Protect the Pledge

Submitted by Frank Penwell

Dear Rita Weisbrod, Mullis Senior Center chairperson, and senior center board,

I appreciate the volunteer work that you and the senior center board members are doing for the Mullis Senior Center. However, Rita’s recent letter highlights several mistakes. To keep my letter short, I will focus only on two points in Rita’s letter:

1) Rita’s public letter is riddled with so many debatable errors and personal opinions that they are causing unnecessary conflict in an organization of elderly people who want peace and harmony. It is quite obvious from Rita’s letter’s errors and rationalizations that she is either using the senior center to pursue a personal viewpoint, or she is simply uneducated as to the subject matter, as well as oblivious to the needs of many seniors who value and cherish history, tradition and liberty. The current policy decision is punishing the majority of seniors by denying them their constitutional rights over a political purpose that may, or may not, serve an unnamed individual or individuals.

2) Rita’s letter stated that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is against the law, “ruled unconstitutional,” may cost the senior center its nonprofit status, and that you are protecting the few from “louder voices.” The courts have ruled that “under God” represents a patriotic, not a religious, exercise. In addition, if prayers and the Pledge were against the law, why are the U.S. Senate and U.S. Congress still doing it? Google federal court upholds prayer in Congress. “Freedom to exercise religion was vindicated.” The pledge and prayer are still allowed in schools as well. The fact is that these activities have been ruled an “optional action for participation.” It is more accurate to state that your actions are illegal as they are preventing many from their right to free speech and religious participation, which is guaranteed by our Constitution.

When one makes mistakes, it is important to apologize and rectify the errors. As chair of the senior center board it is Rita’s job to follow the law, and to follow policy set by the board, rather than set personal policy and program decisions. I respectfully request that you all educate yourselves on these issues, and to rectify any mistakes. I also respectfully request that you protect all senior rights, not just the rights of a few unidentified individuals. If Rita, or any board members cannot do this, because personal viewpoints take precedence, then I respectfully ask that those board members resign to make way for board members who are dedicated to serving all senior center members and their needs. If any senior center board member does not want to change the current direction of what appears to be a choice to create conflict, or does not want to make things right for the majority of seniors, then i respectfully ask that the senior center board remove those board members from the senior center board.