Precinct 333

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Voluntary Pledge -- Patriotism Cannot Be Coerced

A resounding "Hurrah!" to the judges of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. They got a big one right this week when they struck down Pennsylvania's coercive Pledge of allegiance law. By mandating the Pledge by every child in every classroom, every day, in every school -- public or private -- the Pennsylvania legislature went too far. I think this makes it pretty clear that government can mandate that time be taken for the Pledge, but it cannot require any individual to say it. That was my argument in the Newdow case, and it was my argument here. It is my argument when students object to me leading the Pledge daily in my classroom.

The Supreme Court got it right in 1943. It is the hallmark of the American system that no official, high or petty, shall prescribe what is orthodox in matters of politics. Would that our legislators would remember that.


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