With Benicia students heading back to the classroom next week,
they likely start each day with the Pledge of Allegiance or some other
“appropriate patriotic exercises” — a tradition that goes back generations.
In California, as is the case with many states, classrooms in public schools are required to offer the pledge or a patriotic exercise like singing the National Anthem daily, but students are not required to actually stand up and recite it. Most do, of course, but some students object to the phrase "Under God" and refuse to take part in the daily routine.
The issue has surfaced nationally. Earlier this year, a state lawmaker in Arizona introduced a bill to require students to recite the pledge. Other states, including Oregon and Nebraska, have had discussions on whether to require the pledge to be recited in schools.
For three decades, the pledge didn’t have the phrase “Under God.” But in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower pushed for Congress to add the phrase to combat communist threats, leaving Americans with the 31-words we have today:
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
We asked the question on Facebook and got a wide array of answers.
“Absolutely,” said Jacquie Fracisco on the Bencia Patch Facebook page. “Its unfortunate that this country has become so engulfed in trying not to offend people that we can no longer take and teach pride in our own country. Our kids should learn to respect our flag and everything it stands for.”
Roger Straw had a somewhat different opinion. He said. “Love of country too often serves as religion. Literally - the flag is often said to be "sacred." Patriotism is a favorite tool of warmakers and zealots. I prefer to worship an all-embracing, world-affirming deity. How about a daily exercise for kids in respecting earth and all good people everywhere?”
A few people said kids shouldn’t have to recite the pledge but the majority thought is was a good idea.
What do you think? Should the Pledge be required? Should we drop “under God”? Tell us in comments.