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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.

Letter: Pledge has different meanings

By Karen Fenton, VANCOUVER
Published: March 25, 2023, 6:00am

There is a lot in the news about requiring the pledge of allegiance. I taught for 40 years. The state mandated that we recite it every morning. For many years it was done with respect, though I suspect no real understanding.

Then there were exceptions and rightly so. Several religions consider this an affront to God as we are not to worship things. Others may have been from different religions and couldn’t say God when they worshiped Allah. This was right and good.

Many of my students avoided saying it, hiding under one or more legitimate reasons for not participating. They would lounge in their seats and not stand, go online with their phones, or read. I could not challenge them because they would also claim a religious or some other exemption.

I spoke the pledge because I do believe in America. The true patriots will honor the country and the flag. However saying an allegiance is a poor substitute for actual patriotism and probably should be dropped from public events. I do, however, have to commend those who are punished for not saying it because what it says does not always reflect reality. At least they are really thinking about what it says.

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