I Pledge Allegiance... Right?

Posted by Bobby Eberle
September 15, 2009 at 7:12 am

With the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year, the routine definitely changes. Instead of the kids sleeping until noon, they have to get up bright and early. I'm not sure about yours, but my kids are not naturally the "early riser" types. Homework, projects, and activities now fill their days.

But, there is one activity that goes hand in hand with going back to school, and it has some school districts on edge: reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. First, we had (and continue to have) the battle over whether the words "Under God" were constitutional. Now, some districts are looking at notices stating that students have a "right to remain silent." There seems to be much more concern these days for covering one's legal backside than simply showing a few moments of patriotism and dedication to this wonderful nation. What's next?

As noted in a story on FOXNews.com, courts have "consistently ruled that students have the right not to recite the pledge in public schools." However, some groups are "taking it one step further, arguing that the law compels educators to inform kids at the beginning of school that the decision is entirely up to them."

They're advocating a "Miranda warning" for the Pledge -- an administrative notice to students that they have the right to remain silent.

"The Pledge of Allegiance creates a constitutional problem. You have to tell students they can opt out," the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told FOX News.

School districts are scrambling to come up with ways of complying with the fact that children are not required to recite the Pledge.

New Mexico dealt with this question last month when its education secretary upheld that students are permitted to opt out of the Pledge, but rejected an ACLU-backed amendment that would require schools to inform parents and students that they have the option.

In Florida, schools have tried to resolve uncertainty by announcing a new policy -- students don't have to participate, as long as they have a letter from Mom and Dad.

According to KRWG TV, in the New Mexico situation, Education Secretary Veronica Garcia decided against any amendments to the current rule "requiring the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited every day in public schools." Rather than issuing a state document stating that children can "opt out" of the Pledge, Garcia noted that "most school districts already have policies in place to address that." In addition, "Garcia also said changing the state rule could give the mistaken impression that the Pledge of Allegiance is not important in New Mexico's classrooms."

Good for Garcia! Promoting the fact that the Pledge does not have to be spoken only diminishes its importance. Children can always opt out... that doesn't mean we should drift farther away from reciting the Pledge and simply making it "something you don't have to do."

Despite the ACLU's efforts to draw more focus on NOT saying the Pledge, the recitation of those words remains popular. A Rasmussen Reports poll from November 2008 shows that 77% of U.S. voters "say school children should say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at school." In addition, "Eighty-two percent (82%) say the words "under God" should remain in the Pledge as well. Fourteen percent (14%) think the phrase should be dropped from the Pledge, and just four percent (4%) have no opinion."

More and more, we see the essence of America being attacked. Barack Obama says he wants to "fundamentally transform" America to something different. My question is... from what to what? What is it that he wants to fundamentally transform? Prayer is under attack. Patriotism is under attack. Capitalism and free enterprise are under attack. How about giving thanks to God that we live in such a wonderful country, with such wonderful opportunities?