A few weeks ago the American Legion in Morton Grove, Illinois decided to withhold it’s annual $2600 donation to that city’s park district because one member of the park board does not recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Hemant Mehta, as he often does, stepped up to the plate, had a fundraiser and sent them a check for $3000 to make up for it. But they sent it back, with a transparently absurd excuse:
After a local veterans group pulled its donations to the Morton Grove Park District in response to a park board member’s refusal to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, a Naperville teacher and atheist blogger asked his readers for donations to replace the roughly $2,600 in lost funding.
But Hemant Mehta’s check for $3,000 is on its way back to him after being refused by Park District officials.
In an email to Mehta, Park District Executive Director Tracey Anderson said the Park District board “has no intention of becoming embroiled in a First Amendment dispute.”The email also says Park District officials do not want to appear “sympathetic to,” or show a perceived position for or against, “any particular political or religious cause.”
Riiiight. Because if the check would have come from a local church, I’m sure that’s exactly what they would have done and said. Hemant plans to donate the money to another local charity, almost certainly not the American Legion.