I don’t know Marty Rosenthal’s view on students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom. We’ve been concentrating on so many stories lately we didn’t know Marty’s opinion on something was particularly newsworthy. That’s just every day Marty. Marty always exercises his right to voice his opinion on lots of different subjects. That’s what I love about the guy.

This weekend the Hub received some disparaging emails about Marty from parts unknown. It was pretty vicious stuff and it seemed pretty strange because the comments were submitted in response to a PAX report Marty and Frank Farlow submitted in 2008, but they had nothing to do with that report. So I asked around and discovered the a fervor brewing over an opinion Marty wrote about the Pledge.

I’ve known Marty Rosenthal a long time. Besides being an advocate of more issues than most people know exist, Marty is a good neighbor, a great father, a dog lover and a listener. He’s also put me in my place more than once the last few years. Each time I loved it. Nothing inspires me like intellectual integrity. Marty has it in spades.

I’m not an “under God” kind of guy, but I’ve always liked saying the Pledge of Allegiance, although I haven’t had occasion to recite it much as an adult. One heck of writer wrote that personal promise to our country. That writer’s name was Francis Bellamy and, according to ushistory.org, he wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in August 1892. Interestingly, Francis was actually a socialist minister. His hope was that citizens of any country would use the pledge.

What does Marty Rosenthal think of the Pledge of Allegiance? Right now, that’s not my concern. My concern is that people who love Marty must pray that the base element of our society doesn’t put their ignorant threats into action. The Declaration of Independence bolstered by the Emancipation Proclamation protects our citizenry in the eyes of the law, but the law can’t always protect us against hate. We’re on our own fighting that war. Hate finds its way into all sides of an argument. People who disagree on any subject must defend their position with their wits but stand as one against those whose motivation is the destruction of our right to speak our minds.

Every horrible thing that has happened to mankind has been the instrument of hate. No differing ideology flew those planes into the Pentagon and World Trade Centers. Blind ignorance and hate did it. My guess is that members of terrorist groups don’t get to give their opinions to their leaders. Many seem offended by the timing of Marty Rosenthal’s views of where and when and who should say the Pledge of Allegiance. They feel it shouldn’t happen during our 10th anniversary remembrance of that excruciating day. I say what better time to do it. What better time to state your opinion about anything, out loud, in print, online, from the rooftops. That’s what free people do.

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

I took the liberty of using the pre-1954 version. In 1953, President Eisenhower added ‘under God” in response to the Communist threat at the time.

Harvey Bravman, Publisher