Planning Board Stops Saying Pledge of Allegiance at Meetings; Why is This Controversial?

The officials on the Planning Board in New Paltz, New York decided this week that they would no longer say the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings. It was a 4-3 vote to eliminate it.

The correct reaction to this is, “So they’re not wasting 15 seconds of taxpayer time on a meaningless ritual they could easily do at home before they arrive? Excellent. More of this, please!”

That’s not the reaction everyone had.

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We either have a country, or we don’t. It’s shocking that an elected official won’t take the 15 seconds required to put their hand over their heart and recite the Pledge of Allegiance,” [Andrew Heaney, a Republican candidate for New York’s 19th Congressional District] said.

How do you know he’s a Republican? Because he mistakes fake symbolism for true patriotism. Heaney is the sort of guy who’d call you a traitor if you didn’t wear a flag pin on your suit jacket.

At least some of the Planning Board members had their heads on straight:

“The reason I voted for us not to begin meetings with it is because a few members on the planning board felt strongly that they did not want to recite the pledge, and they didn’t want to be put in a position where they were sort of branded or singled out at every meeting,” said board member Michael Zierler.

“In my opinion, whether we say the pledge or not, is really not germane to the business that we have to carry out as a planning board. I didn’t want to create a division on the board, where some people felt uncomfortable because we need to work together.”

That’s really the best response: This is not important to me. So if some people feel very strongly about not saying it, then why not just eliminate it and move on?

There’s no good reason to say the Pledge. There are plenty of good reasons to not say it. This should always be an easy decision.

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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