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Wick: Force All Kids to Pledge Allegiance! Supreme Court, Constitution: No Can Do.

Last updated on 2013.11.27

Tuesday night the Sioux Falls School Board invited controversy by expanding its policy to require middle school students to recite the socialist flag-marketing slogan known as the Pledge of Allegiance along with elementary students. But the board declared that high school students are too busy for compelled speech.

Enter Rep. Hal Wick (R-12/Sioux Falls), who hates government mandates except when he doesn't. In his latest bout of Legislative Tourette's Syndrome, Rep. Wick wants the state legislature to order every public and private school student in South Dakota to say the Pledge of Allegiance every school day. No word yet on whether Wick plans to make refusal to pledge a felony, misdemeanor, or grounds for detention.

Stunningly, school board member Kent Alberty, a good Democrat who ran for District 12's Senate seat in hopes of countering Wick's political foolishness, says that if Wick's proposal becomes law, his school district will comply:

Kent Alberty, a school board member, said if Wick succeeds in getting the Legislature to require the Pledge, the district will comply with that. The 5-0 vote included Alberty, Carly Reiter, Todd Thoelke, Doug Morrison and Kate Parker.

“What we did on Tuesday night was to expand a policy that required the Pledge of Allegiance at the elementary schools to include middle schools and to make it mandatory. We also have given high schools, in policy, instructions to either have the Pledge or presentation of the colors or something patriotic at any high school assembly,” Alberty said.

“We expanded the policy. If the Legislature in its wisdom sees fit to pass a law that says it’s required, of course we would follow that” [Jon Walker, "Lawmaker Wants Pledge Recited Daily in S.D. Schools," that Sioux Falls paper, 2013.11.15].

This is Jesus, Kent! Stop forcing kids to say Dad's name and other things in which they may or may not believe. Both Wick's proposal and the policy the school board unanimously approved Tuesday are unconstitutional, as declared in 1943 by the United States Supreme Court in West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnette. In that case, some nice Jehovah's Witnesses contended that forcing their kids to pledge allegiance to any flag in school violated their religious rights. (Never mind that the "Bellamy salute," as practiced then in conjunction with the Pledge that Francis Bellamy wrote to sell flags, also looked an awful lot like what kids across the pond wearing swastikas were doing.) The Court jumped over the free exercise argument and went for free speech:

In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court overruled its decision in Minersville School District v. Gobitis and held that compelling public schoolchildren to salute the flag was unconstitutional. The Court found that salutes of the type mandated by the West Virginia State Board of Education were forms of utterance and thus were a means of communicating ideas. "Compulsory unification of opinion," the Court held, was doomed to failure and was antithetical to the values set forth in the First Amendment. Writing for the majority, Justice Jackson eloquently stated: "If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein." To underscore its decision, the Supreme Court announced it on Flag Day [Wikipedia, downloaded 2013.11.16].

Oh yeah, did I mention that decision came in 1943, in the middle of World War II? Instead of screaming about taking our country back from godless liberals on the Court, conservatives stood shoulder to shoulder with liberals and went on to beat the Nazis and the Japanese and continue our perfectly healthy Union. So, if i may adopt Republican-style logic, rejecting the Pledge wins wars.

Compelled speech is unconstitutional. Kent, Sioux Falls School Board, instead of embracing it, you should be vowing to do your constitutional duty to fight it. If Wick's madness passes the Legislature, be ready to go to court and lose.


  1. Porter Lansing 2013.11.16

    More from "The Land of Infinite Tolerance"...
    Joan Jett moved off S.D. float
    • SIOUX FALLS, S.D.» Macy’s is moving rocker Joan Jett and her band off the South Dakota tourism float in its Thanksgiving Day parade after ranchers complained about having a vegetarian and animal rights advocate representing their state.

  2. Lanny V Stricherz 2013.11.16

    And so let the flag waving begin. You know, the type that says lets beat the Hun or in the case of the last two wars, stand on the sideline and cheer for our guys and gals against Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Iraq and whomever. Put the ribbon on the car that proclaims support our troops, but then turn around and support politicians who cut taxes and put our very country in jeopardy because of the debt racked up by cutting those taxes while fighting at least two wars.

    Never mind that the politicians who are taking us into those wars are breaking the oath that they and the troops that they are sending to do the fighting, took to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, circumvented that oath by sending the troops to fight in a war that was unconstitutional.

    Rather than pledging to the flag, a piece of cloth after all, how about reciting the preamble to the Constitution or pledging allegiance to the Constitution for both those students and particularly for the politicians?

  3. owen reitzel 2013.11.16

    Wick will also tell that schools are going down the drain is because they don't say the Pledge and that prayer has been taken out of school (which of course it hasn't been).
    Another case of the far right shoving things like this down our throats.

  4. Barry G. Wick 2013.11.16

    Mr. Wick is probably a distant relative since a section of the Wick family settled in Iowa in the 1830s around Afton.
    I'm always amazed at Mr. Wick's logic....using the government to either punish, limit the rights of or demand favored philosophical actions from the people. The ban on same-sex marriage in South Dakota is one Mr. Wick has supported. There are others. Demanding that Americans say or do something would seem to me to be anathema to Mr. Wick since he is a Republican...supporting the demise of the Affordable Healthcare Act as they are wont to do these days. I've always noted that forcing someone into an oath of any kind is really more about those doing the forcing feeling comfortable with the people around them. We all know that the words will be spoken loudly and with gusto by those who hate the nation and would want to destroy it. They would want to prove their loyalty by being very patriotic all the while trying to destroy the nation and it's republic. So with that in mind I question Mr. Wick's intentions. Next he may want to demand a certain kind of prayer....which oddly enough....some words in the Pledge have that connotation. Or perhaps he would demand citizens eat two hotdogs with mustard and relish and a half pound of potato salad on the Fourth of July. All things are possible when one wants to use the government for the benefit of one political philosophy. Personally, I'm very un-American. I prefer ketchup on my hotdogs. And I'll go to the wall to be shot if Mr. Wick demands I change my ways.

  5. grudznick 2013.11.16

    Mustard and potato salad are good every day, Mr. Wick, not just on the Fourth of July. But I see your point and support it. This other Mr. Wick fellow seems a little off kilter.

  6. Douglas Wiken 2013.11.16

    Maybe reciting the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." or some variation would be a more useful and sensible pledge.

