read, or heard in the news, there is a court challenge in Massachusetts over the phrase "under God" in our pledge. Atheist parents, and I assume other non-Christian parents, object to their children having to make this declaration.
As an Atheist, I share their concern but I feel this is simply a symptom of a much more problematic tendency resulting from our Western team-competition mentality.
If you listen to what is being said, the children are "pledging allegiance" to something they do not yet understand. They are applying a signature, when they have not read the contract.
I cringe when I see young children being baptized. I recently attended a child baptism. The parents beamed as they gushed over their child with compliments.
"We are so proud of you for making this decision to be baptized" they said; and the crowd gave its assenting nod (at my previous church they would hoot and holler).
I once heard a young teen declare that the United States was "the best country in the world." This was stated by a child I know has never traveled abroad, nor spent any time researching alternative economic or political systems.
In all of these, and similar situations, we have taught our children to have certainty in areas in which they have no knowledge or experience. They have been trained to make statements of an absolute nature, and to regard with suspicion anyone who does not share their certainties. From what I have observed, these children grow up, not only being weak in critical thinking skills, but regard with disdain those who practice such skills.
How much better a citizenry we might have if we taught our children to withhold judgement on matters in which they are not yet educated. What if we taught them it is ok to abstain from opinion when they are not well versed in the subject? What if they really understood the old proverb "Every argument sounds correct, until the other side is presented?
Instead, we train our children to parrot words they do not understand; make declarations on topics in which they are not schooled; and enter into commitments they are too young to comprehend.
I believe we can do better....