Another Student Not Standing for the Pledge November 19, 2009

Another Student Not Standing for the Pledge

I am liking this trend.

Roxanne Westover, a 17-year-old from Ohio, stopped standing for the Pledge of Allegiance after learning in her history class that she didn’t have to.

“I’m an atheist, and I believe the pledge isn’t something toward our nation,” she said. “It’s more like a religious oath, and I believe that if I stand I’m still participating in it.”

Several times, she was “written up and send to the principal’s office” for not following suit and pledging.

The ACLU contacted the school and did their thing. As a result, it looks like there will be no further punishment for Roxanne.

Westover said she encourages others with similar beliefs to stand up for them by sitting down.

“I do encourage students to not stand up and to stand up for what they believe in,” she said. “Even throughout the whole entire thing, I had a lot of people backing me up who felt the same way about it.”

I’m glad she has support — a lot of students don’t.

Roxanne added that her refusal to stand for the pledge had nothing to do with Will Phillips, but she supports what he did.

Let’s hope all these students are setting an example for the rest of their classmates.

"The way republican politics are going these days, that means the winner is worse than ..."

It’s Moving Day for the Friendly ..."
"It would have been more convincing if he used then rather than than."

It’s Moving Day for the Friendly ..."

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Does anyone else have a set of altered lyrics to a certain old Police song in their heads right now? 😀 😀
    Congrats to Roxanne! It’s so wonderful to see someone’s rights being upheld. This made me smile!!

  • Claudia

    Good for her.

    Hmm in High School I was still in my softie “I’m an agnostic because there’s no proof either way” phase and a lot less informed on Church-State issues. I always stood and recited but shut up during the “under god” nonesense.

    Of course my super-liberal school went out of their way to tell us that participation was optional in any event, so sitting down wouldn’t have had much of an effect.

  • Cherilyn

    I love stories like this. In my high school, I stood up but never recited the pledge. Nobody really noticed, and I doubt anybody would of said anything even if i did stay sitting. I’m glad my high school was like this, and its unfortunate that others are not.

  • Sesoron

    What’s this…? Is it possible that I’m suddenly feeling… proud to live in Ohio?! Inconceivable!

  • TXatheist

    Man, another one, good for all of us. And finally I’m not the only one sitting for it 🙂

  • Valdyr

    What’s this…? Is it possible that I’m suddenly feeling… proud to live in Ohio?! Inconceivable!

    Disorienting, isn’t it?

  • Good for her – and may I say “Rox rocks!” 😉 I’ll do her the favor of not singing, heh.

    On the rare occasions I’ve been in attendance when people were saying the Pledge (I’ve been out of school for 30 years), I’ve stood out of respect for my country but stayed silent during the actual recitation of the bastardized Pledge. In the future, however, I’ll remain seated. It’s just that important.

  • Way to go, Roxanne. Just as if I was April O’Neil, you have my support.

    (Bonus geek points if anyone gets the reference.)

  • FishyFred

    She was written up a few times? Aren’t school administrators taught about the Schempp case? Aren’t education law classes required before you are qualified to teach and work in a public school?

  • A Mile of Bad Road

    Veritas: The arcade game was better. Or, at least, not as painfully difficult.

    Electric seaweed my ass.

  • martin

    I am personally for the pledge except for that one little line, and just omit it and sit down while everyone is finishing.

  • Miko

    I’m especially glad to see the different challenges focusing on different problems with the loyalty oath. I’m eagerly awaiting challenges to other despicable phrases such as “pledge allegiance,” “to the flag,” “of the United States of America,” “and to the republic [sic],” “for which it stands,” “one nation,” and “indivisible.”

    Attacking only the “under god” bit leads to the impression that this is only a fight for secularism, whereas it’s actually just a component of a broader fight for complete anhierarchalism.

  • Valdyr

    People from outside the US are often bemused, even slightly concerned at the existence of a daily, quasi-mandatory loyalty pledge for children. Personally, I think it contributes to the “My country is the best and there’s nothing wrong with it” mindset, which is not a positive thing at all. A country’s merits and flaws should be examined objectively. The road to every important social reform movement in human history has started with someone thinking and dedicing, “My country is bullshit!”

  • Perhaps we should use a more accurate pledge.

    I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the oligarchy for which it stands. Two nations, red and blue, always squabbling, with liberty and justice for the wealthy.

  • Colin

    I once went to a Fourth of July celebration at my aunt’s country club. All I remember of the event was, when the crowd recited the pledge, they put extra emphasis on the “under god” line.

