The Pledge of Allegiance in School
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07-06-2014, 04:42 PM
The Pledge of Allegiance in School
Let me start by stating that I am an atheist, I do not believe in any god (though admittedly, Thor is rather attractive, at least in the blockbuster movies). I am also very patriotic. I stand and sing the star spangled banner at every national sporting event, I get choked up every time. I am so very proud of our military members’ sacrifice (which includes many members of my family, like my husband). I can’t imagine being part of any other country. I also stand and happily recite the pledge of allegiance (sans ‘one nation under god’) with my hand over my heart. With all of that said, I passionately disagree with children reciting the pledge of allegiance in school.

I know what most think at this point “Of course it’s because she’s an atheist!” While, I do not agree with ‘one nation under god (this statement suggests only the allegiance of theists are accepted), this is not why I do not want children reciting the Pledge in Elementary school. Many people believe this makes me unpatriotic. However, it is because I am a patriot that I believe this so passionately. These words have weight. They are heavy and require a conscious choice. Blind faith/allegiance has no home here. This isn’t a pretty poem or nursery rhyme to amuse people with. When you speak these words, you have to mean them, you have to understand them.

Children in kindergarten are taught the pledge of allegiance; at this age they do not have the capacity to understand these words or why we fight so passionately over these words. These words should never be uttered by those who do not understand them or believe them. They should not be spoken because everyone else is doing it or because you are told to. These words should only ever be spoken because one pledges that they are committed to America and the constitution because they have read the constitution and our bill of rights and have studied at length our history.

This coming September I am faced with the difficult decision of whether or not I let my child recite the Pledge. I am forced to chose to make my child recite something he cannot understand or have him sit politely and become an outcast, potentially even by his teacher. If I stand for what I believe in my child will likely suffer; maybe other parents will not allow him to play with their children, maybe the teacher will help him less or allow less participation or even become hard on him. On the other hand, I could chose to dismiss the beliefs and values that I am teaching my child and do nothing. What kind of lesson does that teach?

"neutrality helps the oppressor,never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
~Elie Wiesel
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07-06-2014, 04:59 PM
RE: The Pledge of Allegiance in School
Welcome to the forum.

Good to see you here.

Are you talking about the US pledge?

Here's ours:
[Image: our+pledge.png]
No gods required.

I don't really see much difference between a company's vision statement, the Nicene creed or a pledge to a country.

No wait... there's a world of difference... countries and companies actually exist and only adults sign up to a company vision.

So there's that.

Consider

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07-06-2014, 05:30 PM
RE: The Pledge of Allegiance in School
(07-06-2014 04:42 PM)TSW Wrote:  Let me start by stating that I am an atheist, I do not believe in any god (though admittedly, Thor is rather attractive, at least in the blockbuster movies). I am also very patriotic. I stand and sing the star spangled banner at every national sporting event, I get choked up every time. I am so very proud of our military members’ sacrifice (which includes many members of my family, like my husband). I can’t imagine being part of any other country. I also stand and happily recite the pledge of allegiance (sans ‘one nation under god’) with my hand over my heart. With all of that said, I passionately disagree with children reciting the pledge of allegiance in school.

I know what most think at this point “Of course it’s because she’s an atheist!” While, I do not agree with ‘one nation under god (this statement suggests only the allegiance of theists are accepted), this is not why I do not want children reciting the Pledge in Elementary school. Many people believe this makes me unpatriotic. However, it is because I am a patriot that I believe this so passionately. These words have weight. They are heavy and require a conscious choice. Blind faith/allegiance has no home here. This isn’t a pretty poem or nursery rhyme to amuse people with. When you speak these words, you have to mean them, you have to understand them.

Children in kindergarten are taught the pledge of allegiance; at this age they do not have the capacity to understand these words or why we fight so passionately over these words. These words should never be uttered by those who do not understand them or believe them. They should not be spoken because everyone else is doing it or because you are told to. These words should only ever be spoken because one pledges that they are committed to America and the constitution because they have read the constitution and our bill of rights and have studied at length our history.

