A legislative committee voted unanimously Friday for a bill requiring the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited daily in Oregon public classrooms.
Under state law, schools must give students the opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance at least once a week. The bill passed by the House Education Committee would require schools to do so daily, and to have an employee or student lead the recital.
Students can't be compelled to say the pledge, and the bill wouldn't change that.
"Supporters say the pledge is an important part of civic education. Critics say requiring time each day for the pledge would further ostracize students who don't participate because of religious or other reasons," according to AP.
AP is also reporting that "two words in the pledge have sparked controversy: 'under God.'"
According to AP, "Dissenters say they are uncomfortable reciting the Pledge of Allegiance for religious and other reasons. For example, members of the Jehovah's Witnesses denomination typically do not participate in saying the pledge."
Setting aside a moment to recite the Pledge is a step in the right direction.
Another step in the right direction would be to allow a reading from the Declaration of Independence, which states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Every student, teacher, and staff member would benefit from a reminder of what truly is the center of gravity for human rights, human dignity, and human freedom.