I have issues with the Pledge of Allegiance for two reasons: it does not foster free thought and it violates the secularism of this nation. The pledge is taught to children at a very young age and is more brainwashing than a pledge. First graders just beginning school will hardly know what allegiance is, much less what “the republic, for which it stands” is. Six and seven year olds just repeat the pledge repeatedly everyday, like mindless drones, not actually pledging their allegiance to anyone or anything. A society that values free thought and speech should foster an environment where free thinking is nurtured rather than quashed every morning. Americans should have the right to choose whether or not they want to pledge their allegiance to this nation when they feel like they can make an informed decision. In addition to being anti free thought, the pledge is not secular. Our nation was founded on the principle of separation between church and state, and suggesting that this is a nation under god runs counter to this. “Under god” is widely accepted due to the large and powerful Christian majority, a group in which many people would find”under Zeus” or “under Allah” to be objectionable. God was not an integral part of the pledge and was added during the red scares, when the US was at odds with the atheist USSR. A time, I will add, when the US illegally experimented on its own citizens, regularly violated constitutional rights, and treated blacks as second class citizens. It is my belief that the pledge stands counter to all America stands for and I refuse to support the systematic brainwashing of American youth. Everyone has the right to remain seated as affirmed by the First Amendment of the Constitution as ruled in the 1943 Supreme Court case, Barnette v. West Virginia State Board of Education.