    I found this hugely upsetting and alienating. Clearly I wasn’t wanted there.

  • Jim

    Wow, not far from me. 🙂
    When I was in junior high I stood and recited like everyone else, but at that time I had not really put that much thought into what I believed. I wasn’t religious, I had my doubts, but had not thought about it much. In high school I stood and put my hand over my heart out of respect for the country and certainly our troops, but never recited the pledge (I still don’t today) because of the religious aspect.

    I support Roxanne and her views on it and hope the situation works out for her.

  • Heidi

    Nice work, Roxanne. Never let anyone stomp on your rights.

    Still trying to puzzle out the Turtles joke, though…

  • What I don’t understand is why any American … young, old, or in-between … ought to be reciting a “pledge of allegiance” to anyone or anything. “Allegiance” as a concept is a throwback to the feudal system of the Middle Ages, when people swore oaths of fealty to their “lieges” or overseers above them in the hierarchy of the time. (That’s where the term “allegiance” comes from.) This oath was required to be made in order to acquire whatever rights or privileges one was due, under the system.

    The people of the US, by contrast, are citizens of a representative republic. The rights and privileges of citizens are specified in the Constitutions (federal and state) and in the body of law. No oath of any kind is necessary. Granted, one does have to take an oath in order to serve in an elected office or serve in the military, and one needs to swear an oath in order to become a citizen if one is (say) not born here, but even then, no one in the US owes any “allegiance” to anyone or anything … not to a flag, not to the country, not to any other person or group.

    “Allegiance” is, essentially, non-existent in a representative republic. It’s time we retired this outdated concept entirely. Forget just taking “in God” out of the pledge … let’s instead drop the pledge altogether, and start living like modern citizens instead of playing the part of medieval serfs.

  • TXatheist

    psi, patriotism like religion is great at controlling the masses and thus supported by those in power.

  • qwertyuiop


    Love it. It’s perfect!

  • Pat

    Should this go also for our war anthem?

  • Staceyjw

    I’m from Ohio, and I have the same last name (Westover), so I am extra happy to hear about this!
    Go Girl!

  • Matt D

    Go Roxy!

    If every kid in the US who values reason over superstition could (de)convert just one of their friends (who in turn flipped someone else) how long would it take for the religion meme to become a minority view?

    I had a quick look at US 2000 census data to try to work the numbers, but need to make too many assumptions.

    Some mega-brain maths nerd could work it out i’m sure.

    I’d like to think that every atheist-curious kid out there could be mentored by one of us. Religion could be out of here in a couple of generations.

  • Carlie

    My mind is always blown that the people who get so insistent that everyone should say the Pledge are the same ones who scream that Obama is making us facist/Nazi/socialist/communists.

  • John Alvord

    The next time I’m in this situation I plan to stand up straight and tall and in a loud, clear voice make this statement:

    “I will not pledge allegiance to the Flag or to the Republic for which it stands, until we are one nation, indivisible, with liberty, equality, and justice for all.”

  • Gavrilo

    Just a question from Europe : under which circumstances do you actually listen to the pledge of allegiance in school?

    Is it a regular ritual, or is it for particular occasions?

    I have trouble understanding it, as in Switzerland it wouldn’t cross the mind of anyone even to play the national anthem in school, and I have no knowledge of another european country where this would be common practice.

    Thanks for explanations!!

  • Vas

    First off for Roxanne, you have my support and gratitude.
    @Gavrilo – In my experience, the pledge is a daily ritual most often preformed in the morning is schools across America. Now it’s been a while since I was in high school but that was the common practice then. It is also common to open government meetings,(at local state and national levels) with the pledge. As if that is not crazy enough most government business begins with, (I hope you are sitting down) a prayer and most often to the Christian God. If a non Christian is asked to offer a prayer then all hell breaks loose, check it out… . I know it must seem pretty wacky from the outside looking in, what can I say it is pretty wacky.

  • muggle

    Go, girl! This is getting to be a healthy trend.

    I am rather a homebody and rarely anywhere where the pledge is recited but next time I am, even for the daughter’s or grandson’ graduation, I will sit out. Of course, now that I’m using a walker, unfortunately, people might not make the connection. Groan.

    Vas, you’d think they’d wake up to a thing or two about prayer at all. Instead they act like animals. Thanks for the link!

  • L

    trust me she is not doing this because she is an athiest. She is actually a christian (i go to church with her) . I know her personally. She doing this so that she has a story to finish her senior year. She just wants attention.

error: Content is protected !!