Students Ban Pledge Over 'Under God' As Christians Equate Being Nonchristian with Being Unamerican

Students Ban Pledge of Allegiance

from Newsmax

Student leaders at a California college have touched off a furor by banning the Pledge of Allegiance at their meetings, saying they see no reason to publicly swear loyalty to God and the U.S. government.

The move by Orange Coast College student trustees, the latest clash over patriotism and religion in American schools, has infuriated some of their classmates - prompting one young woman to loudly recite the pledge in front of the board Wednesday night in defiance of the rule.

"America is the one thing I'm passionate about and I can't let them take that away from me," 18-year-old political science major Christine Zoldos told Reuters.

"The fact that they have enough power to ban one of the most valued traditions in America is just horrible," Zoldos said, adding she would attend every board meeting to salute the flag.

The move was lead by three recently elected student trustees, who ran for office wearing revolutionary-style berets and said they do not believe in publicly swearing an oath to the American flag and government at their school. One student trustee voted against the measure, which does not apply to other student groups or campus meetings.

The ban follows a 2002 ruling by a federal appeals court in San Francisco that said forcing school children to recite the pledge was unconstitutional because of the phrase "under God." The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the ruling on procedural grounds but left the door open for another challenge.

"That ('under God') part is sort of offensive to me," student trustee Jason Bell, who proposed the ban, told Reuters. "I am an atheist and a socialist, and if you know your history, you know that 'under God' was inserted during the McCarthy era and was directly designed to destroy my ideology."

Bell said the ban largely came about because the trustees didn't want to publicly vow loyalty to the American government before their meetings. "Loyalty ought to be something the government earns through performance, not through reciting a pledge," he said.

Martha Parham, a spokeswoman for the Coast Community College District, said her office had no standing on the student board and took no position on the flag salute ban.

"If their personal belief is that they don't want to say the Pledge of Allegiance, the district certainly isn't going to dictate what they do," she said.
More than 28,000 students attend the community college, located in conservative Orange County, California, south of Los Angeles.


Anonymous Panda Rosa said...

The whole thing strikes me as sad. It isn't even just leaving out the words "under God", somehow this group has to set themselves against all sides. Is the entire school against the Pledge or only this segment? I want to say, if they honestly do not beleive in God, then why do these two simple words so undermine their thoughts? It's not enough to not say them, to realize that others will? What am I missing?

November 23, 2006 9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I wish these pro-patria types spend more of their time and seemingly boundless energy tackling REAL social issues, like childhood sexual abuse and poverty -- just to name two off the top of my head. IMO, these people need help -- and a good kick in the ass. Kathy in Kentucky

November 25, 2006 3:12 PM  
Blogger Darren said...

I'm an atheist. I've always been an atheist. And I attended school. Where every morning, we were required to stand up and pledge to a flag (which I had no problem with) and to a God (which I did). Eight year olds should not have to feel coerced into saying something they don't believe. I did. Sometimes, I would just mouth those two words without actually voicing them. Sometimes I would just close my mouth for those two words. And whenever I did, I was frightened that someone else would notice, that I would be singled out. Would someone next to me notice the absence of sound? Would the teacher see that my mouth closed? I hated the pledge, hated it every day for 12 years because of how those two words made me feel. I felt alone and confused - was I the only kid who didn't believe in this God? Was I the only one who thought the pledge was wrong? I sure felt like it, because every school made me say it, and everyone in every class stood up and said it apparently without a problem. I felt like something would happen to me if I didn't. I wanted to stay seated, but I wanted to also survive my walk home that day. And I was frightened of having to pretend like that every school day for 12 years. I dreaded first period.

No one should have to feel like that. No child should be made to dread each day. It's oppressive. It's wrong. And it's not even the pledge as it was written; those two words were added during the McCarthy era.

It may seem like such a little thing, but there's a big principle behind it. It represents one of the many ways Christians try to force their religion on others, beginning in the 1st grade. Every day in school. Every dollar bill. Every court trial. Christians don't see what the big deal is; but non-Christians do. If the pledge said "one nation under Allah" I doubt Christians would roll their eyes because it's just "two simple words." And that's the hypocrisy. It's no problem to Christians because it's the Christian god.

I know how it made me feel, and I know what those two words do and mean. That's why it's important.

January 09, 2007 7:06 PM  

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