If ever a public school was trolling for a Todd Starnes overreaction, it’s Rocky Mountain High School in Ft. Collins, Colorado, which allowed students to recite the pledge of allegiance in Arabic. Cue the “they’re turning these kids into Muslim terrorists” screed in 3…2…1:
A Colorado high school principal is defending his decision to allow students from a cultural club to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic — and denied that it was attempt to push an Islamic agenda.
Tom Lopez, the principal at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, told Fox News he has received a number of telephone calls and emails from outraged parents – but he stands by his decision.
“These students love this country,” he said. “They were not being un-American in trying to do this. They believed they were accentuating the meaning of the words as spoken regularly in English.”
The school recites the Pledge of Allegiance once a week and on Monday a member of the Cultural Arms Club led the student body in the Arabic version of the pledge.
Clark said the cultural club has a history of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in a number of different languages.
“It’s not just Arabic,” she said.
Last year, the group found itself in a firestorm of controversy after reciting the pledge in Spanish.
“This is a student-initiated and student-led club,” Clark said. “There is no school sponsor or advisor. It doesn’t come under the umbrella of the district.”
She said the students simply asked the principal permission as a courtesy.
“We deferred to the students because it’s their deal,” she said.
Club members said they don’t understand why there’s a controversy.
“No matter what language it’s said in, pledging your allegiance to the United States is the same in every language,” student Skyler Bowden told The Coloradoan.
But an Arabic translation of the Pledge of Allegiance would have replaced “one nation under God” with “one nation under Allah.”
Let’s put his into perspective for the feeble-minded Clark and Lopez. It is not the student’s choice. They do not control the public address system. It was a school choice.
Her simplistic defense included a reference to “one” supportive email and a reference to a similar mistake last year which drew controversy when the pledge was recited in Spanish. Somehow not learning from and expanding upon your previous mistakes is perceived as a viable defense for these educators.
An abdication of responsibility is also part of their defense. Clark attempted to pass the buck of responsibility to the students, saying, “This is a student-initiated and student-led club. There is no school sponsor or advisor. It doesn’t come under the umbrella of the district.”
Actually, the activity of reciting the pledge does come under the district. Choosing to put it into the hands of a group not regulated by their administrators does not provide absolution.
Oh, the irony. Wanna bet this guy would scream bloody murder if an administration tried to prevent a student from saying a prayer during a graduation ceremony or before a football game? Sorry, he’d scream bloody murder if it was a Christian prayer being stopped. As always, when the Christian right says “religious freedom” what they really mean is “Christian privilege.”
But here’s the thing: Other than the fact that the pledge says “under God” in it, this isn’t a religious issue at all. Arabic is a language, not a religion. A Christian or Jewish Arab — and there are lots of both — would also say Allah because that’s the Arabic word for God. It has nothing to do with religion.
Update: Turns out this is an old story and I missed the date. To make things worse, I think I actually wrote about it when it happened the first time. The lesson, as always: I should pay more attention when writing at 4 in the morning.