r/NoStupidQuestions May 26 '22 Silver 2

Do American children really 'swear allegiance' to the American flag?

It just seems so... Cult-y, Y'know?

17.2k Upvotes

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u/argan030 May 26 '22

I am in Asia and I used to go to an American school. The American kids did their pledge after our national anthem and pledge. When I went to uni I noticed that they only played our anthem during ceremonies and there were no pledges.

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u/Neumo500 May 26 '22

Public schools are about indoctrination, universities are about making money

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u/ToddABerry May 26 '22 Gold

We say the Pledge of Allegiance in schools but nobody I went to school with put much thought into the words we just repeated it by rote.

Kids do have the Constitutional right to sit and be quiet instead of participating.

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u/[deleted] May 26 '22

[deleted]

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u/AylinThatIsh May 26 '22

Yeah I think cause jehova's witnesses consider the act of the pledge to be considered worshiping an idol/ God that is not their God.

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u/2074red2074 May 26 '22

Many Christian groups believe it is sinful to swear any form of oath. And like it's pretty explicitly stated in the Sermon on the Mount that you should not swear on anything. You should simply give your word and that should be enough.

This is also why the US president doesn't actually have to swear to uphold his duties. The president may instead "affirm" that they will. In other words they say "yes I will do that" instead of "I swear to do that".

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u/heatherkan May 26 '22 edited May 26 '22 Gold Helpful Starry Helpful (Pro)

Correct. More context:

"After some 1,200 Witnesses had been imprisoned in Germany early in the Nazi era for refusal to give the Nazi salute and to violate their Christian neutrality, thousands were physically abused in the United States because they refrained from saluting the American flag. During the week of November 4, 1935, a number of schoolchildren in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, were taken to the school boiler room and whipped for refusal to salute. Grace Estep, a teacher, was discharged from her position in that school for the same reason. On November 6, William and Lillian Gobitas refused to salute the flag and were expelled from school at Minersville, Pennsylvania. Their father sued to have his children readmitted. Both the federal district court and the circuit court of appeals decided the case in favor of Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, in 1940, with the nation on the brink of war, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Minersville School District v. Gobitis, by an 8-to-1 decision, upheld compulsory flag saluting in public schools. This led to a nationwide outburst of violence against Jehovah’s Witnesses.

There were so many violent attacks upon Jehovah’s Witnesses that Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt (wife of President F. D. Roosevelt) pleaded with the public to desist. On June 16, 1940, the U.S. solicitor general, Francis Biddle, in a coast-to-coast radio broadcast, made specific reference to the atrocities committed against the Witnesses and said these would not be tolerated. But this did not stem the tide.

Under every conceivable circumstance—on the streets, at places of employment, when Witnesses called at homes in their ministry—flags were thrust in front of them, with the demand that they salute—or else! At the end of 1940, the Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses reported: “The Hierarchy and the American Legion, through such mobs that have taken the law into their own hands, violently worked havoc indescribable. Jehovah’s witnesses have been assaulted, beaten, kidnapped, driven out of towns, counties and states, tarred and feathered, forced to drink castor oil, tied together and chased like dumb beasts through the streets, castrated and maimed, taunted and insulted by demonized crowds, jailed by the hundreds without charge and held incommunicado and denied the privilege of conferring with relatives, friends or lawyers. Many other hundreds have been jailed and held in so-called ‘protective custody’; some have been shot in the nighttime; some threatened with hanging and beaten into unconsciousness. Numerous varieties of mob violence have occurred. Many have had their clothes torn from them, their Bibles and other literature seized and publicly burned; their automobiles, trailers, homes and assembly places wrecked and fired . . . In numerous instances where trials have been held in mob-ruled communities, lawyers as well as witnesses have been mobbed and beaten while attending court. In almost every case where there has been mob violence the public officials have stood idly by and refused to give protection, and in scores of instances the officers of the law have participated in the mobs and sometimes actually led the mobs.”

From 1940 to 1944, more than 2,500 violent mobs assaulted Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States.

Because of the wholesale expulsion of the children of Jehovah’s Witnesses from school, for a time during the late 1930’s and early 1940’s it was necessary for them to operate their own schools in the United States and Canada in order to provide education for their children. These were called Kingdom Schools."

Source: https://www.jw.org/en/library/books/Jehovahs-Witnesses-Proclaimers-of-Gods-Kingdom/Exposed-to-Reproaches-and-Tribulations/Objects-of-Hatred-by-All-the-Nations/

Further reading on court cases stemming from this:

Minersville School District v. Gobitis (in which the court ruled that Jehovah's Witness children can be compelled to pledge allegiance to the flag)

West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (in which the earlier decision was reversed and the right to refuse to salute- without reprisal- was confirmed)

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Edit to add, bonus reading:

An article on the persecution tactics employed on Jehovah's Witnesses during the Nazi Regime, a first-hand account of a Jehovah's Witness child who was removed from her parents and endured being placed in a Nazi "reeducation" program. In more modern news, here's a list of Jehovah's Witnesses currently imprisoned for their faith as well as an article detailing the current bizarre Russian campaign of terror against Jehovah's Witnesses. I find international legal protections (or lack thereof) pertaining to religious practice very interesting.

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u/Cennedys May 26 '22

All that for not saluting a flag, awful.

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u/grimess May 26 '22

Land of the free and home of the brave.

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u/PromptCritical725 May 26 '22

Tribalism is a bitch, ain't it?

Worth noting that we don't swear allegiance to a party, a person, or even the government. At least I don't when I say the pledge on a routine basis for various events. I'm pledging myself to a people and a set of ideals.

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u/FiestaPot8035 May 26 '22 edited May 26 '22

I learned something today, thank you?

