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Is the Pledge of Allegiance 'Divisive?' Some Politicians in Oregon Think So


"say the pledge at home or with friends"

How could something that includes the words 'pledge of allegiance to the flag of the UNITED States' be considered divisive? Believe it or not, the mayor and city council of Eugene, Oregon just voted on this very issue.  (It should also be noted that the city of Eugene, Oregon is a member of ICLEI, part of the UN's Agenda 21 Program.)

Long before NBC Sports edited the Pledge of Allegiance, the city of Eugene, Oregon was busy debating if their City Council should recite it before each bi-monthly meeting. At the June 7th meeting of the council, a proposal was floated by Councilor Mike Clark, suggesting that every bi-monthly meeting start with a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. The Columbian reports that Mayor Kitty Piercy (a lead sponsor of Code Pink's latest Anti-War Resolution) and others did not agree with this idea, suggesting that reciting the pledge might be "divisive."

Judging from the letters-to-the-editor posted in the local paper, residents of Eugene responded to the debate from just about every angle one might imagine. We offer an example from both sides:

Pledge language debate is debasing

As a veteran and an American it shocks me that there is even a debate about reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. It is unpatriotic and debasing that our values have slipped so much that people cannot say and confirm their allegiance to their country. Fine. Don’t say “under God” if that offends you.

And if you are offended by our flag and country, please find someplace else to live. If politicians feel they need to debate it, we need new politicians. Freedom requires sacrifice from everyone.


Requiring pledge would be divisive

Eugene City Councilor Mike Clark’s desire to force all people, through their representatives on the council, to swear to the Pledge of Allegiance spurred me to research the pledge itself.

Justice Robert Jackson, in a 1943 U.S. Supreme Court decision, wrote for the majority: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” With that 6-3 decision, the court said no one can be forced to recite the pledge.

I see God as a concept was invented by men, and I defy Clark to draw a circle and define who belongs inside and who is outside the circle without showing the arrogance of the majority fundamentalist religions and their ignorance of the needs of those who are secular. If the word “God” is meaningless and divisive, then why pledge to it? It will serve only to divide our community more.

If reciting the pledge at City Council meetings becomes an “official” activity, then I ask that my representative on the council, Andrea Ortiz, not stand and salute as a way to keep faith with those of a secular persuasion in her ward.

Hugh Massengill

A compromise proposal was pitched, offering the pledge to be recited four times a year, at meetings that happen closest to national holidays (July 4th, Labor Day, etc.)  That proposal passed last night by a vote of 6-2. One of the dissenting votes came from City Councilor George Brown who reportedly told Mr. Clark that he should "say the pledge at home or with friends."

When asked to comment on the issue and her statement that reciting the pledge before meetings might be "divisive," Mayor Piercy told The Blaze:

The Eugene City Council has not historically had the pledge as part of its agenda. At the request of one of our councilors who has served in the Air Force, this council decided to not make the pledge routine but to reserve it for special days of national recognition such as Flag Day, Veterans Day, Memorial Day and the 4th of July.

In any case the entire council believes this country is based on the freedom to speak or to be silent, to pledge or not to pledge.

Fox News crews from a local affiliate in Seattle were at the meeting and reports are now reaching the network level:

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