Saturday, April 23, 2005

HERE'S MY TAKE on the report in the Washington Times about the 8th grade guidance counselor in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, who recited an altered Pledge of Allegiance over the intercom, replacing "under God" with "under your belief system":

  • She should not have done that -- not because it was the Pledge of Allegiance, but because no guidance counselor (or teacher or principal, or janitor, for that matter) has the right to unilaterally change the wording in any official text. Obviously this woman has no common sense, which is alarming in a guidance counselor.
  • Okay, so what? Nobody was hurt, nobody died, nobody lost anything valuable. There are one or two things going on in the world that are more terrible than a phrase substitution in the Pledge of Allegiance. A little perspective would not be out of place here. As Norbizness said, "There is a lesson here: And that lesson is that regardless of the rampant environmental destruction that is occurring on Earth Day, the continuing attack by a group of millenialist nutballs on the separation of powers and the integrity of the judiciary, the blatant cover-ups of international law violations despite damning evidence to the contrary, the deteriorating-to-near-flatlining national fiscal situation, and the surging violence and failure to form a government in Iraq... one junior high school official can wash that shit away on national and cable news shows for at least a week."
  • The fact that the phrase "under God" is in the Pledge to begin with assumes a unity of belief that does not exist. James Joyner at Outside the Beltway puts it well: "Obviously, re-writing the Pledge is outside the purview of a school guidance counselor. Of course, the idea that a national patriotic ritual should include phraseology that's offensive to a substantial number of Americans is rather bizarre to begin with. "
  • Given that it's the Washington Times that broke the story, is it even true? (Just kidding -- I think.)

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