The Board of Trustees at the Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) could certainly not be called patriotic, as they recently abolished the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance. They have not recited the Pledge at their meetings since December 13, 2018.
And why? Robert Miller, president of the Board of Trustees, expressed his stance in an email to Celeste Barber, a former adjunct instructor at SBCC.
“I also object to the phrase ‘one nation under God.’ The First Amendment not only protects freedom of speech and religion [but] it also expressly prohibits laws that establish a religion. The U.S. Supreme Court has expressly extended those rights to those who express no belief in God. Thus, I disagree with the 1955 act of Congress to add this phrase to the Pledge of Allegiance,” Miller wrote.”
He wasn’t done.
“Moreover, I have discovered that the Pledge of Allegiance has a history steeped in expressions of nativism and white nationalism,” Miller added.” 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.”
Several months ago, Barber noticed that the board was not reciting the Pledge at its meetings. So she informed the person who was the president of the board, and then the board began reciting the Pledge again.
Barber said in a recent meeting at SBCC that she had lived in East Berlin, Germany and loves the United States flag.
“That bit of cloth represented home in a faraway place,” she said. “You are an elected body at a public institution serving a community college. When you recite the Pledge of Allegiance, you are recommitting your oath to uphold and defend this country’s constitution.”
Protestors were shouting as Barber was speaking. But that did not stop her from concluding by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Barber also said that when she was growing up, she knew people who were World War II and Korean War veterans.
“We were in awe of them,” she recalled. “They defended our country on two fronts from two formidable threats, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, and six years later, North Korea. Those men saved the world from a tyranny too horrifying to imagine. They stopped fascism and halted communism. Some of those fathers never returned home.”
She said that those heroic people gave their lives while defending “indivisible,” “liberty,” “justice,” and “God.”
“If my father’s generation of young men were willing to stake their lives on this republic, how could I not recite one single sentence professing allegiance to our country?”
Yes, Barber is correct. Let’s hope that Miller and others at SBCC will see the light and restore the Pledge of Allegiance.
~ Patriotic Freedom Fighter