Colorado Students Walk Out During Pledge Recital September 27, 2007

Colorado Students Walk Out During Pledge Recital

It’s one thing to not stand up during the daily Pledge of Allegiance recital in high school. It takes balls to do that in most places.

But to get 50 of your classmates to do it with you… that’s just freaking phenomenal:

“Boulder High has a highly diverse population, not all of whom believe in God, or one God,” said Emma Martens, a senior and president of the [Student Worker Club], which has about a dozen members.

“We didn’t think it was fair for the whole school to have to listen to it. It’s almost religious oppression,” she said.


(That photo is courtesy of It features members of the Student Workers group at Boulder High: Eric Brown, left, Coco Breen, Lance Bender and Ashley Guesman.)

The 50 students left class and recited their own God-free Pledge:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag and my constitutional rights with which it comes. And to the diversity, in which our nation stands, one nation, part of one planet, with liberty, freedom, choice and justice for all.”

The principal isn’t getting rid of the pledge, but he supports the students:

Principal Bud Jenkins told the Camera newspaper on its Web site Thursday the pledge will not be moved, but added he was proud of the students for standing up for their beliefs.

It was not immediately clear what discipline, if any, the protesting students would face.

Check out the video:

(Via Reddit)

[tags]atheist, atheism, Under God, Michael Newdow, activism[/tags]

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  • It’s about time!

  • Jack

    Once upon a time, I refused to stand up for the pledge of alliegance. My teacher stomped on my foot to make me stand up.

    Another class turned into a debate into why I don’t say the pledge. Pretty much the entire class was… adversarial, but I think I made some good points and got them to see my point of view.

    Sigh, Louisiana.

  • I stumbled that one. What a great story! It shows that at least some students are paying attention.

    Good story!

  • Ben

    Thank you so much for finding this !

  • Rock on! That does take a lot of guts. The most that I did was to just stand silent, hands at sides, during the Pledge at my graduation.

  • -30-

    I remember when they added “under God” to the pledge (yep, I’m that old), and even at age 11, I knew those words didn’t belong in the pledge of allegiance. I’ve never stopped reciting the pledge; I just don’t say “under God.”

    As for those kids in Boulder, more power to ’em!

  • I wouldn’t have even said their alternative pledge. It’s not the “under God” part I have a problem with per se. It’s the “I pledge allegiance” part. I don’t believe in pledging allegiance to nation states or other political entities.

  • HappyNat


    I agree, I’m not a fan of the “under God” part of the pledge, but I have a problem with the idea of the whole thing. I find it rather creepy.

  • Jen

    What a great story! I love the kid supporting the pledge with, “I think that people should say the pledge because it’s our country, you know?”

    When I was in high school, the I was a member of the honors/AP kids, and there were a few times that we talked about doing a walk-out, in regards to the war and to a few school policies, but it never came together because everyone would freak out about their precious transcripts. We thought if we did anything besides go to clubs, we’d be blacklisted. I wish we could have been more brave.

  • It is cultish brainwashing to some extent. Why do you think they have it primarily for little kids in school? And from a governmental point of view it makes sense; you want you citizens to follow whatever you say and be proud of it.

    Personally, though, a country should only get our respect and loyalty as long as it does things worthy of that respect. I recently refused to stand during the playing of O Canada at a show at the Parliament buildings in Ottawa – the presentation was a fluffy piece of patriotic drivel so I wasn’t feeling particularly positive about my country at that time.

  • I don’t say “under God” either. The Quaker in me (I am agnostic) feels that saying a pledge to a piece of cloth is counter to my personal integrity.

    There are Christians who object to the phrase “under God” because it arrogates Divine Sanction and turns the Pledge into an oath which is against their belief.

  • I think I’m going to cry. This is awesome.

  • Socialists in the USA originated the Nazi salute, robotic group-chanting to flags, Nazism, flag fetishism, and the modern swastika as “S” symbolism for “Socialism.”

    Those historical facts explain the enormous size and scope of government today, and the USA’s growing police state. They are reasons for massive reductions in government, taxation, spending and socialism.

    The “Nazi salute” is more accurately called the “American salute” as it was created and popularized by national socialists in the USA. It was the early salute of the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge was written by Francis Bellamy. Edward Bellamy and Francis Bellamy were self-proclaimed socialists in the Nationalism movement and they promoted military socialism.

    They wanted the government to take over education and use it to spread their worship of government. When the government granted their wish, the government’s schools imposed segregation by law and taught racism as official policy. The official racism and segregation was a bad example three decades before the National Socialist German Workers Party, and decades afterward.

    The Pledge was mandated by law in government schools for three decades before, and through, the creation of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.

    Many people do not know that the term “Nazi” means “National Socialist German Workers’ Party.” Members of the horrid group did not call themselves Nazis. In that sense, there was no Nazi Party. They also did not call themselves Fascists. They called themselves socialists, just as their name indicates.

    The historian Dr. Rex Curry showed that the early Pledge Of Allegiance did not use an ancient Roman salute, and that the ‘ancient Roman salute’ myth came from the Pledge Of Allegiance. The discoveries have been reviewed and verified on wikipedia

    The original pledge was anti libertarian and began with a military salute that then stretched out toward the flag. In actual use, the second part of the gesture was performed with a straight arm and palm down by children casually performing the forced ritual chanting. Due to the way that both gestures were used sequentially in the pledge, the military salute led to the Nazi salute. The Nazi salute is an extended military salute via the USA’s Pledge Of Allegiance.

