about some random thoughts?
A few more pics for the #firstthirtyone photo challenge…
Moment of Zen: 10 minutes of Mindfulness
And a poem for parting for the cat companions in the crowd…
Felis Cattus, is your taxonomic nomenclature,
an endothermic quadruped carnivorous by nature?
Your visual, olfactory and auditory senses
contribute to your hunting skills, and natural defenses.
I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
a singular development of cat communications
that obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
for a rhythmic stroking of your fur, to demonstrate affection.
A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents;
you would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
And when not being utilized to aide in locomotion,
it often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.
O Spot, the complex levels of behaviour you display
connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.
~~Data’s Ode to Spot from Star Trek~~