Texas students will have four more words to remember when they head back to class this month and begin reciting the state’s pledge of allegiance.
This year’s Legislature added the phrase “one state under God” to the pledge, which is part of a required morning ritual in Texas public schools along with the pledge to the U.S. flag and a moment of silence.
State Rep. Debbie Riddle, who sponsored the bill, said it had always bothered her that God was omitted in the state’s pledge.
“Personally, I felt like the Texas pledge had a big old hole in it, and it occurred to me, ‘You know what? We need to fix that,’ ” said Riddle, R-Tomball. “Our Texas pledge is perfectly OK like it is with the exception of acknowledging that just as we are one nation under God, we are one state under God as well.”
By law, students who object to saying the pledge or making the reference to God can bring a written note from home excusing them from participating.
But adding that phrase has drawn criticism from some who say it’s unneccesary and potentially harmful to children who don’t share the same religious beliefs. “Most Texans do not need to say this new version of the pledge in order to be either patriotic or religious,” said Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. “This is the kind of politicking of religion that disturbs many Americans, including those who are deeply religious.”
BAH! Debbie Riddle is actually our state representative. This kind of thing pisses me off, as I’m a fervent believer in both freedom of religion and separation of church and state; acknowledging a God in state matters is not fair to those who have a polytheistic or nontheistic religion. (Is nontheistic even a word?) Even the Founding Fathers made sure to keep religion and the government separate. For Ms. Riddle to do this is, in my honest opinion, a violation of what this country was founded upon.
I probably wouldn’t have even had a problem if the children could opt-out on their own. The fact that this is being forced upon them is what makes this odious to me.
At least now I know what I’ll be doing this weekend. I’ll be writing a letter to her voicing my extreme displeasure at what she has pushed through. Also, when it comes time for her re-election, you can be damned sure I won’t vote for her.