  7. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    The golden rule is an excellent philosophy, Wiken. It ought to be the underpinning belief in an Atheistic mindset in my opinion. I have mixed feelings about what Rep. Wick is trying to do and rather agree with Cory that making it an absolute requirement for all public school students to recite the Pledge could be considered unConstitutional and an infringement of parental rights. I think it would depend on how they wrote the law. If they required the school to take the 30 seconds required for the recital, but students were not required and could not be punished for not actually saying it, then perhaps it would be okay. I definitely think the law would have to be written carefully to defend the rights of students not to say it.

  8. interested party 2013.11.16

    Land of Infinite Hypocrisy.

  9. Loren 2013.11.16

    Where do you stop? How about college? First order of business at work? Maybe a requirement before you go to bed at night? Gee, I don't go to school any more, so I must be required to recite the pledge sometime during the day or have my Patriot credentials revoked?

  10. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    It's upsetting for the government to require you to do something illogical that you don't want to do or it will punish you for not conforming. At least this government overreach by Wick won't keep you from putting gas in the tank or food on the table, like it will for 50 year old couples forced out of their health plan they were told they could keep, and forced to buy plans that cover maternity and pediatric care they don't need at three times the cost, or three times the deductible. Hypocrisy doesn't exist solely within the Republican Party.

  11. Winston 2013.11.16

    Damn, those Republicans sure are good at "wedge" issues. I have lost count. If only they cared about the real issues facing us as South Dakotans and Americans, then we would all be better off and our allegiance to our country would not be in question.....

  12. Barry Smith 2013.11.16

    I will be all for this law if it written as Bree and others have suggested. Merely setting aside the time and not compelling anyone to recite an oath is a great opportunity for some real- life exercise of the first amendment in the classroom. High school students are the most rebellious creatures on Earth and there will be some who will reject saying the pledge and will exercise their first amendment rights in proper and non disruptive ways. If this becomes law there should be much vigilance to make sure that these students are not punished.

  13. interested party 2013.11.16

    I refuse to keep paying for the so-called wars on terror, on drugs and on women.

  14. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    I dare you to tell the Government you won't pay anymore, Larry.

  15. grudznick 2013.11.16

    Larry tells them all the time, Mrs. S, but then he sheepishly pays his taxes and doesn't recycle his plastics like most of the rest of us. I once bought a big can of beer at a store and told them Larry would pay my sales tax since he was in line behind me, and he did.

  16. Barry Smith 2013.11.16

    They passed a similar law in Colorado in 2004. It had to be rewritten in order to conform with the Barnette decision that Cory refers to. This line was added “Any person not wishing to participate in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance shall be exempt from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and need not participate.” South Dakota will have to do the same thing with their law.

  17. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    Sounds simple enough Barry. Those are the best laws: well-thought out, uncluttered with fluff, and with every line evaluated as to its possible future effects. In this manner we avoid the unintended and deleterious consequences caused by poorly considered laws.

    Its good to know that this law is already working in Colorado without negative societal effect.

  18. Jim 2013.11.16

    Hal, what about those home school kids? Should they be made to pledge as well? We just need some monitors to go to people's homes to make sure they pledges are being recited.

  19. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    You bring up a good point, Jim. Any parent that believes the public school system doesn't meet his needs in regards to educating his child, can choose to exercise his right to opt out of that system and home school instead. I will be home schooling my children, at least initially. It's too bad the government doesn't realize that parents who aren't utilizing the public school system shouldn't have to pay taxes as if they were. Some kind of tax credit would be appropriate. Just another example of government injustice.

  20. Barry Smith 2013.11.16

    Jim I think that the homeschoolers do have certain guidelines they have to follow. Perhaps something could be written into the law. Maybe something where they are mandated to set aside 20 seconds for the pledge and if they don't want to say the pledge , it will be a mandated 20 seconds of not saying the pledge. That seems reasonable for this sort of law.

  21. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    Seems an unenforceable law, Barry, like making a law requiring the washing of hands after using the bathroom at home. Also, a law that no one could ever break, because everyone has at least 20 seconds of silence each day. Home schooling also doesn't have laws regarding attendance, or vaccination requirements etc. It's different than public school, and because of that it is regulated differently.

  22. Jim 2013.11.16

    Interesting, but isn't 20 seconds of mandated silence for a particular purpose a form of coerced non verbal speech in a sense anyway. If a kid doesn't want to pledge, he really should be permitted to leave the room, where he would not have to silently observe.

  23. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    I agree with Jim that the mandated silence would be a form of coercion. However freedom of speech is not the same as "freedom from hearing" or "freedom from unwanted thoughts." Saying that someone has the right to not hear other people exercise their right to free speech is a step too far. If that was the case, people would not be allowed to say unpleasant things in public, or carry signs with offensive messages.

  24. Barry Smith 2013.11.16

    Good point Bree- Now you have me wondering just how Hal Wick can use the Government to go about forcing homeschooled kids to say or not say the pledge. Any ideas?

  25. Jim 2013.11.16

    Yes Bree, but when it is the government doing it...if I meet you and Mr. Grudz for dinner, and you say something I don't care for, I can leave. Here we would have government mandating that you dont have to pledge, but have to sit there while it is recited, in essence making you say something either verbally or non verbally.

  26. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    Barry - I don't think the point of the law should be forcing students to say the Pledge, but rather requiring public schools to provide the opportunity for students to say the Pledge, if they so choose. When a child is home schooled, the parent is directly able to affect the schooling and societal influence of his child, there is no middle man to interfere in parental rights. But when a child is taught in public school that child is in the care of the government and representatives of the government, and those representatives have a duty to make sure they do everything possible to not infringe of parental rights. By not providing the opportunity for a child to say the Pledge in school the government is violating the rights of the parent who desires his child to say the Pledge.

  27. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    That is an interesting point, Jim. I can if someone is holding a sign I don't like, walk away from it if I choose to so I don't have to read it. Perhaps the teacher could allow students who were terribly bothered by the recital of the pledge to stand in the hall. I would be surprised at any American citizen at any age being so terribly offended by hearing other people recite the Pledge of Allegiance that they needed to protect their ear drums from it, but people do burn the American flag in this country and that is tolerated, so what do I know.

  28. Jim 2013.11.16

    Yes, but it is a slippery slope. I said the pledge for years every morning at school and didn't have any problem with it. So even though I personally like the pledge, I would have to oppose such a measure on principle, and const grounds.

