Demand that the Pledge of Allegiance Not Be Recited in Your Local School

It is the first or second week of class in most US schools, and this is when students, parents, and teachers find out what’s new. One of the things being added in schools around the country this year, as has been the case several years running, is the requirement that the Pledge of Allegiance be recited in class every morning, or in some cases, weekly. You can work against letting this happen in your local school.

There are several reasons that this is objectionable and I hope you will assemble some of these reasons and add your own, to craft an email to the principal and school board superintendent where you pay your taxes. I promise you that there are people pressuring the school boards to require the Pledge to be said daily. In one local school in Minnesota, teachers were told during their first staff meeting “The pressure’s been on for years. We’re giving in this year because we really can’t hold out any longer,” and thus, henceforth, a few minutes of the first period of every day would be devoted to organizing the students, making them stand up, reciting the pledge with them.

Before we get to the reasons to oppose this policy (and to take action in doing so), let me make a few things very clear. First, do not assume that I’m against the Pledge of Allegiance of that I am not a Patriotic American. Noting about the pledge itself, or pledges in general, or my love of country, will be found in reasons to oppose this policy, except for one detail that will be made plain. Second, while it is technically true that a student can opt out of the Pledge (probably), this is irrelevant. In fact a student is not able to sit out the pledge, especially in grade school or middle school. Rules are rules and rulings on rules are fine, but anyone who thinks a Middle School kid can buck the trend without serious consequences is kidding themselves. Third, any opt-out policy for students simply does not apply to teachers. They can in fact be told to say the pledge of allegiance in class or lose their jobs. In sum: a) this is not about patriotism or pledges; and b) in practice, a “say the pledge” rule is an unavoidable requirement for all regardless of any technicalities.

Here are the reasons to not require that the Pledge of allegiance be recited periodically, especially daily or weekly, in American Public Schools:

1) In all schools some an in many schools many students are not Americans. If you are not an American citizen and you are required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, you may feel uncomfortable, you may be doing something that you feel is wrong, and in many cases … and please do take this seriously … you may be committing an illegal act. My daughter is currently in High School. If she was required to say a Pledge in her school, she would be carrying out an Un-American Act and probably violating some law, because she is an American Citizen in high school overseas. In one school near my house, up to 25 or 35% of the kids in a given class are not US citizens. There, they were required to say the pledge and teachers who taught there were well aware of the discomfort they felt, with some teachers eventually just giving up and not requiring it in their classroom against school policy.

2) Americans have freedom of speech and this also means freedom of silence. A pledge to the principles of our nation should acknowledge that. Therefore requiring people to recite the pledge endlessly is an absurdity which can to little other than fuel cynicism among our students for our system of government and our society.

3) A pledge, if taken seriously, normally lasts for longer than one day or one week. The President of the United States does not recite the Oath of Office every day. Just once every four years, max. We are sending the message that we don’t trust or believe our children.

4) Here’s the specific-to-the-pledge part: The Pledge of Allegiance includes the term “Under God” and it is therefore a violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution of the United States and an offense to people who do not wish to utter those words for one reason or another. The “jury” as it were is still out on this officially, but if I recall correctly the last challenge to the God Clause ended because of an issue of standing. But even if the courts do not rule any time soon that you can’t force a bunch of school children to pray in this manner, it should still not be allowed in our public schools. See above if you were thinking that students could simply opt out of this phrase.

5) Did you notice that forcing the Pledge of Allegiance into the school day was not an act of patriotism but rather an attempt to get at least a tiny bit of Christian God Fearing prayer into the public schools? This is not OK.

6) Society is willing to make constant and repeated demands on our schools to address endless social issues, but is rarely willing to do the most important thing it could do to make public schools work: Reduce class size without reducing the professional nature of the system. As long as society refuses to provide schools with the resources and support they need to educate our children, society should refrain from chipping away at the precious hours of time available for our educators to work with. A daily pledge interferes significantly with learning. Don’t allow it to happen in your school.

Please take this seriously. It can not be hard to find the email of the principals of the schools in your district, and the school board members and superintend or whatever administrative overlords your local system keeps on the books. Don’t bother trying to find the current policy in your school; It is their job to tell you that. Just craft a letter indicating that the Pledge should not be required on a daily or weekly basis, give a few reasons, and ask what the current policy is now and what changes are planned for the future. Even if your school does not require the pledge now, there IS pressure for them to do so in the future. Your letter or email will help balance that pressure.

OK, everybody. You know what to do. Move out!

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71 Responses to Demand that the Pledge of Allegiance Not Be Recited in Your Local School

  1. Albatross says:

    Coercing children to promise their loyalty to a flag is a ridiculous Twentieth-century ritual that makes a few American Legion members verklempt but is otherwise a waste of time. Children are not capable of making such pledges. We want to teach our children to make empty, uninformed promises?

    If you want people to promise their loyalty to America, MAKE AMERICA BETTER. I’d say start by supporting the freedom of teachers to run their classrooms as they see fit.

  2. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says:

    1. Children are not at the age of consent. Therefore, this is not a fully-considered, valid pledge of allegiance, it is an exercise in brainwashing.

    2. It is a particularly pernicious form of brainwashing: Nationalism, which does not mesh well with modern multiculturalism and movement to a more global worldview.

    3. It is a form of idolatry (surely, even the Christians can get behind this objection). Why are they indoctrinating kids to worship *a flag*?

    4. It is a flagrant contravention of the establishment clause.

  3. James says:

    Anyone else put in mind of the glorious loyalty oath crusade from Catch-22?

    “The important thing is to keep them pledging,” he explained to his cohorts. “It doesn’t matter whether they mean it or not. That’s why they make little kids pledge allegiance even before they know what ‘pledge’ and ‘allegiance’ means.”

  4. Greg Laden says:

    Clearly, I have to revise and add! Excellent suggestions!

  5. Brugh says:

    Yea, we should be teaching kids how to learn and think for themselves, not brainwash them.

    To me, patriotism is not virtuous… its a feeble action. Stand for the ideals of equality, not the imaginary borders of “we’re better that you”.

  6. Crystal says:

    I always used to just stand there and not recite the pledge as a child. If a teacher stared too hard at me during this- I only skipped the “under god” part. I think they realized it would not be worth their time to try and enforce the pledge with me. I asked mom about this and she didn’t have a problem with me skipping it. But it was rather like being asked to pray in a public group. I never did much of this either as a child and you could see everyone else so focused, with closed or down-turned eyes. It was moments like these that caused the greatest irreverance for me. I alway had to resist the urge to giggle. I was raised a Protestant but grew up an athiest. There were times when I wanted to believe in god- but those never occurred in a group – always alone and in nature. As I began to understand science and rational thought, god certainly wasn’t the simplistic answer, and besides that “god” had never once come through for me- rather i found life was punctuated by random bits of goodness that came directly fom other people — or that lifes sorrows came from cruel biological facts and personal mistakes. Being asked to say the pledge is to blindly follow and not question, which is detrimental to learning and personal growth. Having to say it in school every day is hypocritical at best. We should instead, even as children, be thinking of how to make life better for all, and perhaps utilize a pledge that encourages free thought and learning.

