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North Dakota School Board Drops The Pledge Of Allegiance Over The Phrase “Under God”

A school board in North Dakota had decided that saying the Pledge of Allegiance before each meeting didn’t reflect the district’s values.

According to the North Dakota newspaper Inforum, the Fargo School Board decided on Tuesday to stop using the Pledge at the beginning of its biweekly meetings because members didn’t think it was inclusive. They reportedly had an issue with the term “under God.”

Board member Seth Holden said that because “the word ‘God’ in the text of the Pledge of Allegiance is capitalized … the text is clearly referring to the Judeo-Christian God and therefore, it does not include any other faith such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, all of which are practiced by our staff and students.”

He said it excluded anyone who doesn’t believe in God from attending Fargo schools. He asserted that while he is not against the Pledge per se, he thinks it is inappropriate to say it for a school that is dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Despite the votes to keep the Pledge, member Robin Nelson saw nothing wrong with reciting it.

David Paulson, a former Board member who requested the Pledge be recited during meetings when he was on the board, claimed his former colleagues were “misinterpreting” the recitation.

 “The Pledge isn’t a show of our patriotism, it’s an affirmation of our commitment and our loyalty to the greater cause, and that greater cause is freedom,” he said.

Instead of saying the Pledge at the beginning of meetings, Board President Tracie Newman recommended that members recite “a common statement of purpose that would bring us all together.” That would be “unifying,” she claimed.

“I’m just not sure that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is a useful way to begin every one of our board meetings,” Newman said.

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