Edit: didn’t mean to use the question mark but I’ll leave it

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u/heatherkan May 26 '22

Welcome :)

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u/painterlyjeans May 26 '22

Quakers do too, or something along those lines

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u/chairfairy May 26 '22

I believe the peace churches (Quakers, Anabaptists, etc.) don't say the pledge of allegiance at least partly because it's a promise to go to war if your country calls upon you

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u/r_stronghammer May 26 '22

I’m not like, officially affiliated with any Quaker community, but my beliefs line up with theirs pretty accurately and yeah they’re reeeaaaaally big on anti-idolatry. Idolatry being anything that takes over as “inherently important” and gets in the way/blinds you to the “inner light”.

They definitely went WAY overboard when they were originally founded though, with basically no decorations in their house, among other things. They were also the ones in early America who were crazily anti-sexual ANYTHING, going so far to say “limb” instead of “leg”… commonly misattributed to the Puritans, who actually arrived earlier and in a different part of the country.

Okay now this comment is getting a bit derailed so I’ll stop here before I go on an ADHD hyperfocus ramble.

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u/ninpho2246 May 26 '22

It's simply freedom if speech and separation of church and state. A movie of a real life person is on Netflix with the story. The most hated women in America I think it's called.

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u/Unabashable May 26 '22

The whole “under God” part was a point of contention in general. I remember a time where the volume would decrease by like half during that part, and eventually they just left it out altogether.

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u/IgneousMiraCole May 26 '22

I used to loudly, quickly, and obnoxiously replace “Under God” with “Under the Laws of Thermodynamics” every day, and I now look back and cringe very hard at that and how avant garde I thought that was. Especially since I almost certainly could not have explained the laws of thermodynamics at the time.

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u/[deleted] May 26 '22

I can respect that tbh

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u/unicornhornporn0554 May 26 '22

Except if you live in a tiny town like me, you’ll be treated like shit for doing so. It’s culty sometimes.

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u/2punornot2pun May 26 '22

I wouldn't want to be friends with people who think people should be forced to pledge allegiance...

it's literally the antithesis to freedom and they unironically support it.

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u/Drumboy168 May 26 '22

The people saying "muh freedom" equate freedom to America and nothing else.

Expecting some sort of philosophical opinion on liberty is pointless.

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u/Blunderhorse May 26 '22

These are kids. They were told that the pledge is important for whatever reason the kindergarten teacher thought would sound serious enough to keep a room of 5-year-olds from making fart noises the whole time, and many of them never give another second of nuanced thought to it. They don’t understand what freedom really is; all they understand is it’s weird to them that Timmy’s parents don’t let him do the pledge because of church.

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u/sav33arthkillyos3lf May 26 '22

Same!! They were pissed I stopped standing and reciting the pledge. It just feels so ridiculous to have to pledge allegiance to a fucking flag every day before school. Always ended in a disciplinary consequence but after a month of detention they stopped bothering me.

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u/goats_and_rollies May 26 '22

I've chosen to do this myself when in a classroom setting on a daily basis as an adult student (no children in the class but held in a high school). I sat respectfully during the pledge. In more public settings I will stand, but I still don't recite. I definitely never put my hand on my heart.

Not because I don't have allegiance to my country(wo)men.... I'm a combat veteran, I've proven my allegiance. But because I truly just don't like the pledge itself. Making people recite meaningless words by rote is not how it works. Culty vibes fo' sho.

I believe all 3 of my children still always stand and recite but I would back them if they chose not to, and I've explained my choice to them. I've also explained how other people may become defensive when they see you make this choice. Sometimes it doesn't go over well.

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u/Clay_Pigeon May 26 '22

I've told my kids several times that they aren't required to pledge, even if their teacher or classmates tell them too. I don't say the pledge, but like for a moment of silence I'll keep a respectful quiet. One kid says it, the other stopped. I would rather neither do it, but I'm not going to force them to face peer pressure because of MY hangup.

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u/PromptCritical725 May 26 '22

Compelled speech is treated equally to prohibited speech: Unconstitutional and hence, illegal.

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u/SuperEnthusiastic May 26 '22

Freedom of speech also means freedom to not speak

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u/CaptainAwesome06 May 26 '22

I got in trouble in school for not participating once. Not big trouble. But threatened with detention (nothing came from it). Even as a kid I felt it was weird and culty.

But I agree. Nobody puts much thought into it so what's the point of doing it? The only people who care are the old people that want to force kids to do it.

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u/NeverEndingHope May 26 '22

I just got so used to it as a kid. It wasn't until I watched that Avatar episode where Aang goes to fire nation school that I realized it was so cult-y.

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u/CaptainAwesome06 May 26 '22 edited May 27 '22

I never questioned it until I was in high school. We weren't reciting the pledge then and I don't think we did it in my last elementary school, either (I went to a lot of schools) so I pretty much forgot about it. Then Columbine happened when I was in 10th grade and then calls for the pledge, prayer, etc started back up. They settled on a moment of silence every morning which seemed like such a waste of time to me. Although I stayed quiet and respectful during the moment of silence, I also got lectured for not using that time to quietly reflect. I would just look around the room and wait for the longest 60 second in history to end.

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u/gloomywitchywoo May 26 '22

Well, the teachers shouldn't have noticed since they should be quietly reflecting. ;)

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u/CaptainAwesome06 May 27 '22

I think it was my German teacher so there's that

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u/ridingshayla May 26 '22

One hour seems like a really long moment

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u/CaptainAwesome06 May 27 '22

60 second but it felt like 60 minutes

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u/tapioca22rain May 26 '22

What was the moment you realized you live in the fire nation?

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u/NeverEndingHope May 26 '22

Probably when 'Flameo Hotman' made a brief comeback.

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u/AlanMooresWizrdBeard May 26 '22

A 6th grade math teacher went ballistic on me for refusing to do the pledge. Berating me in front of the class saying she hopes I wouldn’t grow up to vote because I don’t deserve the right, etc etc.

