American Legion ‘Supports’ Free Speech, Won’t ‘Accept’ It


An American Legion post in Illinois is withdrawing its annual contribution to activities at a public park because one of the members of the local parks commission won’t stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. And they’re offering this bizarrely incoherent excuse for their decision:

An Illinois American Legion post announced last week that it had decided to withhold financial support for the Morton Grove Park District because an atheist park commissioner refused to pledge allegiance to the United States flag “under God.”

At a Thursday park board meeting, Post 134 Commander Joseph Lampert told Commissioner Dan Ashta that Legion members did not “accept” his right not to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance — even though many veterans had died to protect that right.

“On behalf of our post, it is with some regret that we fully respect the right of individuals to not stand during the pledge of allegiance,” Lampert said. “All veterans have been willing to lose their lives for that right, and many have. With that being said, while we support that right, we do not accept it.”

“Regrettably, we will be withholding funds from the park district until such time that everyone rises for the pledge,” he added. “We feel that it’s disrespectful to all veterans that have been willing to sacrifice their lives for this country and it is a great dishonor to all servicemen and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and died for this country.”

You should read that in the voice of Walter Sobchak from The Big Lebowski. They didn’t watch their buddies die face down in the mud so that some namby pamby parks commissioner could refuse to stand for the pledge! They support it but they can’t accept it. Jesus, I get so tired of this simple-minded nationalistic bullshit.

Comments

  1. nich says

    I prefer reading it in the voice of Nicolas Cage: Hey!!! My pledge of allegiance! Did I ever tell ya that this here pledge represents my belief in personal freedom that veterans died for but do not personally accept?

  2. says

    We’re not perfect, but you guys are looking crazier and crazier to us up here in the Great White North.

    Please don’t nuke us, we have beavers, geese and polar bears.

  3. had3 says

    Well, free speech as guaranted by the first amendment is a protection for citizens from having that speech curtailed by the US Government. In what capacity did the veterans sacrifice to keep our government from infringing on our rights vis-a-vi the first amendment? I agree they sacrificed to keep us from having to speaking German (and to a lesser extent, Japanese, Vietnamese, and recently Arabic).

  4. Who Knows? says

    I say we get together and send the money that the Legion is withholding. If Ed wants to organize it, I’ll chip in $50.00.

  5. daved says

    So how much cash are we talking about here?

    According to the article, last year it was $2600, divided among contributions for four different activities.

  6. dingojack says

    A mere $2600? Surely we can raise that much fairly easily (and with minimal pain) on the condition that all the speakers point out how the American Legion doesn’t support the religious freedoms they have falsely claimed to have fought (and died) for.
    Dingo
    ——–
    PS: where do I send my cheque?

  7. drr1 says

    Ed wrote:

    Jesus, I get so tired of this simple-minded nationalistic bullshit.

    If it wasn’t for simple-minded nationalistic bullshit, there wouldn’t be any nationalistic bullshit at all.

  8. says

    dingojack, from the story it’s about $2,600/year.(*1)

    *1. I’ll stand for the pledge for half that. I’ll do it under God for only $1,300 more. Act now, and for only another $1,499.99 I’ll let you pretend it’s your God!(*2)
    *2. Note: Offer subject to taxes, fees, transportation and hotel costs, and permission from my parole officer. Clothing optional. YMMV.

  9. Eric Riley says

    I wonder how they would feel if he were, himself, a veteran? I am, and I run into all this kind of bullshit all the time, but at least I get to toss in some cognitive dissonance by announcing that I am a vet and watch their eyes glaze as hey try to come to terms with it…

    No – I don’t wear a flag-pin, nor say the pledge, and – if you’re going to give people the stink-eye for not standing up for the national anthem, take off your god-damned hat.

    I also wonder how much of this is how ‘the Post’ feels (“On behalf of our post, it is with some regret that we…”) and how much is Lampert and maybe some of the other Post leadership? Because if I were a joiner, I would leave these assholes for being “disrespectful to all veterans that have been willing to sacrifice their lives for this country and it is a great dishonor to all servicemen and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and died for this country.” to throw their own words back at them.

  10. magistramarla says

    The American Legion is a support group for the right wing.
    When we sent in our membership fees, we were sent a newsletter that explicitly stated that our money was going to help with the fight against Obamacare and to keep DOMA.
    We cancelled our membership and stuck with the AARP, a group that does a much better job of representing our views.

