Spare me any idle chatter about love of God and country when it comes to the Pledge of Allegiance.
That’s what we may have been taught to believe, but the pledge’s beginnings belie such dogma. Some historical context might be particularly instructive, given our pitiable grasp of civics, including, it seems, among some educators.
“Pledge controversies” – more precisely, over the words “under God” – have recently surfaced at public schools in Tracy and San Jacinto. The San Jacinto Unified School District agreed in late October to apologize to a Monte Vista Middle School student after a teacher admonished the 11-year-old boy for not standing during the pledge.
Still unresolved is a subsequent dispute at West High School in Tracy, where Derek Giardina, 17, says he received detention and a reduced grade in his speech class for omitting the “God” reference in his third of 12 required readings. The school district, which claims to respect everyone’s religious beliefs or lack thereof, supports the punishment because, as officials put it, “If you’re going to lead the school in the pledge, you better say it in the traditional way.”