Friday, October 26, 2012

A Brief History of the Pledge of Allegiance

The Pledge really has little to do with the topic, but since it is so contested, we will start there anyways. In 1892, Christian socialist and former Baptist minister, Francis Bellamy penned the following words to commemorate Columbus Day.
"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation indivisible with Liberty and Justice for all."

Bellamy wished to unite the nation around the flag so that people would be inoculated against radicalism. The pledge was first recited October 12, 1892 by about 12 million school children to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Columbus’s voyage.

In 1919, Washington became the first state to make the recitation of the pledge a mandatory part of their school curriculum. The Jehovah’s Witnesses were the first to object. They believed that government was a Satanic tool and the Pledge a salute to the Devil. In 1923, due to anti-immigrant anxiety, the first National Flag Conference in Washington D.C. voted to change the words "my flag" to "the Flag of the United States”. In 1924, they added the words “of America."(1)

1932 Bonus Army clip(2)

In 1935, a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses organized with hundreds of Jehovah’s Witnesses school children choosing expulsion rather than participation in the Pledge. They sued and in 1938, a federal judge ruled in their favor, noting that the “totalitarian idea of forcing all citizens into one common mold of thinking” was not necessary to ensure the country’s safety and also curtailed the freedom of those who opposed it on the basis of “sincere religious convictions.”

1939 Porky Pig

In 1940, however, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of the case, and ultimately reversed the lower court’s original ruling by an 8 to 1 margin. National unity, it concluded, trumped individual liberty. In response, unified Americans tarred and feathered a Jehovah’s Witness in Wyoming, castrated another in Nebraska, and publicly beat others in Texas and Illinois as police and city officials watched refusing to interfere. Unity is not always a good thing.(3)

In January of 1942, The West Virginia State Board of Education mandated the pledge. Those who failed to comply with the compulsory recital were expelled. The parents of an expelled student were now in violation of compulsory education laws. Parents could face a fifty dollar fine and thirty days in jail.

Bellamy had prescribed what became known as the Bellamy Salute as the proper way to salute the American Flag. With the rise of Nazism, this salute had begun to make leaders across the country uncomfortable. The Bellamy salute was originally mandated in West Virginia, but they watered down their standard and allowed for a hand over the heart also known as the Lincoln salute. In June of 1942, Congress passed a law officially recognizing the pledge and mandating nationwide the Bellamy salute for the pledge. With the uproar from the Lincoln salute advocates, Congress amended the law that December to mandate the Lincoln salute.(4)

In West Virginia, the school had begun expelling Jehovah Witness children. Among those expelled were the seven children of the Barnette family. Unemployed, Walter Barnette had few financial resources. However the ACLU took his case. In 1943, Barnette won and the Supreme Court ruled.(5) (6) (7) (8)

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.(9)

In 1948, Louis Bowman began adding “under God” after “nation” in the pledge. He claimed he was inspired by the phrase “under God” in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. However the phrase does not exist in Lincoln’s written address and must have been ad libbed if he ever said it at all. Bowman inspired the Sons of the American Revolution and the Daughters of the American Revolution to begin to use the modified pledge. Both organizations only contained members who could trace their ancestry back to soldiers in the American Revolution.

In the 1950’s, Reverend Dr. George MacPherson Docherty advocated for “under God” in the pledge, because communistic atheists would have no trouble reciting the pledge without it. He was not alone. As disdain for communism and atheism grew, more and more Americans began to favor the change.(10)

The Catholic Knights of Columbus long lobbied for God getting a mention in the Pledge, but it was a Presbyterian pulpit that made the difference. In February 7, 1954, Docherty preached a sermon at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. A recent convert to Presbyterianism, President Eisenhower was in attendance. Docherty’s sermon was on the Gettysburg Address and he advocated that “under God” should be in the pledge. After a talk with the Reverend, the President agreed and he had the legislation pushed through Congress. Signing the law on the Flag Day of 1954, Eisenhower remarked,(11)

"From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty. To anyone who truly loves America, nothing could be more inspiring than to contemplate this rededication of our youth, on each school morning, to our country's true meaning. Especially is this meaningful as we regard today's world. Over the globe, mankind has been cruelly torn by violence and brutality and, by the millions, deadened in mind and soul by a materialistic philosophy of life. Man everywhere is appalled by the prospect of atomic war. In this somber setting, this law and its effects today have profound meaning. In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource, in peace or in war."(12)

According to Bellamy’s daughter, Bellamy would most likely have disapproved of adding the words “under God”.(13)

The story of the Pledge of Allegiance is both relevant and beside the point to the topic of The National Day of Prayer. It is relevant, because there is an attempt to endow and enforce unity when division is the norm. It is beside the point, because the President does not annually recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the bequest of Congress. I hope that this was insightful. Please look at the sources below. Please like this video if you like it and subscribe for more videos.

Sound Effects provided by and


"Haunted Forest" and "Light Banjo" by
"The Owl Named Orion" and "Art of Gardens" by

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hopefully My Last Ergun Caner Video

I recently, reread my blog about Ergun's sermon at Canyon Creek Baptist last year. Also Hopefully My Last Ergun Caner Video has exceeded 1000 views this weekend.  Finally, Ergun has launched another series of tweets against Pharisees as is his common teaching.

