Eliminating the Pledge from a School Board Meeting

A parent in the Issaquah School District in King County, Washington requested that the school board eliminate the Pledge of Allegiance from their regular business meetings.

“It is inappropriate for the school board to ask atheists to stand and proclaim they are ‘under God,’” said [Matthew] Barry, a self-proclaimed atheist. “Atheists don’t believe in gods, so they certainly don’t think they or the nation are under a god.”

“It’s none of the government’s business what our private religious beliefs are, if any, and certainly none of the government’s business to ask us to stand and publicly proclaim what those beliefs are,” he added. “Most would agree it’s even worse if the government asks someone to stand and say something that contradicts their belief system.”

And, not surprisingly, the article quotes someone who has no clue what he’s talking about:

“If I understand his logic correctly, simply because something is offensive and unnecessary, it should be removed,” said Jared Spataro, a parent and Boy Scout Leader whose Scouts presented the colors that night.

“I understand many things we do are offensive to people,” Spataro added. “But just because a small group of people, or even a large group of people, are offended it doesn’t mean they are right.”

Spataro doesn’t understand his logic correctly.

Offensive is ok. Let people be challenged. But to proclaim we’re a nation under a god violates the idea of church/state separation. It’s unconstitutional. That’s why it’s wrong. End of story.

No word on whether the school board will change their ways.

Unfortunately, I’m not hopeful.

But kudos to Matthew Barry for being the voice of reason. It’d be nice if others knew their history as well as he does.

  • Revyloution

    Im on the local PTA. So being ‘out’ might be a bit impolitic. At our ‘winter holiday’ event, our PTA president confided in me that he was a non-believer. It was a small comment, to which I responded, almost like a secret code.

    Once we both realized we were both atheists we had a grand time bashing religion. Only very quietly where none of the parents might overhear us.

  • http://whoreofalltheearth.blogspot.com Whore of All the Earth

    “If I understand his logic correctly, simply because something is offensive and unnecessary, it should be removed,” said Jared Spataro.

    So, what if the school board wanted to introduce porn into the sex education curriculum? Better come up with a better reason than “offensive and unnecessary” for removing it!

    Although, you’re right in that the violation of the Constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state is the bigger issue here.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    Barry, a self-proclaimed atheist

    Seriously? What other kind is there?

  • TychaBrahe

    I love my country and the ideals it holds (although I admit it does not always live up to those ideals). I am happy to pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands. But I use the pre-McCarthy pledge, and stand silent during the phrase in which I do not believe. In doing so, I support the Bill of Rights in which I do believe.

    If called upon to lead the pledge, I omit that phrase.

  • D
    Barry, a self-proclaimed atheist

    Seriously? What other kind is there?

    I think it’s clarifying that he is actually an atheist, not merely presumed to be one by the sort of ignoramuses who think separation of church and state is only an issue for the non-religious, and therefore anyone who supports said separation MUST be an atheist (and should be labeled as such, in a pejorative sense of course). A person could be of any religious faith, or none, and still believe that the state should not endorse any particular faith (including their own).

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    I don’t see the point of a pledge. If you’re going to stand up for your nation and its ideals, you should let your actions speak for themselves. Anyone can recite a pledge.

  • Sue D. Nymme

    When I need to say the Pledge, I clearly and loudly say “One nation, without God, indivisible…”

    After all, who are they to dictate what specific words are to be said? If you omit the words, your protest gets washed away in the noise. Make your statement boldly.

  • Jim H

    @Sue D. Nymme: (I wish I had thought of that name…)

    Remember a post from a few months ago, that had a video clip of a young girl leading the pledge? “One nation, under nobody,…” Which is perfect. A sovereign nation is by definition under nobody.

    This topic seems to come up a lot on this blog–and I am not complaining, I think more of this is better.

  • Trace

    “But just because a small group of people, or even a large group of people, are offended it doesn’t mean they are right.”

    According to this logic the BSA leadership may want to reverse their current policy towards atheists and other “offensive” groups.

  • Edmond

    How about “…one nation, under the three branches of government…”?

  • Tony

    If I understand his logic correctly, simply because something is offensive and unnecessary, it should be removed,

    You obviously understand his logic perfectly. If it was offensive and necessary then by definition it couldn’t be removed. If it is unoffensive and unnecessary then removal is an option but could be a waste of time. But having something that is both offensive AND unnecessary is a perfectly logical reason to get rid of it.

  • muggle

    I love it. They never get it. Bet they’d get it real fast if it said one nation, hail Satan…

    This topic seems to come up a lot on this blog–and I am not complaining, I think more of this is better.

    Agreed. I’m learning some better options. Unfortunately, I’m almost never called upon to recite the pledge anymore. If I ever actually go to a town hall meeting (I get the agenda of my town e-mailed and the issues so far haven’t moved me to) maybe I should try one of the suggestions. I rather like the without “God” one.

  • Epistaxis

    When I need to say the Pledge, I clearly and loudly say “One nation, without God, indivisible…”

    If you just revert to the pre-McCarthy Era version of the pledge, you’ll blurt out “indivisible” at the same time everyone else is saying “under God,” which is nice and ironic.

  • CybrgnX

    Like sue & epistaxis I do the same to make a strong point that THEY dare not challenge because they know they will be shown as wrong and ignorant.


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