Every Monday, Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, Colorado, recites the Pledge of Allegiance.
Last Monday, however, a student of the public school’s Cultural Arms Club led the student body in an Arabic version of the pledge, replacing the words “under God” with “under Allah.”
Rick Wells reports for GOPtheDailyDose, April 18, 2014, that the school’s principal Tom Lopez now faces a hailstorm of criticism from some very angry parents and residents.
Lopez said he has been getting a variety of accusations leveled at him, including being called a traitor. He said, “They claim they are outraged, that this is blaspheming a real major tenet of our patriotism – which in their mind the Pledge of Allegiance is only in English.”
He said he’s also been accused of “pushing a Muslim Brotherhood agenda – to push Islam into the school.” But Lopez denies any attempt to push an Islamic agenda, saying, “These students love this country. They were not being un-American in trying to do this. They believed they were accentuating the meaning of the words as spoken regularly in English.” Lopez said the cultural club seeks to “destroy the barriers, embrace the cultures” that exist within the high school.
Portraying himself as the victim, Lopez said he’s “worn down” from all the criticisms, “I’ve been shocked with prejudicial statements that have been made. I’ve been shocked with the lack of seeking understanding. There’s definitely suspicion and fear expressed in these people’s minds. There’s some hate.”
The Poudre School District communications director, Danielle Clark, said they understand why parents are upset. She told Fox News, “We understand not everybody would agree with the students’ choice. We’ve heard there are some who are upset.” Clark tried to deflect responsibility, saying, “This is a student-initiated and student-led club. There is no school sponsor or advisor. It doesn’t come under the umbrella of the district. We deferred to the students because it’s their deal.”
Fort Collins resident Chris Wells put it the best. Writing in The Daily Coloradoan, he said, “As a veteran and a friend of a man killed defending these children in their little games they like to play with our pledge, I’m offended. There are things that we don’t mess with – among them are the pledge and our anthem.”