Lemon Fresh Pledge?

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The Supreme Court (sans Scalia) will decide whether the inclusion of the phrase "under God" in the teacher-led Pledge of Allegiance in public schools offends the First Amendment. History buffs will note that the expressly religious motivation of the 1954 law that added the phrase—Eisenhower said, upon signing the law, that it was meant to affirm "the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future" as well as "strengthen" the public's "spiritual weapons"—contravenes the first and most elementary prong of the traditional Lemon Test: Laws must have a secular motive.

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  1. This argument is always overlooked when I am told how satanic I am for wanting the law striken.

    I don’t understand what part of ‘Congress shall make NO LAW’ and ‘1954 law passed by congress to include ‘under GOD’ in the pledge’ they don’t get. I have no problem with the pledge, as long as there is NO LAW requiring ‘under GOD’ to be included in the reciting.

    Im amazed christians are not up in arms about GOD being taught in school. I don’t want ANY teacher teaching my child about GOD, thats not what they are paid for. If I want my child to learn about GOD, then they can learn from me, or go to the church I have affliated myself with, if any.

    They don’t see it like this, they see it as an attack on thier faith… Im not attacking anyones faith, I just want the law stricken from the books.

  2. (sarcasm on)
    Well, as a Catholic (yes, a Catholic who enjoys reading Reason and voted for Larry Flynt), I think the pledge should be

    “One nation, under God and the Blessed Virgin…”

    What, why are all the Protestants looking at me funny right now? Are you saying you have a problem with the woman who raised our Savior? How could you object to the state officially honoring the woman who bore and raised our Savior? I thought this was a Christian nation, but here all these people get upset when I suggest we honor the woman who raised our Savior.

    What? You mean government isn’t supposed to endorse any religious creed? What’s next? Letting people make their own decisions without the benefit of Papal decrees?

    Sheesh! This place is going to hell in a handbasket!

    (end sarcasm)

  3. While I wouldn’t shed any tears to see the Pledge booted, I should point out that our understanding of the prohibition of the “establishment” of religion is very different from that of the Founders.

    The Founders prohibited the establishment of an official state religion, seeing the mischief that state-supported Catholicism and Protestantism had wrought in Europe. I doubt they had these rather generic invocations of a supreme being in mind at all, but were instead concerned with the dangers of an institutional religion striking an alliance with the state. I have little doubt that they would have regarded the Lemon test as going far beyond their intended restriction.

  4. The FF probably also had a very different idea of what was meant by “speech” than what constitutes speech today.

    This could all be solved by just tacking an ‘s’ onto it. “One nation under Gods” would have people screaming twice as loud.

  5. The cold war is over, the pledge should at least reflect that. As budding democracies develop and their gods are being embraced, “one nation under god” serves no purpose other than to imply Chirstianity is as American as Apple Pie and Chevrolet. Oops, chevy moved to Canada and Mexico and apples are imported from Chile.

  6. god is dead

    quit kicking him

  7. Ike was an idiot. His interference with the attempt of the British, French and Israeli to hold Egypt to a legal contract told the Third World they need not honor any contracts. This ended with asshat Carter giving up the canal.

  8. When I was in high school during the seventies, we had several faculty members who had cut their political teeth during the sixties. Their main objection to the pledge was the “for all” that comes after “with liberty and justice”, as America was not giving a “fair” deal to all. The most radical among them would just not say those words while reciting the pledge. The “under God” part raised no hackles as I recall.

    Of course, this being the seventies we’re talking about, they actually might have just zoned out along with half their students by the time that part of the pledge rolled around.

  9. While I believe that cutting out the pledge entirely is right thing to do, and that cutting out “under god” is right too, I don’t think this is very important. When I was in elementary school, we recited the pledge every morning. I remember a few kids didn’t join us, but I don’t remember anyone caring except with curiosity. With the opt-out option, this becomes a non-issue for me…. unless of course some opt-outers aren’t so easily accepted in some places. Anyone here have any stories about opt-outters being mistreated?

  10. Andy,

    Can’t recall any abuse of opt-outers from my school days (can’t recall any opt-outers at all, come to think of it). That time of the morning, everyone was usually too sleepy/hungover/stoned to pay much attention to what anybody else was doing or saying. We all just kind of stood there and mumbled.

    Anyway, I think to a junior high or high school student, some dork in homeroom yelling, “Hey, everybody look at who’s not saying the pledge!” is less worrisome than some dork in the locker room after PE yelling, “Hey, everybody look at Thimbledick!”