  7. Tatarize says:

    To recite the pledge is not to describe the United States; instead it is to swear allegiance to the values for which the flag stands: unity, indivisibility, liberty, justice and — since 1954 — monotheism

    – 9th Circuit decision in Newdow v. Elk Ridge

  8. Rich Wilson says:

    Hell, the principal of my son’s school couldn’t even be bothered to reply to my very polite email pointing out that the school’s website wasn’t accessible (all contact info, including address and phone in images with no alternate textual format available).

    But that won’t stop me…

    To add to the ‘age of consent’ bit, when aliens wish to apply for American naturalization, they have to state whether or not they have ever had “membership in the Communist party or any other totalitarian organizations”. But pledges made before the age of 16 are expressly excluded.

  9. Greg Laden says:

    I guess there are no Commies in Middle School, even in Russia.

  10. Stephanie Zvan says:

    I rather enjoyed reciting the pledge as a kid, although it was really just a dramatic performance for me and I never took “under God” literally (perhaps I knew even then that it just meant “Woo! Look at us!”). I think they ended up with more than they bargained for in having me recite the pledge, though. I did take it seriously, except for the God bit. And now I have no intention of letting them do something so blatantly unpatriotic and harmful as forcing a pledge like this on children.

  11. Bob says:

    Here is my problem with this article.

    1) If your are a foreign exchange student, you have every right to be offended being told that you have to recite the pledge. And in fact you are being told to denounce your own country (If the country you are citizen in wanted to be a pain about it, they could actually revoke your citizenship over it). If you are here because your parents are on a work visa, the statement above applies as well.
    If you are an immigrant (planing on staying in the U.S. indefinitely), then you should be working on getting your citizenship. If that is the case you really shouldn’t be offended by being asked to pledge your allegiance to the country.
    If you are an illegal immigrant (i.e. you didn’t immigrate through legal channels or you weren’t born in the us)… Well, you don’t have a right to complain about it. You are a criminal and should be treated as such.
    I have no problem with immigration, and i think they really need to do away with a LOT of the “red tape” that goes along with immigration/nationalization. But if you sneak into the country (by land or sea), you need to be deported,

    2) Not a whole lot of disagreements here. Though I do think the better option here would be to not force the students to recite the pledge, but still provide the opportunity.

    3) I do agree with you on this point.

    4) I also agree here. The better option would simply go back to the 1923 version (given below).

    “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

    5) Refer to 4

    6) The way i figure it, The pledge takes about 15 seconds to recite. If you start the pledge 1 min after the morning bell, this takes approximately 75 seconds of school time.
    This accounts for 0.0026041666% of the school day. This would also serve to get the students at their desks in a more timely fashion (at least that’s how it worked when I was in school)

    Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie,

    Your second point only shows your own views… Ever heard of Civic nationalism? Just because the pledge refers to One nation, it is not implied that it means one ethnic nation or one religious nation. It just means One nation (association of people who identify themselves as belonging to the nation, who have equal and shared political rights, and allegiance to similar political procedures).
    I really don’t have an issue with a pledge to the Nation. I have always held one point close to my heart. I really don’t care where you are from (including your family), what your religious views are (if you pray to one god or many, or in my case none). We are all part of this nation. If you don’t like the nation then try to make it (the nation) better.
    And if you have a problem with the nation or the “system”, and don’t want to help make it better… You have two options, shut up and deal with it our get the heck out.

    It’s the same as voting. Voting is like getting your ticket to complain. If you didn’t vote, you obviously care enough one way or the other to have something to complain about.

    Don’t get me wrong here, I have plenty of issues with the government. Mostly stemming from the politicians wanting to have their hands in every part of a persons life. Like the “right to life” movement. If you don’t think abortion is the right thing to do… don’t have an abortion. But why should your views effect me and my family. Or gay marriage. I have a button (and am trying to find the bumper sticker) that says “If you don’t like gay marriage,
    Don’t marry a gay person”

    I digressed, but my point is that even though i still have LOTS of issues with the government, I agree with the base Ideals of the nation.
    And if i see someone burning a flag, I’ll still confront them. If you have so many issues with the U.S. that you feel the best way to express it is to burn the flag, then maybe you should just move to Canada (or Australia or wherever else you feel would best fit your ideals)

    And, I apologize for all the grammar mistakes, I’ve never claimed to be any good with the mechanics of the English language. I was always more of an Math/Science/Shop kind of person.

  12. Astonishingly educational thanks, I believe your subscribers might want significantly more well written articles such as this maintain the great work.

  13. Greg Laden says:

    Bob, in the school I spoke of about a third of the students who were not US citizens are not necessarily going to become US citizens. They have refugee status or are the children of workers in the US for one reason or another. In a different school that I did not mention but that comes to mind, where my daughter went to grade school, between 1 and 2 in 10 students are NOT us citizens and never will be. They are the children of students at the University here from various contries.

    So the first category in your section “1)” applies to many students as far as I know, but this will vary from region to region. And, those students are essentially being made to say the Pledge (in at least one school in our area).

    Regarding the second category, I suppose that depends on the individual.

    The children that are “illegal” are not criminals, nor do they need to be treated as such. I have no idea how many such kids there are. Pobably not very many. up here in the Northern Tier the kids who are Mexicans are generally part of families that have been migrating through the Texas-Minnesota corridor for a few generations and are mostly legal. We are near Canada but Canadians stand out so abruptly from everyone else that the are easily spotted and deported.

    Most of the kids I was concerned about, that I mentioned in the post, are refugees. They don’t know what their future status will be. Many have already lived for a short period of time in two or three countries. Many may settle here but some hope to return home. They are from Tibet, Ogadan, Somalia, etc.

    6) The way i figure it, The pledge takes about 15 seconds to recite. If you start the pledge 1 min after the morning bell, this takes approximately 75 seconds of school time.

    Hahahahah! You’re not a teacher, are you!

    Anyway, yes, even if it does take more time than you imagine, is not a lot of time. It’s probably two minutes.

    There is a list of things that teachers have to do that are all stupid and all take between one and five minutes. For many teachers, if they teach the same class during the first hour and at a later time, they need to develop two different syllabii (in their own heads, if not on paper), expect to get through two different lists of materials, and expect the students in the first period to not know as much on exams, etc. because of all the shit they have to do.

    This is just one more stupid distracting thing with no benefits, which on it’s own may not seem like it would take up a lot of time, but is probably the least worthwhile thing on that list of things to do during first period.

    And, seriously, if you want to have this rule, why not monthly or at the beginning of every term? It would carry a lot more meaning.

  14. Children are not considered capable of creating or upholding contracts, defending our country or voting until the age of 18. It makes no sense and conflicts with our understanding of their legal obligations to force them to make an oath or pledge to anything. Forcing them to make a pledge as serious as one to their own governing forces seems to not only stretch them beyond where they should be legally obligated, but also seems to sort of turn the concept of governmental loyalty into a bit of a farce, doesn’t it? How serious should an adult take their actual legal obligations to our government if every 5 year old, who is cognitively incapable of understanding the implications of such a thing, is also expected to be obligated similarly?

