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RE: pledge of allegiance

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From: Lawrence A. Parker (occti_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Jul 25 2002 - 06:27:18 PDT


It continues to amaze me how much misunderstanding there is about this
issue.

 

First of all, there is, perhaps not one denomination, but certainly the
Christian faith, which uses the word "God," is dominant in the pledge.
Jews refer to it as "Yahweh" and the Islamic "Allah" (though I
understand that in Islam there are 100 names for it although only 99 are
known by man), etc.

 

But all of this is beside the point. There is NOTHING which states that
people cannot pray in school or cannot talk about their beliefs in
school, including teachers and administrators. What they CANNOT do is
set one belief system up as the only and true one AND require that
students observe its rituals. There cannot be a GOVERNMENT mandated
religion, whether in our schools or our courts or in any other public
government enterprise. Our forefathers had just come out from under
religious persecution because of a wrongful alliance between the church
and the state, and they did not want to see it happen again. Some
people seem to think that it's ok, though, if the belief system being
enforced is Christianity. ???? What was the Church of England, the
Holy Roman Catholic Church, the Lutheran Reformation?

 

So, go ahead and say the pledge in the morning, but understand that
there may be children who are not comfortable with saying it and they
have a Constitutional right not to. They cannot be and must not be
singled out nor face any kind of punishment for refusing to say the
pledge on the grounds of their own religious beliefs. The school CANNOT
require people to state the pledge. And if they school insists on the
students stating a pledge to the U.S., then they must remove the
references to "God".

 

The State, vis a vis the schools, cannot mandate and require of its
citizens adherence to ANY religious belief system. It's as simple as
that.

 

Whether or not it is Constitutional to refer to "God" in the Pledge
itself is something for the Supreme Court to decide.

 

Lawrence A. Parker

Philosopher and Educational Consultant

 

There is no denomination mentioned in the pledge. I think it's fine to
say the pledge in school. How could it possibly hurt?

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