A California college’s board of trustees ditched the Pledge of Allegiance because of the phrase “one nation under God” and because it “has a history steeped in expressions of nativism and white nationalism,” Campus Reform reported.
According to Campus Reform, the president of the Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) Board of Trustees, Robert Miller, assumed full responsibility for the move and said that he ended the recitation of the pledge at board meetings because of its history.
“I decided to discontinue use of the Pledge of Allegiance for reasons related to its history and symbolism,” Miller said in a Jan. 24 email to Celeste Barber, a former adjunct instructor at SBCC.
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He explained that he objects to the phrase “one nation under God,” which was added to the pledge by a 1955 act of Congress.
“The First Amendment not only protects freedom of speech and religion, it also expressly prohibits laws that establish a religion,” Miller wrote. “The U.S. Supreme Court has expressly extended those rights to those who express no belief in God.”
He went on to say the pledge has a “history steeped in expressions of nativism and white nationalism.”
The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1890 by Francis Bellamy, a former Baptist minister. Among other reasons, he wrote it in reaction to the increasing number of immigrants entering the United States in the late 19th century and early 20th century. In support of the Pledge, Mr. Bellamy expressed concern about the “races that we cannot assimilate without a lowering of our racial standard.” As one commentator noted. “While the language contained in the Pledge is not overtly nativist or xenophobic, the spirit that animated its creation was steeped in this sort of bigotry.
At the Jan. 24 board meeting, Barber expressed her opposition to the move, and she was interrupted by protesters as she recited the pledge.
Miller said the board will discuss the issue at their next meeting on Feb. 14.
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