Re: [GrassrootsAtheism] I Need Your Help

From: Shane
Sent on: Friday, November 12, 2010 11:52 PM
I had this exact line of reasoning last year, when my class had to recite the Pledge as it was broadcast over the intercom. By this point, I was a sophomore in high school, so I had no trouble deciding to sit it out while everyone else followed along. I refused to pledge myself to any system in particular, and I still do. Democracy is a fine thing, but it means that the values of those in charge are ultimately decided by the mindset of the public. The very definition of an argumentum ad populum. 

Preschool children, on the other hand, simply don't think along those lines.  I object to this practice, not only on a religious (or non-religious, as the case may be) basis, but a logical one as well. We do not allow children to pledge themselves to another person through marriage, so why should they be forced to owe their allegiance to a government they barely know anything about?

The voice of a sixteen-year-old may not count for much in an issue such as this, but you have my support. I wish I could give it in person, but I'm afraid it wouldn't be possible. 

I'd also like to apologize for my profound lack of activity since I joined. Conservative, religious parents/guardians make a tough obstacle. 

On 12 Nov 2010, at 16:48, Christopher McLaughlin <[address removed]> wrote:

Geoff:

 

There have been exceptions made for the Pledge of Alleginace, despite the fact that it includes the words "under God". There's not enough time to type out the sordid history of the Pledge or of the historical attempts that the religious have made to include their gods in every corner of American government and education system. But, if you come out on Monday, you will recieve a first hand education about the matter, and we can talk after the meeting.

 

Dawkins mentions the survival value of childhood credulity with respect to authority in The God Delusion.

 

-Chris


----- Original Message -----
From: "Geoff" <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Friday, November 12,[masked]:23:09 AM
Subject: Re: [GrassrootsAtheism] I Need Your Help

Hello Chris,


I'm an Australian who's been living in the US for the last 2 years and consequently I'm not completely up to speed on the constitution, but aren't public schools banned from practicing prayer or religion?  All that I really know about this is what I learned from MAD magazines in the 70's and 80's.

I'm trying to remember a book I read that was explaining that one of our survival mechanisms is that children are programmed to believe whatever adults tell them (eg look before you cross the street, Santa Clause comes down the chimney) and how when they reach adolescence they start to rebel and want to think for themselves.  If I can find it I'll let you know.

Regards
Geoff Cook

Operations Manager
SeaView Systems, Inc. 
9890 Huron Creek Drive
Dexter, MI, 48130
Ph:[masked]

On Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 9:46 AM, Christopher McLaughlin <[address removed]> wrote:
I'm having a problem with my local school system. My son Connor attends pre-school at Avondale Public Schools. Every morning the entire elementary school is led in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance by a school administrator over the PA system.

As atheists, we all have an issue with the latest version of the Pledge. But there may even be a greater problem. The Pledge is a loyalty oath (and public prayer). The school system only performs the pledge ritual in the elementary school. Children as young as four are expected to take this oath, daily.

The reasons that this is wrong, are many. Children as young as four do not have the mental capacity to seriously undertake an oath of loyalty. Similar oaths, like those of judges and elected officials are taken only once. The words "under God" in the Pledge constitutes an endorsement of monotheism. Only the elementary schools are led in the Pledge; not the middle schools and Hight School. And there are many other reasons to object to the organized group recitation of the Pledge by elementary school students.

For the last six weeks I have been appealing to school officials to remove the Pledge from the curriculum. I have met with varying degrees of resistance, but always resistance. I'm still trying to talk sense to them, and I think that maybe with a little help I can get through.

I need your help in lending support to this effort to remove the Pledge from the elementary school curriculum. It doesn't matter if you live in this school district or not. I need supporters to attend the upcoming school board meetings. You can show your support in the meeting by not rising for the Pledge, by talking (for up to five minutes) at the meeting, or maybe some other form of protest to the school's policy.

The next meeting is this Monday, November 15, with meetings every second Monday after that.

I really need supporters there in the meeting, but maybe you can't make it, or maybe you'd like to also help by sending an Email to the school officials involved. If you have special expertise that might give some authority on this issue, like a degree in child psychology, it would be doubly helpful. Here is their contact information, just click on the Contact links on the right side of the page:

http://avondale.mi.schoolwebpages.com/education/dept/dept.php?sectiondetailid=7803&

Please contact me if you wish to help. And you can also help by re-posting this on other forums where we might find supporters. Thanks.

Sincerely,
Chris McLaughlin
Organizer - Detroit Grassroots Atheism




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