Scouting magazine

What to do when a Scout won’t say the Pledge of Allegiance

The Dilemma: Few things seem as quintessentially American as the Pledge of Allegiance. Formally adopted by Congress during World War II (and amended in 1954 to include the words “under God”), the pledge has long been a fixture of civic gatherings, school assemblies and Scout meetings. It has also been a source of controversy, perhaps most notably when the Supreme Court ruled in 1943 that forcing Jehovah’s Witnesses to recite it in school would be a violation of their religious beliefs.

The pledge is also a source of controversy in Troop 96, where a Life Scout has begun refusing to recite it, calling it meaningless because, he says, “the United States has an inconsistent record of providing liberty and justice for all.” When the troop recites the pledge, he now stands without saluting or saying a word.

The Scoutmaster has ignored this behavior but now says the Scout won’t be allowed to run for senior patrol leader. His argument: Leaders must set a good example, which the boy isn’t doing.

For Discussion
After reading the scenario with your Scouts, discuss these questions about the Pledge of Allegiance and Scouting:

Finally, have the Scouts decide what course of action the troop should take. Discuss these questions: