Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Useful Idiots

Maybe some of you folks heard about William Phillips, the kid in Arkansas who is being used as a useful idiot by his "progressive" parents (more than likely his mama), as their political extension into his class room to promote their leftist values. Along with talking back to his teacher and mocking authority by refusing to obey instructions, Will claims his protest is against our society's refusal to grant equal rights to gays to marry each other.

Laying aside his misguided understanding of homosexuality and the ramifications of same-sex marriage, I just wish to take a moment to illustrate the inconsistent hypocrisy of the left. Gays are the trendy minority group to defend now-a-days by the so-called progressive liberal. Yet the same progressives are not so quick to run to the defense of other minority groups who want the mainstream of American society to redefine the terms and subjects of marriage to match their convictions.

Here's the original story of Will's plight in Arkansas, reposted by me with a few modifications for illustration purposes.

Arkansas Times 11/18/09

A Boy and His Flag

Why Will won't pledge

Will Phillips isn't like other boys his age.

For one thing, he's smart. Scary smart. A student in the West Fork School District in Washington County, he skipped a grade this year, going directly from the third to the fifth. When his family goes for a drive, discussions are much more apt to be about Teddy Roosevelt and terraforming Mars than they are about Spongebob Squarepants and what's playing on Radio Disney.

It was during one of those drives that the discussion turned to the pledge of allegiance and what it means. Laura Phillips is Will's mother. “Yes, my son is 10,” she said. “But he's probably more aware of the meaning of the pledge than a lot of adults. He's not just doing it rote recitation. We raised him to be aware of what's right, what's wrong, and what's fair.”

Will's family has a number of Muslim friends. In recent years, Laura Phillips said, they've been trying to be a straight ally to the Muslim community, going to the local Mosque and standing up for the rights of their Muslim neighbors. They've been especially dismayed by the effort to take away the rights of Muslims – the right to polygamy and the right to perform female circumcision. Given that, Will immediately saw a problem with the pledge of allegiance.

“I've always tried to analyze things because I want to be lawyer,” Will said. “I really don't feel that there's currently liberty and justice for all.”

After asking his parents whether it was against the law not to stand for the pledge, Will decided to do something. On Monday, Oct. 5, when the other kids in his class stood up to recite the pledge of allegiance, he remained sitting down. The class had a substitute teacher that week, a retired educator from the district, who knew Will's mother and grandmother. Though the substitute tried to make him stand up, he respectfully refused. He did it again the next day, and the next day. Each day, the substitute got a little more cross with him. On Thursday, it finally came to a head. The teacher, Will said, told him that she knew his mother and grandmother, and they would want him to stand and say the pledge.

“She got a lot more angry and raised her voice and brought my mom and my grandma up,” Will said. “I was fuming and was too furious to really pay attention to what she was saying. After a few minutes, I said, ‘With all due respect, ma'am, you can go jump off a bridge.' ”

Will was sent to the office, where he was given an assignment to look up information about the flag and what it represents. Meanwhile, the principal called his mother.

“She said we have to talk about Will, because he told a sub to jump off a bridge,” Laura Phillips said. “My first response was: Why? He's not just going to say this because he doesn't want to do his math work.”

Eventually, Phillips said, the principal told her that the altercation was over Will's refusal to stand for the pledge of allegiance, and admitted that it was Will's right not to stand. Given that, Laura Phillips asked the principal when they could expect an apology from the teacher. “She said, ‘Well I don't think that's necessary at this point,' ” Phillips said.

After Phillips put a post on the instant-blogging site twitter.com about the incident, several of her friends got angry and alerted the news media. Meanwhile, Will Phillips still refuses to stand during the pledge of allegiance. Though many of his friends at school have told him they support his decision, those who don't have been unkind, and louder.

“They [the kids who don't support him] are much more crazy, and out of control and vocal about it than supporters are.”

Given that his protest is over the polygamous rights of Muslims, the taunts have taken a predictable bent. “In the lunchroom and in the hallway, they've been making comments and doing pranks, and calling me a terrorist,” he said. “It's always the same people, walking up and calling me an Osama.”

Even so, Will said that he can't foresee anything in the near future that will make him stand for the pledge. To help him deal with the peer pressure, his parents have printed off posts in his support on blogs and websites. “We've told him that people here might not support you, but we've shown him there are people all over that support you,” Phillips said. “It's really frustrating to him that people are being so immature.”

At the end of our interview, I ask young Will a question that might be a civics test nightmare for your average 10-year-old. Will's answer, though, is good enough — simple enough, true enough — to give me a little rush of goose pimples. What does being an American mean?

“Freedom of speech,” Will says, without even stopping to think. “The freedom to disagree. That's what I think pretty much being an American represents.”

Somewhere, Thomas Jefferson smiles

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Blogger Escovado said...

Off topic, but...

The dispute thread over the neutrality of the wackypedia link regarding "useful idiot" is very amusing. One commenter wrote, "User:Ultramarine insists on adding a quote which he attributes to Lenin, but which does not appear in any of Lenin's works. The source he gives [2] is a book that is not available online. Thus, at this point, I see absolutely no proof that Lenin ever said (or wrote) anything of the sort." The immediate response in my mind was, 'Get a copy of the book you lazy nit wit!' But nooooo, because the book isn't "online" it's not a valid reference. The vast majority of good books still under copyright are not online. Yeesh!

Back on topic...

I also read the original Arkansas Times story. The left dosen't seem to realize that both the Muslims and the militant gays would never return the favor.

8:43 AM, November 18, 2009  
Blogger donsands said...

The freedom to disagree is what America is all about.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands: one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Liberty and justice for all. And the justice is to be blind. The freedom is to be constitutional.

I wonder does the boy know the Constitution? Not to mention the Declaration of Independence?

He's a smart boy, perhaps he and his parents could discuss the Bill of Rights as well; and American History.

I remember back in the late 60's early 70's fellow students in my high school who wouldn't stand for the Star Spangled Banner. It was protesting the War of course, but I think some people just like to be the center of attention.

10:02 AM, November 18, 2009  
Blogger Siarlys Jenkins said...

Hey Escovado, we have something to agree on. All the knowledge in the world is not yet available on line, and I like the feel of a solid book in my hand, where I can flip the pages without waiting for a microprocessor to catch up.

This little boy has a long way to go if he wants to be a lawyer. The question, is there a constitutional right to decline to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance was decided in 1942 or 1943. The case is called West Virginia v. Barnette, and the answer is yes, but he should do so in the least disruptive way possible. Jehovah's Witnesses recommend standing and remaining silent, which I find works pretty well.

I have two problems with the Pledge of Allegiance. First, it strikes me as a violation of the Second Commandment, you know, bowing to graven images, and second, just as James Madison said the better part of showing respect for the sacred name of Jesus would be NOT to insert it into a legislative enactment, I think it was rather an insult to the divine majesty of the Almighty to throw him in, as an afterthought no less, to what started out as a second rate verse in a children's magazine.

But he has something to learn about diversity -- just as he doesn't think exactly the way everyone else does, everyone else in class doesn't think the way he does either.

4:04 PM, November 19, 2009  

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