Missouri House reviews Pledge of Allegiance bill

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JEFFERSON CITY - A proposed bill in the Missouri House would require all schools supported by public funds to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every day. Current Missouri law requires schools to have students recite the pledge at least once a week.

This is similar to another bill that passed through the House a year ago by a wide margin. The only difference: that bill required the pledge be recited exclusively in English. The bill didn’t make it to the floor of the Senate in time to pass. 

Rep. Shane Roden, R-Hillsboro, said he expects the bill to pass both the House and the Senate in plenty of time this year. He said the bill doesn’t infringe on anyone’s rights, even those who don’t believe in God.

“From the religious side of it, we’re not requiring anybody to say the pledge… that’s your right, we’re not forcing anybody to do it,” Roden said. “But there are some values that this country was founded on.”

Sam Goeke is a senior at Jefferson City High School. He said he understands why people might feel offended by the pledge of allegiance.

“I have friends who, maybe don’t believe in God or have different viewpoints. I think it should cater to everyone, but if the school sees it fit to say the pledge of allegiance I think that’s fine. I see no problem with it every day,” Goeke said.

Claudia Burcham is also a senior at Jefferson City High School. She said the school district should decide whether to make the pledge mandatory or not. Still, she said she doesn’t think it’s disrespectful to people who don’t believe in God.

“I don’t think it’s unfair because it’s our national pledge and we should honor that,” Burcham said.

Students in an American Government class at Northwest High School originally came up with the idea for the bill, and presented it to Roden. Roden said the bill has support on both sides of the aisles. 

He said he has a proposition for those who oppose requiring public schools to recite the pledge every day.   

“I think if they value their money, or they have an issue with the God part, they can give up all their money, it’s not a big deal, all the cash still has ‘In God We Trust’ on it,“ he said.

Roden said he doesn’t expect the bill to be voted on today.