My parents angrily contacted school admin when I told them and from there on out she was only able to give me dirty looks. But it also had the unintended side of effect of turning it into some cool act of rebellion and a bunch of other students refused to do it from then on too lol.

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u/CaptainAwesome06 May 26 '22

LOL the Streisand effect. Love it.

I really don't get the mentality of saying the pledge or saluting a flag is somehow going to make better people. Seems like those are the type of people who refuse to believe the country could be better, which is kind of antithetical to what the founding fathers wanted.

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u/Toon_Sniper May 27 '22

It’s indoctrination. Something so small that’s always been a part of your life you don’t question until something absolutely world shattering happens.

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u/patmartone May 26 '22

We pledge allegiance to the flag and “to the Republic for which it stands”.

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u/PopeInnocentXIV May 26 '22

And no matter where you go, it's always said with the exact same slow, pause-after-ever-other-word cadence.

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.

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u/guiturtle-wood May 26 '22

Everywhere I've heard the pledge the phrase "of the United States of America" is said without pauses, as well as "with liberty and justice for all."

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u/[deleted] May 26 '22

Me too, but they’re usually still kinda sing-songy

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u/Marcus__T__Cicero May 26 '22

You’ve got some off-script pauses in there.

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u/AndrasKrigare May 27 '22

It's funny you say that, because that is not quite the pauses we had. It was more

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

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u/Capelily May 26 '22

When I was in high school in the 70s I refused to say the pledge. Nobody cared :)

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u/Chaevyre May 26 '22

Where I grew up, we stopped doing it after elementary school. I think it would have taken cattle prods to get most of my high school on its feet first thing in the morning to recite anything.

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u/Designed_To May 26 '22

I stopped saying the pledge during school in 9th grade. Never faced any repercussions but one of my teachers did ask if I was a communist

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u/IggZorrn May 26 '22 edited May 26 '22

but nobody I went to school with put much thought into the words we just repeated it by rote

This is the scariest part to me. It is exactly how people get brainwashed in authoritarian countries into thinking ultra nationalist stuff. Just make them repeat the words as often as possible, so people stop thinking about them and accept them as normal.

In it's current state, the pledge also normalizes a connection between religion and state that shouldn't be there, in my opinion, which is especially sad when compared to the original Bellamy Pledge, which is pretty much the same as the current one, but doesn't mention any god.

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u/MrEMeatx17x May 26 '22

Yes! The fact that I can still recite the Pledge at age 35 means it was so deeply embedded in my brain, it makes me wonder what else was planted in my head and may be influencing my thoughts, or even my "gut" reactions

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u/backyard_beach May 26 '22

Around the same time, I was being brainwashed in church so it all seemed normal to me. The worst I got during my teenage rebellion years was thinking for myself and deciding I didn't "believe" the same things I went along with when I was 7.

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u/Livewire923 May 26 '22

A friend of mine decided that he was done pledging allegiance in middle school. Our home room teacher was livid, so he told her “I’m a Canadian citizen” which he was (dual citizenship) but she wasn’t having that. And that’s how we found out that none of us had to say the pledge at all. I still stood for it, but after that day I never said it again

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u/GorillaRimjob May 26 '22 edited May 27 '22

In Texas they have us swear to the American flag AND the Texas flag. Two separate swears

edit: This is not all schools, your Texas school district probably had different guidelines for the pledge, if they did it at all. It's not something new, it just depends on your district. I know plenty that do and plenty that don't

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u/9to5Voyager May 26 '22

Sure do! What was the pledge to the Texas flag? Do you remember?

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u/Young_Rock May 26 '22

Honor the Texas flag:

I pledge allegiance,

To thee, Texas,

One state, under God,

One and indivisible.

A google search tells me that this pledge was set by the legislature in 1933 and the first line was “Honor the Texas flag of 1836” until 1965. But I could’ve sworn I remembered it changing sometime when I was in elementary or middle school in the ‘00s

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u/Slobotic May 26 '22

One and indivisible.

Except for the dingbats who keep threatening to split Texas into five states.

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u/Aqqaaawwaqa May 26 '22

"Possible Five and Divisible."

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u/Skurttish May 26 '22

“Five, and a prime number.”

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u/Billybob9389 May 26 '22

Are you sure you're not misremembering and the change was that they allowed a moment of silence after the Texas pledge.

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u/9to5Voyager May 26 '22

I do remember the moment of silence, yes.

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u/TheLegendTwoSeven May 27 '22

“And now a moment of silence for King of the Hill, which was unjustly cancelled to make room for the Cleveland Show. A crime that Texas will never forgive nor forget. Amen.”

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u/Young_Rock May 26 '22

That’s definitely a possibility

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u/Lightning_Lance May 26 '22 edited May 26 '22

you say words too?! I thought it was just a salute. That was already too culty for me lol.

so you're all saying a prayer to a flag with the whole class...

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u/GorillaRimjob May 26 '22

Not just the class, the whole school. These are usually done over the PA system announcements.

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u/Nixbling May 26 '22

A school of 1000 plus children blindly pledging in unison their faith to a nation that actively is damaging their future before they have the tools and knowledge to realize it. Mass indoctrination at its finest

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u/Allegorist May 26 '22

It's been a thing for centuries. It wasn't until some time in the 1950's that they added (one nation) "under god" in order to try to solidify the divide between "good, Christian, God fearing Americans" and the "filthy, evil, atheist commies" which became the label for anything that stood in the way of the capitalist oligarchs expanding their profit and power.

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u/Phree_Thought May 26 '22

Well, the first incarnation was 1887. So 135 years at most. “Centuries” just feels a bit ambitious. The most notable early version from the 1890s was created by a socialist and the original salute was something now more identified as belonging to WWII era Germany…

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u/dreadpiratebeardface May 26 '22

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.

