3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

In an upcoming episode Sam Smith will be joining us. Sam is a 14 year old from the home state of the Rational Responders, Pennsylvania who recently refused to say the Pledge. I've seen Sam portrayed poorly in two publications now, and Sam will come on to give us his side.

Quote:

http://www.pennlive.com/search/index.ssf?/base/columns-0/1139134169192200.xml?expresstimes?coljpo&coll=2

Owens: Pledge invites allegiance, allows dissent
Sunday, February 05, 2006
The fallout Thursday was predictable.

Anytime a newspaper article focuses on the American flag or the Pledge of Allegiance or defiance shown to it by Americans, expect the topic to evoke emotions from all corners.

In this case, a 14-year-old Nazareth Area High School freshman decided he didn't want to stand during the school's Pledge of Allegiance each day. A teacher in the district invoked a policy requiring his parents to sign a permission slip if he wanted to continue with his snub of the morning ritual.

The student, Sam Smith, of Stockertown, won the support of the American Civil Liberties .Union in his insistence that he has the right to ignore the call to pledge. The ACLU -- God bless 'em -- in turn confronted the school district, maintaining that the permission slip requirement was a First Amendment violation.

School districts by their nature aren't thrilled about taking a stand unless it involves raising taxes. A lawyer for the school district reviewed the ACLU claim and advised administrators to back off. Smith reserved his right to stay seated during the pledge regardless of whether Mom or Dad said it was OK.

Like it or not, everyone played by the rules and democracy will live to see another day. That doesn't make Smith's protest right or the backlash of angry pledge supporters wrong.

What it does is give a 14-year-old a moment to express himself in a way he believes is right, and the ACLU another chance to grandstand.

With any luck, Smith will grow out of it.

If you have a 14-year-old son -- I do -- you'll agree that there are 100 reasons to worry about his judgment. I can think of 75 different ideas that he thinks are great and I know are stupid. If I work up a fuss over all of them, I'll do nothing else all day. Instead, I'm determined to chip away at some and recognize that he'll come to a realization of his own on others.

In this case, young Smith objects to loss of life -- Iraqis and Americans -- in a military operation that would appear to have no end. He's right. It's terrible. The conflict in Iraq needs resolution, our country needs leadership and it would appear as if neither is close to happening.

Unfortunately, Smith's argument has a fundamental flaw.

"By pledging allegiance, you're saying that you're agreeing with what the country's doing," Smith said.

What Smith needs to understand, and what he might come to realize at some point in his life, is that he should pledge allegiance to the flag for the very reason that he's able to disagree with President Bush and everyone else who believes we need to be in Iraq. That flag and everything it stands for provides him the ability to speak out and disagree without fear of official intimidation.

Of course, that's only half the battle and Smith deserves credit for taking a stand. Intimidation of the unsanctioned variety has already fallen upon him. One reader last week admitted as much.

"In my day," the angry reader said, "we would have kicked the crap out him and that would have been the end of it."

Call it the death of enlightenment.

Joseph P. Owens is editor of The Express-Times. He can be reached at 610-258-7171 or by e-mail at .

Quote:
http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/editorial/13816415.htm

Posted on Wed, Feb. 08, 2006
A teenager's rebellion against God and country
By Jeff Cox

Sam Smith had a rough day in school last Thursday.

Being a 14-year-old media celebrity will have that effect on you.

That morning's papers brought Sam's face, along with his inflammatory political and religious views, into the local spotlight and under the heat of some of his classmates' parents.

"He had two kids come up to him and say, 'Now my parents hate you,' " Sam's mother, Anita Smith, was saying over the phone while her son was in school absorbing the verbal blows, along with some accolades, that his comments generated.

All the hubbub came from a pitched battle between Sam and the Nazareth (Pa.) Area High School administration. The boy from Stockertown had been refusing to stand to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. And when the school tried to make Sam get a permission slip from his parents to sit out the pledge, he refused and called in the American Civil Liberties .Union, which was only too happy to plead his case.

Sam's civil disobedience stems from strong opposition to the war in Iraq. He doesn't believe in nationalism, and while he holds no hatred for America, he also finds no particular pride in being one of its citizens. Oh, and to top it off he is a teenage atheist.

While Sam did in fact win his battle against the school, it's not hard to imagine why he has been the target of such vitriol and, yes, hatred from other kids' parents.

"That was kind of a funny comment," Sam said after putting in a hard day at school and then watching a story about himself on the news that evening. "A lot of people just do what their parents tell them to do. They just go along with what they have to say."

No doubt that Sam will never fit into that category.

