I am currently a student in a class called "Deviance, Crime, and Social Law" here at my college. It discussed all kinds of social and legal norms (and their violations) ranging from body modification to NAMBLA. Recently, our discussion was on an incident that took place at the Yankees stadium a few months ago. A group of people refused to stand for the national anthem and were consequently removed from the stadium despite the fact that they had purchased tickets.

While this act could spark a debate in itself, I would like to focus on the argument that ensued. For the sake of summing up this long story, the entire class felt as if they should have stood. Although some of them respected the fact that they should be free to do as they choose, they believe that their actions were disrespectful and rude. Some students flat out thought that they should be punished.

Now, for anyone that knows me, you know that I don't back down from my personal views. And I am incredibly active in discussions both academic and social. So of course I got involved! Because I sit (politely, quietly, and non-violently) during the Pledge of Allegiance. I have done this for eight years (since I entered high school). And that's my right.

But now I'm constantly being pressured to stand during my graduation commencement in May. Things like "It will ruin graduation!" or "How could you do that to your parents?!" or even "You should leave the country if you hate it so much!" are constantly being said to me. But you know what? It would ruin MY graduation if I stood up for something that I did not believe in. I'm graduating with 400 other people. I'm not making a protest. I'm not trying to ruin anyone's day. And I feel that if ONE student sitting during ONE part of the graduation is going to ruin your graduation, that's your problem, not mine.

But recently my dean, who is on very friendly terms with me, took me aside to ask me politely to stand during the commencement. I politely told him that I would think about it, but that I reserve the right to sit if I wish. I've been thinking about it for days.

What are your opinions? It's my right to sit. It would violate my beliefs and thoughts to stand. I would be disappointed in myself. But then again, it's only one day. And other people seem very bothered by the idea that I might sit. What do YOU think I should do?

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(*audiable coughing*)

Several times might have been an understatement on my part... The whole fricking thing is a tribute! You could sing this five hundred years ago and be at home! I'm ashamed that this is my nation's anthem. They're debating changing the flag so hopefully they'll change the anthem...
But we normally only sing the first verse. Our PC government would be flinging crap at each other if everyone were to sing every single verse and all the minority groups would be hacking down flag poles again!
Besides being about a god, it is also riddled with errors.
Guard Pacific's triple star - our current flag has the southern cross blazoned like jewels across it! This cross has four stars in it!
Make us then a mighty host
Our military budget is so small that we can only afford two bloody frigates! Our army is only sent as support for everyone elses'. And our airforce... We had a few jets before they were decomissioned and they then rotted for about a decade!
The only way we could suvive a war would be to hope that everyone elses' world maps still forgot to draw us! (as they do).
God defend New Zealand?
We havent been attacked because we don't have any oil!
It really sucks. I don't think there are plans to change the anthem but there are plans to change the flag so maybe the issue will be raised then.
Yeah, our anthem kinda sucks .. sorry :(

But then I havn't sung it or even heard it for a few years now, so it kind of fades from my mind. Technically there is no separation of church and state here - our top dog is still technically the queen, who is also in charge of the CofE, so that sort of flings poo in the works too.

However, we are a fairly secular country, Destiny Church not withstanding
It is your RIGHT to remain seated! So if you want to sit... sit! If people put up a complaint, since you're part of the same country as I am [the US] and our "pledge" forces us to "pledge to the United States UNDER GOD" I have a couple of huge POWERFUL organizations that would back you up and you can contact if anyone gives you trouble! ^_^

First there's the AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION! - http://www.aclu.org/
If you need legal assistance you need to "contact a state ACLU representative." As they have dealt with first amendment religion cases I'm sure they'll be willing to help you.

Second... try contacting AMERICAN ATHEISTS! They have HISTORY with protesting the obligation to say "under god" in the plegde of allegiance! In fact a case involving that was one of the things that made their founder, Madelyn Murray O'Haire famous.

I'm a member of American Atheists and I will contact them on your behalf if you can't get them to listen to you. [Although I don't think it will be a problem getting AA to listen to you. lol] But if they don't send me a PM and I'll help.

The American Atheist Website: http://www.atheists.org/

In fact! If you want legal support from American Atheists just follow this link:

Show them that you cannot be pushed around by fear-tactics and threats. They obviously do not respect your rights if they think that you can be munipulated so easily. Their god must be very weak if he cannot suvive one person standing up (err, sitting down).
Good luck.
We're all supporting you.
Wow thanks. I'll look into it.
I feel so much better knowing that people are on my side.
Not that I would let a bunch of theists ruin MY graduation, but still.
Today we had to sing the national anthem in school. After reading the whole bloody thing (thanks doone for the post) I hated myself and hated the song and I hated the school and I hated my country. We are suppose to be a multi-ethnic country and our flag and anthem promotes only a fraction of our culture and people.
I think that I can sympathise with you, Carolanne, all though you have to do this Pledge of Allegiance and this whole 'one nation under god' thing which is discriminatory at best.
I'm sorry if this is a little off topic.
Perhaps if you stand with your hand over your heart and your middle finger extended and mutter blah blah blah yackety schmackety, they'll more fully understand your position.
How about showing up in a wheelchair with one leg in a giant cast? No, I'm kidding. I personally have no big problem with the pledge other than the "under god" part, which I skip. I guess I like to think that the pledge is a way of reminding ourselves of our country's ideals that we should try to live up to, not a way of saying that the country is perfect the way it is. That being said, I can see where you or others might see it as nothing more that blatant nationalism that serves no good purpose. You have the right not to be made to stand and speak, and if you feel that the pledge is offensive, then don't say it. Congrats on your graduation!
Sit and be proud!
Do what you want.

I would tell them it's against my religion :P


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