  11. John Pieret says

    I’ll defend to the DEATH your right to NOT say the Pledge … but if just ONE of you bastards refuses to do so, I’ll take my bat and ball and go home! Nayyaaah! Nayyaaah!

  12. chilidog99 says

    Morton Grove is like Skokie (next to it, in fact). There is a sizable Jewish population there. Many of whom have relatives who died in the Holocaust.

    (Essentially for saying the wrong words in prayer)

  13. says

    I just sent those smug pieces-of-shit a nasty e-mail, I’ll be interested in their reply.

    My late sister’s husband is a good man but he is absolutely blind to reality when shit like this happens. He is a past Post Commander and once sent me an e-mail about the lack of patriotism he observed during 2005 and 2006, on the part of anti-war advocates who called out Shrub and his meatpuppet master DorkLord Cheney. I told him that he really needed to cull my name from his e-mail list and he complied.

  14. Michael Heath says

    magistramarla writes:

    The American Legion is a support group for the right wing.
    When we sent in our membership fees, we were sent a newsletter that explicitly stated that our money was going to help with the fight against Obamacare and to keep DOMA.

    I didn’t know this. To me the litmus test for them is whether they promote the equal protection of all service members’ rights. So I went to their website to check. Not only do they not, but they oppose such rights as we see here when it comes to DADT: http://www.legion.org/magazine/152419/court-oversteps-its-bounds-dadt.

  15. bahrfeldt says

    What about all the Korean War, WW II and earlier troops who died defending the pledge that did not include the phrase “under God”? Is the Legion failing to support them? Meanwhile, every 1964 to 1972 high school graduate, whether they served or not, whether they supported or opposed the Viet Nam War, said the “under God” pledge 2,000 or more times in their school careers. Constant repetition without meaning or understanding can be merely irrelevant.

  16. says

    Michael Heath “I didn’t know this. To me the litmus test for them is whether they promote the equal protection of all service members’ rights. So I went to their website to check. Not only do they not, but they oppose such rights as we see here when it comes to DADT…”
    They do. They promote the right of all members to not be icked out by the gayhomos, equally. You can’t get any more fair than that.

    (Fun fact: They’re also against eye-legals who love the USA so much that they’re willing to fight and die for it. “That kind of patriotism, we don’t need”, say patriots.)

  17. says

    As a veteran who did die for the right not to recite the pledge (like Jesus, prove I didn’t die and come back three days later), I say the American Legion should support the park commissioner’s embrace of the freedoms we earned.

  18. had3 says

    @22 Donovan: was it three days that were actually 2 days, or did you pull the full 3 days? Also, did the weight you lost come right back on after eating a few brains, or did you keep it off?

  19. says

    @8

    “I say we get together and send the money that the Legion is withholding. If Ed wants to organize it, I’ll chip in $50.00.”

    If Ed or someone else sets up something on Gofundme.com or a similar reputable site, I’ll go in $50, as well. It would be great to raise a sum larger than what the the AL was going to contribute.

  20. says

    As always I will be happy to contribute photo services. All somebody has to do is set me up with a stretch limo to Hancock AP (Syracuse) a 1st class ticket for the flight to Chicago, a stretch limo to Morton’s Grove, suitable accommodations in the best hotel in town (NO Motel 6) and a little walkin’ around cash.

    Fuck, my bad, Ignore that last paragraph, I was thinking like a GOP volunteer.

  21. Jay Bulworth says

    Seriously Ed, how about it? Could you set up something like that for contributions?

    You could email a few other blog admins for a post alerting their readers to the cause. I’m thinking PZ’s readers would love to contribute. And just off the top of my head, Charles Johnson at LGF and John Cole at BJ (two former righties who finally got fed up with tea-vangelical types) might be good for a link to the contribution site.

    It’d be great to raise more money than the $2600 contribution from the AL.

  22. left0ver1under says

    They support it but they can’t accept it.

    I see shades of Rudi Ghoul-iani and his idiocy about “freedom means the right to agree”. Those weren’t his exact words, but they were definitely the intent.

  23. wscott says

    I say we get together and send the money that the Legion is withholding.

    As a veteran myself, I’m in for $100. Just let me know where to send the PayPal.

  24. steve84 says

    The American Legion are fascists and nothing but a right-wing political action committee. They openly campaign for a theocracy and think that there is no separation of church and state.

  25. spamamander, internet amphibian says

    Over at Hemant’s blog they’ve been fundraising already, so there is a place if you would like to help out… Clicky

  26. Jay Bulworth says

    Thanks for the link spamamander. Just gave $50, and it looks like they’re over $2800 now!

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