  11. Hasn’t the Court already decided that saying “under god” in the pledge is optional? I really don’t get the big deal. Needless to say, Christians aren’t the only people who worship “god”. If someone wants to put god in then good for them. If they don’t that’s cool too. This really strikes me as a non-issue.

  12. Tom, I only did the pledge of allegience during elementary school, and, those being different times maybe, not many of us were stoned or hung over. And sorry to hear about the thimbledick… I hear there’re ways to alleviate that unfortunate condition these days:)

  13. When I was in highschool, in the early 90’s, we were free to not say the pledge. However, the students who refused to stand for the pledge were forced to spend homeroom in the guidance counselor’s office.

  14. When I was in highschool, in the early 90’s, we were free to not say the pledge. However, the students who refused to stand for the pledge were forced to spend homeroom in the guidance counselor’s office.

  15. Abolish public schools and you solve the problem

  16. In your absurd analogy, joe, you present a situation where the government takes out a blacklist ad, and with obvious intent. Further, the situation in question is a fundraising effort where participation means you will lose money, and not participating means you keep money.

    Here, we have a poem, where participating means you said the pledge, and not participating means you didn’t say the pledge. The government to my knowledge has made to no attempt to publish a non-pledging blacklist (but please, if Big Brother has one, sign me up), nor have they ever condoned the making of one. How is your analogy relevant?

    Individuals must always buck the crowd. That’s why they call them individuals. What the crowd does is a function of its own mass stupidity.

  17. Anon @ 1:19 PM,

    Interesting points, and it’s true that joe’s analogy overstates the case (as pointed analogies often do). Still, I take the point that the government in requiring teachers to lead a pledge (hmmm, do TEACHERS have the option to opt out??) is creating the circumstance in one which one must either conform or decide publicly not to. Sure, some strong individuals won’t give a damn, and more power to ’em. But don’t the not so strong have rights too? By creating a circumstance in which individuals must publicly opt out of an activity that the government has no business being involved in (perhaps the most important point!), the government is setting some people up for a fall, whether you personally give a damn about them or not. The constitutionality can be debated depending on one’s interpretation of the establishment clause, but that the government has no business requiring pledges is clear.

  18. “…you present a situation where the government takes out a blacklist ad, and with obvious intent…Here, we have a poem, where participating means you said the pledge, and not participating means you didn’t say the pledge.”

    Those not saying the pledge are not anonymous in their refusal. Their dissent is made just as public to their peers as those listed in the ad, and the way they are made public is through the actions of the government.

    Not participating means more than not saying the pledge. It means you have come out publically as one who does not say the pledge.

  19. Bull crap! Sorry, but a government does have a necessary interest in making sure that the citizens are loyal. The Pledge is just what it is – propaganda. Now argue that it is BAD or GOOD propaganda not whether it is needed.

  20. Interesting. But are those “strong” individuals waiving rights, or exercising responsibility? Or is it easier out of compassion to topically award rights to those who are unwilling to function on their own? What I have yet to see demonstrated is how one’s rights are violated by opting out of an optional exercise. The exercise is a public action by definition; opting out of it therefore is also a public action, even though the choice has most likely already been made (and in private). You’ll get looked at funny if you don’t sing the anthem at sports games (doubt me? Go to a baseball game, especially in the mid-west, leave your hat on during the anthem, and stare at the ground with your hands in your pockets. People will look at you like you’re al Qaeda). The pledge is nothing more than words; it is not a legal contract and does not bind the speaker to the state or to God in any way. If it did, flag burning would be illegal.

  21. “Those not saying the pledge are not anonymous in their refusal.”

    So? Need they be anonymous?

    “Their dissent is made just as public to their peers as those listed in the ad”

    No, not nearly as public. Your hypothetical ad would be seen by any reader of the hypothetical newspaper(s), and would provide all readers with a list of all the individuals found to decline the fundraising effort. With the pledge, the details of people declining is only apparent to those immediately around the person, and who are paying attention, and who are motivated to spread it around.

    “and the way they are made public is through the actions of the government.”

    Which actions of the government remove the anonymity from the millions (? hundreds of thousands? half-dozen?) who don’t say the pledge? Or are you still stuck on the bad analogy?

    “Not participating means more than not saying the pledge. It means you have come out publically as one who does not say the pledge.”

