I trust in God
I love my country
And will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best
Little League is a tax-exempt American non-profit that organizes youth baseball around the world, up to and including the Little League World Series. Teams from every country often say this pledge before games, and Vancouver resident Bruce Levens is none too pleased about it:
“I have brought my children up to be very skeptical of religion and to allow them to make their own choices as to whether or not they want to follow any particular faith,” Levens told the Courier this week [...]
Levens supports the pledge’s commitment to fair play and good sportsmanship but believes the altars of religion and sport should be kept apart. “I’d like to see the whole reference to God, country and laws taken out completely,” said Levens, an atheist. “It’s highly inappropriate to expect children to make that pledge.”
I agree completely with Levens, and I like that he goes so far as to denounce the political sentiments as well. I personally find it divisive and jingoistic, not to mention more than a little creepy, when children are expected to swear political loyalties.
Of course, Little League can’t — and doesn’t — require anyone to say the pledge. But… Well, I’ll let Levens explain it. He’s on a roll:
Levens said the pledge puts undue pressure on children and families. “Even if it isn’t a strict requirement to give the pledge, to have the pledge creates a social need to conform and people feel uncomfortable saying no,” he said.
The pledge is intended, according to Little Mountain Little League President Pat Chaba, to instill “character and respect.” It’s modeled off of the American Pledge of Allegiance (post-”Under God,” clearly).
But it’s 2012, and Little League is a multicultural, international organization now. I don’t mean to imply that the pledge’s god-bothering ever had a purpose, but it’s obviously long past due for a rewrite.