One problem young atheists often run into (and some older ones as well), is being bullied, punished, even suspended, for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance (as is their legal right). Here are a few examples.
- Teacher Threatened to Punish Her for Refusing…
- Teen suspended after refusing to stand for Pledge of Allegiance
- Man refuses to stand for Pledge of Allegiance; forcibly removed from public meeting
- Refusal to stand for Pledge of Allegiance leads to lawsuit
- School nurse refuses service to girl who won’t stand for pledge
The last is particularly egregious — the school nurse refused to treat this student, refused to let her call her parents, and apparently an administrator sided with the nurse and told the student she had to leave the room if she didn’t want to participate in the Pledge (incorrect). As I write, the school district is investigating the case.
The student’s reasons weren’t given, but nowadays the most common objection is by atheists to the “under God” wording. Some have also raised objections to the Pledge on religious grounds even before the “under God” — the addition of which doesn’t address those objections.
It’s easy to find many more news articles like the above. But of course, young people brave enough to stand up to this sort of pressure from authority figures are exceedingly rare. For every case reported in the press, there must be many thousands who suffer in silence under the boot heel of godly patriotism. They probably don’t even need to be told that they’d better not refuse — the atmosphere is thick with intolerance, and they can certainly see how anyone else who refuses is slapped down.
So, in case someone wants to know why this directory is needed, this is an example of why. I’d like to post more examples of other types, so please send in your experiences or relevant news stories via the contact form.