Texas family sues over mandatory pledge law.

Looks like the first lawsuit over Texas’ law mandating pledge recital by school children in that state has spawned it’s first lawsuit.

KTXS April 2003 News Archive

ABILENE (AP) — An Abilene family is fighting against the Pledge of Allegiance—over the phrase “under God.”  In February, an 11-year-old girl refused to say the pledge with the phrase in class.  A substitute teacher told the girl she’d no right to live in America. The girl’s father decided to file a lawsuit in Taylor County against the current Abilene school superintendent, the school district, the state of Texas, the U-S Congress and President Bush.  The suit seeks no monetary damages, but does seek removing “in God we trust” from money, to rewrite the Pledge of Allegiance without the phrase “under God”—and to forbid teaching theology in public schools.  The Abilene school district says they’re simply following the law.  The district hasn’t been served with papers and a court date hasn’t been set yet.  Senate Bill 83 went into effect on September First and mandates that public schools have the pledge to the United States and Texas flags and a moment of silence.

See that bit I highlighted? It’s exactly why I have a problem with laws that try to force patriotism and religion down the throats of our kids. Every time someone wants a law like Texas’ pledge law they try to overcome objections to it by putting in a clause that allows people who don’t wish to participate to not do so. The argument being that no one is “forced” to participate. Invariably you end up with some asshole like the substitute teacher in the above article who takes it upon themselves to berate and insult anyone who takes advantage of that clause to not participate as being un-American.

That doesn’t promote patriotism. It breeds resentment and distrust of one’s government. Something you’d think you’d want to take steps to reduce, not promote.

19 thoughts on “Texas family sues over mandatory pledge law.

  1. I completely agree.

    I was a senior in high school when the Gulf War broke out.  I remember, we had not, up to that point, ever recited the pledge.  But when the war started, we were suddenly required to do it every day.  I objected to this vehemently:  Why, I asked should we only show our loyalty during a time of war? That seemed inherently fucked up.

    But I have an additional problem with the Pledge and how it’s applied in a lot of public classrooms.  I take such things as oaths/pledges of allegiance very, very seriously. You make them only if you really, really mean it.  I have problems with teaching young children to recite the pledge—not many young grade schoolers understand the words, what they mean, and their implications. To them, it’s a largely rote thing that’s part of the morning routine.  I don’t think *anyone* should be asked, let alone more or less *required*  to recite the pledge until they demonstrate that they understand exactly what it means.  Just rote recitation, to me, waters down the meaning. Makes the pledge less important. And it shouldn’t be.

  2. Arrr, if the lubbers doesn’t wants to say the pledge I say we lash ‘em to the missen mast then keel haul ‘em, then throw ‘em in the focsal…Arrr!  After that we make ‘em walk the plank and send the scurvey rats to Davey Jones’ Locker…Arrr!

    Or we can respect their rights and not enforce the meaningless recitation of a bogus pledge…I don’t know…I’m undecided between the two smile

  3. I think the pledge is great and should be taught to school children.  And what’s wrong with god in school?  The Christian faith and the ten commandments are the foundation of most of our laws and civilization.  I don’t believe teachers should teach scripture or a particular christian faith, but there is nothing wrong with saying ‘Under God’ or acknowledging God.

    There is nothing in the US Constitution to prevent this.  The only place you will find the words ‘seperation of church and state’ is in the Marxist Communist Manifesto.

    What does the Bill of Rights actually say?  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
    What does this mean?  Our government will not create a Church of the United States and force the people to belong.  It doesn’t say we can’t acknowledge, include, have monuments or recite prayers in school or government buildings.

    Should a child be forced to recite a prayer?  No.  Should they be exposed to it?  Yes.


