One of the stories I had been watching regarding the use of Pledge of Allegiance to control access to elected office came to a close today. This story comes from Beloit, Wisconsin.
Councelor Sheila De Forest originally declined to say the Pledge of Allegiance at city council meetings because, in her view, she owes her allegiance to a set of principles, not to a piece of fabric.
However, the outrage over her refusal was so strong that she decided to surrender to those who valued reverence to symbols over reverence to the things symbolized.
De Forest Decides to Recite Pledge
"I realize that the choice I made a long time ago not to say the pledge is serving as a distraction from the important work that my colleagues and I have before us," De Forest said in her statement.
I would have considered it a virtue for somebody who holds public office to less interested in symbols compared to that which was symbolized. I would applaud her commitment (and watch to see if she stands true to those principles).
In fact, this is yet another story that points to an unpleasant fact - that 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance is a tool used to reserve elected office only for those who can pledge allegiance to God, and to deny elected office to all others.
As long as 'under God' remains in the Pledge it will be used as a religious test for public office - an object whose chief value to those who support it is to serve as a nearly impenetrable barrier between those who do not believe in God and public office.