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u/Plazmasoldier May 26 '22

Which is ironic because the us has religious freedom and can’t force one singular religion onto people and yet, the pledge of allegiance has us say “One nation under God”. I personally don’t care that much. I just find it funny and ironic.

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u/W1ck3d3nd May 26 '22

“Under god” wasn’t added to the original pledge until much later. The original version didn’t have it. I would look it up and link it, but on my phone and feeling lazy. Some may have the link in a reply.

Edit: Words and grammar hard.

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u/sanebyday May 27 '22 edited May 27 '22

In my high school, in Texas, in the year 2000, a friend of mine was on student council and asked to lead the pledge of allegiance on the intercom during morning announcements. He was an extremely nice, funny, and well educated guy. Everyone liked him until he said the pledge (we didn't do the Texas pledge in high school, but did in elementary) and he intentionally left out the words "under god". Some other students, teachers, and parents were pissed. He was almost expelled. Not even kidding.

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u/sumofsines May 27 '22

That would have been an interesting court case had it gone that far.

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u/Bee-Aromatic May 27 '22

If that wasn’t a private religious school, that would have been an interesting exercise by way of a reminder of what separation of church and state is and what the very first amendment to the Constitution is for. Not everybody prays to God, even in Texas. And the state that likes to loudly proclaim how very free it is would do well to remember that given that hypocrisy is a rather unattractive shade.

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u/sanebyday May 27 '22

It was a large public high school in central Texas. Your point is valid, but MANY people there could give two shits about separation of church and state. Its not even something that matters to them. They care more about high school football than they do about the 1st Amendment. The Constitution and United States as a whole are just things that exist out there somewhere. You have to keep in mind that a lot of people in these towns don't really ever leave Texas, or sometimes the town/county itself. Generation after generation grow up in some of these towns essentially forming the bulk of the people who run it. They fear god, and they fear change. Luckily not everyone is/was like that, but far too many in my experience.

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u/sirlafemme May 26 '22

Honor the Texas flag… i pledge allegiance to thee, one state, under god one and indivisible

God that felt like activating a microchip in the back of my brain

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u/Unabashable May 26 '22

Yeah like I don’t feel indoctrinated or anything. Just a bunch of words our teachers made us say every day, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. The whole “indivisible” part though sounds like a lazy ripoff for the US one though. Like there was actually a point in our history where the country was trying to divide itself into a “South America”, but for Texas it was just a dispute between Mexico on whether or not Texas was as big as it is.

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u/[deleted] May 26 '22

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u/Elementium May 26 '22

Calling texas indivisible is pretty funny.

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u/xiofar May 26 '22

Maybe they think it means that math is bad.

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u/UlteriorCulture May 26 '22

ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

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u/TheBigSciences May 26 '22

r/Wales accepts you with open arms

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u/MathematicianKey5696 May 26 '22

You can't appreciate the pledge until you heard it in it's original Klingon

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u/2074red2074 May 26 '22

Actually it's in Elder Speech.

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u/ScabiesShark May 26 '22

It is just a form we can look at. To hear our read their actual words makes our heads melt

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u/leapbitch May 26 '22

In a private school we pledged allegiance to the American flag, the Texas flag, and then the flag of the Bible.

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u/1ridescentPeasant May 26 '22

What does the Bible flag even look like? Children being eaten by a bear?

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u/cragtown May 26 '22

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u/bb5mes May 26 '22

life and liberty to all who believe

Very telling there

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u/leapbitch May 26 '22

I'm still not convinced they didn't make it up in order to have something to pledge to

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u/sto_brohammed May 26 '22

Some schools in Michigan do the US and Michigan pledges too.

e: my niece did it in school, my rural farm town school actually never did it.

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u/Elementium May 26 '22

Damn in MA in the 90s we were basically in a "do it or dont whatever" stage by the 6th grade.

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u/TrixicAcePolyamEnby May 26 '22 edited May 26 '22

Texas Education Code §25.082 - This flagrant, egregious First Amendment violation is literally written into state law.

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u/AvoidingCares May 26 '22

Nothing says you love your country like actively ignoring the basis of its system of laws.

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u/Goya_Oh_Boya May 26 '22

Oppression is just a symptom of true American freedom! /s

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u/AvoidingCares May 26 '22

That is how they think. I think its got to do with our cars.

They have this mental thing of equating cars (specifically, the largest, most pointless trucks) with freedom. Never mind the debt you go into to buy it or operate it. Nevermind that it's enforcing car-centric design that limits your freedom to not buy a car. Your freedom comes down to what model you'll buy, not if you even want to have one.

And that kind of thinking enforces a kind of mental self-policing. Where the victim begins to think that this is the only way anyone would want to live. And any deviation from it is strange and suspicious. And probably communism.

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u/fissure May 26 '22

You are now moderator of r/fuckcars

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u/AvoidingCares May 26 '22

Fuckin finally.

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u/FlutterRaeg May 26 '22

You are also banned with extreme prejudice from r/AmericanPatriots.

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u/giger5 May 26 '22

subscribers 4

fucking lol

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u/FlutterRaeg May 26 '22

The true vocal minority.

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u/MysticUser11 May 26 '22

I went to an event in Texas and was extremely caught off guard when everyone started doing the Texas pledge. I’m from North Carolina and had no idea you guys did that lol.

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u/firebreather3345 May 26 '22

It’s ok. I went to the other side of Texas for a football game with the band (Never mind the coach was pulling some dumb stuff and had us drive literal hours for a cross state pre-season match up when there were plenty of competitive and available teams on our area) and I got caught off guard when they made us do a prayer before the match. The entire stadium. Confused the hell out of us kids on the other side. This wasn’t like the 80s or anything either. This was around fall 2016-2017. They got annoyed when our football players weren’t kneeling for the prayer, you know. Because they were confused and don’t need to.

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u/pagan_psychonaut May 26 '22

What do they do to the kids who refuse?

