Natural and naturalized American citizens

Published 9:02 pm Monday, July 21, 2008

I had the pleasure of planning a Fofa July (actually, it’s the Sixtha July, but that Sunday jes’nat’chully has a Fofa July theme) worship service which would involve patriotic songs sung around a re-saying of the USA’s Naturalization Oath by a brand-new citizen who took that oath in May. We intended to do that right after the Fofa July, but Esper’s travel plans delayed the program for a week.

I’ve seen this done once before when a man who came to the USA from China re-said his Oath (didn’t read it: recited it!) in the midst of a Delta Red Cross musical in tribute to the events of 9/11, 2001, complete with slides the audience could see. I have sung in musical presentations all the way from stage, to church, to benefits like the Red Cross one, to civic programs, to Navy Burials-At-Sea, but that 2002 Red Cross musical has to be the most inspiring one that I have been a part of, although the “God With Us” program at DSU one year was close to that, as was our recent joint choir sing of the “Testify” cantata.

Anyhoo, Dr. Cheng’s recitation of his Naturalization Oath was very moving, as Esper’s was last Sunday. But since she was going to be gone during the Choir practice before, I asked for a copy of the Oath. I have read it before, but that was years ago, and not in conjunction with someone I personally knew being recently naturalized as an American Citizen. I found a quiet place and sat down to digest it.

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Right away, I could tell a learned person wrote it: “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign…” One doesn’t see the word “abjure” often, so I looked it up: “a firm and final rejection and abandoning often made under oath.” One may remember fondly but avoid faithfulness to any “…foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen…”

It goes on, “that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America…” We have politicians and judges who don’t do this today, folks, and they were BORN in the USA! Has anyone ever thought of sending the judges who regularly change our Constitution by edict, overseas, and if they want to come back home, maybe they should take the Naturalization Oath!

“Against all enemies, foreign and domestic…” We’re paying four bucks for gasoline, while Congress keeps USA companies from drilling for oil offshore and in the Arctic, where there’s more than we will end up importing from Saudi Arabia in the next ten years. Well, over ten years ago, a different Congress did pass a law okaying that, but President Clinton vetoed it then. Domestic enemies, anyone?

“That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…” Speaking of true faith, do you recall a recent President who couldn’t even be true to his own wife?

“That I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law…” Same President springs to mind, but did the guys who ran off to Canada during the Vietnam years have to abjure and pledge this Oath when they returned?

“That I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by law…” Any combat veteran will tell you that the people with the most courage – “guts” – on any battlefield are the medics. I watched “We Were Soldiers” the evening of the Fofa July, and remembered a friend who was there then, in that capacity, God rest Linwood’s brave soul.

“That I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law…” Fighting fires or floods or hurricanes, we’re there!

“And that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.” Surely a lawyer could get around this’un! They teach that stuff in law school: “define freely.”

“So help me God.” God!! Who left that in there? Where is one of those liberal judges when you need him? The Ten Commandments can’t hang in public buildings? Can’t pray to God in school classrooms? But God’s in this Oath?

Some people recently running for President couldn’t honestly take this Oath!

Hey, maybe Naturalized is better today!!!!