    (Fellow atheist by the way…)

    No offense to any Christian, Muslims, etc… but i like Wicca more then i like your beliefs mainly for one reason… the whole basis of Wiccan beliefs…

    An it harm none, do what thou wilt

  5. Good Article.

    If the pledge of allegiance had been written in the 1770s it might have read something like

    … one nation, under The Creator, …


    … one nation, under Nature’s Perfect God, …

    However, I suspect the language would be closer to the version I learned in the 40s, and that the pledge would have been to the constitution and not to the flag.

  6. It’s nice to say the founding fathers meant that or clarified later,,,,but what IS in the constitution?  What is the law and Bill of Rights?

    And I’m sorry Les but you are wrong, the Christian faith and the Ten Commandments were the foundation for most of our laws.  You focused on the Ten Commandments in your comments.  I did not.  Most of our laws stem from the morality and ethics taught by the christian faith.  Not islamic or jewish or hindu.  Sorry.  They were not even a tiny representative community in this nation until the middle 1800’s.  Murder, stealing, lying or harming your fellow man.  The golden rule?  You can break most of our laws down to these fundamental teachings.  Laws against rape, incest, child-porn, property rights violations, etc.  Most can be traced back to the Christian Faith.

    In God We Trust, Under God and statements in the Declaration of Independence weren’t refering to the Wiccan whatever or Mohammed or Allah.  It was referring to the Christian God.  If a child asks a teacher: “Under which God?”  The correct answer would be “The God worshipped by the Christian and Jewish faiths.” 

    And if a parent wants their child to be brought up godless and lost that is their preogative. Should my country, founded by Christians, be able to acknowledge that fact and use the name of the God it was founded under?  YES!!!

    Do I want the governmet telling me how to worship? NO. Do I want the government telling me what faith to worship with?  NO.  Do I want the government, through our schools, to preach or teach scripture?  NO WAY!

    But should they acknowledge our foundations?  Yes.

  7. The Christian propagandists have been working overtime to rewrite history. “In God We Trust” and “Under God” were not the words of the founders (though I did hear a pundit state otherwise). They ddn’t appear until over 150 years later, in the 1950’s. The Declaration of Independence does contain the references “creator” and “nature’s god”, but you will notice they didn’t mention Jesus, and they intentionally left the “god” as an ambiguous entity. Then you have to realize that the Declaration isn’t the law of our country, the Constitution is the law, and where in the law do they acknowledge god? They don’t, and I wonder why they didn’t acknowledge god as the foundation of our law in the Constitution. Then we have to death with the myth of the “christian” founders. Were some of the founders christian? Yes, but were they all? No, they weren’t all christians.

    But should they acknowledge our foundations? Yes.

    I also answer yes, but we need to acknowledge the truth, not the folklore created by propagandists with the desire to “christianize” the foundation of our nation.

  8. And which version of Christianity even?

    There is the rub. They are all in agreement right now with their anti-secular notions, but what happens if they should succeed? That is when the real battle begins. Who’s version of christianity gets to be put forward. We have seen comments at SEB from some christians that other sects aren’t “real” christians, and that is mild compared to things I have heard elsewhere. You need to look at Northern Ireland to see what is possible when christians can’t agree.

  9. Why aren’t there more intelligent liberals like yourselves voting?  I am taking a class on the U.S. Supreme Court and every case I am surprised to the extent that our liberties are being or have been taken from us.  Forget about seperation of church and state, rights of minors or most (not all) rights that we THINK we have.  How can the Right justify making and implementing laws based Christianity when our country was firming built on the principal of that very seperation.
    -I am one very frustrated liberal. 

