How I convinced my teacher to let me sit while the flag salute.

This derives from an actual letter I gave to my teacher, once she read it I was allowed to omit standing for the pledge of allegiance.
[DISCLAIMER] The contents of this letter is fact mixed with my opinion and views, I do not mean everyone to take my word as law.[/DISCLAIMER]

Dear Mrs. *****,
For the whole school year now, you have asked me to stand for the flag salute and I refuse, when I refuse you force me to stand with the threat of being sent to the office for failure to obey a teacher, whereupon I stand.
I truly believe that you lost sight of what the very pledge you want me to acknowledge, means.
Let’s go over this word by word.

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.

My first complaint is the words “under God”. “Under God” was placed into the pledge during the McCarthy era as a way to sniff out communists. Secondly, the Constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”; I do not see why anyone should force me to respect an establishment of religion, so we will take “under God” out. We now have:

I 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.

Now, by forcing me to stand you are taking away my civil liberties. You always say that I should stand for the men who laid down their life for me to live in this great country. I do not find it just that those men laid down their lives so I could not exercise my civil liberties, the very civil liberties that they died for. Now, I will take out “with liberty and justice for all.” because apparently that is not the case. We now have:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible.

Indivisible, one nation indivisible. I hardly find that to be the case. IMO the nation is very divided, which is why I am not too fond of it. We will take out “indivisible”. We now have:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation.

I pledge allegiance to no one. I will not pledge allegiance to a flag nor will I pledge allegiance to republic. This is my choice and those are my rights. We will now take out “I pledge allegiance to the flag…” We now have:

One nation.

One nation. That is about the only part I would agree to. We are one nation, it pretty much stops there for me.

One nation.

This was last week. After battling me for the whole school year she seemed to view everything from my POV for once.
I no longer stand for the pledge of allegiance.

Wow. We stopped doing the Pledge in 5th grade and even before I don’t remember ever knowing the words. I’m impressed! (How old are you?)

I am a 15 year old high school Sophmore.
I would not be doing the pledge except that it is broadcasted over the school intercom everyday, during 2nd period and my teacher that period is extremely patriotic.

Mercutio, I’ve read on Internet sites that the Knights of Columbus were the ones who led the campaign in 1954 to have “under God” added to the pledge. They apparently did it as part of their mission to defend the Catholic faith.

Where do you get the info that anti-communism was the driving force?

Merc, you are my Official Hero of the Week.

Way to go.

Near the bottom it states:

From this and I believe some textbooks I found, I derieved the answer that this was a move for Americans to be able to prove to be against the communist movement, this is what I believe it to be. I may be wrong, but that is how I interpreted it.

Sorry to double-post, but…
Even if I interpretation of the quote I metioned above is incorrect, it still falls under my first complaint according to the quote.

S’okay, Mercutio, I was being the interested foreigner, is all.

Considering it happened with a background of the anti-communist witch hunts, both origins would be pretty much intertwined anyway.

BTW, I refuse to close my eyes during public prayers, due to my non-Christianity, unless it is a remembrance for a late friend or respected figure. Around here, that makes me an outlaw socially speaking.

Damn good job Mercutio you just gave me a little bit more faith in todays high school students.

I feel so old. Not only do I remember saying the pledge in school, even in high school, I can also remember saying the Lord’s Prayer immediately after (though that was only up to the 3rd grade).

Badtz Maru, Class of '90…sigh…

So you don’t stand for the pledge. For what purpose? What to gain? Like you I am an atheist and I object to “under god” in the pledge. I simply omit that part when I recite the pledge. If you’re not confortable with that then at least stand during the pledge and don’t say a word. Its just good form. Like standing in a stadium when they play someone else’s national anthem.


PS: I’m not picking on you but to many people are gushing because you refused to stand up. I don’t think its really all that big a deal and doesn’t deserve gushing.

