Michigan Republican State Sen. Roger Kahn has proposed a bill, SB 637, that would make the Pledge of Allegiance mandatory for public school students in Michigan and require schools to purchase a flag for every classroom.
Republican state Sens. Rick Jones, Patrick Colbeck, Michael Green, Tonya Schuitmaker, Howard Walker, Goeffrey Hansen, Jack Brandenburg, and John Pappageorge are co-sponsoring the bill.
However, the group 'Michigan Atheists' opposes the proposed law.
Michigan Atheists director Arlene Marie the told the South Bend Tribune: “The ‘under God’ is far less important to me than the entire sense that requiring the Pledge of Allegiance is just plain wrong. It is divisive and there are many reasons why parents would not want their children to say the Pledge of Allegiance.”
Marie explained that many of the children would be too young to understand what taking a pledge means, and some religions like Jehovah’s Witnesses forbid followers from citing pledges.
“Many children in our public schools are not even citizens of this country,” Marie added.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1943 that forcing students to cite the pledge was unconstitutional unless parents were given the opportunity to have the final say on whether their child participates.
Members of a state Senate committee added language to the Michigan legislation that would allow parents to opt out.