He's established himself as a full-fledged rebel with little respect for the societal conventions that most kids - and their parents - find to be routine. His throwback secular humanism and card-carrying liberalism suit him just fine, regardless of how others feel.

"I don't think of myself as an American," he says. "I think of myself as a human being."

But judging by public response so far to the controversy, there are those who think of him as something less than human. Letters in the local papers have been decidedly against his position, a reaction he's likely to face often through his life should he hold true to such maverick beliefs.

At its core, there's nothing particularly illuminating about what Sam has to say.

He's against the Iraq war because it was launched under false pretenses. He thinks President Bush lied to the American people. Only extreme right-wing conservative Republicans favor the war and support Bush.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Pretty standard stuff straight out of the liberal Democratic playbook.

It's always a tricky business figuring out just how much weight to give to the opinions of teenagers, especially when it comes to politics, religion, and matters of the heart. More often than not, people that age base their beliefs on unvarnished opinion and the rash impulsiveness of youth.

So while there's some comfort in seeing a thoughtful 14-year-old take a skeptical view toward the things that conventional wisdom sometimes holds too close to its bosom, there's also something sad about this particular case.

Sam Smith is an intelligent young man who unfortunately seems to know only what he doesn't believe in, not what he does.

And while rejecting God and country might seem fashionable to him now, there's likely to be a price to pay somewhere down his life's long road.

That will happen the day he realizes he needs both in ways he can't even imagine right now.

Jeff Cox (jeffcox65@hotmail.com) is a freelance writer based near Easton.

Feel free to write to the two douchebags above. But Sapient, calling them douchebags isn't very rational... I beg to differ.

Hopefully Sam will be joining us in this thread soon as well.

- Brian Sapient


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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

Gutsy kid, I look forward to talking to him.


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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

When my seven-year-old (then just six) refused to stand for the pledge, her teacher and her made a compromise over it before I was even informed. The compromise was that Zo? would have to stand for the pledge, but wouldn't be required to do anything else. At the next parent/teacher conference, the teacher told me about the compromise and I had to let her know that her actions had been unacceptable. I told her that Zo? should not have to do anything during the pledge. The teacher started to complain about showing respect for other's beleifs, and I had to educate her on what constituted respect for beliefs. Ultimately, Zo? was allowed to leave the class for the pledge, which is what she does now.

The pledge is merely another ritual, but it is a ritual to the religion of nationalism. Children should not be forced into something like that through any federally-funded program, including school. This is the case no matter if the child believes in a deity or not (Zo?'s response was to the religious undertone of the pledge, as she didn't understand the nationalism part).

This teenager has guts, and I hope he holds fast to his stance. Is there any comments from his parents? It seems to me that these articles consider this kid to be in some sort of defiance, however, his parents seem to have supported his right.


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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

Way to go Sam....
Laughing out loud


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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

Apparently the journalists are not familiar with how to report the facts of a story without interjecting their own opinions. They are certainly adding fuel to the fire with their reporting.

Sam sounds wise beyond his years and I shall look forward to hearing him interviewed.

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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

Susan wrote:
Apparently the journalists are not familiar with how to report the facts of a story without interjecting their own opinions. They are certainly adding fuel to the fire with their reporting.

Agreed. In fact I'd like for Sam to take some time simply addressing some of the ridiculous statements made by the "journalists."

Quote:
Sam sounds wise beyond his years and I shall look forward to hearing him interviewed.

When I talked to him today, he reminded me of myself at 19 years old. The force is strong in him. :smt045

We've already tentatively scheduled him to be a fourth show host on our Rational Response Squad team in 2009 when he hopefully calls Philadelphia home (for College). Eye-wink

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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

Hey Brian
I?ll be looking forward to this show.

Quote:
does is give a 14-year-old a moment to express himself in a way he believes is right, and the ACLU another chance to grandstand.

With any luck, Smith will grow out of it.


Wow, this Owens guy is really full of it huh?

Smith: "I don't think of myself as an American," he says. "I think of myself as a human being."
People need to think like this more.

I?ll look forward to the show and the others too. This one going to be in March too? A calendar like the FTM one (or putting your shows up there) wouldn?t be a bad idea when you get the chance, I haven?t seen a in stone date for any of your shows yet so you may have thought of it already, but just throwing it out there.

"If nobody was listening to God, there would be nothing left for us to do but listen to each other."
~Marcel Antoin Rombouts


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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

sleepr wrote:
This one going to be in March too?

Most likely it will air in March.

Quote:
A calendar like the FTM one (or putting your shows up there) wouldn?t be a bad idea when you get the chance, I haven?t seen a in stone date for any of your shows yet so you may have thought of it already, but just throwing it out there.

