Pressure to recite the Pledge breaches our freedom

The first day of school: a student rolls out of bed, shoving notebooks and writing utensils into his backpack for his first-period AP U.S. History class. Thirty minutes pass, and the student saunters to his seat past the red, white and blue flag. The bell rings — morning announcements from the loudspeaker follow. When the robotic voice says “Please stand for the Pledge of Allegiance,” the student glances around, meeting several of his peers’ unsure glances, before forcing himself to stand to recite the demanding pledge.

From the moment they enter preschool, students in the U.S. are routinely led in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. One might assume that this practice is foundational to education and U.S. patriotism, proving no actual harm done, but that is incorrect. Pressuring students to participate in reciting America’s oldest beliefs is not only a breach of trust and respect, but free will.

The root of the problem is that it is a clear violation of the same ideas preached by our country’s founders and protected by our Constitution.

The First Amendment guarantees Americans freedom of speech, which does not include pressuring people to say things they may not want to. Even with this safeguard in place, 40% of students still report feeling obligated to say the pledge, according to Gallup, a global analytics firm. In other words, nearly 2.4 million children feel pressured not to exercise their First Amendment rights.

Since the twentieth century, there have been court cases that ruled both in favor and against the coercion of people — specifically students — to say the Pledge of Allegiance.

In the early twentieth century, the Supreme Court case Minersville School District v. Gobitis established the ability of public schools to require students to salute the flag and say the pledge. It was not until 1943, in the Supreme Court case Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, that students’ rights were minimally returned; by allowing students to refrain from reciting the pledge yet still including a voluntary recitation before learning, students were then able to decide for themselves whether or not they wanted to chant a pledge known since preschool. In a formal statement at the conclusion of the case, Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson claimed that “no official … can prescribe what shall be orthodox” in religion, personal opinion or the courtroom.

Later, as one of the most recent and widely publicized Supreme Court cases regarding the pledge, Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow highlighted the inequalities faced by those who believe in a religion other than Christianity (the belief of the Founding Fathers) or those who do not practice religion at all. Newdow argued that requiring students to recite and listen to the line “under God” (added in 1954 by President Eisenhower) violates the freedom from state religion rights of students who do not believe in God, but the Court ruled in favor of the religious phrase in June 2004. Students feeling obligated to speak the religiously motivated phrase — no matter their religious beliefs and political values — further spotlights the clear violation of citizens’ ability to determine what they want to believe and speak to the public.

Some may argue that although there is an expectation of compliance in reciting the pledge, there is no actual violation of any rights, as students are not being consciously forced to stand and recite. But this pressure instilled within the education system is not about forcing students to submit to national values — the issue is about protecting students from the culturally insensitive morals of our Founding Fathers. Students — nay, people — should not have to feel guilty for conforming to the expectations first formed in the U.S. centuries before, which are both outdated and closed-minded.

Instilled in Americans from a young age, the forced delivery of a historically narrow and biased pledge in public schools strips U.S. citizens of their recognition and free will.

28 thoughts on “Pressure to recite the Pledge breaches our freedom

  1. I am sure this article has touched all the internet viewers, its really really good post
    on building up new website.

  2. Great blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.

    Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many
    choices out there that I’m totally confused .. Any ideas?

    Thanks a lot!

  3. I think that what you posted was actually very logical. However, think
    on this, suppose you were to create a killer title? I am not suggesting your
    content is not solid., however what if you added a headline to possibly
    grab people’s attention? I mean Pressure to recite the Pledge breaches our freedom – The Falconer is a little boring.
    You should peek at Yahoo’s home page and watch how they create post titles to get people to
    open the links. You might try adding a video or
    a related picture or two to get readers excited about everything’ve got to say.
    In my opinion, it might bring your website a little bit more interesting.

  4. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button!
    I’d definitely donate to this fantastic blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding
    your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will share this site with
    my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  5. Just want to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness on your publish is just nice
    and that i can assume you’re an expert in this subject.
    Well along with your permission let me to snatch your feed to stay up to date
    with impending post. Thanks 1,000,000 and please carry on the enjoyable work.

  6. I think this is one of the most vital info for me.
    And i am glad reading your article. But wanna remark on some general things, The site style is wonderful, the articles is really great : D.
    Good job, cheers

  7. First off I want to say great blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing.

    I have had difficulty clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there.
    I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first
    10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints?

    Thank you!

  8. I don’t know whether it’s just me or if everybody else encountering problems with your website.

    It looks like some of the text in your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too?
    This could be a issue with my web browser because I’ve had this happen before.
    Many thanks

  9. Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is valuable and everything. However
    think about if you added some great graphics or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”!
    Your content is excellent but with pics and video clips, this website could undeniably
    be one of the greatest in its field. Good blog!

  10. Hey there! This is my first visit to your blog! We
    are a collection of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a wonderful
    job!

  11. I like the helpful info you provide in your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly.
    I’m quite certain I will learn many new stuff right
    here! Good luck for the next!

  12. Hello are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m
    new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my own.
    Do you require any coding expertise to make your own blog?
    Any help would be really appreciated!

  13. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video
    to make your point. You obviously know what youre talking about, why throw
    away your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog
    when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

  14. I have been browsing online more than 2 hours today, yet I
    never found any interesting article like yours.
    It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be
    a lot more useful than ever before.

  15. Howdy terrific blog! Does running a blog like this
    take a great deal of work? I’ve absolutely no
    knowledge of computer programming but I was hoping to start my own blog
    soon. Anyhow, should you have any suggestions or tips for new blog owners please share.
    I understand this is off subject nevertheless I just had to ask.
    Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post Pro/Con: Senate Bill 10
Next post The AMPTP must put writers and actors over profit