The Pledge of Allegiance: 2 Reasons Why Christians Should Not Say It

Pledge Of Allegiance
The Pledge of Allegiance was originally composed in 1892 by Francis Bellamy. Originally the Pledge was composed of these words:

I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Interestingly you don’t find the controversial phrase “under God“,or even “of the United States of America“. Both of these phrases were later additions to the Pledge, leading to the final version that we all know today:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

So, enough about history. I’d like to propose that there are two primary reasons (if not more), why Christians/followers of Christ should NOT say the pledge. Before we get into those reasons I’d like to start with defining some of the key words in the pledge so we are all on the same page as to its meaning.

Related: Daring to Call it Idolatry, Nationalism in Worship – by Craig M. Watts

Pledge: To offer or guarantee by a solemn binding promise, similar to an oath.

Allegiance: [1] the loyalty of a citizen to his or her government or of a subject to his or her sovereign. [2] loyalty or devotion to some person, group, cause, or the like.

Flag:  A usually rectangular piece of fabric of distinctive design that is used as a symbol.(In this case, a symbol for the Republic of the United States of America)

From these definitions we can understand a couple of things. Making a pledge is basically the same thing as an oath. And, giving your allegiance to something or someone is basically committing your loyalty to that entity. Also, the flag stands for something more than itself. It stands for the country/government it belongs to. In short, to pledge your allegiance to the flag means that you are making an oath of loyalty to the country, the United States of America.

Now for the two reasons why I think Christians should NOT be making an oath of allegiance to the United States or any other earthly government.

#1 Jesus directly and without any qualifiers condemns making an oath to anything for any reason.

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’  But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:33-37)



The people in Jesus’ day had a practice of making oaths for almost anything. The practice of making oaths was to guarantee before men and God that the person making the oath would fulfill his obligation or carry out a promise. It was looked on as a criminal offense to break your oath. Thus, the Jews had been commanded to “fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made”. Jesus, however, changes things. Notice that he does not say, ” Do not swear an oath and then break it.” No, he says: “Do not swear an oath AT ALL”!!! He says that as people who follow God, less words, more often than not, is better than more. Simply say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, and do not swear an oath AT ALL!

#2 Jesus also teaches that men cannot serve two masters at the same time.

When teaching about worldly treasures, Jesus says we should be more concerned with the things of heaven and God’s kingdom than those of this world.

Also by Matt: For the American Part of Me…I Am Sorry (My Confession)

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” (Matthew 6:24)

We can’t give our loyalty to two masters and be pleasing to both. Whether the choice is between God and money, God and man, God and a government or nation, the choice is always the same, one or the other. It seems that Jesus is saying ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it too’. In light of this it just doesn’t seem possible to me to give my loyalty to God, and then try and give it to a government at the same time. Jesus also said ” My kingdom is not of this world”. Jesus has a kingdom, and just like an earthly kingdom , I can’t be loyal to two kingdoms at once. It would be impossible to be loyal to the USA and Iran at the same time! It’s the same with being part of the kingdom of God. Jesus calls us to be loyal to his kingdom, and if we have given our loyalty to God’s kingdom, how then can we try and give it to America or any other worldly kingdom?

To sum up: Pledging allegiance to the flag equates to making an oath of loyalty to an earthly kingdom. Both acts are condemned by Jesus. I’m ready to stop pledging loyalty to the United States or any other kingdom other than the kingdom of heaven. How about you?

Matt Young is a U.S. Soldier turned pacifist. An Anabaptist, non-violent, lover of God and people, Matt is a follower of Jesus Christ. He is married to his beautiful wife, best friend, and mother of their newborn son, praying that God’s will be done “on earth as it is in heaven”. You can contact and follow him on Twitter and on his blog, The Rejected Path.


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About the Author

Matt Young

Matt YoungMatt Young is a U.S. Soldier turned pacifist. An Anabaptist, non-violent, lover of God and people, Matt is a follower of Jesus Christ and blogs regularly at Christian Expatriate. He is married to his beautiful wife, best friend, and mother of their newborn son, praying that God's will be done "on earth as it is in heaven".View all posts by Matt Young →

  • Digger

    Reciting the Pleadge of Allegiance is condemned by Jesus? That doesn’t make us sound crazy at all!
    If you love God with all your heart, how is it possible to also love your neighbor? I’ll tell you; if your love is from God, divding your love does not diminish your love–it increases it! The same holds true for devotion, or loyalty, or allegiances. Yes, I am loyal to God above all. This does NOT mean that I am not also loyal to my family or my country, and saying so cannot be a sin!
    In this light, I disagree that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance violates Jesus’s command, “do not swear an oath at all.”
    In addition, the author is simply WRONG about the scripture. He claims that the command to not swear an oath has no qualifiers, and then in the same paragraph he LISTS THE QUALIFIERS! (Not by Heaven nor by Earth nor by your head.) We have to consider the entire section. Jesus also said, “do not break your oaths.” He wouldn’t have said this if we weren’t supposed to make any oaths at all.
    Finally, yes, pledges and allegiances are similar to oaths when read in Webster’s dictionary, but when read in God’s Holy Word, what we are doing when we pledge allegiance to the flag and the United States of America, IS NOT what Jesus was teaching people on the mount when trying to convince them to not get divorced and to keep their promises.

  • Digger

    Reciting the Pleadge of Allegiance is condemned by Jesus? That doesn’t make us sound crazy at all!
    If you love God with all your heart, how is it possible to also love your neighbor? I’ll tell you; if your love is from God, divding your love does not diminish your love–it increases it! The same holds true for devotion, or loyalty, or allegiances. Yes, I am loyal to God above all. This does NOT mean that I am not also loyal to my family or my country, and saying so cannot be a sin!
    In this light, I disagree that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance violates Jesus’s command, “do not swear an oath at all.”
    In addition, the author is simply WRONG about the scripture. He claims that the command to not swear an oath has no qualifiers, and then in the same paragraph he LISTS THE QUALIFIERS! (Not by Heaven nor by Earth nor by your head.) We have to consider the entire section. Jesus also said, “do not break your oaths.” He wouldn’t have said this if we weren’t supposed to make any oaths at all.
    Finally, yes, pledges and allegiances are similar to oaths when read in Webster’s dictionary, but when read in God’s Holy Word, what we are doing when we pledge allegiance to the flag and the United States of America, IS NOT what Jesus was teaching people on the mount when trying to convince them to not get divorced and to keep their promises.