  29. Barry Smith 2013.11.16

    While it is arguable that the violation of the parents rights would happen if the school would prohibit the saying of the pledge rather than not setting time for the pledge, I think you bring up an interesting point. Parental control is the key here and parents always have more control at the local level. Perhaps this is a matter that should be left to the local school boards after all.

  30. Donald Pay 2013.11.16

    People have some odd ideas about "rights." How about we require all student to recite "The Green Pledge?" Isn't it their "right" to have everyone join in to pledge to live their lives in a sustainable way?

    Anyone can recite any pledge at any time they want, as long as it isn't disruptive of the classroom. Thus, anyone can recite it before or after school, between classes, or even under their breath in class. The idea behind carving out some time in school is not to provide for a right. It is to enforce a code of conduct and belief. Remember that, as you recite "The Green Pledge."

  31. Old Guy 2013.11.16

    What if a student wants to recite the pledge as originally written? Remember the words "Under God" weren't added until the mid 1950s. I seen to recall my poor grade school brain saying "I just learned this and now they change it?"

  32. owen reitzel 2013.11.16

    "It's too bad the government doesn't realize that parents who aren't utilizing the public school system shouldn't have to pay taxes as if they were. "

    It's your choice Bree to home school your kids at home. The option to send you kids to public school. If you don't pay your taxes then I have to pay more so you can keep your kids at home. Not fair to me.
    I don't use the street in front of your house. Why should I pay taxes for that then. I think you see where I'm going with this. We pay taxes for the good of ALL people.

  33. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.16

    Here's the thing, It has been my experience that when children and young adults are forced to do something, at their very first opportunity they will reject it.

    There are many like me, born into a Catholic home where Catholicism was practiced, educated my Jesuits through high school and college and then rejected it all. And, we did say the Pledge everyday.

    It is pure speculation, but after these kids get out of school the majority of them will never say the Pledge again and will likely openly reject it.

    When was the last time you forced a kid to do something and had positive results?

    Wick is wasting his time with these theatrics, what does he hope to accomplish? If it is his goal to have every child grow up to be a nice solid Republican like himself, forget it, kids deserve better than that.

  34. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    Jim - I don't see how it is a slippery slope. If students don't have to say the Pledge of Allegiance, then why should we take away the right of students to say the Pledge of Allegiance if they want. I think parental rights have to be taken into consideration. Also, I think you are imagining a larger portion of the American population taking offense to the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance than actually exists. I think that if you did a poll in South Dakota asking parents what they thought about students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in school, as long as they weren't required to do so or coerced in any way, that the vast majority of South Dakota parents would support such. I do get a bit tired of this manic political correctedness, that somewhere out there exists one student who thinks "I pledge allegiance" or "one nation under God" are as bad as cuss words and hearing them makes their ear drums bleed and that the rest of us should give up our rights because of that one person. That student can stand in the hall. It's a free country, after all.

  35. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    Barry - An interesting thought. Perhaps we should hold citizens rallies at school board meetings demanding the opportunity for students to recite the Pledge. Perhaps this is an issue that should be addressed through elections. As I mentioned before, I think you will find that the vast majority of parents, and voters, of any party would support the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools.

  36. Winston 2013.11.16

    Recently, the DWC announced that Rep. Wick had just turned 69. Now, when you realize that he has been running, winning, and losing at times since 1976 as a candidate for the state legislature don't you think it is about time he just retired? I mean really, a legislative candidate from the Bi-Centennial era really needs to move-on so that the rest of us can deal with the real issues affecting America's youth today, like education, job opportunities, student loan costs, and heck, just keeping them out of unnecessary wars....

  37. Rorschach 2013.11.16

    Maybe they can require kids to sing the national anthem too. Why require the pledge and not the anthem?

  38. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    Donald - why don't you take a poll of South Dakota parents and see what percentage of them are concerned about having their children recite the Green Pledge and get back to us.

  39. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    Could be because the national anthem is pain in the butt to sing, Rorschach. Not an easy song really.

  40. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    And again the word "require" is misleading. Requiring the schools to provide the opportunity for students to say the Pledge of Allegiance is not the same as requiring them to do so. As long as saying the Pledge is not coerced, it is not a violation of Constitutional rights or parental rights.

  41. interested party 2013.11.16

    "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

  42. Rorschach 2013.11.16

    Then there's the State of SD pledge. Maybe they can require that too. Here it is, as found in SDCL 1-6-4.1:

    1-6-4.1. Official pledge to state flag--Not recited before pledge to United States flag. The official pledge to the state flag is:
    "I pledge loyalty and support to the flag and State of South Dakota, land of sunshine, land of infinite variety."
    However, the pledge to the flag and to the state may not preempt, replace nor be recited before the pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States.

  43. Rorschach 2013.11.16

    Maybe they could require schools to offer the opportunity for muslim prayers, and those who don't want to participate could just go out into the hall a few times a day as Bree suggests.

  44. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    Owen - So you support the government discriminating against Home schoolers? Your argument is fallacious - If I home school and I receive a tax credit for the amount of money I'm not costing the government by not using the public school system, you aren't paying anymore in taxes. I have a null effect on the tax system because I'm not costing the government anything for the public school system I'm not using. Meanwhile the government is just stealing the money because the school system receives funding on a per head basis, so the schools don't actually get anymore money if I don't get a tax credit. The amount of money the school system receives is the same regardless of whether or not I get a tax credit, because that has no effect on the number of students in the public school system.

  45. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    Rorschach, the English translation of the word "Allah" is "God," and English is the official language of the United States of America, and so the wording of the Pledge of Allegiance is appropriate for Christians, Muslims, Jews, and any other religion with a concept of Deity covered under the general English word "God."

    I don't know what Muslim prayers in school have to do with the subject, since no one is recommending Christian prayers or Hebrew prayers in school - all three would be government funded indoctrination and a violation of parental rights. Of course, none of that has anything to do with the Pledge of Allegiance.

  46. Rorschach 2013.11.16

    Right, Owen. So everybody who doesn't have kids in the public school should get a tax credit. Old folks. Out-of-state folks. Everybody. Not just Bree.

  47. Rorschach 2013.11.16

    Of course they wouldn't require anyone to participate in the Muslim prayer or Christian prayer. It's just an opportunity, which according to you is not the same as requiring it.

  48. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    Rorschach, freedom of religion comes first. I don't see how you equate a one sentence acknowledgement of citizenship with public indoctrination in a particular religion.

