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Re: pledge of allegiance

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From: Sharon Henneborn (heneborn_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Jul 25 2002 - 07:03:32 PDT


Larry, This subjects always gets my adrenaline pumping! Thanks for
your rational words.

Believing in God is a choice/practice that is generally considered a
positive thing. That is not the issue here. Why do many folks assume
that standing for separation of church and state means anti God?

As a child I quietly stopped saying the pledge when the "Under God"
was placed into the pledge. (Slipped in by a religious organization
when a lot of citizens were not paying attention) I got a lot of
grief at school and the teacher harassed me with her "disappointment"!
"But you are the Baptist minister's daughter! You should be setting an
example!" "I am setting an example!" My father had to come to school
to try to explain that our denomination and the nations founders
believe strongly in the separation of church and state and little
innocent encroachments can quietly bring down the concept that was so
important to the founders of the nation. She never understood or
gave me any rest!

I know from experience and family history how religious dominance can
disrupt a community and even turn to violence

In 7th grade I was chased home with rocks by a group of girls because
I didn't go to the right church. I wondered what kind of crazy cult
they were involved in and later discovered that the denomination was
the same as mine just another church in another part of town.

My Methodist great great grandfather was imprisoned, stoned, and left
for dead because he continued his practice in an area where being a
Protestant was not tolerated.

I get cold chills when I hear otherwise reasonable people miss the
importance of the separation and think that separation means anti God.
How easily we could slip into intolerance.

Sharon ~ NJ
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From: "Lawrence A. Parker" <occti@mindspring.com>
To: "ArtsEdNet Talk" <artsednet@lists.getty.edu>
Subject: RE: pledge of allegiance
Date: Thu, Jul 25, 2002, 9:27 AM
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 its 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. Its 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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