Recently, Western Journalism reported that a school in Wisconsin made several attempts to remove God from the Pledge of Allegiance after state law mandated educators lead students in the patriotic display.
This week, a Colorado high school is under fire for rewriting the pledge – specifically, the “under God” portion – in another way.
According to reports, students at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins are used to reciting the pledge each Monday, apparently with various students leading the school on different weeks. Earlier this month, a member of the so-called Cultural Arms Club led the pledge in Arabic, changing the word ‘God’ to ‘Allah.’
“We’ve heard there are some who are upset,” said Danielle Clark, the district’s communications director.
Principal Tom Lopez, however, fails to see what the big deal is.
“These students love this country,” he said. “They were not being un-American in trying to do this. They believed they were accentuating the meaning of the words as spoken regularly in English.”
The issue for many parents is that the entire school body was compelled to recite the pledge under the direction of the Arabic-speaking student. Muslim advocacy groups including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, though, enthusiastically defend the practice while accusing those who oppose it of intolerance.
“How on earth is it un-American to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in another language?” asked CAIR spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper. “It doesn’t make sense unless the people complaining are anti-Muslim or anti-middle eastern bigots.”
Lopez apparently agrees.
“I’ve been shocked with prejudicial statements that have been made,” he said. “I’ve been shocked with the lack of seeking understanding. There’s definitely suspicion and fear expressed in these people’s minds. There’s some hate.”
As for the school district, Clark was obviously anxious to deny any culpability.
“This is a student-initiated and student-led club,” she said. “There is no school sponsor or advisor. It doesn’t come under the umbrella of the district.”
Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives (Creative Commons)