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u/Pigelot May 26 '22

Nothing. There have been court cases about it and kids have the right to sit out the pledge.

Assuming all teachers know that is a risk. You’ll still see occasional stories of kids getting disciplined for it.

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u/MrSethFulton May 26 '22 edited May 26 '22

I used to live in Missouri in the 90s and we had two native American students in my class who would refuse to say the pledge (for what are now obvious reasons that I didn't understand as a 4th grader). They would get sent to the office sometimes, sometimes just disparaged by the teacher.

Edit: spelling

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u/Available-Sandwich-3 May 26 '22 edited May 26 '22

I refused to say the pledge in my homeroom in 10th grade because I read in my student planner that you weren't required to stand and recite it and the school administration was informed and sent home a letter to every students family urging them to stand together and say the pledge "because 9/11" and patriotism.

I didn't refuse for any political or religious reason, it just seemed like a tiny little bit of extra control I could have in my life, like a simple right that I could exercise even as a teenager in high school, and I thought it was a little weird to have everyone half asleep swearing allegiance to the flag every morning. Started striking me as a little off.

Also another student and someone's aide came up to me when I would do this and physically try to force me to stand for it lol.

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u/euyyn May 26 '22 edited May 26 '22

Wait it's every morning???

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u/Yeah_Im_A_God May 26 '22

Often was one of the first things we did for the day lol

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u/brown_felt_hat May 26 '22

It's pretty subjective.

When I was in elementary school, it was every day. Jr high was once a week, high school was every day but before school started.

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u/asdfqwer426 May 26 '22

In MN in fucking 2018 I had my administrator tell me "why don't you just stand for the pledge, it's the same thing I tell the native american students to do".

It's probably the worst thing I've heard admin say in my years teaching.

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u/mansock18 May 26 '22

My friend is a lawyer defending parents/guardians in child protection cases in MN, and one of his clients was an Ojibwe grandfather who had assumed guardianship of kids, but the state was seeking to terminate his rights because he didn't trust and was a little ornery with County staff. My friend started his opening by detailing notable times over the last 120 years that Minnesota (or the federal government in Minnesota) had massacred, abandoned, or abused his client's tribe. The client had been alive for most of them.

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u/TrixicAcePolyamEnby May 26 '22 edited May 26 '22

Not in Texas. According to Texas Education Code 25.082, reciting the pledges once per school day is mandatory. A student's parents are allowed to opt their kids out, but if they don't, schools have free reign to harassed and bully the student into complying.

I taught public school for 15 years in Texas, and I refused to even acknowledge the fact that the pledges were going on during announcements, let alone monitor whether the kids were saying them. (I never had the flags even hanging in my classroom most years.) Some teachers would force their kids to "show respect", and they usually would just to get the teacher off their back.

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u/2074red2074 May 26 '22

Texas law does not override federal law. You cannot be compelled to pledge anything to anything in a public school as it would violate the First Amendment.

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u/TrixicAcePolyamEnby May 26 '22

I contacted my teacher's organization (not a union because collective bargaining is banned in Texas) to ask their attorneys if I could refuse to force my students to say the pledge if my administration forced my hand. The attorney I spoke with said that, should I be fired for refusing to force my students to say the pledges, they would certainly represent me as I had paid my dues. However, he said there was apparently legal precedent in Texas that states that minors under the age of 18 don't have full First Amendment rights, so it'd be likely that I wouldn't win my wrongful termination case.

One of many reasons I no longer teach in Texas public schools. The anti-science rhetoric, banning discussions about race, not allowing trans kids to get the medication they need....yeah, fuck this state into the goddamned ground. I did over 15 years for this fucking state, and I won't do it a day longer.

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u/2074red2074 May 26 '22

Yeah it's a situation that will have to be elevated to the federal courts so you'll need the money to defend yourself.

Also there's federal precedent that schoolkids don't have full 1A rights. Tinker v. Des Moines ISD says their rights can be restricted as necessary for the learning environment. So for example you can't just stand up in class and start chanting some slogan because it interferes with class. But you can (as was the issue in Tinker) wear an armband in protest of Vietnam.

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u/Runeyeu May 26 '22

In my school you got screamed at about how it was disrespectful to American soldiers if you didn’t do it. So shamed and guilted.

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u/Ok-Nefariousness4477 May 26 '22

The correct answer to that is:

that it is disrespectful to our service members that have given their lives for our freedoms, to not exercise those freedoms.

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u/el-beau May 26 '22

Man, if Texas tries to secede, there are going to be a lot of confused kids.

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u/ShesGotSauce May 26 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

Yes. Every single morning without fail. I'm reading in this thread that it's not legally required, but when I was a kid (in the 80s and 90s) you'd get in big trouble if you tried not to say it. I mean big trouble by kid standards of course; yelled at by the teacher and sent to the principal's office for example.

Once we had a substitute teacher who was an old veteran and he became absolutely enraged when a kid in the class tried to sit out the pledge.

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u/DubTheeBustocles May 26 '22

I’m a vet and cannot imagine having the cognitive dissonance required to be mad about that.

“I fought for your freedom!”

“No not like that!”

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u/Kirkonvaki May 26 '22

Was confused for a sec why being an animal doctor was relevant here

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u/lazydog60 May 27 '22

Cats definitely don't stand for any pledge.

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u/randomnpc9984 May 27 '22

"I murdered poor Vietnamese people who were absolutely no threat to the US!"

"And you think you should be praised for that?"

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u/Socalinatl May 27 '22

“You’re free thanks to people like me”

“Cool. You mean like free to be critical of the military-industrial complex and stuff”

“…better fuckin’ not, pussy”

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u/fn_br May 26 '22

I knew about the court ruling when I was 17 and sat and my art teacher screamed at me in the hall and was mortified that i wouldn't say it. She insisted I had to and wasn't aware of any such ruling. Fun times.

