In The pledge of allegiance, Alex Tabarrok gives his take on the pledge:
Yesterday at the Supreme Court, Michael Newdow argued his own case against the phrase ‘under God’ in the pledge of allegiance and apparently he did very well — managing to elicit a rare round of applause from the audience and ending gracefully on time and on point. Personally, although I am not religious, the phrase ‘under God’ doesn’t raise my hackles. It’s the rest of the pledge that I hate.
Then he cites Cato’s Gene Healy on the topic:
From its inception, in 1892, the Pledge has been a slavish ritual of devotion to the state, wholly inappropriate for a free people. It was written by Francis Bellamy, a Christian Socialist pushed out of his post as a Baptist minister for delivering pulpit-pounding sermons on such topics as “Jesus the Socialist.” Bellamy was devoted to the ideas of his more-famous cousin Edward Bellamy, author of the 1888 utopian novel Looking Backward. Looking Backward describes the future United States as a regimented worker’s paradise where everyone has equal incomes, and men are drafted into the country’s “industrial army” at the age of 21, serving in the jobs assigned them by the state… Bellamy’s book inspired a movement of “Nationalist Clubs,” whose members campaigned for a government takeover of the economy. A few years before he wrote the Pledge of Allegiance, Francis Bellamy became a founding member of Boston’s first Nationalist Club….
By the way, that image depicts an early recommended salute. Look familiar? It gets worse. Take a look at these photos (complete with paranoid commentary).