The Port Clinton News Herald published the following report about a proposed change in Ohio school law that would “strip Ohio School Boards of the authority to decide whether students should says the Pledge of Allegiance.” The law gives teachers sole authority to “decide if students in their classrooms will say the pledge.” Individual students would still be “allowed not to recite the pledge, but the proposal would prohibit anyone from altering it, such as adding or removing words.”
So, what is so bad about that?
“Christine Link, executive director of the ACLU in Ohio, said the proposed law violates free speech rights. School boards should retain the authority to decide if the pledge is appropriate.”
Whose free speech rights does this proposed law threaten? It is not students for they still have the right not to say the Pledge. It is not teachers who will gain greater discretionary authority in the classroom. That leaves those local school district officials who have decided students will not say the Pledge of Allegiance at school. Seeing the state already dictates school policy anyway, the loss of discretionary authority at the district level is almost meaningless.
The real problem is this: It “is a transparent attempt to force all school districts into mandating the pledge to be recited in all classrooms,” according to Link.
In other words, the proposed law threatens the ACLU’s socialist control over speech in the public domain.
Let’s evaluate this issue further. Children attend school to learn how to be good citizens of the United States of America. Engendering loyalty towards their national homeland is one of the original goals of public education. Who would grow up even to consider defending their nation if they did not highly value it? Stating the Pledge of Allegiance is instrumental in accomplishing that goal.
It must be acknowledged that the religion of some families forbid such acts. The flag could be viewed as object of idolatry, and a pledge could be compared to a religious oath. I cannot imagine any other reason for not pledging allegiance to their nations and the values it represents.
I almost forgot that the few atheists like those in the ACLU justify editing out of our nation’s historic Pledge those offending words like God through a secular interpretation of free speech rights.
Is it possible to edit out the same offending words and their synonyms from our nation’s founding documents? Even the second Constitution included the word Lord, which meant God not King Charles. It must be terribly offensive from them to read the multiple volumes of the Constitutional Convention debates. That is assuming they have actually read them. God was not left out. Then there are those federal building in which us etched scriptural references and even the Ten Commandments in the Supreme Court chambers.
Over the edge are statements written into the Constitution of Ohio. For example, the Preamble states:
We, the people of the State of Ohio, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and promote our common welfare, do establish this
Article 1 Section 7 of the Bill of Rights states:
Religion, morality, and knowledge, however, being essential to good government, it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to pass suitable laws, to protect every religious denomination in the peaceable enjoyment of its own mode of public worship, and to encourage schools and the means of instruction.
Ohio public schools are government institutions whose purpose is the inculcation of good citizenship in its citizens. It is the Constitutional responsibility of schools to teach children what a good government is, the essentials being religion, morality, and knowledge.
Requiring children to say the Pledge of Allegiance is not a violation of free speech whereas forbidding it is a violation of Constitutional law. When religion conflicts with offending practices, the Ohio Bill of Rights accommodates freedom of conscience. Even children of atheist parents have a right not to say the Pledge.
The intention of the proposed law is to eliminate politically incorrect censorship or denial of the Pledge in a nation under God.
Sources: Port Clinton News Herald, June 13, 2009.
The Ohio Constitution.