  10. regardless of your position on patriotism, if you want to go by what God says in regards to pledging your allegiance and mind you I’m not a religious guy, I’m a U.S. Marine but also a sensible person but to use the religious peoples own source to pledge your allegence to a flag is idoltry, you pledge your allegiance to God, not a country or an item that represents your country, unfortunately politicians today and yesterday want to forcefeed their beliefs even knowing they are wrong…yet say a prayer before eating and then declaring war…hypocritical in my opinion as I am a hypocrite for knowing that no war except one declared by God is acceptable as killing another person is obviously against the 10 commandments, but again I”m not really religious although i do beleive in God, but I don’t cast stones or judge others unless I’m willing to be judged myself BUT you can’t have it both ways, to use God in apledge doesn’t take away from the fact that your contridicting the Bible which initself has been re-written and edits by rulers to control the peopel and God does say to add or take away from his word is to be cursed ten thousand fold, so ingeneral were screwed if that is true, society is based on the re-write of a book that was not suppose to be written and all we know and all we enforce is not what it seems…but hey we still want to think that our nation above all other people on this planet is blessed by GOD?  I’d say our nation along with every other one would be a huge dissapointment to God is anything, but then again most know that, they just won’t admit it and if they don’t they could be in for a rude awakening if and when judgement day comes…if your religious and beleive in it…treat others liek you want to be treated and there would be no problems, but were too vain and human to do that, much betetr to kill each other in the name of God and under God and pesecute all who don’t share the same view, but yet still maintain were christian…I’d be real proud of myself.. I say the girl who did this has got balls, she is standing up for what she beleives and no one should take offense as she is not hurting anyone, when your beliefs hurt others purposefully then THAT is a problem, it’s very simple, no need to elaborate, do unto others…if you can’t understand that…THAT’s UNAMERICAN AND even more important UNGODLY for those christains and God Loving and Fearing people, pick a side andf stick with it, just be ready to accept the concequences.

  11. Jag, you make a very interesting point there.  I found a lovely satirical quote from Rum and Monkey in which Ben Werdmuller writes (about how he plans to become a Republican):

    Find Jesus in the most massive way, but worship the flag like a false idol. There’s nothing like religious contradiction to cement one’s Republican status. I’ve got to worship God absolutely, but understand that God is America. Once I’m there, I can infer that as the stars and stripes are America’s patriotic child, the flag is Jesus. Suddenly I’ve run out of theological problems – of course God is against abortion; of course He’s in favour of the tax cut – although I do have to wonder why I hoist Jesus up a pole every morning.

    I laughed myself silly for about a week on that one.

  12. “…although I do have to wonder why I hoist Jesus
    up a pole every morning.”

    Easy,GeekMom: that one symbolises Jesus’ crucifixion…though with rope rather than nails… 😉

