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home : insight & opinion : letters to the editor May 24, 2016

3/15/2005 3:11:00 PM
No pressure to pledge


Recently, students of our school have complained that it resembles a prison. The fact that many teachers pressure students into performing the Pledge of Allegiance certainly does not justify their case.

Truly, if the Pledge of Allegiance is really that important (and it is), then unless a student is taking it seriously as well, they shouldn't be doing it at all. It's not something that, "Hey, if you stand, you're American." Half the time, people are just standing because it's been embedded in our routine. But do people even know what the pledge means?

In the past, I have stood for the pledge because I did not want to start conflict with my peers. Now, however, after being pressured to "follow through the motions," as a teen, I can't help but want to rebel. Still, people constantly reiterate, "You live in this country, therefore you should do the pledge." I can't agree with that reasoning. Though I may not properly participate in the current pledge, by living here, and being a good citizen, I still have my own personal one that is nothing short of "patriotic."

I understand that America's society has been structured by the belief in God. That's great. I absolutely love Christianity and its values, and in all honesty, I live my life day to day following the majority of its guidelines. Nonetheless, I'm still agnostic. For the sake of political correctness, the Pledge of Allegiance does not apply to me. Therefore, why pretend like it does? The entire phrase "Under God" makes it a false statement for anyone who is not Christian. That doesn't make me a bad person. People shouldn't be pressured to compromise their beliefs for the sake of peace in our community. Yet, that's what's happening and rather than create peace, it instigates controversy and runs as a devil's advocate. At a volleyball game, a man demanded that my hand be over my heart. Teachers have threatened students at school with certain consequences while various peers can't help but criticize them even more for not standing. Despite the good intent of Americans who insist that others do the Pledge, we can't enforce the culture through techniques that resemble communism. "Do it, or go to the office," is what my teacher said to me. Is that right?

Shawn Mitchell


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