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Pledge Allegiance to the ACLU
by Hans Zieger
21 August 2003ACLU

Did you know the Pledge of Allegiance does irreparable harm to the hearts and minds of America's schoolchildren?


The Pledge of Allegiance is doing irreparable harm to the minds and hearts of America's schoolchildren. So alleges an ACLU lawsuit against the State of Colorado for its new law requiring the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools.
 
This time, it isn't just about "One Nation Under God." Now, the American Civil Liberties Union wants to get rid of the whole pledge. On August 12, the ACLU filed suit in federal district court on behalf of students and teachers throughout the state who seem to be offended by the notion of the republic for which the flag stands, unity, liberty, and justice for all.
 
Mark Silverstein, Legal Director of the ACLU of Colorado, exclaimed, "Public expressions of belief in the ideals of liberty and justice should be voluntary, not coerced. By forcing individuals to pledge allegiance, the Colorado law violates the fundamental freedoms that the American flag is meant to represent."
 
In the context of public schools, the ACLU's coercion argument is quite silly. When I took a French class in high school, I had to answer my teacher's questions in French, not Spanish. When each student had to present a book report in English class, there was no option to sit out of the activity or to deliver a rebellious lecture on the evils of reading books.
 
Yet no one is coerced into saying the Pledge of Allegiance under the current Colorado law. There isn't a Colorado State Patrol division stationed in classrooms on the lookout for unpatriotic students who refuse to stand to salute the flag every morning. No one is being held at gunpoint until they recite the Pledge with proper enunciation and oral punctuation. In fact, students can bring in parent notes to excuse them from reciting the pledge. And religious objectors like Jehovah Witnesses are easily allowed to refrain from saying the creed.
 
But according to Dr. Allen Chen from University of Denver College of Law, the ACLU's lead attorney in the lawsuit, the plaintiffs are not offended by the Pledge of Allegiance on religious grounds. "Our clients rely on objections of conscience that are separate from religious concerns.  By requiring that they recite the pledge despite their objections, the Colorado law violates our clients' free speech rights."
 
In other words, the ACLU and its plaintiffs are just plain anti-American and they want to get rid of the Pledge for the sake of getting rid of the Pledge.
 
One anti-American plaintiff is Miss Keaty Gross, a senior at George Washington High School in Denver County. Miss Gross claims, "I am a patriotic person, but I believe that part of our freedom in the United States is to express our support of our country in different ways. There should not be only one way to express your patriotism."
 
Whatever version of the Pledge of Allegiance Miss Gross is familiar with must state that any other forms of patriotic expression other than the Pledge are strictly prohibited. And in her imaginary world as a victimized slave chained to the flag pole of oppression, Miss Gross would commit civil disobedience against a non-existent clause in the Pledge by sitting and protesting the American flag while her classmates salute it, thereby expressing what she calls patriotism.
 
Or perhaps Miss Gross means that she would prefer to pledge her allegiance to something other than America. Like the United Nations, or a statue of Karl Marx, or Marx's legacy known as the ACLU.
 
The Pledge of Allegiance to America is a quick and easy routine at the start of each day that lays in the memory of each student a summary of fundamental American ideals. Such a simple expression of patriotism is not only harmless, it echoes the historical mission of America's education system to cultivate good citizenship.
 
To the warped senses of the ACLU, citizenship is a rotting, archaic concept. National unity and patriotism are outmoded values. Duty, honor, and country are the relics of dead generals that have yet to be sued out of school history books in some not-too-distant lawsuit campaign. Liberty is to be replaced with license and justice with favoritism to the devoid of truth. 
 
And then the red, white, and blue will cease to wave because of neglect. It will be the ACLU that presides over the final lowering of shredded Old Glory if ever that day comes.
 
Thus we ought to preserve the Pledge of Allegiance while we have the chance. We should be working to ensure that every state requires the daily recitation of the Pledge in our schools.
 
Let's join together to pledge our support for the Pledge of Allegiance.
 

Hans Zeiger, 18, is a columnist, speaker, and activist. An Eagle Scout, he is president of the Scout Honor Coalition.

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