In the Canyon Creek sermon, Ergun does not give a year he was saved, but he says it was during his Senior year in High School (1983-84).  According to him, his brothers were then saved the following year during Ergun's Freshman year in College (1984-85).  The Does Emir Know? series focuses on how this version of events directly contradicts how the events are described in Unveiling Islam and elsewhere. In the future, the series will continue to give more examples of Ergun claiming his brothers were saved while he was in college.

Ergun has maintained from the beginning that the only thing, he is guilty of is making unintentional misstatements.  However, watch Hopefully My Last Ergun Caner Video and more importantly watch the unedited sources.  Listen to the Canyon Creek sermon.  Tell me, what you think he was claiming.

Finally, Ergun tweeted, "Never question motive".  I am going to take a stab at what he might have meant.  Through hours of family arguments, I have learned that you can almost never know why someone did what they did.  Even if you try to guess, your guess will be distorted by your positive or negative views of the person.  Most likely, you have created a straw man and falsely misrepresented their position.  Though I fail often, this is why I try to deal with what they did and not why they did it.  Obviously, this is not totally feasible. When you say that a preacher telling a group of Marines that his "father had more than one wife at a time" is an intentional lie, you obviously deal somewhat with motive.  The statement was not just false (everybody agrees on that), but the statement was intentionally so.*  Still, as a general rule, one should avoid questioning motives.  I don't know why Ergun lies about this stuff, but I know he does.

Like I have written elsewhere, I used to think I was almost done with making videos about Ergun.  In February 2011, I uploaded Hopefully My Last Ergun Caner Video.  I thought that I was done.  Reasonable people would warn others about Ergun.  Unfortunately this did not happen.  Ergun returned to youtube in a vlog by a student, joking about becoming President of Egypt.  I put up a video reminding people that he claimed he was educated in Egypt.  I was told Ergun apologized, so I posted the entire text of Ergun's apology to youtube.  I could go on, but I am still making videos about Ergun.  Someone must warn people.  Hopefully, I am a little wiser today and have learned how to spell "edited". :)

*I believe the statement was intentional for two reasons.  One, he repeated it in the same speech,  even twice in a couple sentences:
(3:10) My father had more than one wife at a time. As you know the Quran says in Surah four that you are allowed up to four wives. My father had three. 

He then doubled down on the statement in the same speech.

(59:57) They have problems with immigration. I became an American citizen…uh…and stood up and took the vow and came in legally. We got stopped at the border, because my father had listed my mother as property. It’s true. And the guy said, “Your wife’s not property.” And he said, “of course she is.” Then he brought his “sisters” which is his other wives that’s how we bring in our other wives to America. We call them our “sisters”. 

He also repeated it in Hawaii in 2007.
(33:20) We got stopped coming to America, I can’t believe I’m telling you this, but I’m gonna. We got stopped coming to America in 1978. My father listed my mother as property on the manifest. Acar Mehmet Caner listed Monica Inez Caner, my mom, as property. And by the way, he came to America like many Muslims do with many wives, but polygamy is not allowed. It’s called the Abraham lie. Who knows what I’m talking about? This is my sister, that’s right. So my father had, he said, ‘This is my wife, Halah, and these are my sisters'. It explains the last name.

Two, Ergun clearly knows that his father never had more than one wife at a time and his father never smuggled women across the border using the "Abraham lie".

Friday, October 19, 2012

The National Day of Prayer Canceled according to Kamal Saleem

I hear this, a lot.  Obama has cancelled the National Day of Prayer.  Oddly enough, while these people try to convince you that the National Day of Prayer is so important, they reveal that it is not important enough for them to know that it has not been canceled. 

Perhaps, it is beneficial to give a little bit of a history.  In 1952 a bill was unanimously passed by both houses of Congress and signed by President Truman.  The bill asked* that the President must select a day annually for a national day of prayer.  Notice that the President could select any day that he saw fit, it was not set yet.  The following year, President Eisenhower became the first President to select a day under this law.  Here we should make two tangents.

One, Presidents have been declaring days of fasting, prayer, and thanksgiving since our nation’s founding.  The National Day of Prayer Task Force correctly notes the following

“National days of prayer have occurred since 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the nation to join in a petition for divine guidance. Since then, 34 of 44 U.S. presidents have called for days of prayer during times of crisis, including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. This has been the tradition of our nation from its founding.”

10 of our Presidents never called for days of prayer. I am curious as to who the ten were. The National Day of Prayer was signed into law by our 33rd President Harry Truman, so every president since 1953 has call for a day of prayer at least once a year: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama. That’s 11 of our 44 Presidents. We now have 33 Presidents left. It is 10 out of 33 or basically a little less than one third. My point is that while 23 is more than 10, there is a sizable minority that did not call for days of prayer before the National Day of Prayer was codified into law by Congress. The scales are not as weighted as they appear.