  15. Bob says:

    Greg,
    I hadn’t really thought about the refugee issue. I would figure that a refugee would fall into the same category as foreign exchange students, and not required to say the pledge. Same for the children of people attending school (college) in the states.
    Also, If the students in question are part of families that have been in the states for a few generations… They ARE citizens [if you are born in the U.S. you are automatically granted citizenship, unless you (your parents on your behalf) decline].
    So in the cases of the students you were mostly concerned about, I agree wholeheartedly. Forcing them to say the pledge would be absurd, and possibly be a criminal act unto itself.

    But you are incorrect in that even the children of parents who immigrated illegally (as long as they were born before the immigration) ARE in fact criminals. It is a criminal act to immigrate into the U.S. unless you use the legal channels to do so. Am i saying that they need to be beat up and abused because they are illegal immigrants? Absolutely NOT, they are still people (who are just trying to find a better life for themselves and their children). But, legally they are still subject to arrest and deportation at any time.

    The school solved the problem with shortchanging the first period class, They made it 20 min. longer than the other 3 of the day

    Do I think that any child should be be forced or coerced into saying the pledge if they don’t believe it. No! But if they don’t understand what the pledge is about, it’s the fault of thee teachers who first taught them the pledge. That is something that was part of the class (that i sort-of taught as part of my education course).

    I also agree with you that once a term would be MUCH more appropriate and a better use of time. But, an explanation as to what the pledge is about [and what they are really agreeing to (and a warning to the students who have citizenship elsewhere)] should be included.

    Sophie,
    Though you are correct that children are not capable of forming a legally binding agreement, they are still expected to pay taxes (if they have a job, even lawn mowing if the IRS was really bored) and follow the laws set forth by the government. So in essence, they are doing what the pledge says even if they don’t say the pledge. But i do think that starting them on the pledge in elementary school is a bit on the silly side. As you said, at that age they really don’t know (even if you tried to explain it) what it really means to say the pledge.

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  17. Kenneth says:

    Hi Greg,

    As an American who has been living in Germany for the past 15 years, I can really appreciate your criticism. Of course, the blatant nationalism (which is euphemistically referred to as ‘patriotism’ in the USA) behind ritual practices such as the pledge of allegiance, ubiquitous display of flags, buttons, bumper stickers, etc. in the USA would be unthinkable here. I find it disturbing that most Americans aren’t critical of such things. Best of luck to you all with this initiative.

    Regards,

    Kenneth

  18. Tim Smith says:

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  19. britbitter says:

    My son never once recited the pledge. I had told him that he needn’t say “under god” but he objected to the idea altogether. After talking with the teacher I did instruct him to stand and be respectful of the culture of the class room by not drawing attention to himself during this pointless activity but I insisted and the teacher accepted that she could not coerce him to espouse something he didn’t agree with. My son can be a real pain in the ass and has plenty of problems but I am proud of him for this.

  20. pledge is about columbus, selling flags says:

    There are two other reasons to not say the pledge. It was written in honor of Christopher Columbus. And it was written in order to sell flags. When Columbus’ 400th anniversary was over, the flag-maker petitioned Congress to make the pledge a daily thing, so he could continue to line his pockets after the anniversary was over.

  21. Bob,

    The pledge doesn’t say we have to follow laws. It merely states that we pledge an allegiance. You don’t have to have allegiance to a nation in order to follow the local laws.

    As for your discussion about immigration, if immigration laws are unjust (which, many are), do you still feel immigrants should be punished and deported? You seem to be very anti-immigration and I’m wondering if that clouds your opinion.

    Making one class longer doesn’t account for lost class time, in total. The problem is, these activities take time from a student’s entire day and the more our educational system is cut, the more precious that time becomes, even if they take time from other teachers to accommodate the first class.

  22. quantheory says:

    Unfortunately, in the State of Colorado, local school districts don’t actually make this decision. There was a law requiring all students to say the pledge, with exemptions for non-citizens, students or teachers with religious objections, and students whose parents had opted them out.

    That law was challenged in court and had to be amended. But the amended law still reads:

    “Each school district shall provide an opportunity each school day for willing students to recite the pledge of allegiance in public elementary and secondary educational institutions. Any person not wishing to participate in the recitation of the pledge of allegiance shall be exempt from reciting the pledge of allegiance and need not participate.”

    I was still in high school the whole time this law was being figured out, and the pledge was recited (still is recited) every day through the school’s PA system. In some classes, students bothered to actually say it (awkward, since I refused), while in others the students just ignored it and took the opportunity to chat with each other loudly over the PA (which was a waste of time and required the teacher to do something loud or flash the lights to grab everyone’s attention afterward).

    As pointless as all that is, neither individual teachers nor schools nor local school districts have the authority to stop daily recitation of the pledge, and the courts have already addressed the matter recently. We don’t really have any recourse except to wait and hope that the state legislature agrees to repeal the demand one day, (or wait for a new precedent allowing a new challenge of the law in court).

  23. quantheory says:

    “But you are incorrect in that even the children of parents who immigrated illegally (as long as they were born before the immigration) ARE in fact criminals. It is a criminal act to immigrate into the U.S. unless you use the legal channels to do so.”

    Blatantly false in at least some cases. While such children are subject to deportation, many of them are not, in any serious sense, criminals. Is it a crime to be a toddler who was carried across a border? Nor does it seem plausible to say that, say, a eight-year-old is responsible for realizing that she’s been living in the country illegally, or for coming to the conclusion that she’s “supposed” to turn in her family, regardless of whether or not she is technically aware of not being a U.S. citizen.

    Analogously, imagine someone who walks into the wrong house because they suffer from a neurological disorder, have become confused to the point of incapacitation, and don’t fully understand where they are. You can legally take action against such a person (by calling police or other authorities to remove the person from your home, or by requesting/suing a non-incapacitated caretaker or their insurance company for any damages that occur to your property). However, the person in question is not a criminal because they are not responsible for any wrongdoing, and will not be convicted of any criminal offense in any reasonable court of law.

    This is all addressing only the legal question. The ethics of what to do with someone who has spent most of their life in this country illegally? That’s a whole other can of worms.

  24. Greg Laden says:

    quantheory: Unfortunately, in the State of Colorado, local school districts don’t actually make this decision. There was a law requiring all students to say the pledge,

    That is the case in many states. However, many state laws telling schools what to do can be easily “exempted” by the schools. They just say “Were told to do this by the legislature but the budget item funding it has not come up yet so we’re ignoring it for now” or words to that effect.

    But yes, despite all the talk upstream about how individuals can not be legally forced to say the pledge, in many states, the state law says that every one will say the pledge (then there is some fine print that does not help the average middle schooler from feeling rather repressed!)

    …We don’t really have any recourse except to wait and hope that the state legislature agrees to repeal the demand one day, …

    NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

    Wait for the legislature to repeal? Did you notice that you vote for these guys (or not)? They do have addresses phone numbers, and emails. You don’t wait. You bitch them the fuck out!!!!!

    Colorado house: http://www.leg.state.co.us/CLICS/CLICS2011A/csl.nsf/DirectoryHou?openframes

    Colarodo senate: http://www.leg.state.co.us/CLICS/CLICS2011A/csl.nsf/DirectorySen?openframeset

    Let’s go!

