Today for our lesson in pointless stupid unreasoned hatred, we go to the Chicago suburb of Morton Grove, and its library, which rejected a donation of about $3,000 from Hemant Mehta, because atheism.
Hemant Mehta, a Naperville teacher who writes a blog called the Friendly Atheist, launched a fundraising campaign after a local veterans group, American Legion Post 134, pulled funding and volunteer resources from the Park District because of a park board member’s refusal to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
Oh, there’s another item for the annals of pointless hatred. Let’s go to the Morton Grove Champion for more on that item.
Morton Grove Park Commissioner Dan Ashta was two minutes late to the Nov. 21 monthly board meeting, missing both the Pledge of Allegiance and a quarter of the meeting.
“If I had been on time, I still would have sat down during the pledge,” Ashta said after the eight-minute meeting. “No one has told me that my legal interpretation is wrong and I’ve pledged my allegiance to the Constitution of the United States. I see no reason to change my stance.”
Joseph Lampert, commander of American Legion Post 134, told the Park Board on Oct. 24 that $2,600 in donations will be withheld until all members of the board, specifically Ashta, stand for the Pledge of Allegiance out of respect for veterans and fallen servicemen.
What the hell?
Nobody has to stand for the bit of doggerel known as “the pledge of allegiance.” Nobody. It’s not a real thing. It’s not like a red light or a stop sign or passport control or someone’s front door. It’s just a bit of doggerel. It’s not like the oath people take when they become citizens of the US, or the one they take when they go into the military. It’s just a bit of doggerel. Nobody has to bend any knee to it. It actually should be ruled unconstitutional, since it was passed by Congress and has a knee-bend to god in it. Congress has no business telling us to bend any knees to god.
The American Legion can set any criteria for a donation it wants to, I suppose, but some criteria are a lot stupider and more bossy than others. This pledge one is very stupid and bossy. Not wanting to recite a dopy piece of doggerel has nothing to do with respect for veterans and people killed in wars.
Ashta maintains that he’s defending the public’s First Amendment right to not participate for whatever political, religious or physical reason a given person might have.
“It upsets me that veterans are upset, because I do appreciate everything they’ve done,” Ashta said.
I don’t even understand why they are upset; the “pledge” is nothing to do with respect for veterans and casualties.
So back to the Morton Grove library.
Library Board Treasurer Catherine Peters said she stopped library staff from depositing the check this month, calling it a matter that should be voted on by the board.
Board President Mark Albers, who voted to accept the donation, said he had no idea whether the money was from Mehta’s fundraising campaign or Mehta himself.
But many board members were more alarmed by the nature of Mehta’s blog and the ethical implications posed by accepting money from him.
Peters referred to the blog as a “hate group.”
Well, that’s wrong.
I blame Fox News.