Last fall, I blogged about a Florida teacher who was suspended for forcing her students to say the Pledge of Allegiance.
Texas doesn’t stand for that kind of thing. They’ve suspended the kid for refusing to stand.
(Insert comic German accent) “You vill obey und salute the government. Ve do not appreciate individual thought here!”
Of what use is a forced pledge? If someone forces you to say something against your will, what’s the point? How is it meaningful? Does the irony not hit people? “We are forcing you to pledge against your will — for freedom!!!”
The United States Supreme Court held that no one could be forced to say the pledge over fifty years ago in a case involving the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who persuasively argued that such a pledge violated their religious beliefs concerning worshiping objects or something. It has been the law of the land ever since. Here’s what the court said:
If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.
We think the action of the local authorities in compelling the flag salute and pledge transcends constitutional limitations on their power and invades the sphere of intellect and spirit which it is the purpose of the First Amendment to our Constitution to reserve from all official control.
Say the pledge because you mean it, and not because you have to. That’s true patriotism.