  25. Greg Laden says:

    OK, I admit maybe I’m being a bit optimistic here. Is there any organized effort in CO?

  26. Bob says:

    pledge is about Columbus, selling flags:

    I don’t really know where you are getting the idea that the pledge was written to sell flags. It was written for a sermon on Columbus day. To make the leap from it ( the pledge) being written to Honor Christopher Columbus himself is not really logical without any proof to to support it (where in the pledge does it mention him… in any way). It was written for the Columbus day celebration only because it is a traditional patriotic day.

    Sophie,

    As a matter of fact, by making the pledge you are agreeing to follow the rules and commands of the country… That is what Allegiance is.
    Your right that you don’t have to give an oath of allegiance to a country to follow it’s laws… But that really has nothing to do with the discussion.

    As far as me being anti-immigration… you couldn’t be farther from the truth. I think that immigration will help the country to grow in a positive direction. But I AM against people who feel it is acceptable to break the law in order to immigrate.
    Think about it this way. If you decided to move to England (or any other country), would it be acceptable for you to just fly there and slip out an unwatched door? No, it would absolutely not be acceptable. In fact it would be quite illegal.
    What part of the immigration law do you believe to be so unjust that it makes immigrating illegally justifiable?
    After spending over an hour looking at the process of getting a green card and then applying for citizenship… I don’t really see anything that looks any different than the immigration laws for England, France and Germany.

    quantheory,
    In your own words it is no longer REQUIRED for students to recite the pledge. It is merely offered to the students as an option. They are welcome to to opt out.
    You mentioned that you felt awkward for refusing to say the pledge… There are two things wrong with this. First, you should have been proud to refuse to say the pledge. You are exercising the very point of the first amendment. Protest and refusal to swear allegiance to the government is what the first amendment was actually intended for. But, your feeling awkward does NOT have the right to affect other people’s rights (them being allowed to say the pledge)

    You other point about a child not being a criminal because they didn’t know it was wrong (or what was even going on)… Well, have you ever heard the phrase “ignorance is not a defense”? It’s a true statement. The only defense you really have is intent. It’s the defense you are using if you have ever filed for faulty equipment for a speeding ticket. You are stating that you didn’t INTEND to commit the crime of speeding, but the speedometer was giving false information. I’ll concede the point of a (young) child not knowing that they broke the law by crossing the border. But, the parents did. And the typical recourse (excepting a few rare cases) is deportation. No jail time, no fine. Just made to vacate the country (usually with the U.S. paying for transportation)
    So i guess you could opt to leave the child here and deport only the parents (and order children)… But, that would then leave a young child with no parents. That really isn’t a good option. So, they deport the whole family.

    And you point about the lost disabled person… Again, unless they committed assault or theft while in the house… You absolutely correct. Because they did not realize they were in the wrong house, they are not guilty of breaking and entering.

    Also about the ethical issues with deporting someone who has been living here for most of their lives… That is a bit of a sticky issue. If i had my way, it would be offer them a green card/citizenship. If they for some reason refused, deport them.

    Back to the topic.

    Greg,
    In the case of the school you are talking about… I would have to agree with you. I don’t really see how the state or federal legislature could justify violating someone’s freedom of speech (or refusal to speak)

    I guess i would sum up my opinion on this as.
    Either make it completely optional (though still providing the opportunity at the beginning of the term (once a year as suggested before) and go back to the 1923 version.
    Or if you feel that “wasting” the 2 min. time on the pledge is too much and want it removed from school time, then remove all other activities that are not beneficial to the students education. The 2 hour long Pep rallies (I never cared about the crappy sports teams our school had. And if we are not supposed to have any pride in our country as Kenneth suggested, why should we have any pride in our school?) and the student body governments (all they really do teach is that they can say anything they want to get elected, and not be held accountable for it).

  27. Greg Laden says:

    I think Columbus did have a flag, though. Like this: http://www.aoc.gov/cc/art/rotunda/images/landing_columbus_70226_1.jpg

  28. Rich Wilson says:

    Dunno why I didn’t remember this before, but once when I was wearing my pledge-protest shirt (has “one nation” then a long list of the religious breakdown of the US according to Pew, and “indivisible”) and some Native Americans got slightly miffed and said it didn’t include them. They felt that their religion/spirituality should have been separated out, not rolled up into a catch all, but as we talked and they understood the intent, they liked it.

    But later it occurred to me that for them the “one nation” part really isn’t correct. Many of them are members of distinct nations. I suppose you could argue that as citizens they are also members of the ‘one nation’, but it still strikes me as another overreaching assumption that the pledge makes.

  29. Bob says:

    Rich,

    Now THAT is a very interesting point. I hadn’t really though about it from the different Indian Nations point of view.

  30. Duncan says:

    I realise I don’t need to tell you this, as an anthropologist, but… if I saw someone cycling along with a bike and protruding from the bike they had a pole with a wheel on it which did nothing, I’d criticise the pole-wheel regardless of how otherwise fine the bike was.

    The purpose of the recitation is not, contra-3, to reaffirm the pledge. Rather it is to aid in the memorization of its contents such that if it were a more complicated text (suppose it listed details of the constitution or the like) it might be useful as teaching children what their rights and responsibilities were. Of course, as it is, it’s more ‘value statements’ and given some of those (more below) were changed in the 50s, this repetition might skew people’s perception of what values were inherent in American history. But (3) is irrelevant; it is not the purpose of the recitation ritual. It would still, in principle, be expedient to have rituals reciting the terms and conditions for using iTunes even though my adherence to them is legally obligated from my first signing/clicking ‘I agree’.

    4- is especially problematic. I suspect the repetition of the pledge is one reason people are willing to claim ‘this country was founded as a Christian nation’ despite the fact that any (real) familiarity with the revolution and its aftermath (regardless of your religious affinities or lack thereof) will disabuse you of this. I’m tempted to say ‘American secularists only have yourselves to blame, for turning a blind eye to state predations of civil liberties during the 50s in the name of fighting ‘the red menace’ which, at least in the form of domestic socialists, was never all that menacing’. But don’t you think it’s more likely support could be mustered for the removal of (or making optional) the ‘under God’ part of the pledge (and at the very least a campaign raising awareness that this was a very late insert) than a campaign for getting rid of the pledge in schools entirely. After all, there are those of a republican (small r. Very small r) persuasion who wouldn’t (and I count myself amongst them) think it was so wrong to have children recite certain things, such as the constitution or a simplified version thereof. As it stands of course, the current pledge is deplorable in more ways than one. Every time you pledge allegiance to a FLAG, Jefferson rolls over in his grave.

    (In trying to find articles about the recent appellate court rulings on the subject I found this. Now either the author is flagrantly dishonest or stunningly ignorant, but either way clearly ‘more work needed’ http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/11/15/court_upholds_nh_law_allowing_pledge_in_school/ (search for ’1954′ on the page. You won’t find it).