  • Renny

    So, you are saying I should NOT make a vow in marriage to my wife . . . I should not make any kind of commitment of devotion to my children . . . I should not make any Membership Vows to my Church . . . I should refuse to sign any confidentiality clause in my contract at work (required for management).

    Your “literalist” interpretation of Jesus’ words is either naive or disturbing. What was behind his presentation? A follower of God should always tell the truth: then “oaths” are unnecessary. Your word is your bond. Not that “all oaths are from the boogey man!”

    • Jsimac

      Exactly… All I can say.

    • Justin

      The man basically comes out and says, by implication, all the medieval saints were sinners because at one point they swore an oath.

    • Tom Shultz

      Or as Jesus said let your yes be yes. Will you sir be faithful to your wife? Yes. Will you sir support your church body? yes.

  • Matt


    I am not trying to say that “all oaths are from the boogey man”. We can
    argue as to what Jesus actually meant by “do not swear an oath, AT ALL”
    (notice HIS words of “at all”, not mine) and the implications for us
    today from now until he returns. That, however, is not the main point of
    the article. The main point being that when combining making an oath
    with giving allegiance to a country, THAT is against the kingdom
    mentality that Christ followers should have. As I said in the last
    paragraph of the article :” Pledging allegiance to the flag equates to
    making an oath of loyalty to an earthly kingdom”. We can’t give our
    loyalty to both Gods kingdom and that of the empire of this world, for
    more often than not, their priorities conflict. THAT is the main point
    of the article. Let’s not argue word definitions all day, I think focusing on the main point will be much more profitable.

    • Digger

      Matt, friend,
      Swearing an oath and making an oath are two different things. Do not swear an oath, AT ALL, means, when making an oath, do not swear on heaven, Earth, or your head. Make the oath WITHOUT swearing on anything. If the phrase is meant to be without qualifiers, why are there qualifiers?
      Now, to address the main point of the article: I CAN make an oath of loyalty to the United States and NOT be in conflict with my oath of loyalty to God. In fact, I AM loyal to the United States and I AM loyal to God. Both God and the United States recognizes that my loyalty is FIRST to God, then to the United States.
      And as “ME” says in the post above yours, other scripture proves that we can be loyal to other entities. Scripture interprets scripture. Plenty of scripture points out loyalty of the Hebrews to the nation of Israel.
      So as not to be totally at odds with the article, I do agree that it is wise to pause before blindly reciting the pledge to take inventory of our motivation for doing so, and to rightly consider the hierarchy of our allegiance.
      As always, a balanced approach is better. I would argue that to say that Jesus “condemns” us for saying the pledge of allegiance is a far greater affront to God than actually saying the pledge of allegiance.
      Friend, Jesus has not condemned me.

      • Geoff Ramsay

        I think what Matt is asking us to look at is, why are we so bound to our national identifiers?

      • Keelan

        Digger, how can you make an oath to a fallen and broken institution that was founded on slavery and inequality among gender and class? How can you give your word in support a government that has and continues to kill innocent men, women and children (either in battle or through drone strikes)? How can you make a promise to the place where you live over Christians and fellow human beings around the world?

        “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15

        • AnnaMay

          The USA was NOT founded on slavery and inequality among gender and class (in fact their was no “class” system at the founding. the “class” is a recent development in America). Really? “continues to kill innocent men, women, and children”? 9-11 and the resent terror attacks in Libya and Boston didn’t kill anyone did they? Get real, the US isn’t “continu(ing) to kill innocent men, women, and children”, they are retaliating to protect their own innocent men, women, and children. And the pledge isn’t simple making a pledge to where you live, it’s a pledge to the founding basic ideals of America that are based off of the bible. and the pledge is to the people of the USA, not the “place”

          • Keelan

            America was most certainly built upon slavery and inequality. The land was stolen from the Native People, and worked by Men, Women & Children that were stolen from Africa. “Free” land & “free” labor. That is what jump started the economy in America to make it a “powerhouse.” And how can you say there was no class system? Only wealthy, land owning men were allowed to vote. Could Women vote? No. The Poor? Certainly not. Slaves? Ha! That is a class system.

            And YES, innocent men, women, and children continue to be killed by being caught in the crossfire of conflict and most especially through Drone strikes. FACT.

            And there is no mention of “people” in the pledge. Nor is there any mention of “biblical principals.”

            I’ll leave you with this thought about Christians & Human beings in lands far away: “For you are ALL children* of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, (American nor Iranian, Syrian, Afghan, Iraqi, etc.)* there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” -Gal. 3:26-28

            *Emphasis mine

          • Doc

            You are simply incorrect, sister. It is a fact that slavery was a major part of the colonial economy and land was indeed taken by the colonists from Native Americans. I am a Native and suggest read up on early Indian wars in the Ohio valley and ‘Manifest Destiny’. In reality the majority of American history is animated by overt White supremacy conflated with twisted ‘Biblical’ theology. And yes, the US continues to kill innocents. That burned and dying Afghan baby that haunts my dreams is not a figment of my imagination. When I served with the USMC in Afghanistan, innocents died, as they always do. This country needs to get truthful about its history and the reality of its actions. As a Christian, I agree with the author, we should not pledge oaths. Jesus was very clear in His teachings.

          • FREDDY GALLO

            If you belong to Jesus Christ you have no business killing your neighbor or doing any evil to your neighbor…Jesus says love your enemies and pray for them who persecute you…Under the old covenant it was an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth and life for life…It was also saith love your friends and hate your enemies…In the new testament a believer who understands the word and obeys the word of GOD cannot and will not do any harm to his neighbor , his enemy , or his brother in Christ…Like when Jesus enemies were mocking Him , spitting on Him , dividing His garments and killing Him , Jesus saith Father forgive them for they know not what they do…If you are obeying God you cannot serve any carved images of the flag.