    Those mean the same thing. When you don’t say the pledge, in the context of our discussion, you’re not saying it publicly…the pledge has no objective meaning privately. I doubt that it’s “coming out” every time the pledge does not spew forth from some schoolchild’s mouth at the appointed time…does a gay man “come out” everytime he has gay sex, or is it generally accepted that he’s not making a lifestyle choice (or whatever you want to call it) everytime he leaves his house?

  22. And I see the difference you’re trying to make by saying it’s “coming out” as one who does not say the pledge, as though it’s some kind of big choice. It’s not. It’s just a poem…it doesn’t do anything.

  23. rst,

    I suppose it depends on whether or not one has a right not to be involuntarily put in a situation where one might have no choice but to either utter something in which one doesn’t believe or, to use your own example, be looked at like you’re al Qaeda. What’s different with a ballgame is that you choose to be there. I’m not awarding rights based on compassion. I don’t believe the government should proactively take care of people who are “unwilling to function on their own,” only to not put them in a vulnerable circumstance against their will without good reason. And Jack Wayne’s assertion notwithstanding, demanding loyalty is not a necessary government function, even IF (ha-ha) the pledge really accomplished such a thing.

  24. “Which actions of the government remove the anonymity from the millions (? hundreds of thousands? half-dozen?) who don’t say the pledge?”

    The requirement that the child attend school. The setup of the classroom so that a non-pledger is visible to others. The act of leading the class in the pledge, which makes the non-pledgers private beliefs public knowledge.

    “does a gay man “come out” everytime he has gay sex,” No, only those times that he does it in the view of other people.

    You admit that saying the pledge is a public act. Therefore, refusal to say the pledge is also a public act (when such refusal happens as a teacher leads everyone else in the pledge.) The leading of students in the Pledge of Allegiance does exactly what all public loyalty oaths are intended to do – let everyone know who refused, so that they will be marked out.

  25. So actually, I guess that means there is a secular motive.

  26. Joe – it’s not an oath. It binds the speaker in no way. That declining to say it is a public act is a consequence of the fact that it is a public pledge, and further it is only public to those who take notice. That you consider it a means to single out dissenters is irrelevant.

    “The requirement that the child attend school.”

    Also irrelevant. The child attends school anyway, and has little to no privacy (and more importantly, no reason to expect privacy) in anything they do therein, whether or not they are saying the pledge.

    The setup of the classroom so that a non-pledger is visible to others. The act of leading the class in the pledge, which makes the non-pledgers private beliefs public knowledge.

    More irrelevant. One, a “pledger’s” private beliefs are not made public by a refusal to say the pledge. There are a number of themes in the pledge, and none are required actions. There is no requirement of allegiance to the flag (like I said, we can burn it), subordination to God, disbelief in the right of secession, or faith in the justice and liberty explicitly praised in the pledge. Lack of support in ascribing any one of those themes to the individual or the state, as appropriate, is a perfectly suitable disqualifying factor in determining whether one should say the pledge. However, it is neither a crime nor unconstitutional to create a situation in which one person’s religious or philosophical beliefs are “known” to another…even though a person’s beliefs are hardly made known by their refusal to recite the pledge.

  27. So what I’m saying is, there are any number of reasons a person refuses to say the pledge, from being a Jehovah’s Witness to being an atheist to being someone who simply thinks the exercise an empty non-binding gesture easily replaced by a limerick. Not saying the pledge does not point to the individual as anything more than one who does not say the pledge.

    Failing that, your philosophical inclinations are not medical records…there’s no legal or constitutional protection from simply having your personal beliefs made public.

  28. there’s no legal or constitutional protection from simply having your personal beliefs made public.

    Yeah, that’s why ballot booths are made of plexiglass.

  29. Being an ex-Christian, I might as well tackle this from a Christian perspective.

    I don’t understand at all why Christians recite the pledge. To me, it seems to go against what Christians are taught about loyalty and this present age. For starters:

    “Do not love the world, neither the things in the world.” – John the Beloved

    Many Christians are told that it is right to love one’s country (by which they usually mean “the state”). But the Bible discounts that view rather quickly. Christians aren’t supposed to love this present age or the things of this present age. To wit:

    “Demas has abandoned me, having loved this present age.” – Paul

    There is a further problem for Christians and the state traceable to Jesus. Jesus goes into the desert and fasts when The Adversary comes to him and tempts him. The first tempt is to end his fast by changing stones to bread. The second tempt has Jesus and The Adversary on the roof of Herod’s Temple. Jesus is encouraged to jump off and let the angels catch him. In the third temptation:

    “The Adversary took him into an incredibly high mountain, showing him [Jesus] all the kingdoms of the world. ‘I will give you all of these if you will bow and worship me.'” – Matthew’s Gospel

    Jesus’ response is not “You don’t own those, idiot,” but “God alone is to be worshipped.” Jesus appears to be conceding The Adversary’s ownership of the regimes of this present age.