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u/LanceFree May 26 '22

Strange - my art teachers were all liberal.

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u/jacksnsticks05 May 26 '22 edited May 26 '22

When I was a kid, one day my class missed the Pledge of Allegiance that was being announced over the intercom (usual morning routine at about the same time), because the class was talking over the volume of the intercom, because the teacher was outside the door for some reason.

He came in, turned red as a beet and ripped us all to smithereens for not doing the Pledge

He came in halfway through and saw us all sitting and chatting with each other while the intercom was blaring away.

And because the doors to the classroom had big windows built in so he could hear the intercom in the hallway and look inside the room and see us all sitting and facing one another at the same time.

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u/McRedditerFace May 26 '22

I was in grade school in the mid-80's... It was so ingrained in us that we fucking stood for that flag and recited that pledge regardless of whatever else happened.

So I stood for that flag and recited that pledge, hand on my heart, as I pissed my pants onto the floor.

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u/logorrhea69 May 27 '22

That took an unexpected turn

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u/sarabeara12345678910 May 26 '22

My son is a sophomore and in elementary school he had a teacher pull this. I had to call the school and threaten to sue. Had to cite Barnette to get them to back off. Love living in the south/s.

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u/Pyromighty May 26 '22

went to high school 2011-14, and once in 2012 I had a friend who refused to stand or say the pledge. Teacher spent somewhere around 15mins trying to get him to stand and pledge; when nothing worked, he was sent to guidance for detention.

Dont think kids get away with it now. Even in the high school I work at, everyone is required to stand or you get in major trouble... It's annoying

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u/mentos1700 May 26 '22

Sounds like a cult.

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u/Unabashable May 26 '22

Eh. Yeah kinda. Not like the words were heartfelt or anything. Just a thing we said mindlessly because our teachers told us to. Not unlike standing for the National Anthem before a game. Just tradition that you kinda went along with. Here’s more of an uncensored Pledge of Allegiance if you’re interested though.

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u/JashDreamer May 26 '22

I didn't even realize what it was I was saying until an embarrassing age. Did it make me more loyal to the US? Nope.

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u/Reel_Nerd May 26 '22

Yeah. In middle school/elementary in the early 2000’s it was like that for me in the south. You wouldn’t get in major trouble, though depending on the teacher they’d lecture you and if you continued not doing it you’d be sent to the principal for, if I remember correctly, being rude. It only happened twice that i remember pre-highschool.

In highschool you absolutely didn’t have to, but were heavily peer pressured. Not doing so would almost always pull peer attention and if it became an issue you would invariably be blamed because you were doing something that you knew would irk other students. Also in highschool teachers were much less careful about sharing their feelings on things like patriotism and not saying the pledge would sometimes lead to lectures from a teacher on disrespect to the flag and the army.

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u/Puzzleheaded_Ear_468 May 26 '22

I work at a high school and it’s totally optional. I haven’t experienced a teacher yet that reprimands students that decide not to stand up.

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u/CrochetMama13 May 26 '22

Not all schools allow you to opt out. Texas also makes you pledge allegiance to the Texas flag. Edit: Our schools also did a moment of silence after all of that before we were allowed to sit. I lived in deep red areas of Texas though.

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u/contrabardus May 26 '22

This has been a mostly settled constitutional 1A issue since the 1940s, so States can't actually force public school students to participate.

They used to be able to get away with forcing students to participate a lot more.

There are some states that have tried to circumvent the students' 1A right to not pledge by requiring parental consent. This hasn't actually been settled in court though.

Texas is one of those states, and a case that went to court ended up with a settlement by the State before it could be decided by a ruling, and another case in Florida also didn't really settle the matter.

Students can assume they have a right to not participate, but may be required to stand even if they don't recite the pledge itself.

It's a weirdly UnAmerican practice value wise, but also happened for very American reasons. The pledge was written by a Magazine Editor selling flags through mail order to schools.

It's pretty much marketing that became tradition.

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u/White___Velvet May 26 '22

Our schools also did a moment of silence after all of that before we were allowed to sit.

I went to school in Tennessee, and we also did both the pledge and the moment of silence. I don't know if you were allowed to not say the pledge, since in my experience everyone just did it.

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u/ShesGotSauce May 26 '22

What was the moment of silence for?

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u/CrochetMama13 May 26 '22

It's in place of the prayer they're not allowed to add.

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u/[deleted] May 26 '22

I get that now and I'm glad that's the case but growing up (I'm 49) it was absolutely expected that everyone do it.

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u/Hanbarc12 May 26 '22 edited May 27 '22

Yes. Went with my high school to the US to see our penpals (honestly great way to create bonds across oceans , still friends with them a decade later).

Followed my penpal to her high school and was quite embarrassed because It's not something we do in Europe and I didn't want to be disrespectful. They had their hands on the chest and I felt it was weird/hypocritical if I did so but I felt it was disrespectful to stay in my seat so I just stood up and waited.

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u/Aqqaaawwaqa May 26 '22

I'll be honest, I always thought it was weird growing up too.

Like it is a robotic thing, you just kind of do it without any real thought so it certainly misses the intended purpose lol.

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u/Dippingsauce353 May 26 '22

"The Pledge of Allegiance" is such an intentionally obtuse name. What elementary kid is going to understand what that really means (not to mention the actual language of the pledge itself)? And by the time you can understand, you have stopped thinking about it and simply except it as normal. I'd would be impressed by it if I wasn't already appalled.

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u/Phantereal May 26 '22

Feels the same as when I was a kid going to church. I attended a mass last year for my grandmother's funeral and it brought back the memories of just rotely repeating prayers while having no clue and not caring what they meant.