      • Daniel Freysinger

        Swearing an oath and making an oath are two different things. Do not swear an oath, AT ALL, means, when making an oath, do not swear on heaven, Earth, or your head.

      • Macroman

        Duet 6:13 states “Fear the Lord your God and make no oaths only in His name” by what stretch of your imagination is the pledge of allegiance in Gods name?


        You can be faithful and loyal to the truth not only in the sight of men but in the sight of GOD…You can choose who you want to serve the GOD of Abraham , the GOD of Isaac , the GOD of Jacob , or the god of this world…GOD says it clearly not to make any carved image in the likeness of anything in heaven above or in the likeness of anything on the earth below to serve them… The prophet Daniel and the three brethren disobeyed the decree from the king of Babylon the great , Daniel was cast into a den of lions for praying to GOD and his three friends were cast into a fiery furnace for not bowing down to the statute of the golden image…When you place your right hand over your heart or over your forehead and you pledge your allegiance to the carved images of the flag to serve them you are committing fornication with the idol…GOD is a jealous GOD and He wont share His glory with any other god.

    • Frank

      Matt what about Christians in the military fighting for our country?

      • Daniel Freysinger

        One must be willing to kill in order to fight for this country. Jesus didn’t qualify “do not resist an evil person” with “unless you are wearing a uniform.”

        For 300 years Christians understood Jesus’ teachings forbid all violence. Once Constantine offered the Christians of his day a little wealth and worldy power all hell broke loose. The Just War concept didn’t show up until Augustine invented it.

        Here is just one quote from Hippolytus in the third century.

        “A soldier of the civil authority must be taught not to kill men and to refuse to do so if he is commanded, and to refuse to take an oath; if he is unwilling to comply, he must be rejected. A military commander or civic magistrate that wears the purple must resign or be rejected. If a catechumen or a believer seeks to become a soldier they must be rejected, for they have despised God. ”
        There are plenty of other quotes from the first three centuries regarding Christian rejection of violence.

        • Macroman

          Yes and no. Although early Christians refrained from violence remember a number of the early Christians were in the Roman army. To a greater or lesser extent the gospel was spread on the feet of the army around the Roman empire.

        • Kirk Backus

          Prime example of taking Matthew 5:39 way out of context, it has absolutely nothing to do with war or even violence for that matter. The context of that passage and the following verses where strictly about social issues and seeking revenge. Look at the conundrums explained in the next few examples. People don’t slap and sue in the context of war. Also, slapping was a form of exclaiming a social superiority and not strictly as a means of injury.

          Furthermore, just because a group of Christians understood Jesus’ teachings in a specific way does not mean they were correct. Paul’s letters addressed false doctrine constantly in the early church.

          • HChris

            I would think that to love one’s enemies means, at the very least, do not kill them.

            But, it is human to rationalize our behavior and use the bible erroneously to justify ourselves. Peace to you.

    • Geoff Ramsay

      This view is going to be unpopular in the current Christian climate, but it’s terribly necessary, and I appreciate your courage in challenging the flawed ideas we hold sacred.

      I pray you are never discouraged.

      • Snommelp

        Entirely random, but I saw your name and got incredibly excited, before realizing that you are not Geoff Ramsey from Rooster Teeth Productions. You may not even know who that Geoff is.

        • Geoff Ramsay

          Ha, another comment dragged me back here.

          It’s hard not to know the guy that makes people think my nickname is Geoff “Laser” Ramsay. As a consultant who is sometimes Googled, it’s lame – and sometimes very funny.

          • Joe

            Dude, milk it for all it’s worth :-P

            But yeah, I can see where it could get frustrating.

  • me

    This leaves out the concept of Jeremiah 29:7

    New International Version (©2011)
    Also,seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you
    into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too
    will prosper.”

    • Matt

      I feel this verse you quoted is out of context my friend. This promise of the Lord prospering a city where exiles live is clearly directed to the exiled Jews under King Nebuchadnezzar. We as Christ-followers are promised by Jesus to be “handed over to the courts”, “despised by the nations”, no where are Christians promised prosperity in the cities that they live.

  • Geoff Ramsay

    Matt, I appreciate your point here.

    We need to start identifying ourselves as Christ followers, and not as national citizens.
    Nationalism leads to exclusion of the other, and does not promote love of the ‘other’ – as Jesus intends for us.

  • SongBookz

    The original writer of the pledge was himself a Christian Socialist. As to whether a Christian should recite it is a matter of conscience. Most early Christians would have avoided serving in the military since the early church believed that when Jesus disarmed Peter the night of his arrest, he disarmed all Christians for all time. That changed when Christianity became Rome’s state religion and Augustine’s teaching.

    I don’t think we can say that a Christian who says the Pledge is more or less right than one who believes it it’s wrong, let everyone be convinced in their own mind.

  • jonathan starkey

    I hear you, but I think this takes the oath thing way out of context to the extreme. Some Anabaptist won’t wear wedding rings as a sign of oath, and some won’t swear on the Bible before a judge like they used to do in the old days.

    I think it would be better to take a more careful approach to scripture. Rather than reading it with a literal meaning.

    Second: No one can serve 2 masters. Then why did Paul tell the run away slave to go back and serve his master? Or to be subject to authority? Or to do all things as unto the the Lord. Again a less extreme reading of scripture.

    It maybe better just to say, I cannot give allegiance because the country advocates things that I cannot give allegiance to.

    As far as oaths go. Soldiers sign away their free-will to me that is more of an oath.

  • Melanie SpringerMock

    Matt, When I read this, I thought “well, of course, Christians shouldn’t pledge allegiance to the flag.” As a fellow Anabaptist, this seems obvious to me, and has been part of my Christian education since I was very small, something i learned almost be osmosis. Apparently, what you outline here is a new and unsettling concept to other folks. It’s puzzling to me that people might not think pledging allegiance to the flag of the US is problematic, nor that it might make that very flag into an idol. Like you, I believe we are asked to choose our allegiance between the kingdom of the world and the kingdom of God; as a Christian, I choose my allegiance with God.

