A lot of critical readers continually assert that it is outrageous for the state to force kids to swear allegiance to God or the flag or anything (see the posted letter below). They’re probably right, but that’s not happening. First of all, the pledge is voluntary. You do not have to say it and you do not have to say the words “under God” or any other part of it. I would be far more sympathetic to their arguments were it otherwise. And, second, there is a difference between “pledging” and “swearing.” The pledge is no binding oath, even if many take it to be one.