I was reading an interesting article on No More Hornets about a city councillor in Exeter who refused to stand for a Christian prayer. Now, this never made big news in the UK, and you pretty much need to ferret into the regional sections which cover the south west of England. For those who don’t know, Exeter is one of the few “Cities” in the county of Devon – which is a strange place at the best of times. If you ever visit there, it is like going back in time to the 1940s. You expect to hear German bombers over head at any moment.
Anyway, as I was reading through the comments on the post (mainly about the US Pledge of Allegiance), I remembered a discussion in the UK last year (ish, I didn’t remember it that well) which got a fair bit of press coverage, about bringing in a “pledge” in UK schools — all in an effort to combat Islamist terrorism.Â Fortunately this died a death and there are, currently, no signs of such a thing on the horizon.
This all got me thinking. What real value is there is making children take an oath of allegiance to anything? I am not saying this to offend any nations who have an oath, but out of genuine curiosity.
It strikes me, there is an implicit assumption that brainwashing Children is acceptable and that convincing generation after generation that they can be forced into a binding oath, without any options, is a reasonable behaviour. The real cynic in me, suspects the hand of the church in all this — as this is largely one of the practices by which people are indoctrinated into a particular belief system.
Religious issues aside, for an oath of allegiance to have any real value it has to be entered into willingly. If, as an adult, you choose to join the British Army, for example, you are required to take an Oath of Allegiance to the Queen and the Royal Family. You take this oath because you have willingly joined the army. You are not forced to take this oath because you were randomly born into a particular nation. Children have no say over who their parents are…
An oath of allegiance carries with it certain obligations — obedience for example. How can some one who has no option but to take the oath be expected to be bound by it? A nine year old child cant say “well, actually, I disagree with [insert issue here] so strongly, I no longer feel able to keep my obligations under this oath and I would now like to leave.” Without the option for consent, what real value does the oath have?
I find it amusing that people can expect children too young to drink, too young to vote, too young for anything other being treated (effectively) as their parents chattels, to be bound by an oath. At least as an adult you can vote to influence the way the country is run. You are old enough to leave if you don’t like it (etc).
If, as I currently feel, there is no real value in making kids take an oath, why make them do it?
[tags]Society, Children, Culture, Oath, Honour, Philosophy, Allegiance, Exeter, Council, Terrorism, Islam, Nationality[/tags]