- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 16, 2022

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said he is pushing the state Legislature to guarantee the opportunity to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools and government meetings.

The Republican governor announced the push after the Fargo School Board decided this month to stop reciting the pledge at its meetings.

“America is the land of opportunity. And students in every public school in North Dakota, along with elected governing bodies and those who attend their meetings, should have the opportunity to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and express support for the American ideals upon which our country was founded,” Mr. Burgum said Monday. “To that end, our administration is creating a framework for legislation to guarantee that the opportunity exists to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, as other states have done.”

The governor said he enlisted three state lawmakers — Sen. Scott Meyer of Grand Forks and Reps. Pat Heinert of Bismarck and Todd Porter of Manda — to craft the legislation.

They are putting the pledge front-and-center after the Fargo School Board voted 7-2 on Aug. 9 to stop reciting the pledge.

Board Member Seth Holden said the pledge’s reference to “under God” referred to the Christian god and didn’t include any other faiths, making the pledge a “non-inclusionary act,” according to The Center Square publication in North Dakota.

“We are one nation under many or no gods,” Mr. Holden said during the meeting.

He also said the part of the pledge saying the U.S. is “one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all” amounted to an untrue statement.

Most states require the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited at schools, though they offer exemptions for students and teachers who do not want to participate.

The Supreme Court ruled in the 1943 West Virginia v. Barnette case that the government cannot compel someone to salute the flag or say the pledge in public school.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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