  • ===============================================================
    === LESSON #1 (1785): Religious Assessments ===
    James Madison, Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments
    June 20, 1785

    The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right. It is unalienable, because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds cannot follow the dictates of other men.

    What influence in fact have ecclesiastical establishments had on Civil Society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny: in no instance have they been seen the guardians of the liberties of the people.

    === LESSON #2 (1791): Freedom of Religion ===
    Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression
    Ratified December 15, 1791

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    === LESSON #3 (1802): NO LAW for Religious Establishment ===
    From Thomas Jefferson
    January 1, 1802.

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

    === LESSON #4 (1947): Separation of Church and State ===
    U.S. Supreme Court
    Everson v. Board of Education
    Decided February 10, 1947

    “The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between Church and State.'”

    === LESSON #5 (1971): LEMON TEST ===
    Laws must:

    * have a secular purpose, and
    * be neutral towards religion (neither hinder nor advance it), and
    * not have excessive entanglements between the government and religion.

    U.S. Supreme Court
    Lemon v. Kurtzman
    Decided June 28, 1971

    Held: Both statutes are unconstitutional under the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment, as the cumulative impact of the entire relationship arising under the statutes involves excessive entanglement between government and religion.

    === LESSON #6 (1984): ENDORSEMENT TEST ===
    A law is unconstitutional if it favours one religion over another in a way that makes some people feel like outsiders and others feel like insiders.

    U.S. Supreme Court
    Lynch v. Donnelly
    Decided March 5, 1984

    In my view,

    those involvements of religious with secular institutions which (a) serve the essentially religious activities of religious institutions; (b) employ the organs of government for essentially religious purposes; or (c) use essentially religious means to serve governmental ends, where secular means would suffice

    must be struck down.

    === LESSON #7 (1989): COERCION TEST ===
    A law is constitutional if it recognizes or accommodates a religion, as long as its demonstration of support does not appear to coerce individuals to support or participate in a religion.

    U.S. Supreme Court – COERCION TEST
    County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union, Greater Pittsburgh Chapter
    Decided July 3, 1989

    Whether the key word is “endorsement,” “favoritism,” or “promotion,” the essential principle remains the same. The Establishment Clause, at the very least, prohibits government from appearing to take a position on questions of religious belief or from “making adherence to a religion relevant in any way to a person’s standing in the political community.”

  • How come libertarians always seem to come across as wacky conspiracy theory nuts?

  • Libertarians don’t always seem to come across as wacky conspiracy theory nuts. They only seem that way to stupid people who didn’t know squat about the pledge To smart people libertarians seem like perceptive geniuses. The better question is how come the average person always seems to come across as a wacky stupid nut who can’t even address a topic, does not even dispute the topic, and can only muster an idiotic insult in the sad delusion that it will mask his ignorance (it didn’t. It actually drew attention to it)? That is a rhetorical question, no need to respond.

  • The pledge is a bad idea no matter who invented it. Why does it matter whether it was Nazis or George Washington or your grandmother? The point is entirely irrelevant.

    BTW, I think I should have also pointed out that you have just invoked Godwin’s Law, which I believe means that this thread is done and you’ve automatically lost the argument. 🙂

  • Aimee

    See, Colorado isn’t totally full of nut jobs and weirdos that bury statues to sell houses. Good for those kids in Boulder. I’m surprised though that the prinicipal said good for them for standing up for what they believe in. Most wouldn’t do that.

  • Darryl

    It is cultish brainwashing to some extent. Why do you think they have it primarily for little kids in school? And from a governmental point of view it makes sense; you want you citizens to follow whatever you say and be proud of it.

    Personally, though, a country should only get our respect and loyalty as long as it does things worthy of that respect. I recently refused to stand during the playing of O Canada at a show at the Parliament buildings in Ottawa – the presentation was a fluffy piece of patriotic drivel so I wasn’t feeling particularly positive about my country at that time.

    Your us/them conception of the country is misguided. We are the country. We pledge are allegiance to each other and the principles of our form of government, hoping that by this and every other means we can retain them as they were given to us by the founders (time and change accounted for). Brainwashing? Of course, but so is child-rearing, public education, and general enculturation. What needs to be examined and questioned are the ideas being introduced, not the mode of their introduction.

  • Joshua

    Okay, Mike and anyone else that has a problem saying the pledge of allegiance….If you don’t believe in your country then why are you here? Are you not proud to be an American? I’m in the military and have been all over the world. I can surely tell you that this nation is one of the best. I’m asking you to not take that lightly. I understand the “under God” part, as is your right. But come on people, are we not proud of our nation?
    I have fought, sweat, and bled for this country only for people like you to defeat the purpose of having pride in it. That’s okay though Mike, I still believe in this country and it’s flag even if you don’t. Perhaps I got the wrong impression of what you said. That’ s just what it reads like to me. In the grand scheme of things, does it really hurt anyone to say the pledge? I don’t think so.
    People say they don’t want their children to hear “God” in the pledge. There are plenty of things that people say in the schools that I don’t want my daughter to hear. Shouldn’t we be more worried about guns in school, drug problems, and all the other craziness that goes on? This is trivial in comparison.

  • Name?

    Actually, I can’t honestly say that I’m proud of America. I don’t understand what exactly that means. I do think that I live in the best place in the world (as far as I know) and I’m happy to be in America. But I’ve never fought in a war or voted or done anything to be proud of.
    I don’t hate this country or people with patriotic feelings, but I don’t really understand how they must feel.

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