    Far from saluting the state, Christians are actually battling against it:

    “We are not contending against flesh and blood, but against regimes and powers…rulers of spiritual wickedness in high places…” – Paul

    Why, then, a Christian should be upset because a state salute is being desanctified is a mystery to me.

    – Josh, ex-Baptist

  30. Yeah, that’s why ballot booths are made of plexiglass.

    The ballot booths are not your beliefs. Nor can your beliefs be summed up in the decisions that are made in the ballot booth (I hope). A vote is the periodic, actionable byproduct of a specific subset of your beliefs. It has practical consequences to policy and process, and as such has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Reciting a poem in public, which is of absolutely no consequence to anyone, has no reasonable expectation of privacy. Not reciting that poem, which is of absolutely no consequence to anyone, likewise has no reasonable expectation of privacy. If someone around the person takes exception to them not reciting the poem, then that’s their problem. If they harass the person on account of it, that’s already illegal. I’m not sure what other kinds of protection you want. Would you like a senator to hold your hand when you cross the street?

  31. I don’t think this is really about the publicity of beliefs, although when we’re talking about kids I’ll confess I have at least some problem with insisting that religious non-conformists *who are children* be put in the position of having to reveal themselves to heir potentially hostile classmates. Governments aren’t supposed to privilege any religion or religions over others, whether or not anyone else is forced to go along. A teacher leading the class in a recitation that invokes God, even if you can opt out, sure sounds like an endorsement to me.

  32. Should there be a complete separation of State and School, the pledge “problem” would not exist. Neither would the question/discussion of evolution (or not), condoms (or not), sex ed (or not), liberalism (or not), queers (or not), candy machines (or not), PTA (or not), DARE (or not),political correctness (or not), etc.

    Instead markets of schools would emerge to satisfy customers. Within the environs of my home are 58 pizza shops with no two having the same product mix. Markets work!

    We must quit arguing “pledging G-d or not G-d” and substitute “markets.”

    Markets work!!

  33. Bern,

    I’m actually with you on distrusting public schools, but to play devil’s advocate: the people choosing the school aren’t the ones who have to go, or who are hurt when it’s a bad school. If a fundie wants to send his kid to a school that teaches creationism, he’s not hurting himself, he’s hurting the kid. The kid doesn’t have a choice.

  34. To post 6:53 PM:

    Bern is right. If I get a lousy pizza from one of those 58 pizza shops, our daughter will whine.

    Also, she’ll complain if we send her to a poor school, She’ll whine until we find a better school.

    The MARKET response will work very well here. Vernon Smith won the Economics/2002/Nobel for just this very same theory. Except he was awarded 4,500,00 Kroners and all we got was whining.

  35. I was one who opted out even when quite young (there were still ink well holes in the desks…sigh…). I clearly remember moving that word “indivisible” around on my tongue and liking the feel of it if not the meaning. However, by opting out, I mean that I did stand for the flag – I understood that many had died under the banner and I respected that – but I would not mouth the words. I stood at parade rest and no one ever questioned me on it.

    I think that the matter relating to church and public school boils down to a complete lack of manners. Once upon a time, it was considered rude to project your religion – it was a private matter and not one for public discussion or display. The only aspect of it you might notice was a discrete cross on a necklace. Now, everyone hoists their pennant and demands that you pay attention to it, damn it. Spoiled children, all of them.

    I suspect if there is a god that it has a tremendous laugh over all this mucking about.

  36. I am very much alive… and I’m getting tired of people wanting to involve me in their petty, ego-driven schemes. Ike was dead wrong to include me in the Pledge. Once he did, it no longer became “One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” I’m just surprised it took almost fifty years before someone developed the brains to figure that out.

  37. I propose we replace the Pledge with a ditty more resembling Johnathan Alter’s definition of patriotism. In an essay a couple weeks ago, he suggested that the true patriots are the people who oppose U.S. action – that exercising the right to dissent vigorously is what patriotism is all about. Forthwith:

    “I pledge allegiance to the Bush=Hitler placard, and to Halliburton, ‘fore which it stands, one protest, for individuals, smashing Starbucks and capitalism without end, Sean Penn.”

