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Author Topic: .. and justice for all.  (Read 1799 times)

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Online HairyHereticTopic starter

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.. and justice for all.
« on: November 18, 2009, 03:15:50 PM »
http://www.edgeboston.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=&sc2=news&sc3=&id=98884

Quote
Arkansas 10-Year-Old Wonít Pledge Allegiance Until Gays Gain Equality
by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Nov 11, 2009

A 10-year-old Arkansas boy name Will Phillips has decided that he cannot in good conscience pledge allegiance to the flag as long as the country for which it stands refuses legal equality to its GLBT citizens.

That stand has brought young Mr. Phillips anti-gay taunts in the lunch room, but admiration from around the country, reports a Nov. 5 Arkansas Times article. The West Fork School District fifth grader clashed with a substitute teacher for his refusal to stand for the pledge, prompting a call to Willís mother, Laura Phillips. When the principal acknowledged that Will has the right to refuse to say the pledge, Ms. Phillips asked that her son receive an apology--a request that the principal declined to honor.

A 1943 Supreme Court decision found that schools may not punish students for refusing to recite the pledge. Objections to compulsory recitation of the pledge arose from the Jehovahís Witnesses on the basis that their religion does not permit expressions of allegiance to anything other than their own religion and to God. The Jehovahís Witnesses lost their first case before the Court in 1940, and reportedly suffered from bias-motivated violence in the aftermath of that case. The Courtís 1943 decision reversed the earlier finding, and students have had the right to decline saying the pledge since then, although socially such refusal is often met with disapproval.

Such has been the case with Will Phillipsí stand, but he hasnít backed down. Laura Phillips told the Arkansas Times that her 10-year-old is "probably more aware of the meaning of the pledge than a lot of adults. Heís not just doing it rote recitation. We raised him to be aware of whatís right, whatís wrong, and whatís fair."

Fairness in this case is more than a mere abstraction, since the family has a number of openly gay friends and has participated in GLBT equality events such as Pride parades. Will, who told the newspaper that he would like to pursue a career in law when heís older, could not square the tenets of the pledge with the political realities faced by his familyís GLBT friends, whose family and individual rights are under constant challenge. "I really donít feel that thereís currently liberty and justice for all," said Will.

That led the young man to his decision not to pledge his allegiance due to the injustice he perceived to prevail against gays and lesbians. He discussed the matter with his family and then took his stand--or rather, refused to stand with the rest of the kids when the time for the pledge came around each morning. The first week of the young manís protest happened to be a week when a substitute teacher, a friend of Willís grandparents, was in charge of the class; as days went by, the teacher grew more aggravated, until finally she took Will to task.

"She got a lot more angry and raised her voice and brought my mom and my grandma up," Will told the Arkansas Times. "I was fuming and was too furious to really pay attention to what she was saying. After a few minutes, I said, íWith all due respect, maíam, you can go jump off a bridge.í"

That was enough to get Will sent to the principalís office, which was when his mother received a call. The principal "said we have to talk about Will, because he told a sub to jump off a bridge," recounted Willís mother. "My first response was: Why? Heís not just going to say this because he doesnít want to do his math work." Upon learning the specifics of the exchange, Laura Phillips requested an apology for her son. "She said, íWell I donít think thatís necessary at this point,í" Laura Phillips told the Arkansas Times.

Willís mother tweeted about the incident, and family friends informed the media. Support has poured in from around the country, and some of Willís classmates have also been supportive.

But not everyone, said Laura Phillips, has been supportive, and those who oppose Willís stand "are much more crazy, and out of control and vocal about it than supporters are."

Moreover, Willís stand for equal rights for gays has led those who disagree to attack him personally with anti-gay epithets: "In the lunchroom and in the hallway, theyíve been making comments and doing pranks, and calling me gay," Will said. "Itís always the same people, walking up and calling me a gaywad."

That hasnít been easy for Will, who skipped fourth grade but seems older than his age, especially in contrast to some of his peers. Said Laura Phillips, "Itís really frustrating to him that people are being so immature."

The interviewer from The Arkansas Times asked Will what it means to be an American. The answer: "Freedom of speech. The freedom to disagree. Thatís what I think pretty much being an American represents."

Offline grdell

Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2009, 03:25:37 PM »
Smart kid. Good for him.

Make your stand! (By not standing...)  ;D

Offline Trieste

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Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2009, 05:42:54 PM »
Good for him. The Pledge of Allegiance is awkward anyway - at least for me. I was raised Jehovah's Witness... I still don't even feel comfortable standing with my hand over my heart for the anthem. Or standing at all. I can sympathize with his difficulty - it really does attract an intense amount of vitriol when people perceive you as being un-patriotic.

Offline Kip

Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2009, 06:12:32 PM »
I admit to not quite understanding the concept of the Pledge because we have nothing similar here in Australia.  I intellectually can grasp the idea but I still don't really get it. 