  31. Greg Laden says:

    Duncan:

    Wikipedia: “Pledge of Allegiance, an oath of loyalty to the United States”

    Free Online Dictionary:

    Pledge: A solemn binding promise to do, give, or refrain from doing something… Allegiance: Loyalty or the obligation of loyalty, as to a nation, sovereign, or cause ”

    My Number 3: “A pledge, if taken seriously, normally lasts for longer than one day or one week. The President of the United States does not recite the Oath of Office…”

    I’m sticking with my story regarding what this is all about.

    Although I must say that whenever I think of the pledge, I also think of having to stand up with the class every morning in Kindergarten and recite the months, days, seasons, and some other lists of things we were supposed to know.

    I suspect the repetition of the pledge is one reason people are willing to claim ‘this country was founded as a Christian nation’ … I agree. That and all the other references in similarly ritualized places such as the end of every politician’s speech, benedictions at public events, “In god we trust” on the money, and giving churches the same tax status and similar sway in the public arena as, say, the government.

    Yeah very interesting that the “reporting” incorrectly links the god phrase to the original, and paints the original in rather positive light. And, of course, the law suit is in reference to a post 911 law. Which is exactly why a) one of my local high schools decided this year to enforce this and b) I wrote this post (and another i’m putting up later today ) and interwtingly, a bunch of students from that high school came out with letters in their local paper with a fair amount of reason in them! There is hope!

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  33. Duncan says:

    Okay, well with the caveat that I approve of and applaud your efforts, and the efforts of those children:

    The definition the dictionary gives of a pledge is irrelevant to the question of whether the fact in question should be considered as an instance of ‘pledging’. If you (in 3) are correct, and the people administering the pledge do so because they believe (incorrectly) that a pledge must be daily refreshed then, for example, if someone commits an act of treason they might be inclined to say “well… that didn’t violate his pledge because he actually skipped school that morning, so he is outwith the 24-hour period his pledge implicitly covered”. I haven’t tested this, but I submit to your common sense that this clearly isn’t the case. Rather the point of the pledge is to reinforce in the minds of those reciting it the wording of the pledge (whether for sinister or benign reasons; we’d say sinister, others might differ). So the question of whether those proposing the pledge have committed some misunderstanding of the nature of the pledge is either (a) irrelevant or worse (b) trivial to answer; in so far as if you asked the proponents of using the pledge of allegiance in this way ‘do you advocate this on the belief that a pledge must be reaffirmed daily’ they are more likely to talk about the importance of reinforcement effects rather than some strange notion about pledging that the obligation to honour them expires with the rising of the sun.

    ((Set it within your hypothetical. Suppose someone, concerned about scandals which had befallen the Presidency said ‘it would be better if the President were obliged to recite his oath of allegiance over his coffee every morning’. They would advocate this, not based on the notion that his original oath was somehow not binding, but rather than despite it being binding he wasn’t paying it its due attention and the reiteration would cause his oath to have greater influence over his actions by virtue of repetition*).

    *((As Dennett might say “every time you hear it or say it you make another copy in your brain)).

    I’m just saying; these people haven’t, as you claim, ‘misunderstood what pledges are’; their behaviour is totally consistent with someone who knows full well that a pledge is (in principle; obviously whether pledges are contracts differs from one jurisdiction to another) but who wants the pledge regularly reiterated for its behavioural impact.

  34. Gigi Larkin says:

    I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND TO THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!

  35. Sean Santos says:

    @Greg

    “However, many state laws telling schools what to do can be easily “exempted” by the schools. They just say “Were told to do this by the legislature but the budget item funding it has not come up yet so we’re ignoring it for now” or words to that effect.”

    This is effectively what happens in schools that simply neglect to schedule a specific time, or in classrooms where the teacher either forgets or doesn’t want to do it. But it’s worth pointing out that the law remains. And in my former high school, we got to the point where the Pledge of Allegiance was said at the conclusion of a 5 minute set of daily announcements. When the time is already set aside for several years running, it’s hard to take that off the schedule without it being a direct F-U to the legislature.

    “Wait for the legislature to repeal? Did you notice that you vote for these guys (or not)? They do have addresses phone numbers, and emails. You don’t wait. You bitch them the fuck out!”

    True, but we just went through all this a few years ago, and there are always other issues to deal with. This year we had a civil unions bill (defeated), and we’ve been trying to cope with changes that Republicans have made to try to force everyone to be present during House prayers (previously role call was after the prayer so that legislators didn’t have to take their seats if they didn’t want to be present for it; now role call is before). (I’m a little more active on the LGBT side of things, where we have at least managed to get an anti-bullying bill passed.)

    It’s worth pointing out that atheists don’t have as big of a political presence in Colorado as in many areas. I’m looking at ways to change that, but most of my (personal) political energy this year has been focused on LGBT issues simply because those groups are much better organized and have wider popular support.

    Part of the problem is that some of the relevant House committees are controlled by Republicans from very backwards districts. There is simply no pressure we can put on these people that will match the pressure they have to not appear as RINOs. We can try to influence the House in other ways (in particular by exerting pressure in more moderate districts to affect Republican leadership, or ideally retaking the House from them completely), but it just doesn’t seem worth the effort during a term when there are many other important issues, and chances of success seem bleak.

    What really needs to happen, and what I’m trying to figure out the best way to organize, is for there to be more effective atheist (or even just secularist) lobbying in Colorado. The local groups (and there are many) are largely focused on community, social events, education, and outreach. Activism does happen, but we really don’t have the organization or communications structures necessary to make a serious, consistent, concerted impact.

    • quantheory says:

      Maybe it would have been clearer to just say that, in Colorado, there’s more benefit to be gained in trying to influence the next election (and attendant dialogue) first, than trying to push a vote regarding the pledge during the next year. I meant that focusing on the pledge specifically seems like it’s “not worth the effort”, not that there’s no point in trying to influence the House at all.

      That said, in a lot of places, the school board is the only real obstacle (or perhaps there are state-level obstacles that stand a good chance of being removed in the very near future). I’m not trying to put down this post, I’m just pointing out that, at least where I live, the issue is bigger than local politics.

  36. quantheory says:

    @Bob

    “First, you should have been proud to refuse to say the pledge.”

    I was. But I was also 14 years old and sometimes visibly the only person in the room who apparently didn’t love America enough to say the pledge. For some time I also didn’t know whether I was technically allowed to not say it, and was a bit on-edge about the possibility of a teacher confronting me about something that I didn’t want to be a big deal.

    “But, your feeling awkward does NOT have the right to affect other people’s rights (them being allowed to say the pledge)”

    What? I’m not advocating that people not be able to say the pledge. I’m advocating that children not be encouraged to swear a daily loyalty oath with religious language on school time. They have the right to say the pledge, or pray, or read aloud from Mein Kampf, or anything else. But there is no such thing as a right to have the school system tell you to do any such thing. That right does NOT exist.

    “You other point about a child not being a criminal because they didn’t know it was wrong (or what was even going on)… Well, have you ever heard the phrase “ignorance is not a defense”? It’s a true statement. The only defense you really have is intent.”

    That was my point though. I didn’t intend to suggest that mere ignorance was a positive defense. Rather, I was trying to say that someone who does not understand what they are doing, or is not currently considered mentally competent to navigate a particular situation, is not guilty of a crime. That’s very different from ignorance that’s merely due to negligence.

