Children Should Not Recite the Pledge of Allegiance
By David Holcberg (Chicago Sun-Times, March 30, 2004)
As the U.S. Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance recited in public schools, a deeper, more fundamental question has not even been raised: Why are young children being pressured to make a pledge they lack the knowledge to understand and the maturity to commit themselves to?
Children do not give the Pledge careful consideration and decide, daily, to pledge allegiance to their country under God with liberty and justice for all. The Pledge is a political statement and--since 1954, when "God" was added--a religious statement. The only reason children recite the Pledge is that their educators expect them to.
The purpose of education should be to teach children the knowledge and thinking skills they need to succeed in life, not to train them in parroting political and religious ideas they can't possibly grasp.