Thursday, June 11, 2015

My response to this:

I read with interest an article about the abuse of a student at Wilson Middle School. A school nurse verbally abused a Jehovah's Witness student for refusing to salute the flag. She represents you. Get a lawyer. This issue was settled in the 1940s when Pennsylvania school districts were expelling Witness children over the same issue and prosecuting their parents. Apparently the spirit of religious intolerance never left your school district.

I support in spirit and I will support financially any law suit brought against your school district. If this had occurred in the district where I teach, the nurse would be fired. Not retrained. Fired. And so would have been the office staff that refused her a phone.

School districts that abuse the constitutional rights of their students and parents are not American at heart. The mind-set that keeps this nurse employed and refuses a quick and public apology derives from medieval witch hunts.

I hope her family sues you. I hope you lose more than you can afford. Good schools respect American rights. Unfortunately your district does not fall into the good school category.

I often end my emails with "best regards," but in this case

with no regard for you at all,

R. M. de Vienne, PhD


roberto said...

My heroine

An occasional reader said...

I have a certain interest in the history of the religious group that fought this issue, and can recommend quite an old book now – David Manwaring ‘Render Unto Caesar’ for details. But I was interested to see in the original account that a number of atheists are also now voicing objections to the wording of the pledge.

But logical thinking seems to escape those who try and force conformity. If someone genuinely believes from the heart that reciting a form of words or saluting a national emblem represents their feelings, then obviously they will do it because they want to, they believe it – no question.

But if someone genuinely objects - for whatever reason - then trying to force them doesn’t alter what they are inside. Even if you were able to sledge-hammer someone into compromising their beliefs – and this is one of those issues where very few will compromise - any forced actions would make it meaningless. It wouldn’t indicate any genuine commitment. It would be like a frightened ordinary German citizen during the last war mouthing “Heil Hitler” just to keep out of trouble. And just because someone appears to enthusiastically perform a patriotic exercise doesn’t prove they believe it. They could be a crook or a terrorist and simply lie. So again – to my mind, any act of coercion makes the exercise pointless.

This is written partly from a UK perspective where national feelings are not shown by forced patriotic exercises. You might argue that the UK is a far less patriotic country than America. We don’t have flags on houses generally – unless it is election time or there is a special sports event featuring a national team from one of the four constituent countries, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Then (slipping into joking mode) patriotic activities might include fights between rival fans – but again, that is a purely voluntary exercise...

This is a country where the playing of the National Anthem at the end of theater and cinema performances was ultimately dropped in England because the audience always stampeded towards the exits to avoid it. Wales, Scotland and Ireland are a little different, but even so (becoming serious again) the legal issues dealt with by the American Supreme Court have never arisen here.

The American legal system to its credit did deal with these issues decades ago. However, that does mean that those in any position of “power” should know their own laws and uphold freedom of conscience in such issues – whatever their personal feelings may be.

Harry H said...

This nurse sounds like a constitutionalist. These people strongly defend the constitution, at leasts the parts they agree with. Second amendment - yes. First amendment - depends on who is talking.

A student, any student, who won't stand for the pledge is un-american and does not deserve respect or the protection of our laws. This nurse also would probably refuse to give any advice to a pregnant teen, or even one with questions about his/her sexuality.

It bothers me how fractured our society has become. Too many people today are so totally intolerant of anyone who doesn't believe what they do, vote like they do, or look like they do.

Rachael knows that we often differ politically, and it doesn't matter a bit to me. I prefer to focus on the interests we share. Our country was built (and still being built) by a widely diverse population made up of many cultures. We will never be a totally homogeneous people. We should celebrate our diversity because it is also our strength.

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