Kidling came in today and said, “I don’t want to say the pledge of allegiance anymore.”
I asked, “Why not?”
He said, “Because they say, ‘under god,’ and I don’t believe in god, so I don’t think it’s fair that I have to say that.”
I smiled slightly and said, “Well, what do you do now when they say the pledge?”
He replied, “I sit at my desk and do this (sticks his fingers in his ears).”
His expression made me want to laugh, but the behavior is rude, so I said, “No, don’t do that. That’s unnecessary and rude. You have a few options — you can just sit quietly at your desk, no sticking your fingers in ears or goofing around or anything, and if a teacher or someone asks why you aren’t reciting the pledge, you can tell her you’re a conscientious objector to bringing god into public schools, or you can stand with your hand over your heart and facing the flag, but not reciting the pledge, or you can stand and recite the original pledge instead of the revised version.”
He asked what the original pledge was and why it had changed, so I went on to explain that the pledge was originally written in 1892, which was 119 years ago. Back then, it just said, “We pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” I explained that the “under god,” part was added in 1954, as a result of a movement started by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. This movement was continued by the Sons of the American Revolution and, later, the Knights of Columbus (a Catholic fraternal organization). Eventually, a Michigan congressional representative made a motion to officially include the phrase, and by 1954 the phrase was solidified in our national pledge, despite the clearly un-constitutional nature of it.
Then I told him that whatever path he chose — reciting the original pledge, standing silent with hand over heart, or sitting it out as a conscientious objector — his dad and I would support him 100%, and we would stand up for him if he got in trouble with the teachers or principal so long as he was respectful and polite about his objection.
So, long story short, I think I gave him some tools and solutions on how to handle the situation, and I’m interested in seeing what he chooses to do next.