What does an oath or pledge mean to you? When I was in grade school, we pledged allegiance to the flag every morning (hands over hearts, or in scouts, a quasi-military salute), uttering words that we had memorized but (as for me anyway) did not really understand. As far as that goes, I would find it hard to consider a person bound to a pledge they did not understand. But, you have made a promise. What does it mean, and how, beyond your word, are you bound by it? What happens if you break it? If you are religious, what is the weight of "so help me God", and if you are not religious, does it make a difference if you are asked to say that? What about putting your hand on some book, how does that affect your commitment? In Arizona, some Republican legislators (you cannot spell crazy without R-AZ) have submitted a bill that would require every student to recite a loyalty oath in order to receive their HS diploma. Part of the oath reads, "... I take this obligation freely, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion ...", which does not quite square with the bit about not getting your diploma if you refuse to recite the pledge. And, of course, there is that SHMG bit at the end, just to piss off the nasty atheists. What is the value of this? Are even HS students equipped with the kind of perspective that puts the breadth of such a promise in focus? And in the end, who really gets to decide what being disloyal means?