  49. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    The point of the tax credit would be to not discriminate against home schoolers, who have to pay for all the costs of schooling their children out of pocket, while parents of public school children have that cost covered in the taxes they pay. There are families out there for whom that discrimination against them causes them an economic hardship and the government shouldn't be allowed to steal from them and make life harder for them because they have exercised their right to home school their children.

  50. Jim 2013.11.16

    Bree, most South Dakotans are Christian also, but that doesn't mean we should have state mandated religion.

  51. Rorschach 2013.11.16

    Oh, I forgot to mention Owen. When everybody who doesn't have kids in the public schools - not just Bree - gets a tax credit for the amount they're not costing the government by not using the school system the schools will receive the same amount of money they do now, and nobody will pay more taxes. Not sure how that works, but if Bree said it then it must be true.

  52. Jim 2013.11.16

    Bree, do the parents of private school kids get the credit as well?

  53. interested party 2013.11.16

    home school tax credit,
    one missouri river bridge:
    huh? just say the pledge.

  54. Rorschach 2013.11.16

    How can the government steal from out-of-staters and people without kids by forcing them to pay taxes for public schools? It's discrimination I tell you. Likewise, it's discrimination to make people pay for any government services they choose not to use. I don't use the Department of social services, so why should I pay for that? It's stealing! Call the police. And if you choose not to call the police then you should get a tax credit for that choice too.

  55. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    Jim - The opportunity to make a statement acknowledging citizenship and support for your country has absolutely nothing to do Christianity or state mandated religion. I am having trouble following your logic in making these connections.

    Now we are talking about something like school choice, or vouchers, or a tax credit system for private schoolers and home schoolers - and yes I support such. I like the system they have in Indiana, which was started originally with charter schools by Democrats. It works pretty well. They have a tax credit system in Arizona that seems to be working pretty well. But that is a side topic we don't need to argue about in the middle of this discussion about the Pledge of Allegiance.

  56. interested party 2013.11.16

    i pledge allegiance
    to the flagger directing
    traffic because food.

  57. grudznick 2013.11.16

    Larry, remember that night you stayed up until dawn doing haiku?

  58. Rorschach 2013.11.16

    Put it in 3 lines grudz. You know the rules.

  59. interested party 2013.11.16

    haist kurtz: no brainer.

  60. interested party 2013.11.16

    ...saw fleming at common cents
    weird, this blue orb.

  61. interested party 2013.11.16

  62. grudznick 2013.11.16

    my friend bob gnashes
    with hat and coat from goodwill
    rodeo unkind

  63. Rorschach 2013.11.16

    our friend Bree wants to
    order government from the
    ala carte menu

  64. owen reitzel 2013.11.16

    "Owen - So you support the government discriminating against Home schoolers?"
    there's no discrimination Bree. It's your choice to home school your children. Nobody is saying you can't send your kids to public schools. By home schooling your children though the school district loses the money it would have received if your children went to public school. So the school is the loser here.

  65. grudznick 2013.11.16

    Home schoolers end up the odd ducks in society. There should be no government funding for home schooling. Especially when the home schoolers are really ignorant and poor and then their kids qualify for free lunch like they would if they want to the real school and basically we're feeding that kid his Oreos and Spaghettios that he'd have been eating anywayl

  66. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    She leaves him alone
    with bitter drink and poison
    His God forgotten

  67. Dave 2013.11.16

    Wow ... last year the Legislature managed to pass the horrid and completely unnecessary school sentinel legislation by constantly chirping "local control, local control." When it comes to the pledge, however, it appears local control has been tossed out the window.
    Does anyone know, will Wick's bill allow local school boards the final decision on whether their all of their students should be forced, er, allowed to recite the pledge?

  68. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.16

    If you think about it, by invoking God's name in the Pledge it has actually become a prayer rather allegiance.

    Teachers are paid to teach not to preach!

  69. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    Roger, was the haiku I just wrote a prayer, because it contained the word "God?"

  70. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.16


    Doesn't sound like a prayer to me, more of a statement.

    Did you mean to be a prayer?

  71. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    No. But in comparison, the Pledge of Allegiance is not a prayer either just because it contains the phrase "under God." And if a person has concerns about it somehow becoming a prayer, and they don't agree with that, they don't have to say "under God" or the Pledge at all.

  72. Rorschach 2013.11.16

    That's what I'm saying Bree. You finally get it. Government can require kids to say the pledge, the national anthem, the South Dakota pledge, and the prayer of their choice. Then kids can simply walk out in the hall as you suggest when the other kids are doing their thing in the classroom. Or they can stay in the room and choose not to do any of it no matter how much peer pressure they may feel at the time or taunting, bullying etc., they may get afterward because of their choice. All government would really be doing is forcing kids on a daily basis to make choices in front of their teachers and their peers. What's the big deal?

  73. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    So, Rorschach, exactly, what's the big deal? Of no one's rights are being trampled on, if no one is being forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, then why do you have a problem with the opportunity being given to the children of the parents who support the Pledge of Allegiance, to say the Pledge of Allegiance?

    First Muslim prayers in school, then state mandated religion, now they will all be bullied for not saying the Pledge of Allegiance? What a joke. Kids have better things to bully each other about, like whose last name is stupider and whose going to marry who and have their baby in a tree. What's with the off-the-wall ridiculous scare tactics about a 20 second voluntary statement of citizenship?

  74. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.16


    It is all in the interpretation, the Pledge for some could be considered a prayer because of the usage.

    "One Nation under God", whose God? Or no God?

    It has been a few years since I've had little ones in the school system so I don't know how the Pledge issue is currently handled. Anyone?

  75. Rorschach 2013.11.16

    Man. With all of that going on you make me want to take my kids out of public school and teach them at home! I'm glad you told me all of that is going on because I just didn't know. If I have any more questions about what's going on in the public schools or what should be going on there I know who to ask now.

  76. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    "God" is a generalized English term for deity. It can refer to any god that pleases you, including Jupiter. If you interpret the Pledge of Allegiance as being a prayer because it contains "under God" then you must consider half the angry cussing you hear to be prayer. Anyone who doesn't want to say the Pledge of Allegiance, or doesn't want to have their children say the Pledge of Allegiance, doesn't have to. That's from the Supreme Court. Feel free to burn the American flag and piss on the Constitution if you want to. You can - you live in the United States of America. Meanwhile, I prefer to fly my American flag, read my Constitution, and have my children recite the Pledge of Allegiance or at least know it for Heaven's sake (was that a prayer?) and I shouldn't have to give up my God-given American rights nor should anyone else have to because of the loud irrational complaint of a tiny minority.

