Recently, the Fargo, North Dakota school board chose to stop reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before their meetings. In a 7 to 2 vote, the board determined that the phrase “under God” made the pledge non-inclusive to all faiths within the community.
The school board had previously maintained the practice of reciting the pledge during their meetings last spring. However, the addition of four new board members prompted Vice President Seth Holden to propose a re-vote, which ultimately led to the pledge’s removal.
Robin Nelson, a board member who voted to keep the pledge, expressed her disagreement with the decision. She believes the removal is a result of the board’s equity inclusion clause, as the pledge doesn’t represent all religious beliefs, including those held by individuals with multiple gods or those who identify as atheists or agnostics.
Holden, however, explained that the term “God” in the pledge refers specifically to the Judeo-Christian God and excludes other faiths such as Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, which are practiced by staff and students in Fargo. While he personally has no issue with the pledge, he feels it doesn’t respect the diversity of the student body and their families.
Despite Holden’s arguments, Nelson and fellow board member Nikkie Gullickson maintain that the pledge should be recited at Fargo’s school board meetings. Nelson stressed that she doesn’t want her right to say the pledge taken away and emphasized that their primary responsibility is to focus on the children’s education.
David Paulson, a former board member who was not re-elected, argued that the pledge is not merely an expression of patriotism but also a commitment to the greater cause of freedom.
This decision has ignited a debate within the community about whether school board members should have the authority to eliminate the pledge, or if it should continue to be recited as a tribute to the United States.
The matter raises questions about inclusivity and patriotism, and the challenge lies in striking a balance that respects all religions and beliefs while still upholding the values and principles of the nation.
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