A private college in Seattle reversed its decision to ban the Pledge of Allegiance and national anthem during a Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 10 night after an outcry from students, military veterans and their supporters.
Faculty at Seattle Pacific University originally told students they couldn't include the Pledge of Allegiance — or the presenting of colors, a ceremony that includes the national anthem — during a Veterans Day event in the campus chapel, attributing the decision to "a diversity of views on campus."
In an internal email justifying the decision, the campus chaplain said including military symbols and ceremonies in a Christian church "would work counter to" solidarity at the university.
“This Christian tradition is pacifist, and would object to Christians serving in the military, holding military Christian services, and having military or political symbols in church sanctuaries,” said Bo Lim, chaplain at Seattle Pacific University, according to Fox News.
Outside groups began to pressure the university after a report by a local Fox affiliate in Seattle.
"Recently some people said they would be offended" by including the Pledge of Allegiance and national anthem in the church ceremony, Seattle Pacific student Daniel Fenlason told Q13 Fox. “We should be able to pledge allegiance to the flag inside of our own church, in our own house of worship [for] the same people who died for that same right."
The Q13 Fox story was picked up by conservative blogs and news sites, and Fox News aired a segment on the controversy. Some commentators blamed the controversy on politically correct culture run amok, while others said the university's leadership was caving to a small number of people among an undergraduate class of more than 3,600.
But on Nov. 10, just ahead of the ceremony, the university reversed its decision, issuing a statement saying the service "will include the Pledge of Allegiance, the presentation of colors, and the singing of the national anthem."
"We regret that our initial decision about our Veterans Day service caused so much misunderstanding," the university said in its statement. "It was never our intent to dishonor our veterans or their service to our country."