  • Yaholo

    There are several cases of Jesus using the phrase “You have heard it said.” Each time he is replacing a law or a rule with a principle or guideline for using our own judgement and discernment. This way we can examine our hearts, and not simply our outward actions. I urge caution whenever we take Jesus’s words in a “this was the old rule, and this is the new rule” context. When God gave laws to man in the Old Testament, he was very specific and detailed regarding actions. Jesus’s words are powerfully simply and speak to the heart.

    The principle Jesus is describing here is one of integrity. Why would someone have to promise or make an oath if their “yes” could be trusted? It challenges us to examine our words and our own commitments to be reliable, transparent, and trustworthy to one another. It is like children “crossing their fingers,” people often ask for promises and vows from others who have had their “yes” and “no” be less than reliable.

    As to patriotism, if someone feels that saying the pledge of allegiance means they are putting their loyalty to country over loyalty to Christ, the most certainly should NOT say it. However, Paul was a Roman citizen who shrewdly leveraged his citizenship. Many of our founding fathers would say that love for our country means disobeying unjust laws when necessary.

    Our country wouldn’t be where it is today without brave individuals who disobeyed “the law of the land” to end slavery or stop segregation. To serve God IS to serve the greater good of this country and the world. For those who can understand that relationship, to serve God is never contrary to serving country, even if some in the country would disagree.

    To love thy neighbor is never contrary to loving God… but we can certainly do that with or without a pledge.

  • John Price

    As a Quaker I believe that we should tell the truth all the time, and not create special times when we are really telling the truth. If I say to you that TODAY I’m going to tell the truth, what does that say about my veracity in the past and the future? Unless I preface each statement with “Now I’m going to tell the truth”, then none of my statements can be assumed to be the truth. An oath, a pledge, a swearing in, all create a special time when we say we will be more honest than we normally are. As a Christian trying to tell the truth all the time, it seems counterproductive to me.

    As to saying an oath of allegiance “to the flag, and the government for which it stands”, it most certainly is idolatry. The oath is to the flag AND the government, so one is saying an oath to an object that represents something else, an idol.

    Even saying an oath of allegiance to the government has its problems. By saying an oath of allegiance, am I then participating in the creation of a separate class of citizens? Some are sworn to be loyal and some aren’t? And what of my promise if that government tells me to kill soldiers from another nation? As a pacifist do I keep my promise to the government, or to God?

    No, I cannot say the pledge. I will not promise to do the bidding of the government when it very well may contradict what God would have me do and force me to break that promise. I will not subjugate myself to an object, even if it is said to represent our government. My allegiance is to Christ. There is no other allegiance possible for a follower of Christ.

    So I do not rise for the pledge of allegiance. I remain seated and usually say a prayer for all of the citizens of all of the nations of the world. I do not swear to tell the truth on the witness stand either. Our legal system has accommodations for that. It seems that the law itself recognizes that integrity sometimes requires special rules.

    To those Christians who equate patriotism with Christianity, I ask you to think long and hard, and pray about this issue. It is a personal decision, not to be dictated by a church or a government. It is between you and God.

  • michael

    This view was normative in the primitive church. The church actually split on whether people who pledged allegiance to Caesar could be allowed back in the church, ever… or if pledging allegiance to a kingdom of Earth was forgivable, like other sinful behavior.

  • jaglag

    What about not saying it because it is in itself a lie. One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL? Not even close

  • Daniel Freysinger

    I loved the post and wanted to take a minute to say hi. I left the Air Force after 12 years as a contientious objector. My seperation date was 24 Sept 2001; two weeks after 9/11. The process took me 8 months, but it seems like a lifetime.

    It was the simple words of Jesus and the wonderful witness of the Anabaptists that helped me find my way. I tell people all of the time that the loudest evangelists I ever experienced were the Amish, and we never spoke a word to each other. I actually converted to Anabaptist outside of the Anabaptist faith. Michael Sattler and I became very good friends. There were many Anabaptist folks online that offered encouragement and support during my journey.

    I pray that your discharge is complete and if it isn’t, I pray for strength and many blessings or you and your family.

    I would love to keep in touch. If you Facebook, look me up. Not too many with my name on there.

  • Darryl Willis

    Matt, I don’t disagree with you in principle, but I think your arguments are rather weak in this instance. First of all, the context of Jesus’ prohibition of making an oath was people who were flippant regarding their word. Jesus was criticizing the practice of avoiding obligations by appealing to an oath (e.g., “Well, yes I did say I’d do it, but I didn’t swear by the altar!”).

    Nor does this take into account that Jesus uses a fair amount of hyperbole in the Sermon on the Mount in order to make a point.

    Secondly, contextually Jesus’ argument is that one cannot serve God and possessions/money.

    Now let’s move your argument to a non-governmental area: marriage vows. You make an oath to God and your spouse.

    It is an oath of loyalty.

    By making such marriage vows are you breaking Jesus’ prohibition against making and oath and are you serving two masters by promising loyalty to another entity (your spouse) besides God? How is this any different than the pledge of allegiance?

    • m_gear

      I agree with the oath/flippancy part. As far as the spirit of what it means to pledge allegiance, though, I really can’t see any reasonable way to reconcile the fact that according to the Bible, allegiance to God is clearly required with the fact that it’s impossible to be allegiant to two different entities who may very well tell you to do two different things with respect to the same decision. In the end, it’s just another case of the Bible flatly contradicting itself for the umpteeth time.

