Last week about 50 Boulder High School students walked out of class rather than recite the Pledge of Allegiance with the words “one nation, under God” in it. They wanted to recite their own version, cleansed of the offending phrase. I have a better idea, but first here’s what happened in Boulder:
About 50 Boulder High School students walked out of class Thursday to protest the daily reading of the Pledge of Allegiance and recited their own version, omitting “one nation, under God.”
The students say the phrase violates the constitutional separation of church and state.
They also say the daily reading of the pledge over the school public address system at the start of the second class takes away from education time and is ignored or mocked by some students.
A state law passed in 2004 requires schools to offer the opportunity to recite the pledge each day but does not require students to participate.
The protesting students, members of the Student Worker Club, want administrators to hold the pledge reading in the auditorium during each of the school’s two lunch periods for any students who want to participate.
Otherwise, they said, they plan to walk out each Thursday when the pledge is read and recite their version, which omits the reference to God and adds allegiance to constitutional rights, diversity and freedom, among other things. (Denver Post)
Good for them. But why pander to the uber patriots? This is a big universe we live in. They should go all the way, like the 8 year old I posted on a little over two years ago:
I got a call from the elementary school administrative assistant this morning.
“Mrs. Jaworski?” I could hear her tapping a pencil against the desk.
“Uh yes, and it’s Ms., please.”
“Your son, 8, has been suspended for the day. Come here and pick him up.”
She didn’t give me time to answer, to ask questions, her voice disappeared as if someone cut the line. I stood in the kitchen, my bare feet aching from yesterday’s marathon, and I took a deep breath. My son can be a nut at times, but he’s never done the kinds of things that troubled kids do. He doesn’t talk back, he doesn’t pick fights, and he’s never destroyed property. I couldn’t picture him doing anything scholastically evil. Maybe he stripped and ran around the school naked, I thought. I grabbed my keys and headed out the door.
The principal met me in her office. She closed the door tightly behind me and invited me to sit in a stuffed orange vinyl chair.
“Mrs. Jaworski, 8 has been suspended from school for one day.” She wore an arctic blue power jacket over black slacks, and I self-consciously tried to pull my hooded sweatshirt further over my pink pajamas.
“It’s Ms., please. And sorry for my attire, but I ran a marathon yesterday and I’m too sore to change this morning.” I tried to infect her with my smile, but she wore a tight-lipped expression as frosty as her jacket. “So, anyway. What did he do?” I picked at the hem of my sweatshirt, looked just to the right of her face. I couldn’t meet her eyes. I felt nervous. I felt underdressed. I wondered where 8 was.
So she told me what he did. And as she told me, I started to laugh. I didn’t laugh a little, either, but I belly-laughed and grabbed my stomach. My son stood with his class this morning, put small right hand over heart, faced the American flag, and recited his own personal pledge of allegiance:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United Federation of Planets, and to the galaxy for which it stands, one universe, under everybody, with liberty and justice for all species.”
“Mrs. Jaworski. This isn’t humorous. The Pledge is an extremely important and patriotic moment each morning in the classroom. I am ashamed of your son’s behavior, and I hope you are, too.”
I wanted to say, Hey Lady, it’s a big universe. Why should we pledge allegiance to a mixed-up country? Why shouldn’t my son embrace the potential of stardust? But I stood, extended my hand, apologized for my laughter, slung my purse over my shoulder, opened her door to find my son, 8, red-eyed sitting on the wooden bench bordering the World Map wall.
I’m sitting here, working on computer things, and Mr. 8 sits in the living room. He has to write the “real” pledge of allegiance fifty times before he can return to school. But first he’s watching Star Trek. Damn straight. (Beauty Dish Blog)
Atheists: The Next Generation. Go boldly.