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Brigitte parodies the American pledge of allegiance: “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.” It was composed by Colonel George Balch in 1887, revised by Francis Bellamy in 1892, and formally adopted by Congress in 1942, soon after the US entered World War II. In 1954 the words "under God" were added. Balch was a veteran of the Civil War who become auditor of the New York Board of Education who advocated teaching children, especially those of immigrants, loyalty to the United States by having them pledge, “We give our heads and hearts to God and our country; one country, one language, one flag!” His pledge was adopted by many schools and by various patriotic groups such as the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Grand Army of the Republic. Bellamy, a Baptist minister, a Christian socialist, and the cousin of Edward Bellamy (the author of the socialist utopian novel “Looking Backward, 2000–1887”) criticized Balch’s version as "too juvenile and lacking in dignity.” He published his own version (“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”) in “The Youth's Companion” as part of the National Public-School Celebration of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas; he had originally considered using the words “equality” and “fraternity” but decided that these terms were too political. His pledge was first used in public schools on 12 October 1892, during Columbus Day observances organized to coincide with the opening of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. The National Flag Conference established uniform flag procedures in 1923 and changed "my Flag" to "the Flag of the United States;" the words "of America" were added a year later. However, various groups opposed the measure, including the Jehovah's Witnesses, who considered the flag salute to be idolatry. In 1940, in Minersville School District v. Gobitis, the Supreme Court ruled that students in public schools could be compelled to swear the pledge. A rash of mob violence and intimidation against Jehovah's Witnesses followed, and in 1943, in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, the Supreme Court reversed itself; according to justice Robert H. Jackson, "If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us. Louis Albert Bowman, the chaplain of the Illinois Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, opened its12 February 1948 meeting with a pledge that contained the words, "under God." In 1951 the New York board of directors of the Knights of Columbus adopted a resolution to amend the text of their Pledge of Allegiance at the opening of each of the meetings of the 800 Fourth Degree Assemblies of the Knights of Columbus (the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization) to include "under God," and the organization’s Supreme Council adopted the change for all its lodges and began lobbying the government to do the same, leading to a 1954 joint resolution of congress for that purpose.
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