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u/agbellamae May 26 '22

I think you did the right thing. If you’re not American, you shouldn’t feel it necessary to do our pledge. So no need to say the words or put your hand over your heart Haha. But standing up and being quiet during it shows you’re respecting the others doing it. Kind of like when people say a prayer and you’re not religious, you don’t pray with them but you might lower your head and be quiet during it.

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u/DoubleUnderscore May 26 '22

When I student taught at a local high school that's what I did. It feels weird doing that as an adult, but I didn't want to make a toxic relationship with any of my coworkers/"patriotic" students. Turns out most people don't like doing it, so the other faculty just did the same and a good chunk of students didn't even stand.

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u/Anonymous_Otters May 26 '22

It's illegal to make kids say the pledge.

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u/Serethen May 26 '22

Yet apparently some schools Will punish students for sitting

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u/Queasy-Commission291 May 26 '22

Yeah I got detention. They claimed disrespect to the teacher

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u/FlutterRaeg May 26 '22

Yup, step out of line and it's always you're a backtalking disrespectful delinquent. They will shut you down.

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u/shargy May 26 '22

If you don't have money to bring a lawsuit, and the case isn't good enough, strong enough, or interesting enough for a lawyer to take it pro bono, laws in this nation can freely be ignored because there's literally no recourse if you're persecuted for it.

You only have rights, even if those rights are codified in law, if you have enough money to take it to court.

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u/Anonymous_Otters May 26 '22

That's literally what the ACLU is for. They will always take cases like this if you can't afford the initial process. Mentality like this is why more cases aren't tried. You have to actually believe you have power before you have power.

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u/Halt-CatchFire May 26 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

If you ARE American you shouldn't feel it necessary to do our pledge. It's not some ancient American tradition with a proud history, it was implemented during the Cold War. It's nationalist BS that does nothing but help train the next generation of American exceptionalists.

There's a reason why no sane country does this! We should not be intentionally raising new nationalists!

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u/Boredummmage May 26 '22

Honestly a lot of Americans find it weird too… when they did it at a graduation last night I was so surprised! I guess they always did that and I forgot? I thought it was the national anthem typically…

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u/jefferylucille May 26 '22

It is usually the national anthem

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u/walker_paranor May 26 '22

I grew up as a Jehova's Witness (thank god my parents got me away from my grandparents ASAP) and it made me exempt from having to do the pledge. I got to grow up watching all these kids swear to a national symbol from a removed perspective and it was creepy as fuck.

Now that we're all adults we (at least the sane ones) look back on it and go "What the fuck? Why is this a thing?". I basically was thinking that since I was in elementary school. It's just another aspect of brainwashing kids into worshipping their country and "God" for no actual reason. The fact that the "God" part is even fucking there is weird as fuck too.

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u/LastToKnow0 May 26 '22

Legally, no one has to do the pledge, although some teachers think otherwise.

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u/xltlmnonamlpon May 26 '22

Reprisal for not pledging was normal when I was a kid. It'd be one of the goth kids usually who'd refuse and get lunch detention.

This was around 2005. It bothered me then, and it bothers me now.

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u/jtothewtothes May 26 '22

Sorry that happened during your time in school. I'm a teacher myself for 10 years now and I'd like to think most of us see how awful this and don't hassle kid on it. At my school they do the pledge on the intercom every morning and early on in the year I explain to the kids they don't have to stand or speak but just be respectfully quiet during the pledge.

Ive lived overseas and experienced one party democracies. It's a point of emphasis for me to explicitly tell them how awesome our country is that you get to not do the pledge if you don't want to.

I tell them this isn't North Korea or China and nobody will beat or punish you. In America we get to show dissent to our government without fear, that's not normal in many parts of the world and we should be proud of that.

It blows my mind that it's mostly conservative voices that push this issue. Like the people who hate government and socialism the most are the same people who want China's nationalist forced patriotism style mimicked here in the USA. I will never force my kids to pledge an allegiance to anything. How awful.

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u/walker_paranor May 26 '22

Teachers AND students. Its so ingrained that they don't really know how to respond to someone opting out without acting like it really is a mandatory thing.

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u/Anonymous_Otters May 26 '22

No one should feel it necessary to do the pledge. It's cultlike and fascist. This is a constitutional republic and it is Congress and the President who swear to serve us, the people, not the other way around. It's literally illegal to force people to swear.

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u/PsychologicalStep790 May 26 '22

I remember being in elementary school and watching a news program like 60 minutes and there was a girl who got in trouble because she didn't want to say the under God part of the pledge.

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u/Llamas1115 May 26 '22

She got in trouble, but presumably un-got in trouble, since any kind of punishment would be unconstitutional. That’s an open-and-shut lawsuit if you take it to court.

Also like to note that I never said “Under God” for 4 years of high school and never got in trouble.

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u/UnluckyStudio May 26 '22

Same. I did get in trouble but oh boy when my dad who was in law school at the time found out, I was no longer in trouble. lol

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u/InformalArtichoke May 26 '22

Some schools even sing the national anthem right after saying the pledge

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u/v1_rt8 May 26 '22

This stuff isn't particular to the US, though.

Growing up in Mexico, every Monday began with a pledge of allegiance. Once that was done, the national anthem would play as the kids with the highest grades got the opportunity to be in the flag escort (six kids, one would carry the flag) and march it through the courtyard. Everyone was expected to salute and sing along.

The other school I attended in Mexico didn't have the flag escort but the Monday pledge and singing of the national anthem was the same.

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u/Bacon_Techie May 26 '22

In Canada all they do is play the anthem over the PA system in the morning. You don’t need to stand for it but most do. At my highschool they will play different songs for certain occasions (imperial March on may 4th (Star Wars day), indigenous songs, etc).

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u/JediWax May 26 '22

I haven't seen anyone post the actual pledge, so here it is for the people across borders.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which is stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all"

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u/bjiatube May 26 '22

"Under god" was added in the 50s during the red scare.