For the record I gushed because the boy researched his topic and dissected it piece by piece. Not bad for a 15 year old eh? The thing is this isn’t someone else’s national anthem. Hell it’s not a national anthem period. Forcing a student to do anything is ehhhh well fucked up if you ask me. You should give them a choice if they don’t want to do it then hey good for them.

Well, I made Merc by Official Hero of the Week because he stood up for his beliefs, which sort of agree with mine a little bit, and was not a coward. Not very common for a 15 year old American. Personally, being a rabid patriot, I’ll stand for the pledge, but I won’t say, “under God,” because:

A. There is no God.
B. The US has nothing to do with God
C. There is no God.

Mercutio, congrats for standing up for yourself and doing it with a bit of flair…

I have one nit which I must pick, however:

Having lived outside the US for the last 5 years, the US looks pretty fucking good to me when I come home! :smiley: You could be living someplace much worse!

We force students to do all sorts of things on a daily basis. No gum chewing, talking during class, and making them do homework. I also realize that the pledge isn’t the national anthem but I think my analogy was a good one. I think it is rude not to stand for either one regardless of whether you agree with it or not.


I realized this was gonna happen and I should have went into more detail my bad on that. First off I would stand for ANY countries national anthem. I wouldn’t necessarily stand for any countries worship of some “figure” they deem to be awe inspiring or amazing.

We don’t really force children in school to do anything. If they don’t do their homework they don’t get the points for it and thus they fail. If they talk in class there are reprocussions for it. Again same thing for the gum chewing. I should’ve said that you should have a choice for everything you do (pertaining to certain things i.e. you shouldn’t have a choice in killing someone because of stinky feet or some crap like that). Now if you choose not to do a certain thing you have to pay the consequences of it like being reprimanded for not doing homework, talking in class, or chewing gum. But ideally you shouldn’t force a child to stand for the national anthem. If they for some reason do not want to do that hey more power to them.

I find it odd that someone should be forced to pledge allegiance to a country that prides itself on its liberties and freedom for individuals.

Badtz, where are/were you? I’m shocked and amazed that any school was having students say prayers that recently. In New York, prayers went out of the public schools with my dad’s class–'62.

Big salutes, Merc.

That was a school in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Thinking about this made me realize I don’t know the Lord’s Prayer anymore, just parts of it. I wonder how much I would remember of the Pledge of Allegiance if I no longer had to say it after the 3rd grade.

I sorry, I’m less impressed also. I agree that freedom of speech implies one needn’t be forced to express respect for something or someone that one doesn’t respect. But while Mercutio’s essay is being “gushed” over, I can’t see that he has justified withholding the respect, i.e. standing, that we generally pay the flag of any nation, whether or not we pay allegiance to that nation.

That is, sure, he has the right to sit, but he’s trying to justify an act of disrespect or impoliteness, and I think he’s done so poorly. Protest for protest’s sake seems wasted to me.

I am not an enthusiastic flag waver, but I do believe there are remarkable principles behind the US and its symbol the flag. That all persons are created equal and that government is empowered only by the consent of the governed. So far reaching are these ideas that we have not yet fully manifested them perfectly in our society, though we have improved greatly, IMO on the last 225 years. The really remarkable thing about it is the right and responsibility of the citizens to critique the system and society and to work for the the appropriate changes.

While democracy is not rare in the world today, plenty of countries do not have such broad reaching rights of criticism and protest guaranteed. I am typing this from one of them.

Again my point is not that someone should be forced to stand. I respect the right to protest in one’s own way. Our flag is that much more powerful a symbol that its disrespect is protected. But its disrespect does not merit applause. If Mercutio had written a letter to his congressperson requesting a change of wording (removing “under God” for instance), or had worked towards removing the divisions in the country, then we should gush.

I think his protest is badly misplaced. In the greater picture showing the injustices, great and small, that are suffered in every land on the planet, standing and being polite for the duration of one sentence seems to me like a very small denial of “liberty and justice.” If it bugs you that much, OK. But don’t expect lots of praise from everyone.