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The Pledge Of Allegiance In The Public School System

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The Pledge of Allegiance in the Public School System

The Pledge of Allegiance has become a major issue for students, teachers, parents and lawmakers. The original intention of the pledge was not to stir up trouble, but for a celebration of Christopher Columbus discovery of the new world. The pledge is no longer thought of as a celebration, but an infringement on children's religious beliefs. Do you believe that children's rights are being infringed on? Some people believe that the pledge is a great honor for our country. It has shown, and provided us with great pride just like our American flag. The Pledge of Allegiance being recited in the public school system does not infringe on the students religious beliefs, but is a way for us to honor our country and everything that we have done to get to this point in history.

In 1892 the Pledge of Allegiance was created by two men Francis Bellamy and James Upham. The intention of the pledge is for it to be used in the 400th anniversary celebration of Christopher Columbus discovery of the new world. The words appeared for the first time in a magazine issue of the "Youth's Companion", where James Upham was employed. Even though the pledge was published there was no author nor was it copyrighted. We have been led to believe that the true author is Francis Bellamy, but there is no concrete evidence of that to date. One month after the pledge was published more than 12 million school children recited the pledge for the first time across the country (Sterner, 1999-2006).

The Pledge of Allegiance has gone through many changes over the years. The original creation of the 23 words read like this, "I pledge allegiance to my Flag, and to the Republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for all".

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In 1923 the phrase "my Flag" was changed to "the Flag of the United States", by adults at the National Flag Conference. They were concerned that thousands of immigrants coming to America would misinterpret the word "My Flag", so they change the wording of it. In 1924 the words were changed again to include the words "United States of America". Finally the last change came in 1954 by Dwight D. Eisenhower when the words "one Nation under God" were added. This is how we know the 31 word Pledge of Allegiance 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".

The Pledge of Allegiance was not recognized until 1942 by Congress, and then "in June 1943, the Supreme Court ruled that school children could not be forced to recite it" (Streufert, 2005). With knowing the Supreme Court's ruling, how can some parents say that we are pushing religion on our children today? I believe that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in school is good for our children today. The pledge gives the students pride and joy to be in this free country, to be proud and to stand tall.

Many people can remember in school putting their hand over their heart reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and looking at the Flag of the United States of America and they were honored to be "one Nation". They were not worried about the words "under God", and did not think that two words, meant "be my religion", they are words that bring our once torn country together as one.

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If the words "under God" bother so many people so much, then we should be consistent and remove the two words off of our currency, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. If we have to take the words out of the pledge then we should take the words off of our money. What is good for one is good for everyone.

The words "under God" some say are unconstitutional and are pushing religion on our youth today. The Federal Appeals Court ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance is an endorsement of religion with the words "under God" in it. Lawmakers are irritated by the verdict that was made; they want the Supreme Court to get involved on the case. The House members were, so infuriated with the decision that they stood on the front steps of the Capitol and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. White House press secretary Ari Fleischer (2002) said that, "I think the decision will not sit well with the American people. Certainly, it does not sit well with the president of the United States".

As of today, the Pledge of Allegiance has faced many court hearings. In 1942 Congress acknowledged the Pledge of Allegiance, "In June 1943, the Supreme Court ruled that school children could not be forced to recite it" (Streufert, 2005, The original Pledge of Allegiance ¶ 1). One of the first court cases to received public attention is West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette. Even though in 1943 the Supreme Court decided to let children choose whether they wanted to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, by not reciting it they still got punished by the school. In 1998 a 13-year-old Jehovah's Witness was made to stand in the rain for 15 minutes because he opted out of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance (Hudson, 2006). As of today we still do not understand why

Pledge of Allegiance 5 the school punished the 13-year-old for not reciting the pledge even thought there was a law giving children the choice to opt out. In April 1998, a detention was severed to a 16-year-old girl for not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in class, Hudson (2006) stated.

The well publicized cases to date are Newdow v. Congress and Newdow v. Elk Grove Unified School District. Newdow has even perused a lawsuit against President Bush to get the words "under God" removed. Newdow has stated that by his daughter's classroom reciting the pledge it has harmed and damaged her. He also says that he does not believe in God and he feels that his daughter should not be made to recite it. The thing is Newdow's daughter can not be made to recite the Pledge of Allegiance because according to the law she cannot be made to do so. In my opinion if Mr. Michael Newdow has a problem with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance her can remove her from school and home school his daughter? Instead Newdow is trying to make a movement to change the pledge even though it has been around for several years.

Some believe that two little words push any type of religion onto someone. Knowing that everyone believes acts or will do what they want to in this lifetime that is why we have

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