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u/Normal_Lime7922 May 26 '22

Yes. Although many do not understand this is an optional thing. I realized about 9th grade that no one was gonna do anything if the weird kid in class decided, screw allegiance today, and then pass around a form to start their own militia instead. (I really did that, I was a very strange teenager, what's stranger people actually signed up)

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u/Accomplished_Owl8213 May 26 '22

Bruh I’m in high school and I still do that every morning

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u/Cliffy73 May 26 '22

They say it. They don’t mean it.

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u/OutlyingPlasma May 26 '22

This is a pretty important point. They say some words, and get on with life. Does that mean they are swearing some allegiance to a flag? No of course it doesn't. The whole exercise is creepy and culty, but children don't even know what the words mean. Its just another stupid thing adults make them do. Even when they are old enough to know what they are doing, it's so over done that it means absolutely nothing.

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u/dashington44 May 26 '22

I went to a lot of schools and it was generally phased out by high school (ages 14 to 18). Almost every school has the kids younger than that pledge every morning first thing.

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u/Dense_Surround3071 May 26 '22

No...... You 'Pledge' allegiance.

I stopped in high school. You get weird looks in southern schools sometimes as a result. Even from the teachers.

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u/ksiyoto May 26 '22

Even creepier was the Bellamy salute that was supposed to be done while pledging allegiance.

Conservatives would be aghast to learn that Bellamy, who wrote the pledge, was a socialist. And even though he was a minister's son, he did not include the "under God", that was inserted during the Red scare years.

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u/dgdan12 May 26 '22

Did nazi that coming.

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u/MrMallow May 26 '22

The Nazi's literally stole the salute from us, its just another example of a lot of things they coopted and ruined.

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u/Marcus__T__Cicero May 26 '22

It’s only creepy because the Nazis came in and ruined it. If it wasn’t for that, it’s kind of a cool salute.

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u/JaroshockTesla May 26 '22

The nazis ruin a lot of things. Like the manji/swastika

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u/SquireSyd May 26 '22

As far as I'm aware this usually is a thing we did in schools and not really anywhere else. We had to do it every morning at the start of the school day. It was weird as hell. Not to mention I went to public school and it states in the pledge "one nation under god" as if everyone believes in the same God. Fucking weirdo shit man.

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u/Regn752 May 27 '22

In Australia they would make us sing national anthems and the school pledge every assembly. It's not just the USA that does weird shit like this.

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u/blind_bambi May 26 '22 edited May 26 '22

It is culty. Even if they don't force you, it is. You could be punished if you did not both stand and hold your hand over your heart while saying it every morning. It depends on the school of course. Some don't enforce it as much as others

I only saw kids get in trouble in kindergarten/first grade. Later on I don't recall anyone getting in trouble for it but everyone did seem obliged to do it anyway despite no one really caring.

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u/Angie_114 May 26 '22

I've heard the same happens in games. But, if I just wanna watch a game as a non American, will I get weird looks or be yelled at when I don't stand?

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u/blind_bambi May 26 '22

In a rural area maybe, but not very likely. snarky comments are probably most likely. Some will think you are a terrible person and let you know though, others will just mind their own business because they don't know you.

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u/PsychologicalStep790 May 26 '22

My dad made us stand when the pledge and the national anthem came on TV, lol

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u/Proud-Tie557 May 26 '22

supreme court ruled that students cannot be forced to say the pledge .. im a us history teacher for 27 years

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u/Reelix May 26 '22

They cannot be forced - But going through this thread they can still be shouted at, sent to detention, sent to the principals office, etc. if they don't - But not forced.

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u/Mike_Handers May 26 '22

Sure, but there's a difference between practice and theory.

You don't have to say it, but then the teacher calls you out, maybe you get sent to the principals office, now you're the hot topic for students for a day and maybe some of them laugh and think you're stupid cuz you're making a big deal out of saying words or the teacher looks at you with a low level hate. Maybe your parents even get called, etc etc. That's a lot to deal with as a kid in high school, let alone any other grade, so enforcement is mostly social.

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u/joebleaux May 26 '22

Yeah, it's culty. Even more weird that the "under God" bit was added way later.

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u/Cool-Experience7357 May 26 '22

Depends on where you're at (we only did it on elementary) and yeah it is. It's not like most kids actually pay attention to what they're reciting since most don't know what its even about. Do you not do this as an adult?

Every country is a cult. There's levels to it.

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u/SuburbanCumSlut May 26 '22

Every. Single. Day. It's a morning routine in a lot of schools.

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u/Darwinitan May 27 '22

I haven't been a student for about 20 years, so I don't speak for the children of today. When I was a kid, we said the pledge every day, as early as kindergarten. We were so young and it was part of a greater set of new experiences (school itself) that we all just took it as part of the routine. Personally, I had very little understanding of what it even meant, and just mindlessly repeated it. For the first two years or so I thought the phrase "for which it stands" was. "for Richard Stantz," who I just assumed was a civil rights hero or something.

By high school I still stood for the pledge but stopped reciting it, but not out of protest exactly--I just noticed that the our teacher didn't expect us to (some teachers didn't even stand themselves). In middle school, I had a classmate who conscientiously refused to say or stand for the pledge. I shamefully admit that at the time, I thought it was a little fussy--"just do it, what's the big deal?" I had thought. But I, and no other students or even teachers, ever gave him trouble for it. Much later in life, I reflected on this and realized how the daily pledge was both ineffective (it was an automatic ritual that wasn't taken to heart or even consciously thought of) and arguably effective (I didn't question the pledge and, for a time, balked at those who did).

Funnily enough, I did balk at the national anthem at sports games and certain call-and-response prayers in church--probably because neither were ingrained at a very early age or done on a daily basis.

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u/Hylpmei May 27 '22

I never cared much about religious stuff like God. I just replaced that word with Satan whenever I did the pledge of allegiance in school.