A Long History of Patriotic Exclusion
In school districts throughout America, the daily patriotic exercise is the Pledge of Allegiance. It is a curious choice.
Fleeing Government Intervention
Having fled the state-established religions of Europe, only 7% of the people in the 13 colonies belonged to a church. The early settlers fled the state religions of Europe for a free America without an official religion or a leader who claimed a divine right. The framers of the U.S. Constitution, products of the "Age of Reason were mostly Deists, as were the first 6 presidents, who denied the hand of God in worldly affairs. As such they founded the first liberal nation on inalienable rights, conferred on humanity by Nature's God (Mother Nature). The world's first secular government, a beacon to the world, enshrined with the principles of protecting the freedoms of the individual from oppression by the beliefs of the many.
Rise of Christian Socialism
In 1892, Francis Bellamy, cousin to the most America's most famous socialist, ever, Edward Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance. His motivation was to advance the cause of nationalism in the youth of America and advance the socialization of labor and production. At the time, he worked for a company who published youth magazines. They also sold American flags and wanted every school in America to buy one. The purpose of both was to collectivize youth and promote their business.
Shocking to modern Americans, the original Pledge was recited while giving a stiff, uplifted right hand salute. Years later, the German National Socialist party, the Nazis, adopted it.
First Refusers - Jehovah's Witnesses
Entered into federal law in 1941, Jehovah's Witnesses were among the first find themselves excluded from the Pledge of Allegiance. They were prohibited by their religion from the idolatry of swearing an oath to a flag. Two years after it was enacted in law, in 1944, they took their case to court where it was ruled that, in a free country, no one can be compelled to swear an oath to the nation.
Dividing the Nation - Believers and Others
This was all long before 1954, when Congress, in an attempt to differentiate America from the Soviets, added the words "under God". In one stroke, thousands more American parents and students found themselves excluded from saying the Pledge, even excluded from the nation itself, because suddenly according to the Pledge's definition the "one nation" no longer represented them.
Still, it required heavy promotion by the Knights of Columbus, a Christian organization who were intent on inserting Christianity into American government by all means possible. This was during the McCarthy era of "red-baiting", which found many true patriots gone to ground and few objected. Ironically, not even in the Soviet Union, were children compelled to swear an oath, hand to heart, of allegiance to a flag or government.
It is hard not to believe that the Founding Fathers would have found abhorrent the legislation of a form of religious belief on children, at the same time asking them to swear an oath of allegiance to the government.
Every day, there are who-knows-how-many, committed patriots in America who are excluded from reciting the Pledge with their fellow citizens. For some it is by reason of religious conviction. Others, regardless of their own belief, remain silent in solidarity with their neighbors. And there are yet others, most famously, who dissent in defense of the Constitution, which they feel is violated in many ways by the Pledge being conducted in our public schools.
No matter the reason, both children and adults, patriots all, find themselves in the predicament of not being able to express and develop their patriotism with their fellow Americans.
Iran is one nation under God.