I think we'll have a calender module on this site at some point. And our shows will be on the FTM calender as well.

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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

This is awsome, i feel great for the kid... i go through the pledge everyday and im sitting, but atleast i dont have a complete and utter jerk as a teacher when i do...i cant wait for the episode


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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

Show #3:

1.5 hour show featuring Sam Smith and his mother (briefly). Sam is a 14 year old who refused to stand up for the pledge, because of more than just objections to god. Sams phone was great and therefore provided us the best audio out of any of our first 4 shows. Sam got media attention after getting the ACLU involved in his case, and his school was forced to back down very quickly after requiring him to get a permission slip from his mother to sit the pledge out. His mother would've signed it, but that didn't matter to Sam. Meet this amazing young man, a must download show!

AIRS: Friday March 31st after the Infidel Guy at 9pm est (listen from the listen now link above)

You can purchase these shows and help support us from the Freethoughtmedia.com store here:
http://www.freethoughtmedia.com/index.php?do=store&show-cat=30

OR...

You can pay $5 total for our first 5 shows from our site, here:
http://www.rationalresponders.com/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=7

- Brian Sapient


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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

Sam Smith is now a member of these forums and will be in our chat room on Friday March 31, around 9 pm est to hang out during the show. This show is a "don't miss" show. Smiling

Be here March 31 Friday, listen in to Infidel Guy at 8pm and our show at 9. Click listen now at top of page to open the player.

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Tommorrow night is the night! Sam is confirmed to be joining us in the chatroom for the show!

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I am major-ly bummed that I won't be able to attend the chat tomorrow night.

Please relay my good wishes to Sam.

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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

Someone on myspace posted this picture:

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Here is the letter I sent him.

Dear Jeff,

Your view of Sam Smith was unfair. Without spending any length of time with him, merely based on an interview, you decided that he was a rebelious teen.

Standing up for principle is something the founders believed in. The right to dissagree. Sam wasn't advocating devil worship or eating babies. He sees the need to be an individual, to think things through and to be independant.

Sould we not teach kids to think for themselves, or should we teach them to be a clone of you?

"Question with boldness the existance of God, for if there be one, surely he would pay homage to reason, than to that of blindfolded fear. " Do you know who said that?

"As the United States government is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion" Do you know where that comes from?

We cannot call ourselves a nation of individuals and then condemn someone for being an individual. It was not an act of rebellion.Sam acted on research and principle.

In this McDonnald age, people are bombarded with "sound bite" propaganda and do little research beyond that. Sam is not out doing drugs and does get allong with his parents, yet your artical makes it sound like he is part of the Cripts street gang selling crack on the street corner.

Your stereotypical response fans the flams of bigotry and ignorance. This is the typical "The atheist is going to give me cooties, run for the hills."

The founders greatly respected freedom and individuality and you want people to be a clone of you. Most papers in the opinion seciton print the First Amendment, people like you only quote it when it suits your needs and condemn those who go against your precepts..

You don't know atheists, you only buy into the stereotype. The same type of stereotype white Christians had towards blacks. Condemn anything that isn't like you. And you call that freedom? E-Pluribus Unum. Yea, as long as you don't question Christians.

No, you like most Christians in America, wan't freedom where everyone else is a guest and should keep their mouth shut.

Ever heard the saying, "When in Rome"? The founders were in Rome and didn't do as the Romans.I'm using it for a metaphore for the coloinies when the king had absolute power. Because the founders questioned, we have this country.

The Puritains had a stranglehold on the colonies and indoctrinated people into relgion. Anyone who "Rebeled" was an outcast automatically. It wouldn't have mattered to the Puritians that someone outside their thought, might have something positive to add.

So, because Sam won't say the pledge, he is an outcast. How are you accomidating his right to dissagree while hypocritically condemning and telling him to shut up?

Our government is set up for debate and civil dissagreement. The Christian God demands that you obey or you will burn in hell. You won't even debate atheists. All you do is judge them. And exactly how is this promoting freedom?

On a radio interview, this 14 year old quoted Plato's "Allegory Of the Cave". How many 14 year olds do you know who have read it? Have you?

It seems to me that a 14 year old willing to use free inquiry, which by the way, is what news papers are supposed to do, has more maturity than a propaganda machine like you.

I have a journalism degree, and my proffessors would have given me an F if I had submitted the smear campain you unleashed on a kid practicing his freedom. Exactly how much time did you spend with him outside the interview. Was it a few hours, a few days or a couple weeks? Was this in an in depth story? Were these opinions researched or tools for pandering to Christians?