  77. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    Apparently "equal" means "give up everything that matters to you because I said so and no other reason" to some people.

  78. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.16

    A tiny minority has the same rights of the majority!

    Why don't the kids forced to recite the Pledge go do so in the hall?

    Often times when people cuss and use the name of God or Jesus, it is a curse and not a prayer. Hoping that someone will suffer some ill will

  79. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    Who is being "forced" to recite the Pledge? I believe we have already, through out the course of this thread, determined that to be unConstitutional. Respecting the rights of parents who want their children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and giving them the opportunity to say the pledge in school in no way forces any student to say the Pledge who doesn't want to. Why don't you explain to me why the VAST MAJORITY of parents should give up their rights so that a few kids don't have to be inconvenienced to either listen to ONE SENTENCE or go out in the hall if the recognition that they are in fact American citizens makes their ears bleed.

  80. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    "All . . . will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect and to violate would be oppression." - Thomas Jefferson

    Please explain to me how the minority is being oppressed by not being required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Please explain to me why the majority, which must prevail, should roll over and die, giving up all their rights, because your ears hurt when you hear the word "God."

  81. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.16

    It is too bad when we hear the eloquent words of Thomas Jefferson, that is all we hear.

    We hear his talk about "equality" and "freedom" and do not hear his commands to whip his slaves and work them to death. Hypocrite.

  82. Bree S. 2013.11.16

    Fine. Don't accept the words of Thomas Jefferson. By the way, the first slave owner in the New World was a black man in Virginia, but that is neither here nor there and has nothing to do with this discussion. Use reason instead. A just majority makes reasonable concession to the minority. Saying that the majority should do exactly what the minority wants because the minority says so is not how things work in a Republic. We're not even talking a 40% minority here. We're talking a 5% minority maybe, whose rights in no way are infringed upon by having to hear someone else say a sentence. I wish I could use that excuse to tape everyone's mouth closed who said something I found offensive. But then I wouldn't do that, because I'm not a fascist.

    Tyranny of the minority.

  83. Dave Baumeister 2013.11.17

    Hoe the hell can anyone even think this is a good idea? Hal Wick is from Sioux Falls; he should try going into some high school classrooms. As a substitute teacher, I have been in all the public high schools in the city, and I am amazed by the diversity of people. There are many kids who are not citizens, and in no way should be forced to pledge allegiance to a county other than their own. These kids are not illegals, but they are from different nations. Even at a "white bread" school like O'Gorman, where Wick sent his kids, there have always been several foreign exchange schools. Should the German girl here for six months be made to feel she doesn't belong because she doesn't pledge allegiance to a foreign government/

  84. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.11.17

    Dave is absolutely correct about the diversity of the population. Religious affiliation is rapidly changing. The fastest growing group is the "Nones." That drew lots of attention and caused considerable consternation among religious folk when the results were published. Pew Research did the survey in 2012. You can take a look and read the summary here:

    Nones make up 20% of the U.S. population. Among that number are 13 million atheists and agnostics, 6%. 13,000,000 seems like a lot of people to me. Let's see; that's more than the population of ND, SD, WY, MT, ID, KS, NE and probably a couple more states as well.

    How many people does it take to warrant receiving legal consideration in the U.S.A?

  85. Jim 2013.11.17

    Bree, you can have the kids pledge at the breakfast table.

  86. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.11.17

    I'm also thinking about the diminishment of hegemony. White Christians are losing their majority position in the population. That's very frightening to a vocal share of Americans.

    White American males continue to hold the majorities at all levels of federal and state governments. That's not necessarily true on the local level. There is a state in New England, either Vermont or New Hampshire I think, where women hold many positions, majorities in some instances.

    As categories which have long been dominant becomes less so, their anxiety levels rise. It's not a loss of power, only a diminishment. However, the contrast with previous absolute power is sharp. The backlash is strong, as women found out following the rights they won since the 1960s. The U.S. is experiencing a similar social struggle now, centered on race and religion.

    The good news is that this too shall pass. It is incumbent on us to do our best to limit the pain and upheaval.

  87. Nick Nemec 2013.11.17

    What purpose would be served by requiring children to recite the pledge each day?

  88. Rorschach 2013.11.17

    Nick, how in the world can you not understand the purpose of the SD Pledge? Here it is:

    "I pledge loyalty and support to the flag and State of South Dakota, land of sunshine, land of infinite variety."

    The power of those words is undeniable, capturing the true essence of what sets our state apart from all others. Kids should learn it and take it to heart. Rep. Wick should mandate the recitation of the pledge in all schools - public, private and home.

  89. Charlie Johnson 2013.11.17

    Nazi Germany-Hitler-youth--war like frenzy--now march on the world.

  90. Bree S. 2013.11.17

    Of all the things in this world to be worried about, with American citizens being killed without trial, and the phone records of Americans being stored by the government - the fact that you guys are worried about school kids being allowed to say the Pledge of Allegiance if they want to... it's completely illogical. I really can't even comprehend where you're coming from. I guess there's just control freaks in both parties that don't have any respect for other people's rights. You seem to think that because you don't like the Pledge of Allegiance, or think saying it is silly, that your opinion allows you to trample on the rights of other parents. Incredibly intolerant and unAmerican.

  91. Bree S. 2013.11.17

    And I like how the lot of you keep using the word "forced" and "required" over and over again... which is a blatant lie. I can only assume its purposeful.. which just demonstrates again what little respect the lot of you have for the rights of other American citizens who disagree with you. I hope the state passes a law that public schools have to post a huge copy of the Declaration of Independence right at the front door, with the letters in "Creator" and "Nature's God" a foot high so you can't miss them.

    Atheism must be the most intolerant "religion" on the planet.

  92. Bree S. 2013.11.17

    Bob Ellis is more open-minded.

  93. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.11.17

    Bree, I just jumped online for the first time since yesterday morning. All I saw was the immediately preceding comment. I don't even need to the context to say, No. You are absolutely wrong. Bob Ellis is not more open-minded. Than anyone else.

    I'll work backwards. But I can't see "Bob Ellis" and "open-minded" in any sentence without "not" involved.

    Gee, I must be intolerant.

  94. barry freed 2013.11.17

    I have heard those statistics of 300% increases. I am skeptical, could you provide a link(s) please?

  95. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.11.17

    Barry—what a family connection! That possibility hadn't occurred to me! One finds all kinds of acorns in the basket.