This coming September I am faced with the difficult decision of whether or not I let my child recite the Pledge. I am forced to chose to make my child recite something he cannot understand or have him sit politely and become an outcast, potentially even by his teacher. If I stand for what I believe in my child will likely suffer; maybe other parents will not allow him to play with their children, maybe the teacher will help him less or allow less participation or even become hard on him. On the other hand, I could chose to dismiss the beliefs and values that I am teaching my child and do nothing. What kind of lesson does that teach?

May I suggest you explain to your child what the Pledge means to you and why it's OK for her to say it or not.
She won't fully understand either the meaning or the choice fully, but you will have done the right thing.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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07-06-2014, 05:36 PM
RE: The Pledge of Allegiance in School
(07-06-2014 04:59 PM)DLJ Wrote:  So there's that.

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07-06-2014, 05:40 PM
RE: The Pledge of Allegiance in School
Maybe it's just like Santa?

... it's something to trick us with when we're little so that we can all have a shared experience that we can laugh about when we're older?

Big Grin

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07-06-2014, 05:41 PM
RE: The Pledge of Allegiance in School
Just my two cents, but I wonder how many kids would actually look at those words if we had not been made to recite them as children.

I went to public school in the 70's. We said it everyday. Didn't mean diddly squat to me while in school, but by the time I hit high school and college they started to 'carry weight', the US was going into Kuwait at the time. All of a sudden those words had meaning.

and of course 9-11.


My children attended private, secular. In the mornings most classes had a choice as part of their morning meeting, some teachers went in a circle and let one child pick, some voted, but the choices were, the Pledge, The Star Spangled Banner or America the Beautiful. Personally- I like America the Beautiful because of the imagery really does describe our country well, 'cept for the God part.... Confused

I don't know how much weight those words hold for my children, but hopefully when they are an adult they will understand them.

I like the repetition, but have no problem what so ever if someone doesn't want to participate, it is after all what freedom is all about. And there is always a student who doesn't want to do it --even if its just to piss off the teacher-- but in that rebellion to go against the norm, the lesson is learned by all.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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07-06-2014, 06:40 PM (This post was last modified: 07-06-2014 06:44 PM by Dee.)
RE: The Pledge of Allegiance in School
(07-06-2014 04:42 PM)TSW Wrote:  [Snip]

This coming September I am faced with the difficult decision of whether or not I let my child recite the Pledge. I am forced to chose to make my child recite something he cannot understand or have him sit politely and become an outcast, potentially even by his teacher. If I stand for what I believe in my child will likely suffer; maybe other parents will not allow him to play with their children, maybe the teacher will help him less or allow less participation or even become hard on him. On the other hand, I could chose to dismiss the beliefs and values that I am teaching my child and do nothing. What kind of lesson does that teach?

In the US:
I just finished several years in the Houston School District, and I often worked with Pre-K and Kinder. In all the pre-K and kinder classes I worked in (in all grades I worked in, actually) there were always children who did not participate: some did not stand, and some stood but did not speak. Not once did I see a child rebuked or become outcast because of non-participation.

Reciting the Pledge also diminishes as a class function by about 5th grade. Some schools don't offer it at all.

I am sure, though, some teachers encourage or even demand the child participate. This is the situation by which other children are most likely to jeer at or trouble the non-participating child.

Try openly asking your child's teacher where she stands on this topic. You can also let your child make the decision for him/herself, or at least whether to stand or sit quietly while the pledge is spoken.

Depending upon how deep your conviction goes on this, it's still your conviction. Asking a 4-5 year old to shoulder it is asking a lot unless she has had training. Most Christian Children are raised from the crib in Christian beliefs and traditions. I will ask you, how much atheist training/information has your child had? No sarcasm here.

I believe this will be much easier than you imagine, unless you live in Mississippi, or there about Shocking.