    My secondary point was that deportation is not necessarily a criminal punishment. It can be something that is inflicted on criminals, but conviction of a criminal offense is not always necessary to deport someone. So whether or not it’s a “crime” to be in the country is sometimes a bit of a red herring.

  37. Alfred says:

    Hello there, thankful i came across your web blog. It solved the problem to know this issue slightly improved.

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  39. Umbre says:

    At my school, we say it every morning; I am silent, one kid refuses to stand at all, and I still feel kind of uncomfortable. Fortunately my teacher during this class doesn’t press anyone about it. I noticed that he skips the “under God” part (+1 from me) and changes the end to “…with liberty and justice for almost everyone.”

    I am almost glad we say the Pledge just so he can make a point about its exaggerations and religious insertions. He is definitely my favorite teacher this term

  40. kalavinka says:

    I didn’t mind saying the pledge everyday in school growing up, but as I got older and started to understand what the pledge was saying and becoming conscious of injustices in this world, I started to alter what I would say during the pledge, most notably “with liberty and justice for those who can afford it.” However, as an adult, I have had to sign an oath to the flag as part of my job. I don’t even work for the government, military, or an organization that I think such a thing would be required. In fact, I’m really quite offended that they would question employee patriotism and loyalty to the country, but even stranger still is that the oath is to the flag and not the country.

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  42. abc says:

    well in my opinion the pledge of allegiance should be said every day and just because its says under god doesnt mean any thing we are not pledging our allegiance to god we are pledging our loyalty to our country its unamerican and hightly disrespectful for an american citizen to choose not to say it. and if ur an illegal citezen who doesnt want to say it cuz ur from another country u probly shouldnt be here any ways (foreignh exchange students are different) so if u dont like it then thats too bad your american you can get over it

  43. Me says:

    Damn liberals…

  44. Tim Prawdzik says:

    When in Rome, do as the romans. I dont know exactly where that came from, but it makes sense.

    So, you are in the US – the kids here say the pledge of allegiance. They grow to know what it means – just like they grow to know how a toilet works. I for one hope every kid gets potty trained before he knows how the toilet works.

    Kids need order – it is much better all the way around. Just about every daycare, school, high school and college have set times for doing things. To set an order.

    I wont argue patriotics here – that is obviously not to be understood amongst that vast majority – but I will argue schools and grades.

    Lets see – we let our politicians cheat swindle and steal so much money that we not only have less teaching staff per student, we have to pay separately for any sports programs, etc. I will argue that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is far more helpful as a tool to help organize and settle an over-crowded classroom to an over-worked, under-paid teacher than it ever was harming bugwani’s character.

    As far as feeling uncomfortable having to hear the pledge recited, then I would strongly suggest one of two resolutions; Repeat it a few time and you will get used to it or go to whatever other country you would like – I bet they do not recite it there. All that is presuming that you are here legally, of course. If you are not here legally and you complain, you should be deported – immediately.

    But do choose wisely. I understand that if dont repeat their pledge, or follow their ways, in some countries, well they just kill you.

  45. Rich Wilson says:

    Repeat it a few time and you will get used to it

    That’s also a fantastic way to determine the optimal number of legs.

  46. quantheory says:

    *sigh*

    “I for one hope every kid gets potty trained before he knows how the toilet works.”

    Yes, but a toilet is something that is actually useful. I actually think that the Pledge is a bad influence in our culture, and for that reason, it’s morally wrong to make kids say it.

    “Kids need order – it is much better all the way around.”

    This sentence is meaningless. Some kinds of order are good (such as a set school routine) whereas others are bad (excessive “discipline” of a child can be traumatic). Making kids say a bunch of words before they even understand what those words mean, and then later pressuring them to continue saying them even if they disagree? I see no reason to think that that is the “good” kind of order.

    “I will argue that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is far more helpful as a tool to help organize and settle an over-crowded classroom to an over-worked, under-paid teacher than it ever was harming bugwani’s character.”

    Bullshit. You don’t actually know that it’s any better of a way of settling students than anything else. I think you’re just guessing that it has some benefit that would be convenient for you. Besides which, it lasts for, what, 30 seconds a day? There are a dozen other routines you could use that don’t involve a loyalty oath (for instance, some teachers make their students say “Good Morning” when they walked in the room, which I always found personally irritating but has the same effect).

    “As far as feeling uncomfortable having to hear the pledge recited, then I would strongly suggest one of two resolutions; Repeat it a few time and you will get used to it or go to whatever other country you would like – I bet they do not recite it there.”

    Hey, you know what? There’s another option, which is to change the practice here! Do you know why this country is a relatively nice place to live, and not a shithole? It’s partly because people actually changed some of the shitty things that used to be a part of our culture! Not by people who just learned to conform, and not by people who fled, but people who tried to actually make useful changes!

    By the way, this is not about “feeling uncomfortable having to hear the pledge recited”. This is about feeling uncomfortable because someone who has authority over you is telling you to say the pledge, and you might not want to do it. Or you might be a parent of a child who you do not want pressured into saying the pledge. I would not want my children told that they have to recite this bullshit, and if I was a teacher I would not want my boss trying to tell me that I’m supposed to tell my students to say it.

    “All that is presuming that you are here legally, of course. If you are not here legally and you complain, you should be deported – immediately.

    But do choose wisely. I understand that if dont repeat their pledge, or follow their ways, in some countries, well they just kill you.”

    Oh, bravo! You have so much compassion for children. “Hey, if you complain, then, due to something that’s no fault of your own, we will ship you off to a foreign country that we think might kill you!” Is that what you would tell children in your care? I hope you don’t ever actually work with kids, then.

  47. Cristin says:

    Superb content, are you planning on writing a follow-up piece? I would truly appreciate it and I am positive others might as well. Take care.

  48. Current High School Student says:

    As a current high school student I am upset, for lack of a better word, that the Pledge of Allegiance isn’t recited during school. I personally believe if one were to choose to opt. out of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance that there would be no harm done. It is not required. Like you stated freedom of speech does include the freedom of silence. I would even go as far to say that one who doesn’t recite the Pledge would be respected for their individuality. Most high school students know that people have their own opinions and beliefs. The fact that a student could be bullied for not saying the Pledge of Allegiance is ridiculous because, if a student is brave enough to not say the Pledge then they probably do many other things differently than other students would anyways. Let’s get real bullying wouldn’t happen if a student or parent would step in. Anyways that’s a whole different issue. Many students now don’t know the Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem. This is pitiful. No wonder students don’t have the love and affection of their country like many adults do. Many students are not patriotic and do not see all of the privileges that they have of being an American. Reciting the Pledge has meaning, and without reciting it all meaning is lost.

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  50. Puzzled says:

    I came across this site while searching for information about the pledge. When I was a young man in elemetary school we recited the pledge every day and I never gave the meaning a second thought. In High School I was rebelling against all forms of authority and I thought the pleadge was a joke. As a young soldier I watched my friends die and saw them buried under the Flag and the true meaning of the pledge became clear to me. With everything that is going on in this country, the fact that you are concerned enough to petition against the Pledge of Alligance seem to me a monumental waste of energy. Teenage pregnancy rates are off the charts, more than 1/2 of the kids never graduate from school, crime, drugs, gangs etc and you all are worried about the Pledge of Alligance?

