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Secularists Gather Amidst Pious Pledge Madness in Pierre

Last updated on 2022.08.21

The South Dakota Coalition of Reason are rallying at the South Dakota Capitol today to promote the rights of non-theistic South Dakotans (yes, we exist!).

"Secular South Dakotans," says the SDCoR announcement, "seek representation in the state legislature and hold that legislators have a duty to uphold the Constitution and keep laws free from religious doctrine and influence."

At 1:00 p.m., these brave souls will gather under the dome to recite the Pledge of Allegiance without the 1954 anti-Communist "under God" amendment. (If we're lucky, they will also recite it without the unnecessary pauses and make it sound like a real sentence.)

My reasonable friends pledge amidst various expressions of pledge mania among our legislators. As promised, Rep. Hal Wick has brought House Bill 1150, yet another example of how the Republican-Taliban urge for total mind control always trumps their principles of local control. HB 1150 requires every K-12 student in South Dakota to either say the pledge each day in school or maintain a respectful silence while everyone else says it. Wick's bill fails to specify what criminal penalties students will face for doing anything else during the daily patriotism exercise or whether they can omit the unconstitutional affirmation of the existence of God. Nonetheless, legislators are falling all over themselves to co-sponsor this bill and run themselves up the flagpole with Wick.

Also floating around the Legislature is House Concurrent Resolution 1006, which celebrates the 60th anniversary of the addition of that offending phrase to the Pledge. HCR 1006 declares that "freedom is defined by a fundamental belief in God." No, guys. Not really. I'm an atheist. I believe in freedom. And I'm committed to freedom—or, more accurately, the liberty and justice that we say in the pledge—for all South Dakotans, more so than a lot of God-fearing Republicans.

HCR 1006 declares that "it is the policy of this Legislature to recognize and honor such an important date which strengthens the ties of history that bind us to our belief in God." The House voted unanimously in support of that statement, whose phrase "our belief" evidently means that the South Dakota Legislature, as an official government body, vested with authority by all people of all faiths in South Dakota, believes in the Christian God.


Freethinkers, rationalists, and other enemies of theocracy meet at the Capitol Lake Visitors Center at 12:30 p.m. today. Friends, you'll be in my pra— um... Godspe— um... hey! You know what I mean! Go get 'em!


  1. mike from iowa 2014.01.30

    How many wingnut tools in Sodak pledged their allegiance to Gwover Norquist's anti-tax pledge? That seems to make them traitors to the United States. Ipledged allegiance enough as a schoolkid in iowa to last the entire world a lifetime. Pols are supposed to pledge to protect the constitution and their constituents,but that goes out the window when a lobbyist with handfulls of money shows up at their door.

  2. Loren 2014.01.30

    I would rather the legislators spend more time on issues like declaring mom, baseball, and apple pie to be recognized as the official symbols of all who believe in a free America. Fercryinoutloud!

  3. crossgrain 2014.01.30

    Looking at the co-sponsors of HB 1150, I was surprised to see so many democrats co-opted by the 'Republican-Taliban'. I guess the thought of all those virgins bathing in rivers of milk and honey are a pretty powerful motivator regardless of politics.

  4. Jessie 2014.01.30

    I'm going to this! Thanks for the heads-up. I'll report back what happens.

  5. Jessie 2014.01.30

    Ok, I'm back and trying to thaw out. I was the only non-COR person to show up except for media (Mercer and another reporter I didn't recognize). The COR group was represented by a group of five upbeat young people from Sioux Falls, with hand-lettered signs and a nice big banner. They stood at the corner by the visitors center, next to Janklow's statue, in 14 degree weather and I was impressed by their fortitude. They were unable to use the rotunda; something about only one group per day and Czech Day going on. Don't quote me on that, could be mistaken.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.31

    Thanks for the on-the-spot report, Jessie!

  7. Tasi Livermont 2014.01.31

    Too bad their press release stated, "Godless South Dakotans Rally at the Capital," thereby ensuring this Christian couldn't accompany them. However, I support secular government. Too bad.

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