All entries for Wednesday 14 September 2005

September 14, 2005

Pledge of allegiance

Writing about web page http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/sns-ap-pledge-of-allegiance,1,331572.story?coll=chi-newsbreaking-hed

Interesting. Forcing children to say the pledge is unconstitutional, according to a federal judge.

Aside from the "patriotic" issues involved (citizenship, anyone?), there are interesting issues of force, etc. Is having an assembly in which the majority of people, inlcuding teachers, say something learned by rote, "forcing" all children present to say it?

(Yes, it could be subliminal. I certainly didn't untangle what the words meant until long after I'd been saying it for years – and found I had to go look it up this evening to remember them in the correct order…).

"Under God" – the phrase causing the issues – is pretty generic, and would do for most theists, I think (one could add a surreptitious "s" if one wished to be polytheistic).

One could simply leave that phrase out, while others said it. (I manage that every time I say the Creed and no one has noticed yet – but I'm hardly about to repeat a redundant mention of "men", am I?).

Or one could re-write the Pledge.

That will be fun to watch. :)

When I was a student, an order came down that the crucifixes had to be removed from any teaching room (at a Jesuit university) in which publicly funded courses (nurses' training, for instance) took place. We had one lecturer who used to carry crucifixes around and replace them in such classrooms. At the time, I thought it odd but had more sympathy with it than I do now – though I rather wonder what else could have been done with the money and time spent on such an exercise, I do see the principle involved….


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