      • Darryl Willis

        Again, I appeal to marriage vows. Can a spouse tell you to do something antithetical to your Christian commitment? Of course! How is this different in essence. A spouse is a second entity just as the government is a second entity. An oath of loyalty to a spouse is just as much an oath of loyalty to anyone or anything else. It is clearly understood by the Christ follower that any entity with whom he/she has a relationship may ask something not condoned by God. The oath does not mean you are obligated to disobey God’s command. As a Christian I understand my allegiance to God subsumes all other oaths and allegiances. When there is a conflict between the two I choose God. Furthermore, the comparison breaks down when applying this to Jesus’ actual words in the Sermon on the Mount. I’ve never seen anyone take a pledge of allegiance to money or possessions–which is what the passage is all about. You can argue your point and even make a persuasive argument against pledging–but you cannot use this text for that argument–at least not legitimately. This is clearly not Jesus’ point (or Matthew’s point) in the context of the passage.

        And there is no contradiction here within the context. We are not to be slaves to our possessions. That is the point. Possessions are not people, they are not governments, they are not living beings one can have a relationship with. They are things. The point: don’t let possessions possess you. Trust God and his provision–do not trust in money or possessions.

        Has nothing to do with the government.

        As Jiminy Crickett says: “Always let your context be your guide” (or something like that!) 8^)

        • m_gear

          “As a Christian I understand my allegiance to God subsumes all other oaths and allegiances.”
          The idea of one allegiance can subsume another is just plain goofy and not in line with any reasonable understanding of the word.

          • Darryl Willis

            So now we’re dealing in pure semantics. The point is simple: for the Christian, saying the pledge is no more disobedience to Matthew 6:24 or Matthew 5:33-37 when taken in its context.

            What would be idolatry is to place loyalty to country, spouse, or any other entity (in context, possessions) over God.

            This is something which you have not addressed.

            Perhaps the word “subsume” was not the best choice. However, my point is not goofy, nor is my argument. Give me an argument that suggests that an oath of loyalty to one’s country is any different in essence than an oath of loyalty to one’s wife. I pledge that when it comes to countries my primary loyalty lies with my country as long as it is “under God”. (You can debate whether it was really ever under God and I won’t particularly argue with you on that point!) When I say my solemn promise to be faithful to my wife and forsake all others, I am saying my primary loyalty in relationships goes to my wife. Other than the specific entity involved, how do these two oaths differ in design? And if they do not, then why is one considered idolatry and the other not?

      • Darryl Willis

        And, yes, m_gear it is easily possible to be allegiant to two different entities that may possibly ask you to do two contradictory things. It happens all the time in real life. But ultimately one must always choose when there is a divergence between the two.

        When I make the pledge there is an assumption that underlies the pledge: “under God”. If I perceive the government is not acting “under God” then I have been released from the pledge itself. We understand that when a wife promises to be loyal to her husband and a husband promises to be loyal to his wife it does not mean loyal to the point of disloyalty to God.

        And isn’t this really what it boils down to? Not whether you promise to respect or be loyal to your wife or government–but rather will you allow that loyalty trump your loyalty to Christ. It isn’t the statement–it is the action.

        • m_gear

          “But ultimately one must always choose when there is a divergence between the two.”
          When the dictates of the two differ, if you chose to follow the dictates of one, you are obviously choosing not to follow the dictates of the other, and are hence not demonstrating allegiance to the other.

  • Keith

    In ! Peter we find this : “13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.” along with many other verses saying the same thing. Submit is even worse than a “pledge”. It gives you NO outs. A “pledge” is a verbal affirmation that we support and respect the nation we live in. That we, although different, appreciate the freedom that we have and the prosperity of our nation. “Under God” is a qualifier and insinuates that we do this as a nation “under God” I disagree with your argument and think that this kind of mindset harms our children who are already being taught America is bad by liberal teachers all over this nation. They should be taught what actually happened, where they would be if we hadn’t taken the courses of action we did, and MADE to be appreciative of the many DEATHS of great men/women who gave all and left their loved ones for people to write petty columns like this. I don’t believe you would persuade one person to follow you if you just stood by and watched someone kill their families/loved ones. If you cant ‘pledge’ your allegiance, then you cant defend her with honor…….but my guess is that you sure as heck live without the fear of being condemned to death for your faith…………………..SO FAR

    • m_gear

      So do you think Peter would suggest that the guards of concentration camps should submit themselves, for the Lord’s sake, to the Nazi authorities? I mean, really…

      Allegiance means allegiance. Unless you believe that the United States and it’s citizens have never done wrong, then you are pledging allegiance to wrong-doing by definition. Allegiance to principle is one thing: allegiance to people, all of whom do bad things, is quite another, and is rarely a good thing.

      • rikura

        you really didn’t get what he was saying and are making yourself look foolish

  • tedseeber

    I’m a part of the organization that changed that- the Knights of Columbus. And damn proud of it!

    • Jennifer A. Nolan

      “And damn proud of it!” “I’m a Christian, a follower of the meek and humble Lamb — and damn proud of it!” “I’m a Franciscan, a follower of the little poor man of Assisi — and damn proud of it!”

      As we can see, this chest-thumping has no place in the Church, which exists to SERVE Christ, not wear His image on her lapel with self-satisfaction. Read Matt Young and his supporters again; you might understand them better.

  • Matthew

    I find this commentary a very pathetic argument and shows complete misunderstanding of not only the spirit you should have behind the oath but also an understanding of your own county. If you know anything about the founding of America and the Founders themselves, the United States was not established as a country based on race or generational geographical heritage. The country was founded based on the idea of “freedom and justice for all.” Therefore, the flag and country represent an idea that is a inseperable from Biblical principles of personal freedom and uniform justice for all people. If you think that pledging the flag is just about nationalism, then you just show that you don’t understand or appreciate what made our country unique and appreciate that its laws were built on the foundations set forth by the Bible. To pledge “oath” to the flag doesn’t mean that you are seperating yourself and your beliefs from our Christian beliefs unless you are a Christian who is weak enough to follow the country as it strays from God or a person who manipulates the words of the Bible to promote liberal political ideology like most of the people responsible for this webpage have been a part of for decades.

