To the editor:

The controversy over not saying the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings held by the city of St. Louis Park gained national attention. City officials thought it to be offensive or uncomfortable for someone in the audience. This is indicative of a greater problem we are facing as a nation — the overemphasis of personal feelings.

In order to not offend someone, we are willing to abandon or compromise national sovereignty, religious liberty, amendment rights, and love and devotion of country. As a nation, we are going down a dangerous path. Rather than uniting us as a people, we are becoming fragmented, no longer having a common bond and uncertain of what we stand for (literally). We are becoming a country of “nothingness,” where each person flies their own flag. Little or no consideration is given to the impact that personal agendas have on the greater good. Today it’s about the fear of hurting someone’s feelings.

We seem to have forgotten President Kennedy’s quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

Maybe we need a little more self-sacrifice and more devotion to the whole.

Our patriots fought and died for America. There was doubt as to what they stood for. Even many conscientious objectors made contributions.

We need to quit being offended, stop forcing our ideals on others and get over the self-pity.

P.S. Unlike college campuses of today, there were no “safe spaces” on the beaches of Normandy, France,” on June 6, 1944.”

Steven Johnson

Coon Rapids

(2) comments

Reynolds Music

I would say that in this case - the St. Louis Park City Council meetings that the writer of the letter is referring to - it IS more about hurt feelings and worry about the possibility of offending someone. If you want to make your case about this issue from a Constitutional level, that's understandable, but the way I - and possibly the writer of the letter - look at it, that's not what this is about.

Rod Kuehn

The pledge issue is not about a few hurt feelings. The amendment you're trying to reference - the First - says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". In other words, the government has no business either supporting or restraining religion. The conscience belongs exclusively to the individual. Why? Because any aspect of religion that is chosen will be disadvantaging other religious (or non) beliefs while at the same time giving the favored opinion the impression that their view is the *correct* view. Both pollute the religious experience. The repetition of "under god" by those who prefer not to, is not trivial. In the words of the great Baptist Roger Williams, "Forced worship stinks in God's nostrils." This is what you're promoting. If it were trivial, supporters of the Pledge would not be so adamant. They are trying to force religious conformity on an extremely diverse nation. If you want more detail about the intensity of our founder's views, look up Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance or Mason's Virginia Declaration of Rights (point 16) or Jefferson's An Act for Establishing Religious Freedom. If you want others to simply not say, "under god", congratulations. You have replaced religious freedom with religious toleration. Most people would say that's a very big deal.

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