Fresh perspectives on today’s news by: Whymrhymer

An Associated Press story (published at the American Chronicle website) that was most likely missed this week, amidst the Democratic revelry, the Republican spin and the emergence of a possibly new direction in our Iraq challenge, highlights the actions of the student trustees at a California community college.

In a narrowly-won decision, the five-member Orange Coast College student trustee board voted this past Wednesday to drop the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance from their meetings. The AP report states that in the opinion of three of the five board members, the Pledge of Allegiance “inspires nationalism, violates the separation between church and state with the phrase ‘under God,’ and is irrelevant to the business of student government.”

There are, among Orange Coast College students, those who are loudly protesting this student trustees board action as ‘radical’ and ‘anti-American.’

Both the student trustee board and the students who protest their actions have very valid points and each one should be considered rationally before being accepted or rejected:

  1. Point: The Pledge of Allegiance inspires nationalism! Yes indeed, it does! The problem is: the student trustees apparently have a ‘problem’ with ‘natonalism.’ Colleges and, in fact, every institution in the United States needs more nationalism, not less. Nationalism represents three things: the belief that our culture is superior to any other, the belief that our self-interest should be our #1 priority and the love of our country and willingness to sacrifice for it. Anyone who does not recognize the importance of a sense of nationalism to our country’s survival is deserving of the fate that will almost certainly befall them should this country not survive.
  2. Point: The Pledge of Allegiance violates the separation between church and state with the phrase ‘under God! Aside from the fact that the phrase “separation of church and state” does not appear in the Constitution it is still a valid principle and perhaps a more understandable phrase than the Constitution’s guarantee that: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The addition of the phrase “under God” was President Eisenhower’s reaction to the threat of Communism back during the cold war (in 1954). Many believe it was an unfortunate addition to a pledge that needed no addition and an even more unfortunate blurring of that line between church and state. The fact is, however, no one is forced to recite the Pledge and if they do recite it and feel that the phrase under God is offensive, they can leave that phrase out. Allegiance to United States is a requirement of citizenship, allegiance to the flag is, in fact, optional.
  3. Point: The Pledge of Allegiance is irrelevant to the business of student government! In the strictest sense that is no doubt true. The recitation of the Pledge of allegiance is a customary and symbolic act that, when repeated solely as a “point of order,” is probably meaningless; that is to say, if your allegiance to our country and our flag is not in your head and heart the words themselves are meaningless.
  4. Point: The actions of the student trustee board, regarding the Pledge of Allegiance, are “radical” and “anti-American.” Radical, yes! That was their intent and they certainly made their statement! Radical, however, is just radical, not necessarily illegal or immoral. Nor is it anti-American! The student leaders have every right as American citizens to reject the custom and symbolism of the Pledge of Allegiance. That’s what America is all about!


American Chronicle (Associated Press): Calif. College Ends Pledge of Allegiance

Reuters: Students at Calif. College ban Pledge of Allegiance

From the blogosphere:

FlashReport Weblog on California Politics: Orange Coast College Student Trustees Ban Pledge of Allegiance Before Meetings

Anything & Everything: Students at Calif. College Ban Pledge of Allegiance

Whymrhymer’s fresh perspectives on today’s news, as published at BNN, also appear at My View from the Center. You are always welcome there!

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