  96. oldguy 2013.11.17

    I think the song "be Happy" should be sung every morning at school

  97. Jim 2013.11.17

    Bree, I agree with you - with all the other problems we have, why is Hal wick wasting his time with this?

  98. Rorschach 2013.11.17

    I'm with you Bree. When Rep. Wick says he wants every school child to be required to say the pledge of allegiance in school every day I know he really only means he wants them to have the opportunity to say it. I agree with you that everybody on this blog who says Rep. Wick wants to "require" the pledge is a big fat blatant liar. No way he wants to do that! How could anyone even think that?

    Rep. Wick is just championing parents rights, citizenship and values like you and me. So I think he should amend his bill to require all school kids to have the opportunity to say the state pledge, sing the national anthem, and say a prayer of their choice at whatever times of day and as many times a day as their parents want them to. All the things that parents want their god-given American rights to have their kids do in school should be required to be honored by schools. And any kids that don't want to do any of those things can just remain silent or go out into the hall when it's happening. I'm with you Bree.

  99. Jerry 2013.11.17

    Mr. Wick just wants every kid to do the Bellamy salute as is the way it used to be in America. The fascist salute is fitting for these new republican fanatics and there backward look at how they see America and how they want America to be. Here is a little history on this

  100. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.11.17

    The National Anthem is tricky. I find it is actually easier to to sing if I do it with an understated country-western sound. No theatrics: just picture myself singing it out in a pasture, with no one around but cows, or maybe buffalo, no one in front of whom to prove my patriotism.

  101. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.11.17

    Bree: "under God" makes it a profession of religion as well as a statement of citizenship/loyalty.

  102. Bree S. 2013.11.17

    Then don't say "under God" Cory, and let other Americans who do believe in God say it. That's everyone in America who isn't atheist or agnostic - Christians, Muslims, Jews, Bahai... you name it, every sect in America. They all believe in a concept of Deity. It doesn't harm you to let other people have their beliefs. You believe there is no Deity, and so the consonant and vowel combination that produces the sound "under God" has no meaning to you. By your understanding the belief in God should have no effect on the Universe. By an atheist's rational thought, and I see no evidence in this thread of such, someone else's belief in something that you think doesn't exist is irrelevent to the material world.

    I cannot comprehend the atheist claim that somehow hearing someone else say "under God" is somehow incredibly offensive to him, and therefore no child in school should be given the opportunity to make a statement of citizenship, or say "under God" themselves. I'm not seeing a rational comprehension of the meaning of "freedom of speech" here. Freedom of speech does not mean "freedom from hearing other people speak" or "freedom from sound waves causing mind-images I don't want." If that was the case no one in this country would be allowed to speak.

  103. Bree S. 2013.11.17

    Barry Freed - I don't know about 300% increases. I have heard 200% increase - policies doubling in a year. There have been some testimonials of some people's rates doubling and tripling, but I don't know what percentage of the population that is or how that averages out. Maybe other people's rate increases haven't been too bad. My increase wasn't terrible, but I'm able to keep my plan for another year and it's an HSA plan. I do know that when I was looking at policy prices for ACA conforming plans in South Dakota, bronze-rated policies were running about $1000/family. That was a month ago.

  104. Bree S. 2013.11.17

    Rorschach - I don't know Representative Wick, but if what he wants to do is actually force or require people to say something against their will, if that was his original intent then that is wrong. It is also unConstitutional, so it will be impossible for him to accomplish if that is his goal because the law would be thrown out without a protection for students to not say the Pledge if they don't feel like it. As was mentioned earlier they have a similar law in Colorado, and it is Constitutional and does not require students to say the Pledge of Allegiance if they don't want to. We have been through the same fallacious argument in this thread over and over again, repeating the same lie that students can somehow be legally required to say the Pledge of Allegiance. They can't. So once again, if the state makes a law requiring the schools to provide the opportunity for all students to say the Pledge of Allegiance if they want to, that law would be Constitutional and no one's rights would be violated. Whatever Wick's original intention may be is irrelevent. That's why we have a Constitution.

  105. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.11.17

    I can't accept the "30 seconds of silence" proposal. Neither, I'll bet, will Wick and the Pledge pushers.

    Their opposition would lie in the fact that the Pledge draws its power from being a crowd activity, chanted in unison, the individual submitting herself to the collective. If we're talking about just giving kids an "opportunity" to pledge allegiance, they can do that any time: the moment they walk into the classroom, during study time, on their way out the door. They could do it in their heads while the teacher is drifting off on some tangent about Supreme Court cases forbidding compelled speech.

    But quiet, individual, voluntary acts aren't Wick's first instinct, are they? His immediate response: force everyone to participate in a public demonstration. That says a lot about the psychology at work.

    I oppose the "30 second opportunity" because it still creates undue pressure on students. The "stand in the hall if you don't like it" creates an awful burden on little kids. My seven year old is doing a good job of becoming her own person, but I don't want to subject her to the burden of having to defend Constitutional liberties that she doesn't fully grasp from the forced patriotism of students chanting a pledge that they don't fully understand by taking the provocative action of leaving the classroom, of marking herself as an outsider when she shouldn't have to. You know how kids are. Act differently, seem different, and someone will tease you.

    On the one hand, I want my girl to be different and be tough (and being the child of her parents, she's going to be different in many teasable ways). But we shouldn't use laws and forced patriotism to create even more hurdles for her to jump in school.

    We can teach history, patriotism, and the Constitution without forced daily recitals and awkward ceremonies of silence and "voluntary" displays of loyalty.

  106. Bree S. 2013.11.17

    Cory, kids can't wear T-shirts that say "NRA" on them in school without getting suspended, a squirt gun will get them arrested, and you think that they can just break out into spontaneous recital of the Pledge of Allegiance, on their own without some heavy-handed teacher who doesn't like it suspending them? We have seen plenty of evidence in the news of the judgmental overreaching autocracy that exists within the public school system. Hearing other kids recite the Pledge of Allegiance would probably be a good learning opportunity for your daughter to develop tolerance and respect for the 96% of the country that believes in a God. Honestly, if a kid is so offended by a statement of American citizenship that they feel the need to stand in the hall so they don't have to listen to it, I really could care less if that creates some imaginary "awful burden." There are people in this world that will always imagine themselves to be righteous victims, no matter the tolerance and concessions of a sane majority. Somewhere right now I have no doubt is a man who lit himself on fire trying to burn the American flag, and is suing the hospital and lighter company for imagined negligence on their part. These people exist. But we don't stop flying the American flag because of them. You simply can't make everyone happy, and that is why in a Republic the majority prevails.

