William R. Trent Russellville

Freedom and the Pledge of Allegiance

Dear Editor:

I read an article the other day by the Huffpost about a Colorado teacher being charged after allegedly forcing a student to stand for the pledge of allegiance. I'm not going to sit here and tell you I remember growing up doing this every morning and how I believe we should or shouldn't. I'll leave that to everyone else who will most likely fill our newspaper in the following days to rebuke my claims. My purpose of writing this is to give you the FACTS and HISTORY about the pledge of allegiance, not my OPINION.

The facts

Our schools principals and teachers CAN NOT make our children stand for the pledge of allegiance. A 1943 Supreme Court decision ruled that students can not be compelled to salute or stand for the pledge of allegiance, citing the first amendment free speech clause. Don't believe me look up for yourself (West Virginia school board vs. Barnett). It reads "NO ONE" has to stand or participate in any patriotic rituals to include the pledge or anthem.

The history

If one has read much about our founding fathers especially Jefferson. One would have to come to the conclusion they wouldn't be in favour of the pledge of allegiance to a flag or country because that would be tantamount to saying the country was a god that could never be challenged. The pledge of allegiance wasn't written till 1882, by Francis Bellamy who was an Christian SOCIALIST minister. The original words are ...

" I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all"

It wasn't adopted by congress till 1942. Then in 1954 under president Eisenhower The words "under god and of the United States of America" was added to the pledge.

Keep in mind our founding fathers came up with separation of church and state. A phrase from Thomas Jefferson written in a letter to Danbury Baptist association in Connecticut in Jan. 1802. Which reads ... "congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

I'm leaving it open for you to come up with your own conclusion, if you should stand or not. It's alright to think outside the box, to think differently than everyone else. Be your own person. That's what great about America we're free to express ourselves.

William R. Trent