    • nkcwu

      I disagree. The pledge is used to ensure submission and obedience to the state, and I am referring to the context of the military. Pledging allegiance is a public declaration; students or soldiers do not do so alone in an isolated room- it is done together and in the presence of others. In other words, the purpose of the pledge is to declare what side you are on, lest you are one to turn your back on your word.
      But that is not the real problem: it should not be said that NOT pledging means you can and will be an enemy to the United States at first opportunity- one can still serve his or her country with Biblical qualities and principles, in fact to do so without requiring an oath of allegiance proves that you are not only worth your word, but actions can speak louder than words. Can we say the same thing to hundreds of Americans that recited(ed) the pledge multiple times and neither done nor intend to do anything for their country out of heart?
      As for the flag and the oath being representative of freedom and justice for all, that’s all tosh to be honest. The United States as a country at war and as a government under various administrations have promoted freedom and justice either when it is convenient or when it serves only their own, not “for all”. In fact pledging allegiance to a earthly state carries the risk that you will be doing anything but freedom and justice for all, not only because this country tends to fail in that principle but that the tendency of humans utilizing their free will is to impose themselves upon others, ironic at best.
      And I think the author’s point still stands- pledging oath to an earthly country will make you accountable to earthly concerns. So unless one has made a pledge to God or any higher authority that overrides this oath, the state in reality owns you in that regard. And that is the very purpose of national pledges- that even if you breach the oath in the name of serving God, you are still breaching an oath that can carry severe penalties.

    • m_gear

      “The United States was not established as a country based on race or generational geographical heritage”
      Can you really read that to yourself with a straight face? The Constitution counted slaves a 3/5th of a person (except they had 0/5th or the rights of a person), and the founders were all white men, and mostly wealthy ones!

      Also, what does “allegiance” mean to you? You say that a person who “follows the country as it strays from God” is weak. Weak, maybe, but still allegiant, no?

  • Merwyn Haskett

    A stronger Christian point that you missed is that Pledging allegiance to any flag is no different than idol worshiping, especially when Federal Law, through the United States Flag Code, considers it a “living thing”

    In any other situation the most gung-ho Christian patriot would consider an inanimate, manufactured object that is “living” to be demonic.

  • Megan

    Hey Matt, I have recently been more and more convicted that I should not be saying the pledge of allegiance. As a public school teacher, the pledge is recited over the intercom each morning and everyone is expected to participate by standing and putting their hand over their heart. Do you have any suggestions about how to follow my beliefs without causing too much of a stir?

    • m_gear

      Why worry about causing a stir? It’s your Constitutional right to not say the Pledge, as affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • jbyork3

    I’m a teacher, and have taught the Pledge as part of my Social Studies curriculum for over a dozen years, and have always done so with patriotic pride. However, as a Christian, my conscience began to stir this past year about how what I was actually saying contrasted with the words of Christ. As I’ve been wrestling with this over the summer, I came across this article, and am grateful for your help. I don’t have a problem teaching it, since it’s part of our history, but I do have a problem with continuing to say it.

  • Jsima

    “Pledge,” taken from a desktop English dictionary- to give to keep until a debt has been repaid. That being said… You give up your loyalty to the representation of your country and its republic until you have repaid your debt by being loyal to it.

    Now with that out of the way, you are supposed to be loyal to your country. Loyalty does not mean to serve it, only to respect and honor it.

  • anzu

    OATH: solemn promise: formal or legally binding pledge to do something, often naming God or a loved one as a witness.
    PLEDGE: solemn undertaking: sincere agreement to do something
    An oath of allegiance and a pledge of allegiance are two different thing. Dissect meanings of words and phrases before you make a claim such as saying that Christians shouldn’t say the Pledge of Allegiance. Sorry, but that claim is bogus, and I could sit here and go way more in depth with it, but I do not have the time or want to waste my time in doing so. I came across this article while doing research, and have already wasted too much time on it. The simple fact that an oath and a pledge are different things entirely should be enough.

  • Amelia

    One of my online buddies sent me here. This has given me a lot to think about. Not saying I agree or even disagree. I just am going to go read my bible now. I like having my practices and faith challenged. Thank you for this!

  • tj johnson

    Very weak writing. Never say I think. Also, please quote your sources, and include important facts. The ‘under god’ line was added in 1952, and you make it seem as if it was added last year.

  • Joey Lopez

    I love it how you all cling to a BOOK that even Yeshua himself condemned. a book, that’s been changed thousands of times, with thousands of misinterpretations including added scriptures, forgotten/banned books, removed scriptures, and furthermore, the version people read the most is the KING JAMES version, think about it. lmfao, you people don’t listen to your own messiah, half you don’t even know his real name, nor the name of the God you worship. allow me to enlighten you. His name is YHWH. the Templar knights (who worshipped YHWH) found the north American continent llloonnnnggggg before Columbus ever set sail. they even left artifacts and inscriptions of the name of the God, YHWH, in the new England region. there are many different sects of Christianity, there are also many different sects of free-masonry. the founders were apart of the order of quest, which is a Judea-christain sect of masonry that rebelled against the 33rd degree masons. the order of quest believed humanity should decide their own fate, the only way we could do that is through freedom. they believed that God, YHWH, would guide our decision. while the 33rd, believed humanity needed to be ruled by a oligarch with much higher knowledge than the “goyim”. the goyim are to be forbidden from certain knowledge so that they can be controlled. which is why the bible was changed so many times, and people were killed if they didn’t accept the new version of the bible. thus, the founders, fled from England to set up a New World Order of freedom, peace and prosperity. but, such a world order can only be brought about by the will of the people. without the guidance of God, one can expect oppression, poverty and despair. in one of the most famous paintings of our nation, George Washington is depicted as a messenger of god, being brought up to heaven, he was wearing an apron, upon his apron there was the free-mason symbol that all sects have adopted. above him, was the name of YHWH. thus, this government and the country, was meant to be a reflection of god’s kingdom. it was Natural Law. and the laws of nature, were brought about, and enforce, by YHWH. it was meant to bring peace, freedom, and enlightenment to mankind. but we the people were irresponsible with our freedom, which was the vineyard that God gave unto us, his children. therefore, it can be said, that pledging allegiance to the REPUBLIC (not facism, socialism, Marxism, communism, corporatism, etc…) isn’t a bad thing at all, in fact, our republic stands for freedom, liberty, rights, justice, and equality. although we allowed our republic to be destroyed by the very devils that YHWH, Yeshua, and the founders warned us of, as well as engage in anti-American trends such as materialism, racism, and secularism, that is no reason to rebuke the principles this nation was founded upon. WE were the ones who strayed. we didn’t start out as the whore of Babylon, it’s what we allowed ourselves to become. and now, the awakening is upon us, and we have a choice, do we choose freedom (the kingdom of God) or will we submit to tyranny (the order of the tyrants and devils). Christians are very misguided. brainwashed to submit to evil and tyranny. this is NOT the will of God. the foolish goyim will become enlightened. they have no choice. “Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered. “But now,” said He, “let the one who has a purse take it, and he who has a bag must do the same. And let him who has no sword sell his outer garment and buy one.” well, I guess the second amendment, defending yourself, and standing up against evil isn’t so evil after all.