Second, in 1953 Eisenhower attended what was then known as the Representative's Prayer Breakfast.  Since then every sitting President has attended this annual prayer breakfast organized by The Fellowship Foundation”.  In 1970, the name was changed from “The President’s Prayer Breakfast” to “The National Prayer Breakfast”. Without Congressional incentive this prayer breakfast has patronized by our Presidents for 60 years.

OK, let’s get back to the National Day of Prayer.  In 1974, The National Prayer Committee was created.  A non-profit Christian evangelical organization, they created The National Day of Prayer Task Force as a Project.  Remember at this point The National Day of Prayer can be any day of the year. 

In 1981, they begin organizing with the Reagan White House to coordinate a Nation Day of Prayer observance.  They must coordinate, because the President designates the day.  In 1982, Reagan holds the White House’s first National Day of Prayer ceremony.  In 1983, the first National Day of Prayer observance is held at Constitution Hall in Washington D.C.  In 1986, they begin to lobby Congress to get The National Day of Prayer set on a specific day of the year.  The goal of The National Day of Prayer Task Force is to organize events for The National Day of Prayer; an annual designated day would help further their goals. The bill is originally introduced in 1987 and is signed into law May 8, 1988.  The first Thursday of May was designated as the annual National Day of Prayer.   In 1989, Bush holds the White House’s second National Day of Prayer ceremony.  Notice that it had been seven years between the first and the second ceremonies.  The third ceremony was held by George W. Bush in 2001.  This was the first White House ceremony to be organized by the National Day of Prayer Task Force.  Bush continued to hold them annually throughout both terms of his Presidency which added up to four times all the previous Presidents combined. Out of the 10 ceremonies held by the White House, George W. Bush held 80% of them.  

When Obama came into the White House in 2009, he chose like most other Presidents to issue proclamations, but not to hold public ceremonies.  He has declared every first Thursday of May as The National Day of Prayer. 

This video is getting long, so I will make another video with my thoughts on the matter.


"Atlantis" by
"Stickybee" and "I Want to Destroy Something Beautiful" by Josh Woodward from 

 *Originally I said "required".  Technically the bill was a resolution asking the President to set aside a National Day of Prayer.  This was not a mandate, but all Presidents have complied with the request.  Likewise in 1950, Congress asked the President to give a Prayer for Peace every Memorial Day. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kamal Saleem's vision of the supersonic eagle :)

The approximate maximum distance Kamal could have seen a 3 foot eagle is about 357 feet. The eagle would have appeared to be less than an inch tall. There is no way he could have even known it was an eagle. The approximate maximum distance Kamal could have seen a soaring eagle with an 8 foot wing span is 952 feet. It would have appeared to have been less than two inches. At that distance, Kamal could not have told the difference between a buzzard and an eagle.

He then says he saw one of the eagles travel faster than the speed of sound (1,126 ft/s). At that speed, the eagle would have disappeared from Kamal's eyes in less than a second. The eagle would have needed to be almost twenty feet long or wide to have been visible to Kamal for even about two seconds.

Sadly his audience just eats this stuff up. I know it was a "vision", but it was a ridiculous one. Kamal had no way to know if anything he called an eagle broke the sound barrier. The eagle could have transverse the distance easily at less than the sound barrier and quickly have left his field of vision. At the distances he describes, the eagle should have gone splat. :)

I crack up every time I hear him do his eagle impressions.


Calculate the size of things at a distance
Acuity of the human eye


"Tuba Waddle" provided by

Original sermon available here

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kamal Saleem shocks the eagle with his lies about Obama

"Those, who will come without Islam, without Allah, is not accepted from them." This statement has never been made by the President in front of the United Nations.  Do not take my word for it.  Try to find it. 

What I want to do here is give you a quick tool for your baloney detection kit.  You can type the sentence into Google, but a couple of red flags should have already gone off.  One, why have you never heard about this before?  Obviously, we are bad evidence detectors, but if Obama had said this, the right wing blogs should have lit up like a Christmas tree.  Even if the quote is taken out of context, it would have most likely been picked up by at least the crazies. 

Two, he has made other crazy incorrect claims.

Three, did you notice the grammar?  Let's diagram this sentence.  Those is a plural pronoun and the subject of the sentence.  "Who will come without Islam, without Allah" is a adjectival phrase modifying "those".  "Is not accepted" is the verb.  "From them" is the adverbial prepositional phrase modifying the verb.

I know there are a several different ways to diagram this.  The prepositions should be on the slanted lines, but I did this in MSPaint.  Still did you notice the error?  "Those" is plural, but "is" is singular.  "Those" should take a plural verb like "are".    Also, the correct preposition should be "by" not "from".   Now the President is very scripted, every modern President is.  His speeches are largely written and edited for him.  If Kamal is quoting the President, "word for word" and reading it off his notes, why does the President speak Kamal's poor English?

I would propose that there are two reasons.  One, the President never said this to the United Nations.  I have already noted that Kamal is the only source for something the President supposedly said on international television.    Two, Kamal wrote the quote himself grammatically incorrect.  When you are faking a bad accent, sometimes it is difficult to know when to stop. 

Unedited video can be found here

"The Handyman's Lament" by Josh Woodward from