    Now that would be truly patriotic, at least under the new definition.

  38. After reading all the posts, I conclude that this is a symptom of the degradation of public schools. I mean, growing up in the South in the ’40’s and ’50’s, why should I ever have been forced to recite the pledge or sing Battle Hymn of the Republic?
    Did it ever occur to anyone that schools might exist for education rather than indoctrination?

  39. Lemon Fresh Pledge?

    Very clever. 🙂

  40. Anyone else get subjected to the “moment of silent meditation”? Me & a buddy in 7th grade conspired one morning to talk during it and dare the teacher to take action cause we were sure it was unconstitutional, but we lost our nerve. (this musta been 1970, old fart that I be)

  41. I went to Catholic school, so I didn’t really have much of a choice when it came to god in school. However, I managed to learn to say most of the key prayers backwards, much to the dismay of most everyone else there (students, teachers, administrators). After several whacks and a few fun parent/principal meetings (my dad once actually said, “he saying all the words, how do you know he’s not just dyslexic”) it became no big deal and was just ignored. Once in a while though, a new substitute would come through. I’m not sure which was better, the fresh look of horror on the subs’ faces or the jesus-not-again look when I got down to the principal’s office.

  42. Well, right. I’m sure most of us agree that we should shift to a system of private schools, and these things wouldn’t be issues. But since that’s not happening anytime terribly soon, even with all the good progress the school choice movement is making, I think it’s still worth defending suitably neutral practices in the public schools we’re stuck with.

  43. “Gordon Shumway” huh? Now that’s a blast from the past… Go easy on the cats.

  44. Does “God” really care what school kids mumble in the morning? When I was in high school I used to say things like “the untied states of america”, “under dog,” “with liberty and justice for white people,” etc. just because the kids around me would laugh. Did anybody feel one iota of “connection” to either the flag or God by reciting it? It’s a poem, praising qualities the U.S. has not ever had (but is ostensibly working towards having…maybe), and making the dangerous assumption that if there is a God, He’s on our side. It has no power, and is as empty now as it was before ’54.

    If it’s already optional, why prohibit it? There is no injury, except to people who are afraid to make a choice on their own (i.e., don’t say it) without the government paving the way for them. Sorry, I have zero pity for your lazy selves.

  45. I suppose the presumption actually is that “there is a God and he’s on our side.”

  46. Anon 0930:

    I object primarily to the first three words. It’s a loyalty oath to the State.

  47. “There is no injury, except to people who are afraid to make a choice on their own”

    You’re an eight year old Jehovah’s Witness living in western Georgia. Everyone else is saying it. Your teacher makes a habit of saying patriotic and religious things to the class.

    No coercion there.

  48. “No coercion there.”

    You’re right, that’s not coercion. If you can’t handle being different, then don’t be different.

  49. Let’s not suck all the meaning out of coercion, joe. I don’t see the teacher threatening the kid, so there is no coercion. Social pressure is not the same as coercion.

  50. “Social pressure is not coercion.” It is when done at the behest of the government. Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, anyone?

    Or when you are forced to endure it by the government (mandatory enrollment).

  51. “Or when you are forced to endure it by the government”

    Hearing the optional pledge and not saying it is not being forced to endure anything. Other people are talking, and those who opt out are doing nothing. At the close of the poem, it’s a zero-sum game…nothing changes anywhere even if you do say it.

    Second, you presume that any harassment or real, active social pressure is indeed at the behest of the government. That’s another one of those dangerous presumptions.

  52. Tom from Texas,

    My first objection to the language of the Pledge came when I got heavily into constitutional history and state sovereignty issues, and I noticed “indivisible” in there. If that’s not a bit of Gilded Age Republican propaganda on the War Between the States, I don’t know what is.

    chthus,

    How about “One nation under Great Cthulhu Who Lies Dreaming in R’lyeh. Ia! Ia! Shub-Niggurath! The Black Goat with a Thousand Young! indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”?

  53. When the government creates a situation where an individual must buck the crowd, and the crowd turns on the individual, the government’s hands are not clean.

    Analogy: your city takes up a fundraising drive for the schools. At the end, they take out an ad in the paper listing every household who didn’t contribute (lack of anonymity being the situation for the kid who doesn’t say the pledge). Bricks get thrown through the windows of those addresses. The government should do the same thing next year?

