[T]he case stems from a suit filed by parents of a student who was kicked out of school for not standing to recite the pledge. The student and her parents say the school violated her First Amendment rights with that punishment.
“Attorney General Paxton says that it’s a ‘moral good.’ He said, in a statement, that kids learn about citizenship and patriotism from saying the pledge every morning,” McGaughey says.
A First Amendment expert McGaughey talked to says he believes the Texas requirement that students recite the pledge is unconstitutional.The Texas Standard
Ken Paxton is a Christianist. He wants to force Americans to worship his God. This is a documented fact that anyone can discover for themselves with a simple web search. A good portion of Texas agrees with him and his fascist views concerning the Freedom of/from Religion guaranteed by the US Constitution. If evil exists (and I am agnostic on the existence of evil) but if evil exists his views and the views of his fellow Christianists are an active evil in the mind of modern America. Ken Paxton should be shunned. He should be rejected at the polls. If you vote for Ken Paxton you are voting for evil. You should understand this about yourself.
I have a distinct opinion on the subject of forcing children to pledge allegiance, as the title of this article and the above paragraph should make abundantly clear. My qualms about the wisdom of making children pledge allegiance before they are old enough to know what words like allegiance mean go back to an early reading of The Children’s Story by James Clavell. In that story the children in a generic classroom are introduced to a new teacher sent to them by their new government. That teacher explains the intent behind the words of this pledge they’ve been forced to recite all their young lives, but the explanation she offers is a lie, and the children are too young and impressionable to know that they are being lied to by an authority figure.
These qualms came to a head for me when Texas passed a law requiring that children pledge allegiance to the Texas flag as well as the U.S. flag. I received a flyer amongst several other pieces of documentation sent home from school with my children the year this law went into effect, a flyer informing me that Texas law required all students to mouth the words of the United States pledge of allegiance, as well as the then newly revised Texas pledge of allegiance (HB 1034) in addition to observing a moment of silence once each day (SB 83) a practice that intended to re-introduce morning prayer into Texas public schools.
The sponsor of HB 1034, when queried on the subject of religion, had this to say (source, Capitol Annex: More HB 1034 Exchanges):
BURNAM: Are you aware that Governor Perry has recently said, “Freedom of religion should not be taken as freedom from religion.” And my question is, do you agree with that statement, Ms. Riddle?
RIDDLE: I would say, Amen.
Which pretty much sums up the intent of the modification of the pledge, and the accompanying minute of silence. It also showed the utter contempt the governor and the majority of the legislature had for anyone who didn’t share their particular christian beliefs. Freedom of religion is a meaningless concept unless it includes freedom from religion; requiring someone to have a religion places constraints upon the person, negating any freedom of conscience that might be present at all.
The requirement to recite the two pledges has been on the books since 2003. When they changed the pledge in 2007 they felt they needed to inform parents, once again, of their children’s duty to stand and recite the pledges. This prompted me to fire off a letter to the school in response, telling them in no uncertain terms what I thought of their forced indoctrination into religion and what has become a transparent attempt to create an American theocracy.
Christianists have simply become more strident over the years since 2007, not less. They do not appear to have learned anything from the many battles they have engaged in and lost when it comes to the subject of making the US a christian nation against the will of the majority who like it just the way it is.
Do not think to blame the pledge on socialism as I have done in the past. This is not socialism even though the author of the pledge was a card-carrying socialist. That form of socialism is another in a long list of bogeymen that really should be retired. The mindset that inspired both the pledges and the Marxist dictatorships of the twentieth century now looks as alien to us as most of the other concepts of the time do.
It is fascist to force conformity to any ideology, fascism being the sole surviving ideology that holds up authoritarianism as a benefit to society. Freedom of conscience requires that we allow people to believe what they want to believe and to act according to their own conscience. That means that allowing people to abstain from reciting the pledge is the least we can do in acknowledgement of their freedom of conscience.
Dictators and cult leaders require the slaves under their rule to swear allegiance to them because power is jealous of rivals. In a free society pledges of allegiance should not be required because individuals should be free of any external allegiances. Pledges required of the public are contrary to the sentiments of the founders of the United States as it reverses the role of the subservient state and places it above We The People. We are our own masters.
A permission slip for anyone who needs one
I offer this notification to any authority that assumes they can compel the allegiance of children, and I grant this permission for use by any and all children in Texas and outside of it who require need of it. All children may hereby be exempted from this practice. They will not be required to recite any pledges, nor will they be required to observe a minute of silence. This notice is given pro forma, because it has been my experience that children of conscience will abstain from reciting pledges without asking anyone for permission to do so, and I applaud them for their strength of will.
This article was radically altered because it failed to serve the purpose it was created for; namely, freeing me from having to direct readers to the letter that I wrote in 2003 and posted to the blog in 2007. It was originally a kludge of disparate parts that was unwieldy in form. I have corrected this error. If I haven’t, I will keep altering the text until I’m either satisfied with it or I drop dead during the effort. The reader will ultimately have to judge which event came first.