At the past few meetings of the Silverton Board of Trustees in Colorado, Mayor Shane Fuhrman (center, below) and one of his colleagues can be seen remaining seated during the Pledge of Allegiance.
There’s nothing wrong with that, obviously. But this week, Fuhrman went even further. He decided to get rid of the religious ritual altogether:
… due to direct and indirect threats, inappropriate comments, and out of public meetings, and the general divisiveness that she’s creating in our community, we will not be doing the Pledge of Allegiance during Town of Silverton Board of Trustee meetings, and it’s removed from agendas and or protocols until until such time that we can discuss this at a board retreat or workshop…
Fuhrman didn’t explain the threats or comments he was considering, but the Durango Herald gives us some indication:
It is not the first time the Pledge of Allegiance has caused division in Silverton, a town of about 550 people in the San Juan Mountains.
In 2018, a Silverton resident nearly faced charges of harassment and menacing for verbally attacking a former trustee member who did not stand during the Pledge of Allegiance.
It’s possible that Fuhrman has received similar attacks for his own quiet protest. And if he has the power to get rid of the ritual, he’s taking it.
One of his colleagues didn’t handle it well:
“Any other unilateral decisions we need to know about?” [Trustee Molly] Barela asked upon hearing the mayor’s announcement.
Fuhrman responded: “If you’d like to find somewhere in the code that does not permit me to do this, I welcome that discussion at our next meeting.”
Barela responded: “It’s just been done for a long time. We all took an oath. And we, as the board, collectively decided it would be done.”
That’s a thoughtless response from Barela. Just because a bad tradition has become the norm doesn’t mean it should continue. No one took an oath to pledge an allegiance to God when they got elected.
And then, as if to prove Fuhrman’s point, a local citizen decided to say the Pledge during the public comments part of the meeting, with other audience members and two board members joining in. There’s nothing illegal about that, either, though it was a disruption.
That public display just goes to show why religion prayers have no business at these kinds of public meetings. Save the God-talk for church or home or the drive to the meeting. There’s no reason anyone should be wasting time with it while on the clock. Here’s hoping Fuhrman isn’t alone in removing the Pledge from the agenda whenever they decide to discuss it; these officials have better things to do than recite a Pledge originally meant to trash foreigners and later revised to exclude non-Christians.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Brian for the link)