  • Justin

    Id take this morw seriously if it wasnt coming from the poison pen of a heretic (Anabaptist).

    • Joe

      If the “poison pen of a heretic” wrote the phrase “Jesus is Lord,” would you not take that seriously either?

  • Lynn

    The Roman banners and seals were symbolic of Caesar worship, and so the early Christians were right to reject it. Today, however, in flying a flag or saying the Pledge, is not stating that they believe the flag, the President of the United States, or even the United States itself, is divine. So flying a flag and saying the pledge are not, in my opinion, idolatrous.

    The Pledge of Allegiance is somewhat like a pledge of loyalty and faithfulness in marriage. We are supposed to be loyal and faithful to Jesus Christ alone, but this does not mean we cannot make other pledge and promises as well. As long as Jesus remains at the head, staying true to Him, I don’t see a problem with these other “oaths of loyalty.”

  • Daniel Pose

    No one should chant that anachronistic childish Nazi artifact known as the USA’s Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge of Allegiance was the origin of the Nazi salute and Nazi behavior (see the work of the historian Dr. Rex Curry).

    The early pledge began with a military salute that was then extended outward to point at the flag (thus the stiff-arm gesture came from the pledge and from the military salute). It was written for kindergartners to be forced to recite it in government schools (socialist schools) on command and in unison. The pledge was written by an American socialist who influenced other socialists worldwide, including German socialists. The pledge continues to be the origin of Nazi behavior even though the gesture was changed to hide the pledge’s putrid past. It is bizarre that it continues to exist (though the stiff-armed salute was altered) and that intelligent(?) adults have been duped into the mechanical propaganda chanting.

  • Widge Widge

    Jesus Christ Lord
    Jesus = saviour
    Christ = annointed one
    Lord = ruler of my life not ceasar not the government not a human king.
    This article is therefore 100% correct if I was American I would never ever say the pledge.
    Nationalism is just another God

  • Raymond Edwards

    I agree. However, in my church (as in many) there is an American flag displayed in the sanctuary. It bothers me to no end. I must say that for many American=Christian=Capitalism; a transitive property.

  • Mike Merritt

    The major reason early Christians were thrown to the lions was because they wouldn’t pledge their allegiance to Caesar.

  • az2012

    I may be totally off-base here, but I have to ask. Don’t our military men and women also make an oath when they join the military, to uphold certain ideals and to defend this country? So is the author also saying that that oath is condemned by God? If that’s what he is saying, I can’t help but fear the consequences of a statement such as that.

  • Widge Widge

    There is no such thing as a just war for the Christian.

  • RezDuane

    Hmm . . . I suppose we who are married should not have made a vow to our spouse? How could we divide our commitment to our spouses and to God?

    Maybe in the same way many of us do for our country. It’s sad when people don’t have anything in their life they’re willing to die for. Which I believe has brought us to the sad state of affairs our country is in now. The godless have taken over because there are too many who are not willing to stand up and defend or commit to what I believe God has placed in our hands to nurture and keep.

    And why would God tell HIS PEOPLE to humble themselves, pray, seek His face, TURN from their (his people) wicked ways. I’ll tell you why. So he could hear from heaven, forgive our sins and HEAL OUR LAND!

    I am an anabaptist pastor and as much as lies within me, I seek peace with all men. But I have discovered that there are some who will have nothing to do with peace, and if we as good men fail to stand against it then evil will surely triumph. And that’s certainly not God’s plan.

  • Page40

    I consider the Pledge of Allegiance to be an act of thankfulness for
    having been a Native American, regardless of who was here first or
    last. I could care less who originally wrote the Pledge and why.
    for one, am thankful that we have a special flag that was originally
    designed and sewn by Betsy Ross, to represent the Freedoms and the
    Liberties that America was designed for.
    God, Himself, created this special land called America, for many different peoples who were being oppressed for practicing their faith and so they would be able to get out from under the tyranny of oppression from people of other lands.
    When those of us who are Christians and non-Christians alike say the Pledge, we are NOT making an oath. We are saying that, while we are living in this fleshly body, on this sinful earth, we are thankful for being able to live in America, rather than in any of the 3rd world countries of hatred, poverty, and war after war. We are not using the flag in an idol worshiping ceremony. We are saying that our allegiance is to America and not to Rome or Islam or Germany or Russia or to any other entity that is godless and evil.
    Yes, I am very Patriotic. Yes, my husband served 3 years in the Army right out of high school.
    In my family tree on my father’s side, his ancestors came from Ireland and Scotland and England.
    He had ancestors who fought with William Wallace (Braveheart).
    He has ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and WW1.
    He also has ancestors that shows they were related to Daniel Boone.
    On my mother’s side of the family, we are Cherokee of the Eastern Band.
    We also have ancestors who came to America from Scotland, Ireland and England.
    Ever hear of the Mayflower?
    They fought against the enemies of the land in some of the wars, one of which fought in the Spanish American War. Yes, we love America even with all of her faults.
    And since the Bible says that we are to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s, that means we do pay our taxes and we also give to God what is His….our offerings of money and time and talents to help feed the poor and hungry and to take care of the widows and orphans.
    We respect the American Flag for what it represents…..our God-given Freedoms and rights.
    Our right to the pursuit of Happiness. Our Constitution and our Bill of Rights came from the Bible.

