the Pledge of Allegiance and indoctrination

someone said:“My child should not be forced to say ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance in the morning. That’s religious indoctrination, and should not be allowed. It goes against the separation of church and state, and it goes against what I believe. I don’t want my child to be brain-washed into believing in God.”

my thought:I’m sorry, but in all honesty, I really don’t think that saying “under God” as part of the Pledge qualifies as “religious indoctrination.”

Are you so insecure about your ability to educate your own children on the topic of religion, that you think that MERELY by them repeating the phrase as part of a morning ritual, their minds will be irrevocably corrupted beyond your ability to repair the damage?

And I am not saying this to criticize or question the parenting skills of any one person. I mean this as a general statement about how I think all parents should approach education. Schools teach things. Some you might agree with, some you might not. If you disagree with something, then take responsibility as a parent, and discuss it with your child.

If you’re a good parent, this is your shining golden moment. This is your chance to teach your kid about the history of the Pledge, the meaning of the words “under God”, how it should be interpreted, some of the bad ways that people use it, and so on. It’s a fantastic opportunity.

What the school tells your child only becomes “indoctrination” if you’re not participating in your child’s education as well. To me, the term “indoctrination” doesn’t just mean repeating a particular phrase over and over. To me, “indoctrination” implies pushing one point of view to the exclusion of all others.

And that’s not what this is, because you can have that discussion with your child after school. You can explain to your child how the words “under God” got inserted into the Pledge. You can explain why you disagree. It can open up a fantastic dialogue.

Being scared to have your child exposed to certain words is, in my opinion, the beginning of the end. After all, if you say “I don’t want my child to have to say or hear the word ‘God'” because you are somehow afraid it will corrupt him, how are you different from the parent who says that he doesn’t want his kid to hear or say the word “evolution”?

In my opinion, it goes both ways. A lot of people say, “Teachers should teach evolution, and if the parents believe something different then it is the parents’ responsibility to discuss that at home.”

Why doesn’t it go the other way? Why not say, “The school can teach the Pledge of Allegiance as it’s written, and if parents believe something different then it’s the parents’ responsibility to discuss that at home.”

To me, that seems fair.

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