And they want you to love it too!
The University of Connecticut has started saying the Pledge of Allegiance before the national anthem at its men’s basketball games. I think the Pledge is kind of creepy for a whole slate of reasons, including the fact that I can still be patriotic while choosing not to recite my unflinching loyalty in a glassy-eyed monotone. Some members of the UConn community agree:
Those who supported saying the pledge said it was unifying and reinforced American values. Those opposed said they objected to a public university urging people to say “under God” or felt it was gratuitous to ask people to pledge fealty to the United States at a sporting event. Some expressed concern that UConn athletes who are not American citizens could be put in an awkward position.
Fortunately, they’re making it extremely clear that nobody is required to participate, and UConn’s two German players have stated that they’re comfortable with the recitation. Which is all well and good from a legal standpoint: the school is free to do it, and I’m free to opt out. But if you’ve ever remained seated through God Bless America at a sporting event, you know that the other attendees might have their own ideas about acceptable behavior.
Professor Douglas Laycock acknowledges in the article that, despite the god talk at a public university, the recitation would probably be judged perfectly legal. But a sporting event is supposed to be fun and pleasant, an excuse to engage in a little harmless tribalism. If faith and politics are too divisive for the dinner table, why foist them on people at a game?