(EDIT, JUST ADDED THIS FOLLOWING)

The paper you work for should be proud of your objectivity and balance. I am glad you are merely an opinion writer and don't write real news stories. You couldn't hack it.

Regards,

Brian

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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

Here is the e-mail I sent to Joseph Owens:

Dear Joseph Owens,

I didn't see any debate or balance in your opinion. I saw judgment. Stereotypical judgement. How much time did you actually spend with him? Was it in depth research or food for the status quoe believers?

Sam Smith diserves a swift kick in the rear. Yep, and that is what the King thought about Jefferson ," HOW DARE YOU QUESTION MY TRADITIONS! JUST TAKE YOUR SEAT AT THE BACK OF THE BUS YOU TRAITORS. I DON'T WANT YOUR COOTIES!".

"Question with boldness even the existance of God, for if there be one, surely he would pay homage to reason than to that of blindfolded fear" Thomas Jefferson.

"As the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion" Artical 11, Treaty of Tripoly signed by congress without any objection and signed into law by president John Adams, June 10th 1797.

"....to petition the government for a redress of grievance" part of the First Amendment. How many Americans know these quotes. No, most people are stuck on McDonnalds ideology where sound bites, not research, is how they make life's decisions.

Narrow concepts of the world result from propaganda perpetuated by no scope of information. Sam Smith has read "Allegory of the Cave" by Plato and so did Jefferson. How many 14 year olds, much less Americans in general, do you think have read that?

According to Christians in America being a Christian is required by law to be President, dispite "no religious test" being in the Constitution and the lack of "so help me God" in the oath of office.Joseph Lieberman couldn't have run for office if that were the case.

People like you feed a dumbed down public with "God Bless America, Under God, and In God We Trust". and hypocritically call this nation a nation of individuals and make "E-Pluribus Unum"a joke. American Idol is more important than knowing that the original pledge DID NOT contain "Under God".. Frances Belhamy objected to any reffrence to a deity being in it.

Yep, the non-Christian will be tollerated as long as they don't exersize their Constitutional rights. Americans fill the government, courts and schools with their corperate logo to remind others outside the club that the lion has already marked his territory.

Christians wan't freedom, yes they do. I agree. They wan't the freedom to monopolize government, where others are thrown a bone here and there, but have no shot at being listened to in a serious manner.

Which is it Joe, should this kid think for himself, or shut up and accept his place at the back of the bus? Wait, could it be that atheists are "Seperate but equal"? Is that it?

Our government is based on the concept of free inquiry and debate. Is it only acceptable as long as it doesn't question "God". What would Thomas Jefferson say? Is "to petition the government for a redress of grievance" limited to "for Christian use only?"

I value the constituion as the rule of law for all citizens. Without it I couldn't send this too you. Jesus didn't write the Constitution. It was written by humans who agreed that theocracies were bad and the mind of the individual was paramount. The founders valued free inquery. You feed the masses what they wan't to hear, and have no intrest opening the doors to more ideas or critical thought.

Maybe we can have our schools full of robots sitting in chairs rocking back and forth while reciting bible passages just like Islamic theocracies do with the Quran.. No one is allowed to question anything in those schools.

Popularity certainly is worth more than substaince. God bless robots. I thank God Jefferson was a robot. I wonder if he is burning in hell for writing a document that said I didn't have to be a Christian and could still be a citizen?

"Daddy, why do I have to say the pledge?"

"Because you don't have the right to think for yourself.. I don't want you growing up with your own brain. We must do what Uncle Sam says. We are not a nation of individuals Johhny"

I hope Sam Smith never outgrows questioning. I do hope your outgrow your unfounded fear of atheists. The world doesn't need more ignorant Purina Dogma Chow, there is plenty of that overseas.

Regards

Brian

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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

Ha, that was a nice episode. Sam Smith reminds me of a young me... by that, I mean a me 2 years ago. Sticking out tongue

Wilson: "We were afraid that if you found out you solved a case with absolutely no medical evidence you'd think you were God." House: "God doesn't limp."


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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

I tried to listen to that show, but couldn't. Only a horrible sound, like metal grating on metal came out.

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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

MattShizzle wrote:
I tried to listen to that show, but couldn't. Only a horrible sound, like metal grating on metal came out.

You gotta join us in the chatroom next time! Puzzled We had a solution for you, you just had to listen to the 128k stream. Anywho... no biggie, click "play past shows" in the above menu.

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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

OK, at the time I had just joined the site,


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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

No prob man, understood. I'm not mad at ya, I'm mad for ya. Eye-wink

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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

Finally got time to listen to it this morning. it was great!


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3RD EPISODE-14yr old who wouldn't say the pledge

Glad you enjoyed it! Smiling

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