Without that national pride and expectation behind me, I have to applaud the young man - he's made a decision based on his own set of principles and he's held his ground.  Good on him.

Offline Jude

Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2009, 03:49:08 AM »
The pledge is pretty stupid.  It's an artifact from the past and doesn't serve its purpose anyway.  How many people actually are committing to loyalty when they say it?  Sure it gets a cheap emotional reaction, but no one really thinks about the responsibility involved, and the language doesn't truly reflect the sentiment of what it means to be an American, I think.

For one I'd be surprised if we could come up with a pledge that 50% of the country even agrees does reflect that.  Every election season we try and put people into office that exemplify the values of our country and it just shows how wildly different the various opinions we have are.

America is a spectrum of difference in nearly every conceivable way, if we actually did have a pledge that incorporated the few things almost all of the reasonable people out there can agree on, it would be very short.

Offline Talia

Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2009, 10:33:50 AM »
I'd say that kid is damn smart for 10!

Offline Neroon

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Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2009, 06:23:40 PM »
The only thing that concerns me about this is the question of how much of this is the child's actual will here and how much of it is the will of the parents expressed though the child.  Please note, I'm not knocking the action he's taking but I've been in schools long enough to know that often, when children make political statements, they are parroting the statements of their parents.

Now, if the child as parents that have raised him to have the moral courage to take such a stand, then they have done a fine job and should be applauded.  If however, they have coerced him to do it in some way- and yes, such things happen- then I would say that there is a serious issue, no matter how morally right the child's actions might seem.  With the facts at hand, I can't tell which it is, but when a child takes an action that leaves him so exposed to the disapprobation of his peers and those in authority over him, I have to wonder what the stimulus is.

Offline Trieste

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Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2009, 06:34:07 PM »
The only thing that concerns me about this is the question of how much of this is the child's actual will here and how much of it is the will of the parents expressed though the child.  Please note, I'm not knocking the action he's taking but I've been in schools long enough to know that often, when children make political statements, they are parroting the statements of their parents.

Now, if the child as parents that have raised him to have the moral courage to take such a stand, then they have done a fine job and should be applauded.  If however, they have coerced him to do it in some way- and yes, such things happen- then I would say that there is a serious issue, no matter how morally right the child's actions might seem.  With the facts at hand, I can't tell which it is, but when a child takes an action that leaves him so exposed to the disapprobation of his peers and those in authority over him, I have to wonder what the stimulus is.

This thought went through my head as well. There is no information about the parents other than that the family has multiple GLBT friends. It made me wonder what sort of environment this child grew up in.

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Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2009, 08:55:44 PM »
Kids are surprisingly astute sometimes.  My little one (3rd grade) caught a glimpse of the Gay Pride parade on the news and asked lots of questions about it - which I answered honestly and to her level.  It helped a little that she has a cousin with two mommies and we have a few friends that don't fit into the 'one man, one woman' mold.

Offline Kotah

Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2009, 08:15:26 PM »
When I was in school after 9/11 ad refused to say the pledge... yeah. It really sucked. I did so for political reasons. I got the same reaction...

I'm commenting because my political reason had nothing to do with my parents. they weren't pleased with me refusing to pledge my alliance to a nation that was using war and violence to control other nations. My little strike (with a handful of friends) happened before 9/11 (we were in 4th grade when it started) but I was one of the few to continue there after.


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Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2009, 09:49:47 AM »
Smart young man.  I stopped standing and pledging when I figured out what I really thought of it myself, that was the 7th grade.  The stand that really got the hate Poet going though was my refusal to wear red white and blue on the one year anniversary on 9/11.  The school told everybody to wear red white and blue.  I commented to my friends (note: at this time I was an extremely devout christian, the kind that agonized over people I didn't even know going to hell)that I was not going to wear red white and blue to mourn my country cause America deserved the slap in the face it got but I would wear black to mourn those who died because they certainly did not deserve to die.  Well the next day I came to school head to toe in black.  Campus erupted.  I got called a lot of things and terrorist was among the top of the list.  At lunchtime I was standing at the picnic table with friends beside the useless brick wall when this bitch (still is a bitch) approached me and started tearing into me.  She said she had a cousin who died and blah blah blah.  I took 30 minutes to explain to her that I never said that those people deserved to die.  Finally she left me alone.  By this time my paitence was gone.  Just then another bitch who had watched the entire exchange got in my face with the same bullshit.  I asked, "weren't you listening at all.". When my rage consumed me and I'm quite convinced that I would have bashed her head in had one friend not jumped in front of the and anther grabed me from behind and pulled me away.  They understood all to well my danger levels.  But, anyway, while I'm sure the political reasons, completely outside of the religious cause my parents aren't Christian, were likely influenced by my parents, this was my decision.  And as a result not only did the bullies, who were quite afraid of me, get worse but I had a lot of peoples parents on my case as well.

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Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2009, 12:51:06 PM »
Quite honestly, I find black to be a far more appropriate color of recognition, as the color of mourning.