"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story." Orson Welles
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07-06-2014, 09:03 PM
RE: The Pledge of Allegiance in School
(07-06-2014 06:40 PM)Dee Wrote:  
(07-06-2014 04:42 PM)TSW Wrote:  [Snip]

This coming September I am faced with the difficult decision of whether or not I let my child recite the Pledge. I am forced to chose to make my child recite something he cannot understand or have him sit politely and become an outcast, potentially even by his teacher. If I stand for what I believe in my child will likely suffer; maybe other parents will not allow him to play with their children, maybe the teacher will help him less or allow less participation or even become hard on him. On the other hand, I could chose to dismiss the beliefs and values that I am teaching my child and do nothing. What kind of lesson does that teach?

In the US:
I just finished several years in the Houston School District, and I often worked with Pre-K and Kinder. In all the pre-K and kinder classes I worked in (in all grades I worked in, actually) there were always children who did not participate: some did not stand, and some stood but did not speak. Not once did I see a child rebuked or become outcast because of non-participation.

Reciting the Pledge also diminishes as a class function by about 5th grade. Some schools don't offer it at all.

I am sure, though, some teachers encourage or even demand the child participate. This is the situation by which other children are most likely to jeer at or trouble the non-participating child.

Try openly asking your child's teacher where she stands on this topic. You can also let your child make the decision for him/herself, or at least whether to stand or sit quietly while the pledge is spoken.

Depending upon how deep your conviction goes on this, it's still your conviction. Asking a 4-5 year old to shoulder it is asking a lot unless she has had training. Most Christian Children are raised from the crib in Christian beliefs and traditions. I will ask you, how much atheist training/information has your child had? No sarcasm here.

I believe this will be much easier than you imagine, unless you live in Mississippi, or there about Shocking.

I will not tell my child that he cannot stand, simply b/c this is my belief, not his. I will however most likely explain to him that he does have a choice. I understand that it is highly likely he will say the Pledge simply because that is what is happening in the class. However, as a parent I am believe I would make a mistake to allow it to happen without speaking up. Everything surrounding this issue is above a 5 year old's understanding, which is my point.

Which also leads me to your statement "how much atheist training/information has your child had?" (no sarcasm taken) The answer is none. I have/am raising him to question things and not just accept what he is told, which as a parent has made some things much more difficult. He won't just accept things I tell him anymore than a stranger. "Show me" is probably the most common used sentence in our home, by all of us. I'm not trying to raise him to be an atheist, but to think for himself, follow evidence and ultimately make his own decisions. When he is an adult, with his own beliefs, I want them to be just that, his own. I do not want him to say he believes one way because that's simple how he was raised, but because it feels right to him and that includes if his is to be a believer. I know eventually the "god" conversation will happen, and likely this year as he heads off to sleep overs and making new friends. I do not live in the south, but my city doesn't in anyway lean left, but rather falls to the right and has no room for non-believers. I am well aware of where his teacher stands as well as the rest of the staff at his school (I am a PTO board member as my son goes to 4k now). And I have drifted off topic Confused

To end, and get back to my point, which is I believe a child should not be required to recite these words. I can easily accept the Pledge being recited in say, High School, when they have the ability to understand what it means, or as an elected official, a service memeber, pick the position, but I come back to the child cannot understand the gravity and importance of it. Let's face it, most adults don't even understand the importance and weight of those words because they/we have recited them for years.

"neutrality helps the oppressor,never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
~Elie Wiesel
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08-06-2014, 07:51 AM
RE: The Pledge of Allegiance in School
The very idea of the pledge never sat well with me. I don't like the rote recitation aspect and I think making someone take a pledge that explicitly contains the word freedom...I think those whacky Brits have a word something like that.

" Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous."
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08-06-2014, 07:55 AM
RE: The Pledge of Allegiance in School
Patriotism is stupid.


Oh, and America sucks.

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