  51. rabbit says:

    Only and immoral, uneducated, inconsiderate and hateful soul would waste time putting this comment up. Would you mind if I ask who gave you the cushion where you seat and the computer that you use with all the arrays of commodities that you enjoy..! if it wasn’t for the thousands of people behind you that made it possible/ or be blessed to be in USA where you are free!!. USA is our country with its flags and symbols that define us – Our flag represents so much of our efforts now and then. Its for our children to respect and care and carry on high and proud along with the knowledge of all sacrifice and future sacrifice for our country. I AM A FOREIGNER..! naturalized citizen of USA.

    You Idiot… and all who wrote favorable under it.

    Your life most be filled with material nothingness..! this trend is old but I hope God had knock you down silly twice and over and now – today – you can see the light.

    LOVE YOUR CREATOR, COMMUNITY, COUTRY AND YOUR FLAG …! Yes we love the world, and we all want to fix the world..start with your yourself !

  52. Greg Laden says:

    Did you just threaten me with violence from god?

    May I ask: Where do you live?

  53. Rich Wilson says:

    Teenage pregnancy rates are off the charts, more than 1/2 of the kids never graduate from school, crime, drugs, gangs etc and you all are worried

    Good point. So while you’re taking the time to reply to an opinion blog, I’m sure you’re also lobbying to make sure that contraceptives are readily available to all, and that schools teach science in science class?

    Thanks!

    p.s. high school graduation rates are closer to 70% (72% in ’08) and crime is actually at its lowest level in thirty years, but aside from the hyperbole, there certainly are positive changes we can make

  54. rabbit says:

    I kept reading some of these posts and they are puckable..! ggggh

    What are you? a sort of SECT ? are you Athiest? ok I got the cure for you:

    ” …If there was a controlling power outside the universe, it could not show itself to us as one of the facts inside the universe – - no more than the architect of a house could actually be a wall or staircase in that house. The only way in which we could expect it to show itself would be inside ourselves as an influence or command trying to get us to behave in a certain way. AND THAT IS JUST WHAT WE DO FIND INSIDE OURSELVES..”

    “..all I have got is a something which is directing the Universe and which appears in me as a law urging me to do right and making me feel responsible and uncomfortable when I do wrong…I think we have to assume it is more like a MIND than it is like anything else we know – because after all the other only thing we know is MATTER and you can hardly imagine matter giving instructions..”

    God Bless you, and fill your minds with goodness…go read the Bible or CS Lewis

    bye,

  55. rabbit says:

    Mr Greg: Is wishing you to see the light of Goodness a threat? wow, that is heavy.

    I found this link by mistake. I was only curious about how many states today prohibit the Pledge, so far – none does. GOOD.

    Besides, I am only pointing you to look at different angle..if you stew in the same idea you get nowhere. Try thinking good about your country, there is a lot we need to be appreciative for..really.

    I apologize for calling you a bad name. Sorry, sincerely.

  56. rabbit says:

    I would not count on any stats that this administration puts out the last three years. Like the number of unemployed as of late, that # it will continue to get better throughout the year and leaving the best # just prior to elections……want to bet?

    regardless of how many of your neighbors are out of a job..!

    About teen pregnancy…we got to start at home peoples, morality isn’t just a Christian thing its a human thing. We need to actually make time to educate our kids properly so they can ACT properly. The president said he will teach his daughters ‘morality’ and good ‘virtues’ BUT, if they get pregnant he will not PUNISH them with a baby. ?? ? what? oh my God..I could not believe that a such high official can not realize how Wrong he was in saying this in public., how immature.

    Okay, if that’s what he thinks – personally – that is fine he and you are free to do what you want with your life., but look, he got to realize that abortion is Immoral, IT IS NOT RIGHT, it is wrong.
    If a woman have the right to choose and choose abortion – fine. It doesn’t make abortion right, pay for it yourself physically and morally.

    As free as we are here to get contraceptives I can’t believe that we still have so many unwanted pregnancies., This goes to tell you the disregard and callousness we develop as we make more allowances of this sort, what is to expect to give birth control to middle school? if not more of it.

    I am not a blogger, don’t expect to seem me here again…so long, live long a prosper…!

  57. robertbaden says:

    Laws requiring recitation of the Pledge are pushing the religious idea that it is all right to say oaths or pledges.

  58. dan-o says:

    Thanks Greg, you enlightened me quite a bit on this one. I enjoy reading your blog even though I may disagree with 98% of what you say. I will in fact be sending an email to my school’s board and asking their stance on this one. I do in fact enjoy that both my cub scout pack and boy scout troop start each meeting with the pledge. I am hoping they will get as much out of it as I did both from scouts and school some years ago. Oh and one last thing…

    I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND TO THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!

    God Bless all of you and our beautiful country!

  59. Uly says:

    Current High School Student, if saying the pledge is so important to you, why don’t you hang up a flag and say it every day on your own?

    Some people think prayer is important, but they do not get to compel their classmates to pray with them. Some people think singing in the shower is important, but they don’t get to make other family members function as back-up singers.

    If reciting the pledge daily is so important, why don’t you do it WITHOUT being coerced into it?

    (Incidentally, there’s pretty much no college in the country that starts the day that way, excepting the military colleges. I guess patriotism is only important for kids?)

  60. dan-o says:

    @ Uly
    I am betting you have either have a Communist flag hanging out side your house or somewhere inside. Saying the POL should never be looked down on nor frowned upon. If you wish to not say anything than please, please, please just remain silent. That is your right but do not ruin this moment for others.

  61. isaac says:

    howdy you all are fucking stupid. i am 16 and i see the meaning and value in saying the pledge of alliegance. you country allows u to say all this bullshit. u all make me sick. ypu are the people that can vote, how did u get sooo stupid. i cant spell but am more wise than anyone here. thos country is going to hell because dumbasses like you

  62. Sierra says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more Issac! First off there’s this thing, it’s called a constitution. It is what our country is based off of and it never mentions a separation of church and state. Schools have the right to say the Pledge Of Allegiance. It does NOT push religion onto kids just by saying “under God”. If you don’t want your kids to say the Pledge Of Allegiance then never let them touch money, or visit the house of representatives. “In God We Trust” is on our countries currency and behind the podium in the house. It’s one pledge that gives students the freedom to chose if they want to say it or not. If they chose not to they can sit down in their chairs and wait for 15 more seconds. I grew up saying the Pledge and we always had a couple kids who didn’t participate. There was no judging of them. One is my best friend. Also, the pledge isn’t required. So stop contradicting yourself. THEY CAN BE SILENT! Saying the words “Under God” is not praying. You should delete this post because it is embarrassing for yourself and makes me sick to know I share a country with people like this. Don’t even say that you are a true patriot. Saying there should be no pledge is like saying you’re fine with kids growing up showing no patriotism. It’s people like you that are screwing up this country. I refuse to use explicit language so right now the worse thing I can call you is a LIBERAL. Do some actual research next time moron.

    USA

  63. quantheory says:

    “You should delete this post because it is embarrassing for yourself and makes me sick to know I share a country with people like this.”