  54. Here in Alabama, there is no opt-out of saying the pledge. Say it, or get suspended.

    Well, I suppose if you happen to have enough money and a personal attorney to sue the schools, and another one to get you away from your parents, who, living here in Alabama, are more times than not, bass ackwards conservatives…

    -Robert

  55. “…there’s no legal or constitutional protection from simply having your personal beliefs made public.”

    No, there is no affirmative right to having your religious beliefs kept secret. However, there is a liberty interest in not being compelled to make your beliefs public.

    Forcing a child to pledge and invoke God is clearly has establishment and free exercise problems.

    Forcing a child to opt out in public is also an establishment issue, because it subject some believers (or nonbelievers) to injury, embarrassment, or stress, while exempting those who go along with the government’s preferred religious-themed expression.

    There are consequences for children who opt out. Those consequences exist because of government action. And they are faced only by those who do not exercise religion as the government intends.

  56. elbador:

    would your daughter really whine if her school was teaching creationism? how would she know it’s not true? she might whine if her teacher is mean or the lunch sucks, but at what age is she old enough to evaluate the quality of the education she’s getting?

  57. “a liberty interest in not being compelled to make your beliefs public”

    Again, you are not making your beliefs public by not saying the pledge…not saying the pledge does not indicate any specific beliefs, or even the area of those beliefs (political, philosophical, religious, etc.). It indicates a decision to not participate, a decision which like the color of your shirt is made in private but the effects of which are inherently public, and by itself, unless there are identifiable words and symbols expressing some particular belief, do not serve to identify any particular belief, ethnicity, philosophy, etc.

    “There are consequences for children who opt out. Those consequences exist because of government action.”

    What are those consequences? What actions by the government allow those consequences to exist, other than your vague assertion that public pledges exist solely to single out those who do not participate?

    “Forcing a child to opt out in public is also an establishment issue, because it subject some believers (or nonbelievers) to injury, embarrassment, or stress, while exempting those who go along with the government’s preferred religious-themed expression.”

    Free lunch and acne subject school kids to far more harassment than some silly poem. A child is not forced to opt out. They are not forced to pledge. They make a decision on their own.

    Maybe we should take the meat and dairy off of menus in restaurants, because vegans shouldn’t have to make their personal beliefs public when ordering their food. Because ordering nothing but vegetables and non-dairy products strictly indicates that the person is a vegan…right? This way, everybody’s happy. The vegan gets to eat, and doesn’t have to get picked on. As far as the vast majority of people who enjoy meat, who are indifferent to meat, or who might have wanted to try meat, well, that’s too bad.

    Such luxuries are not needed by a human being. There are other messages in the world, and if you don’t want to pledge, then don’t pledge. Rest assured, no one cares, and the “injury” you talk about is bullshit on any appreciable scale. It’s not visited on the kids, it’s perceived by idiot parents. And further I’ll wager that the total number of kids harassed in any way about this foolish poem pales in comparison to the number of people physically injured every year by benign yet still legal household appliances. There are some things you just don’t get protected from, and that’s life.

  58. “There are consequences for children who opt out. Those consequences exist because of government action.”

    “What are those consequences? What actions by the government allow those consequences to exist, other than your vague assertion that public pledges exist solely to single out those who do not participate?”

    Let me give you an idea of what consequences exist…my daughter does not stand for the pledge. She has encountered the ire of her teacher who has called her “disrespectful” in front of the class. Everytime she has a substitute she must explain that she does not stand for the pledge, and most make their displeasure known. Other children have taken her to task about her refusal to stand. She explains that she has no belief in gods and cannot in good conscience say this pledge. The other children have told her she is “un-American”, that she is going to “burn in hell…”, etc.
    The actions by the government that allow these consequences to exist are mandating that a pledge be taken, period. If this pledge was not mandated, my child would not be put in a position to HAVE to opt-out to conform to her conscience. Because of its policy, my daughter’s beliefs (or lack thereof) are forced into the public arena. If my daughter chooses to take on the battle of defending her atheism, that is one thing, but the results of this goverment ruling (to pledge, or be forced to opt-out to remain true to one’s self) do not make that optional for her.
    I would certainly agree that the pledge does not exist solely to single out those who do not participate, it does, however, produce that unfortunate by-product.

  59. Love can damage more than you can heal with drinking.

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