Offline Serephino

Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2009, 07:49:27 PM »
I stopped saying the pledge in 6th grade.  That was about when I decided that since we said ut every morning it didn't mean much anymore.  I didn't catch any trouble for it though.

 

Offline Kotah

Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2009, 10:26:06 PM »
Honestly, I don't understand the obsession with the pledge. Can someone explain it to me?

I don't get the national anthem either.

Or any of the other iconic homage crap.

Offline DrFier

Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2010, 07:39:52 PM »
The purpose of the pledge is blatantly obvious to me, that propaganda is much more effective at a young age.

As for the Iconic homage crap, I can't really explain it except to say it gives the country a face, makes it more human if that makes any sense.

Online Zeitgeist

Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2010, 08:34:07 PM »
If the Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pledge_of_Allegiance) on the Pledge of Allegiance is to be believed, and it does appear to be well sourced, I see two disturbing things surrounding its origin. Apparently the pledge was conceived and written by Baptist minister, and Christian Socialist named Francis Bellamy. Secondly his pledge was to be accompanied by a salute, rather than a hand over the heart originally.



So for these reasons rather, I would say yes, scrap the whole deal. That photo creeps me right the @#$# out.

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Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2010, 09:03:45 PM »
The thing is that this pledge was written 50 years before the second world war made that particular salute ominous, and the baptists back then were not the baptists that we know and ... er, know today. Frank Bellamy was heavily into brotherhood of man stuff, social activism and change. Christian Socialists were some of the first campaigners for labor laws, and children were a group of particular interest to them. Not only that, but he was doing his best (along with many others) to instill the American flag as a national symbol. At the time the pledge was written, the US flag had about 40-45 stars on it and was changing pretty much yearly, and had only adopted the 13-stripe pattern within about 40 years. It was a business move that had little to do with genuine patriotism and indoctrination. That came later.

If you're going to quote the history, remember to take it in its historical context.

Offline Mathim

Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2010, 12:13:46 PM »
What bothers me the most is that after all the controversy, they still even bother doing the effing pledge in schools. I'm so glad I'm in college and we don't have to deal with that. But oh crap...I'm going to be a teacher when I graduate so I am going to have to deal with that all over again. Damn.

Offline Muninn

Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2010, 01:20:53 PM »
Wow.  Go kid.  I really hope that this was on his own and not something he was pushed to do (as people were talking about above) especially with all the immature crap he's getting from peers (ugh.. bullying), if it's so that's one really smart kid and the world needs more like that.

Offline Talia

Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2010, 07:30:48 PM »
Quote
He discussed the matter with his family and then took his stand--or rather, refused to stand with the rest of the kids when the time for the pledge came around each morning.
Quote
Quote
The interviewer from The Arkansas Times asked Will what it means to be an American. The answer: "Freedom of speech. The freedom to disagree. Thatís what I think pretty much being an American represents."



That kid is smarter than some adults I know!























                               
                   
« Last Edit: January 08, 2010, 07:34:23 PM by Laurrel »

Offline Ruhinn

Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2010, 03:28:52 AM »
I really admier this kid. :) He is a role model.

(Although, I hope his parents told him not to tell teachers to jump in lakes. One can be strong, full of integrity, and polite.)

Offline Asuras

Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2010, 02:05:04 PM »
Disclaimers: I don't take offense from this kid's refusal to stand for the pledge. I agree with his position on gay rights. I absolutely agree with his right to refuse to stand for the pledge. The one thing I disagree with is whether this is a wise or appropriate way to protest. (but, again, you should have the right to)

The reasons:

For a lot of people. the pledge is now a symbol of this country like the flag is. For a lot of people, refusing to stand for the pledge is perceived as an act of disrespect for all the other things that the country represents, not just the things you're protesting. So it's kind of like flagburning (for a lot of people - not including me).

Now, I say the pledge even though I don't believe in God, and I don't literally think that the country provides "liberty and justice for all." Why?

Same reason that when I go to a wedding, I don't sit there silently while everyone says the Lord's Prayer. I may disagree with it, but I'll say it out of respect for the people there who do care about it. And they know my disagreement.

The pledge goes one step further because, as a symbol, it represents more than literally affirming allegiance to a country that literally provides "liberty and justice for all." I think of it as an affirmation that the country should provide liberty and justice for all and one's personal dedication toward those principles. And, personally, that affirmation is worth having to mouth the words "under God."

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Re: .. and justice for all.
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2010, 05:22:03 PM »
There are three ways to deal with an occasion where one is asked to stand and recite something that goes against personal beliefs.

1) stand and say it anyways:  Nobody knows you disagree with it, but you have to answer to your own conscience about saying it.
2) stand silently:  People may or may not notice that you aren't saying anything, but it shows some respect for the ceremony.
3) stay seated:  This option guarantees that everyone knows that you disagree.

Personally, when I was beginning to distance myself from the church, but still had to go with my parents, I chose option 2, especially when the pastor asked us to pray that certain groups of people would 'see the light and repent'.