    You share a country with a lot of different kinds of people. It’s a fairly large area that has about 300 million people on it, and they aren’t all like you. Welcome to the planet Earth; it’s like that all over, and maybe more so in the U.S. than a lot of places.

    “Don’t even say that you are a true patriot. Saying there should be no pledge is like saying you’re fine with kids growing up showing no patriotism.”

    I wish. I mean, it’s one thing for people to care about the well-being of their communities and fellow citizens, and about the functioning of their government. That’s all fine and dandy. But what a lot of people call “patriotism” in the U.S. is a sort of glorified nepotism. “If you’re not an American, screw you.” That kind of so-called patriotism is morally wrong.

    “I refuse to use explicit language so right now the worse thing I can call you is a LIBERAL.”

    Oooh. Must have taken a lot of Fox News to convince you that that was an insult. Hey, this is a site primarily for atheists, right? So next time you should call everyone ATHEISTS as in insult. I’m sure that would come across as clever and not at all immature or deranged.

  64. quantheory says:

    I’m amused by robbit from forever ago too.

    “If there was a controlling power outside the universe, it could not show itself to us as one of the facts inside the universe – – no more than the architect of a house could actually be a wall or staircase in that house.”

    How is it that so many amateur apologists think this analogy makes sense? An architect of a house can show up to a house and say “hi” if he cares for the inhabitants. He can even live there. He doesn’t have to be a staircase to drop by for lunch.

    “I think we have to assume it is more like a MIND than it is like anything else we know – because after all the other only thing we know is MATTER and you can hardly imagine matter giving instructions.”

    Of course, naturalists don’t usually deny the existence of minds, they just claim minds are made of or instantiated in matter. If you want to argue against that position, you have to argue that mind and matter are both substances and are *different* substances. And “you can hardly imagine matter doing mind stuff” is not much of an argument, since I find it very easy to imagine such a thing.

    C.S. Lewis is so famous as an apologist and yet he’s one of the worst ones. What a shame.

  65. Tim says:

    I am not for or against the pledge in schools. However, this argument is getting to be quite annoying. I would assume that 95% of people with children in school today stood up each and every day, put the right hand over their heart and said the pledge. Now out of that 95% I highly doubt that any of them are in some way dis-functional because of saying the pledge. No the president does not recite the oath of office every day. However, all congressional sessions and local government meetings open with the pledge. Maybe reciting the pledge daily is a bit excessive. Once a week, or maybe once a month would be sufficient, but people would still complain about it. Lets face it, it’s not the pledge itself that bothers anyone, it’s being told what and when to do it. That’s the real issue. When are we going to stop standing for the National anthem. Lets just stay seated, keep our hats on, talk on our cell, pick our noses or whatever else you want to do.

  66. Matthew J Druker says:

    Each one of you who say we should not have to recite the Pledge, should have to go through boot camp and put in at least 4 years fighting in combat to keep our countries freedom. You’re all a bunch of Donkeys.

  67. Michael says:

    Okay so my opinion is they shouldn’t have it required but during any part of the day you should be able to say if you want to. The God part whatever I am Catholic yes but I still say it just because it amuses me even though I am borderlind atheist.

  68. Pete says:

    Man, you people really hate God.

    My perspective is that it is absurd to brainwash children to recite oaths when they don’t even know what “pledge” means or how to spell it. And that to start kindergarten with repetition of words that are not understood, in the form of an oath, is conditioning children to LYING and CONFORMITY from the start.

    And so I search on the internet for other perspectives, and I find that many here are mad just because of the God part. Don’t worry, simpletons, the god of America is not the God of the Bible that you hate so much. America’s god is seen on the back of the dollar bill, it is the eye. And the obelisk. You know, that thing that they call the Washington Monument? That thing that you see in so many of your towns, in your graveyards, in front of your government buildings. Not offended by that god so much, huh? You never noticed his symbols, and they never bothered you. And now that you know they are religious symbols, you still don’t mind. Are you going to have the obelisks sawed down? Oh no, it’s only Christianity you hate, for the darkness HATES the light.

    Regarding your god of the obelisk and the eye, he doesn’t mind abortion, in fact, he likes it. Always has, ever since he operated under the name of molech. And your precious obelisk, it represents the fornication and adultery of the immoral..it always has.

    The future is one of payment. You will be paying. Have you not studied history at all? Do you think that the soft, impertinent, and opinionated simpletons of this country are somehow special in the long course of history? That war and suffering and pain will not come here as it comes everywhere else? Then you will cry out for God, and when your enemies are in your midst, all of your atheist philosophies will go out of the window.

    And even if you don’t experience that war in your lifetime (perhaps you are too old), when you are on your death bed, what do you think will be the thought that plagues your last moments? Do you think it will be about how smart you are, or how you, a speck with a speck sized brain figured out all of the secrets of the universe and concluded that you were the master? I don’t think so.

    So, while this post was supposed to be about brainwashing children, which I agree is inappropriate, I find that much of the interest is really about how much you hate God. And like I said, don’t worry, the god you serve and the god whose symbols you operate under is not the God of the Bible, but rather Lucifer. So maybe you’ll feel better about the pledge after all.

  69. Christina Ventura-DiPersia says:

    I respect your opinion and your point of view, but I don’t agree with this massive, somewhat overly fleshed out explanation of why we should take our children and explain to them why refusing to say the pledge of allegiance, and creating a petition to the local school board, is something they can do to make a significant difference in standing with their ‘principles’ against so many issues that reside in this nation.
    Someone above mentioned that children are not at the age of consent so they should not be forced to say the pledge. Well, they are also the age of having the developed neurological capacity to fathom and process all of the reasons you’ve posted above. When my child gets to this point, she can make the decision on her own to not say it, with my full support. But I am not going to use my child as a pawn for my own convictions, like so many parents do to increase the sound of their own voice.

    I’m not a Christian, so it’s nothing about that. But you have to put things in perspective – you mentioned those who are not American citizens saying this pledge. Every individual who is not a citizen in this country that I’ve met wants to be, and proudly says the pledge whenever given the opportunity. And every single other nation demands the same of their citizens.
    If you don’t like the “Under God” part? Don’t say it – no one will force you and no one clips on a microphone on your shirt every morning when you’re a teacher or a student to make sure you said every word of the pledge. Case in point, I have attended Catholic church for weddings and for funerals in the last few months. When it’s time to abide by the rules of the mass, I remain seated in my seat and do not say any of the prayers. No one takes me in a back room and scolds me. And yes, this wouldn’t have been tolerated when I was in Catholic school, but this isn’t even an issue in public school in NY, so it’s somewhat futile to discuss?

    In conclusion, as I mentioned, I respect your opinion and commend your conviction in an issue, as passion in anything is quite lacking in the masses in recent years. But I plan on fostering a sense of the true nature of what it is to protest – to refuse to donate to an organization who supports hateful discrimination against gays and lesbians, to respect and accept her Christian friends as well as her atheist friends respectfully and equally even when others make fun of her, and to not buy products that support cruelty to animals. I would feel that forcing this issue of refusing to say the pledge would give it more credence than it’s really worth as an issue.

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