Forced to Pledge Allegiance

A minor incident at the local high school got me to thinking. Should students be forced to say the pledge of allegiance. Should it be a punishable offense if they don’t stand up and say the pledge? I understand that there would have to be rules in place to be sure that they don’t interrupt the rest of the group, but should they be made to say the pledge even if it goes against what they believe?

If you are a casual reader of this blog and think that as a Christian you know what I am going to say you may be a little shocked. But I am sure that long term readers will rightly guess that I think forcing anyone to say the pledge is not only wrong, but it goes against everything that this country is all about.

No one in this country should be forced to say something that they don’t believe is true, not even students. You should not be forced to stand for something that you don’t agree is right.

Now I believe that you should stand up for the pledge out of respect for this country. But what makes this country worth respecting is the fact that you are allowed to stay sitting down. In this country you are allowed to say what you believe even if what you believe is that this is a messed up country.

I think that I feel so passionately about this because I see the world that we live in changing very rapidly and there is a good chance that when my son is in high school there may be someone telling him that he can’t tell his friends about Jesus. I would hope that he would go ahead and tell them anyway even if it meant getting into trouble, but more than that I hope that people will speak up and defend the rights of students to express what they believe in school.

So what do you think? Should a student who is not disrupting others be allowed to sit down during the pledge?  


5 thoughts on “Forced to Pledge Allegiance

  • January 29, 2008 at 12:01 AM

    For me, I just approach that as submitting to the authorities that are over me (Mark 12 and Romans 13). Saying the pledge of allegiance is not asking me to forsake the God that I serve. So, out of submission I would do it.

    As to those who are not followers of Christ…I don’t know about that. I just know for me, as a believer in Christ, on those things that do not conflict with my relationship with God, I submit to the authority above me knowing that God has placed them there for a reason.

    I can’t forget that as a follower of Christ I gave up my right to anything. I am hidden in Christ. I think as Americans we have brought out notions of "rights" directly into our relationship with God. But, that is not scriptural. We give up our rights the moment that we enter the covenant with Christ.

    It is about our hearts…not our rights. If truly our motivation in not saying the pledge is because it directly conflicts with our faith…then with humbleness we seek to right the wrong.

    But, if our heart in this is to be filled with our own rights…then we have truly missed the mark. Jesus is about the heart.

  • January 29, 2008 at 2:33 AM

    Thanks Rhymes I have the same thoughts about my school’s Alma Mater.

    "To thy name we’ll sing thy praise
    From hearts that love so true.
    And pledge to thee our loyalty
    The ages through.

    We hail thee, Auburn, and we vow
    To work for thy just fame
    And hold in memory as we do now
    Thy cherished name."

  • January 29, 2008 at 12:10 AM

    I like your reasoning on this – that freedom means having the right not to say the pledge. I like that a lot. Being from Canada, I had to google the words for the pledge but then I looked up the definition of "allegiance" and thought, oh-oh.

    Can a Christian pledge allegiance to anyone or anything other than Christ? Is that possible?

    I"m not criticizing, I really am not sure what to make of it – but it just doesn’t seem right.

  • January 29, 2008 at 11:17 PM

    I’m glad for Frances’s comment: "if our heart in this is to be filled with our own rights…" You know, just in case someone is thinking about flaunting their freedom (Paul exhorts us to do otherwise though in a different context).

    We’re talking school here so the key word is disruption, as you’ve said, Shane. Is it enough that my convictions are met or does everyone have to know what my convictions are.

    I remember the one athelete (volleyball player?) who would turn her back on the flag during the Star-Spangled Banner. Couldn’t she just not put her hand on her heart?

  • January 31, 2008 at 5:11 AM

    Thanks guys! I love discussion. I guess I am a big time "slippery slope" type dude. I also really like the speech in the movie "American President" when he says:

    America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve got to want it bad, because it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say, "You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil who is standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the ‘land of the free’? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the ‘land of the free.’"


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