  13. Well I have to admit lotta people bring up good points, in the end it’s a matter of opinion of course just like people have the right to state their opinion so to does a child have the right under his or her parents custody the right to not pledge allegiance.  But on the other hand in my own personal opinion if any one of the people who proclaim to be a “christian” or devoutly religious in any aspect and want to argue the point about forcing anyone be it child, adult or the like should go back and re-read their Bible…the Bible specifically speaks out against governments and or any other type of rulership other than God’s…to further back that up that according to the Bible we are to only acknowledge God’s kingdom and rule over us The United States even says “UNDER GOD” acknowledging God’s RULERSHIP FIRST!… of course if your religious and/or a christian or any other faith for that matter that’s fine with me, I have respect for all beliefs but I’d also say before anyone stands up and states what they believe is fact, they should do some research before hand…you cannot be a true christian or follower of God’s word in the christian sense and stand up and say you must or should respect or recite the pledge of allegiance….as is common among the religious zealots of these times, hypocritical has become a brand name and association…lead by example…I do believe is also preached in the various versions of the Bible…and speak of the Bible…how can anyone stand up for a combination of stories and live their live according to it or even attempt to when the book itself has been corrupted by mankind.  I say corrupted becuase any scholar or expert in theology will tell you and back up the claims that the bible as we know it is not the original text nor verses, they have been edited throughout time to suit the religious leaders of the times…seriously for example let’s get off topic of patriotism and look at homosexuals… touchy subject I know and altohugh I don’t profess to know much bout someone that lives that life style, it suits my purposes for the demonstrations I make now.
    NOWHERE in the Bibles original text does it speak of or state the word or term “homosexual” it was not a word that was used in the “time” of Christ.  It is a man made word that derives from a combination of latin and greek AND since the gay movements have become increasingly stronger in their quests for rights, it has become a rather hot topic and of course the religious evangelists want to condem them and say God hates them and man lay with man is a sin or men who act as women is a sin…. let’s get some context here… first while Jesus was roaming the country side preaching he was sent for by a servant to come to his masters (a Roman) house.  We know Romans were the enemy of the Jews and also disliked by Christ.  Jesus went with this servant because the servant said (according to recent King James version of the Bible) that a servant child was sick and dying.  Sound familar?  Well truth is in those times grown men tended to take young boys under their wings and teach them, train them and love them as was common in those times and within many cultures dominated by males that the older males tended to the younger males in rites of manhood etc, well this Roman’s “sick servant” was actually his young lover, again common in those times.  Jesus went witht he servant to enter to Roman’s house (also at this time it was forbidden for a Jew to enter a Roman’s house under penalty of death) the Roman soldier/politician greeted Jesus outside before he could enter and apologizes profusly for his ill manners in the way he sent for Jesus and through elequent words explains that he cannot allow Jesus in his home due to the law and humbles himself for forgivness to which Jesus acknowledges and praises thisRoman soldier tot he gathered crowd and says not even in Jeruselum has Jesus seen this earnest and humbleness from his own people and here is a Roman man who can do such, and Jesus cures this Romans young lover….hmmmm now why would Jesus do this is God condems gays?  Of course reading the King James version you no doubt get a different spin on the story, but of course if you did a little research you’d find out it’s a revised story to suit the needs of the church, who is against homosexuality (yet has more than it’s own share of it within the church) and let’s look at the fact that many tribes and societies and natives did indeed practice some type of what we would deem “homosexual” acts with the younger men.  Greeks were not the only ones and yet if anyone studied Greek history they would find that Greeks abhored anal sex and to do such would or could mean death.  But male to male relations were acceptable… Men who act as women the Bible states is a sin against God, most would beleive this to mean men who are gay, yet if you look and read the Bible thru “the eyes of a child” you will see it’s not confusing or contain “mysteries of the Bible” men who act like women would be men who engage in penatrating each other (men acting as women) and let’s not forget that women came after men, women were created from man, in particular Adam according to the Bible, within man there has always been wo-man, thru God’ intervention of course.  Scientifically the male is the one who determines the sex of a child.  Why?  Because MAN has it within him both sex chromosones, and women do not.  I could go on and on with other examples of how this world is so distorted in it’s belief structure and how naive people are in these times and how hateful they are to each other yet will show up for church on sunday appearing sqeaky clean…living their double lives…I say anyone who can point a finger at another or anyone who tries to speak on behalf of God or state as a fact God is against this or that group or this or that faith or this or that belief or condemn somoene for standing up for what they believe, those persons are sadly wrong and not worth the effort it would take to make them see, they are no better or worse and certainly in no position to pass judgement on another.  And as I’ve shown in this statement, I don’t attack anyone or any type of person…I do focus on religion and the religious leaders who claim to speak on behalf of God or the like… and maintain hurtful attitudes towards others, I just state what they have plainly done as fact as it is indeed fact and again if more people took the time to research and earnestly want to learn and/or look for answers, all they have to do is open their eyes, it’s as simple as being a child…and isn’t that what we all are…children of God?  also, quick note…I’ve said it before but will say it again I’m not religious, so it can’t be said I have a agenda

  14. This suit goes too far. I live in Abilene, TX and I know the people here. Granted, I do not believe that anyone should be forced to say the pledge but to ask for anything more is just too much at this point. Again, granted, our motto should be changed back to “E Pluribus Unum” as opposed to “In God We Trust”, and the pledge should also be recited in its original form WITHOUT “Under God”, but seriously, these people need to take things one step at a time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.