    I, personally believe that Matt has presented a distorted viewpoint about our Flag and the Pledge.
    And you people are swallowing it….hook, line and sinker.
    All it takes is for one person to take a dim viewpoint of something and then they have a following just like the Pied Piper did. Just like Madelyn Murray O’Hare did.
    One woman went to the Federal Supreme Court and demanded to have Bible reading and prayers removed from all of the schools. Misquoting the “Separation of Church and State”.
    Oh, she was a totally offended atheist and not one Christian person went to the Supreme Court to fight against her allegations of offense.
    Now, here we have one young man trying to denigrate our Flag which has represented this country as being a free country. This flag was with the original 13 Colonies.
    This flag represents the millions of men and women who have bravely fought and died for our freedoms. This flag is flown at half mast when someone has a military funeral service, as a sign of respect and honor and pride. This flag was raised at Iwo Jimo and at Pearl Harbor and at the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks. This flag was flown when the Twin Towers went down.
    This flag represents the best of America.
    So, yes, whenever I am in a place where the flag is passing by or is raised, I stop and put my right hand over my heart and I say the Pledge the Allegiance because I am pledging my allegiance to my country of America and to no other country or kingdom on this earth.
    Now that being said, I do not have a problem with my spiritual allegiance to my God and to Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. They come first and everything else comes second. That happened when I came to admit that I am a sinner in need of a Savior. So when I accepted the free gift of salvation from Jesus Christ, I knew that I owed Him my life.
    And I was very thankful that I was born in this country and not a different country.

    • widge

      Why do you judge the church this makes your post look rather silly

  • Theodore Seeber

    I was unaware that Jehovah’s Witnesses were Red Letter Christians too.

  • Jordan

    Loyalty to the state is enmity with ones neighbor as the state is the great enemy of people and peaceful society. Pledging allegiance to a nation is an act of aggression as violence and coercion are the only means by which a state can achieve any end.

  • widge

    I pledge my allegiance to Jesus Christ not Christianity not the Pastor not the Church not my country but Jesus Christ Lord who is our liberator and reconciles us to God

  • Bill Snapp

    Matt, whoa tiger. Your basic thesis is simply false. In this article you equate a pledge with an oath and that is factually incorrect. Look up the difference between oath and pledge in the dictionary (I just did). It seems you are letting your pacifism cloud the facts as you are presenting them. Basically you are making an incorrect leap in logic. I am a conservative and we probably agree on nothing politically (no don’t want to argue left vs right) but this is too much. You really need more than one verse to truly support a living doctrine
    such as your assertion of rejecting the pledge in this article. I don’t know if I have ever read one person providing one verse and then creating a doctrinal fact out of that verse where that person has not ripped that verse out of context for their own devices.

    Dying for your country is the ultimate expression of loyalty to ones country and its fundamental beliefs. Soldiers, such as your self, swear an oath to defend the country. Do you believe everyone who has died for the USA has violated Christ’s command as you quote it in Matthew? If so, isn’t that a brazen and reckless belief to hold? Also if so, would you be able to look the children, spouses and parents of those who died in the face and explain to them that their loved ones sacrifice was actually a violation of Christs teaching and they died in defiance of their Lord and Maker? Basically I want to show you the implications of your logic. Simply saying the pledge is basically contradictory to scripture is tortured reasoning and a slap to great institutions like the Pledge of Allegiance.

    Last, if you really believe the Pledge is wrong (morally I assume) why do you live in a nation that asks its citizens to say it? Why don’t you go to a country that does not encumber its citizenry with such pledges? Is this not inconsistent of you to enjoy the nations freedoms but instead cursing its sacred traditions and its appeals of fidelity?

  • TallTexan2

    Happened across the site … hard to believe that “Christians” are spending this much time arguing over a pledge. Spend your time in glorifying Christ … reaching the lost … not tearing at each other over something so inconsequential. Only Satan wins here ….

  • logic

    Now all we gotta do is get you to stop worshipping fairy tales.


    I love this post. My sentiments exactly. Annoyed that my daughters teacher gave her 10 min off of recess for not reciting the pledge like everyone else. She’ll be hearing from me.


    I AGREE 100+% and



    The nations are committing fornication with Babylon the great the mother of harlots through idolatry…The devil has deceived the whole world through idolatry…The leaders of the nations are blinded by the god of this world and those who follow them are being deceived…GOD says in his holy word YOU SHALL NOT MAKE ANY CARVED IMAGE IN THE LIKENESS OF ANYTHING IN HEAVEN ABOVE OR IN THE LIKENESS OF ANYTHING ON THE EARTH BELOW YOU SHALL NOT BOW DOWN NOR SERVE THEM…When you put or place your right hand over your heart or over your forehead to the carved images of the flag to serve them you are receiving the mark of the beast in your heart and in your mind…The mark of the beast on the right hand or on the forehead stands for the heart or for the mind…The children are being taught to put their right hand over their heart and pledge their allegiance to the carved images of the flag to serve them…Those who know their GOD and keep His commandments and have the testimony of Jesus Christ GOD has set a seal on their foreheads (mind)…If Christ be in you , you cannot serve any carve image…The abominations of the nations of the carved images in the flag are set up high and lifted on a flag pole.

  • sproketz

    I totally agree with the author. Finally you understand why there should be a separation between church and state. Instead of adding “Under god” on everything you should be removing yourself from the use of these things.

    No more pledge of allegiance
    No more money
    No more falsely pretending to love “America” when what you really love is “God.”

    I think you should do an article on money next. Money is the root of all evil and yet Christians decided to print “In God we Trust” on it, despite the clear hypocrisy of such a statement on the very thing Christianity purports to loathe.

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