    Once again that word "forced," in reference to patriotism. I see the fallacy continues on the Madville Times.

  107. Charlie Hoffman 2013.11.17

    Bree not that I want to get into a tit for tat with you but on line 11 you wrote, "I could care less". That actually means you care a lot about that imaginary awful burden on CAH's kid if forced to listen to whatever.

    It should read " I could not care less!" Amazing how one word can screw up everything.

  108. Bree S. 2013.11.17

    I believe the idiomatic phrase is correct, regardless of literal meaning, but edit it in your mind if you want Charlie. For whatever reason, "I could care less" and "I couldn't care less" have essentially the same meaning now. Such is the English language.

  109. Bree S. 2013.11.17

    I am going cross-eyed because Ellis just posted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. I can't decide if he's had a change of heart, realizing that attempting to color the entirety of American history in the viewpoint of a particular sect of Christianity is an error, or if he just hasn't the read it.

  110. Douglas Wiken 2013.11.17

    Bree is pretending that only atheists oppose the pledge because "under God" is in it. That is a good enough reason, but not the only reason to oppose forcing children to pledge allegiance. I also find it amusing that conservatives who mostly display contempt for mediocre public education want that same mediocre system to provide Bible instruction and force kids to believe that our governing idiots act under God and have is unlimited blessing for their nonsense.

  111. Bree S. 2013.11.17

    It's a two-front war Wiken, insanity at both ends.

    Why don't you provide a poll of South Dakota parents asking them if they support the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance in school, as long as students may choose to abstain from such. Then we will know for sure what percentage of South Dakotans oppose the Pledge.

  112. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.11.17

    Bree, I do not support banning NRA t-shirts at school. Arresting kids for carrying squirt guns is over the top (though I'm o.k. with a school banning them... because who wants a squirt gun fight to break out in algebra class?). And if a student bursts into a spontaneous recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, I'm not going to have a fit (as long as it doesn't distract from normal classroom business: e.g., you can't stand and vocally pledge allegiance to the flag, Allah, the Klan, whatever, in the middle of another student's presentation on microbes or a French exam). Remember: you've got to argue against me, not the liberal bogeymen of your imagination.

    Kids have to put up with all sorts of offensive and stupid behavior from other kids. They can also learn a lot from intelligent and moral behavior from good kids. I'm talking about protecting kids from things the state would force them to do that the state should not force them to do.

    And the burden I'm talking about is very real. It's how kids work. We shouldn't pass laws that make school harder than it has to be.

  113. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.11.17

    (And holy cow: Did Charlie Hoffman just issue a grammar correction? He's absolutely right! Bree, I'm strongly disinclined to allow anyone to say that "X" and "not X" mean the same thing. The fact that everyone else is sloppy is no justification for us to be sloppy. Bonus points for Charlie! Minor demerit for Bree... but no impact on the main argument!)

  114. Bree S. 2013.11.17

    Fiddlesticks. I ain't gonna put on no fancy language show for you Cory.

  115. Bree S. 2013.11.17

    Cory, you are not cloned in every classroom across America. Therefore, the reality of the classroom environment must be shrewdly considered. Your opinion that students will freely be able to exercise their freedom of speech and burst out into patriotic oratory at whim, and that this would be tolerated and respected by teachers and administrators in classrooms across the country, is complete fantasy. You are stating that the Freedom from Speech of Others should be protected for a small minority, while ignoring the oppression of the Freedom of Speech of the majority. Only one of those freedoms is a Constitutionally protected right, and natural God-given right, and that is Freedom Of Speech. So in this great Republic we have the Freedom of Speech of the majority in opposition to the nonexistent Freedom from Speech of Others of the minority in a nation where the majority prevails. It is a logical error to equate Freedom of Speech with Freedom from Speech of Others, a nonexistent right, and therefore there is no argument, only the rational conclusion that in the United States of America, a Republic, the Freedom of Speech of the majority must be protected and should prevail, since there is clearly no oppression of the Freedom of Speech of the minority.

  116. Jamie Scarbrough 2013.11.17

    With the words 'mandatory' and 'required' all over the reportage of Wick's proposed bill, I don't see where voluntary participation is an option. What would the punishment be for a student who refuses to recite this pledge, besides the ostracism and ridicule that would surely follow? Since I am raising my children without religion, I take offense at Bree's statement that my children might just learn 'tolerance' by being singled out while the majority says this asinine pledge. There is a separation of church and state in this country. What you want to believe is your own business, but when coerced speech in the form of a pledge or an oath is made mandatory by a public institution, there is a violation of everyone's rights.

  117. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.11.17

    True: teachers and administrators are as capable of making political mistakes as Rep. Wick. I will even agree that freedom of speech is not the same as freedom from others's speech. The very existence of this blog and this comment section demonstrate my commitment to the former and my general rejection of the latter. But neither issue is germane to my point.

    Freedom from others's speech is not the focus of my argument. I'm saying students deserve freedom from being coerced into making the speech that others want them to make. The Supreme Court said the same thing in the middle of World War II. Neither Hal Wick nor the Sioux Falls School Board are listening.

    I'm not worried about my daughter hearing the Pledge of Allegiance or assertions of the existence of God. Heck, she's in church right now hearing the latter. I'm worried (and my pastor-in-training wife is worried) about our daughter being forced to say such things by government authorities. We are also concerned about legislators like Hal Wick taking advantage of the state's authority to put students in situations where they will be singled out for not conforming to certain desired behaviors. "If you don't want to participate, go stand in the hall"—that exclusion is not as simple or innocuous as the in-crowd on this issue wants to believe.

  118. Rorschach 2013.11.17

    Well Jamie, that's why my friend Bree and I agree that Rep. Wick shouldn't stop at requiring the national pledge, but he should also include the state pledge, and the national anthem, and religious breaks for Christian, Muslim, Bahai and every other religion. Whatever any parent may want their kids to do at school as well as at home - like the pledge - should be honored. If we're going to stand up for one parent's right to demand their kids do something we have to honor every parent's right to a similar demand. If that means that the whole day is taken up with kids learning 'tolerance' for what every other kid's parents want - not just tolerance for what the majority of parents might want - then so be it. Bree and I are all about parent's rights to demand equal time for every parental desire in public schools in the name of tolerance. Once our views are implemented, then it won't be just your child standing silent while other kids do something, but every kid in class will probably be standing silent at some point while other kids say their piece or do their thing.

  119. Bree S. 2013.11.17

    Jamie - I regard the way the liberal-leaning media phrases things with a certain annoyance, as I find it dishonest to color what is supposed to be reported objectively with a personal viewpoint. Every time they crop statements, use particular words with a negative connotation when another word would be more appropiate - I notice. Not that Fox News doesn't do the exact same thing. When I read the news I spend more time analyzing the way things are said and what words are used in order to determine the viewpoint of the writer, than paying much attention to the story itself. So if there is "mandatory" and "required" in news reports regarding Wick's proposal I take that with a definite grain of salt. After all, it has been determined several times through out this thread that any law that would "force" "mandate" "require" etc. the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance would be unConstitutional and would not stand in a court of law. If the law is not written in a way that it would be voluntary, it will be removed from the books. That doesn't stop posters in this thread from repeatedly, in the face of all logic, repeating the lie that students will be "forced," "required," "mandated," "compelled," "bullied into" "coerced" etc. reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. This repetition of certain words is purposeful, the repeated illogical lie is a scare tactic to try to turn the opinion of the public.

    You are welcome to take offense Jamie. You may think that the Pledge of Allegiance, a symbol of American patriotism, is asinine. If there was an attempt here to change anyone's opinion on the matter you have certainly succeeded with me. I went from being entirely ambivalent about a law involving the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools, only originally being concerned about the suggested editing out of the phrase "under God," to being entirely and strongly in support of such a law. In fact, I think the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights should be on display in a highly visible area in all public schools. It's about time some people were taught that they live in a Constitutional Republic and understand what that means.

  120. Bill Dithmer 2013.11.17

    Words Bree

    The Blindman

  121. Jessie 2013.11.17

    Well, I'm getting to the party a little late and it took me some time to read all 120 or so comments. Very interesting read, folks.

    Why should the Declaration of Independence be considered as having anything other than historical significance? Why do folks point out the "laws of nature and nature's God," "endowed by their Creator," and "protection of Divine Providence" parts as if the whole essay said anything about the law of the land? We might just as well point to sections of the Articles of Confederation. The Declaration was just that, a declaration, a means for the Continental Congress to "let facts be submitted to a candid world." It is as defunct for current law as the Articles became once they were superseded by the Constitution.

    While we’re at it, the Pledge is only a part of the Flag Code, an advisory set of rules with no legal penalty for failure to act contrary to them. You want to leave your hat on? You want to leave your right hand at your side? You want to say the words differently, say pre-1954 Congressional resolution? The law can't touch you.

    Try explaining that to a five-year-old who get shunned by classmates for being different.

  122. Jessie 2013.11.17

    oh fudge. failure to act contrary?

    make your choice, failure to act or to act contrary.

    same difference

  123. Paula 2013.11.17

    Parents don't want their five-yr-old singled out for not saying the pledge and drawing attention to him/her? Maybe they shouldn't impose their athiest or agnostic views on their kids. I can understand a parent saying, "Honey, our family doesn't believe in/ worship God (we worship Allah or whomever) so when you say the Pledge and get to the part "one nation, ______, indivisible" you don't have to say it." At that age, why wouldn't that suffice? Then as the children get much older (middle or high school) discuss with your kids why you think pledging allegiance to the flag or your country is so horrible. At that point, let your kids make up their OWN minds. If they agree with you, teach them to respectfully allow other other kids recite it who want to. You have to teach your kids to stand up for what they believe in and be willing to be whispered about or tease a little. Obviously not a five-year-old, but older kids.

    If those who are so against reciting the Pledge in schools would take a step back and really think about it, is it right that just because you don't want your kid to feel bad, no one else's kids should have the opportunity to learn historical tradition, and pride in their country?

  124. Jessie 2013.11.17

    Paula, you said "Maybe they shouldn't impose their athiest or agnostic views on their kids." Impose? Is that the same as indoctrinate? What does that say about all parents who raise their children in their religion? Myself, I find the idea of parents sending their kids to sunday school and vacation bible class deeply disturbing. But parents must raise their children in the best way they know how. Until the child is old enough to make up their own mind. I agree on that point.

    For record, I don't think the pledge is horrible. I say the pledge, with two fewer words than most, as it was pre-1954.

    As for teaching respect, that has to come MUCH earlier, as does standing up for what they believe to be the truth. Who would wait until middle school before teaching respect and integrity?

    You are wrong if you think that kids will just tease or whisper. Years ago, my child was attacked by a boy wielding a stick for being atheist. If you are not an atheist in this society, don't pretend you know what it is like.

  125. Paula 2013.11.17

    Kids should be taught to respect others as soon as they can walk and talk-I think you misunderstood what I was saying. What I was trying to get across was that a child of 5 does not understand why their with his/her class except for maybe the religious aspect. There are people who have other reasons, and I don't think a 5 year old could really comprehend that at that age. That is why I said to wait until middle school for the other discussions (maybe by 4-5th grade the child is mature enough). I can see kids pointing out Susie Soandso not saying the pledge in kindergarten, so when the kids ask her why she's not reciting it, what will she say other than "my parents told me not to say it"?

  126. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.11.17

    Cory, is this thread in the running for Most Comments Ever? What is the record?

  127. grudznick 2013.11.17

    Not close, Ms. Geelsdottir. But for Mr. Wick this is the most attention he has ever had.

    That is Mr. Wick's goal. Mr. H will give Mr. Wick massive attention during these next legislatures.

  128. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.11.17

    Thanks Grudz. So do you think Wick is just doing this for attention, notoriety, name recognition? Who is his base? Teabaggers, conservatives, moderates, or something else?

    It really ticks me off! when politicians of any stripe waste valuable time and resources purely to score political points. There are many crucial matters demanding attention. A pristine example is all the US House votes against ACA.

  129. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.17

    You're absolutely right. These distractions that guys like Wicks put up appeal to a sector that thinks government can be run by bumper sticker slogans and patriotism.

    I haven't decided if their antics are truly their idea of public service or merely a smoke screen because they lack the depth and skill to solve real problems.

  130. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.11.18

    Roger, I'd guess the answer is some of both options in your second paragraph. I also wonder if there is a Republican memo, or something, that contains detailed information on what each politician ought to do in specific situations. What I have gathered from various reports is that they do.

    This particular strategy clearly brings passionate feelings to the fore.

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