A House Bill introduced Wednesday mandates private and public school students in Iowa say the Pledge of Allegiance in school every day. Iowa Civil Liberties Union director Ben Stone says that’s not exactly “freedom for all.” Stone says this won’t unite the country, but just further alienate people who disagree with what’s happening, and he points out you can’t force people to agree with something. Considering the significant opposition among Iowans to the war in Iraq, Stone says the timing of the bill is “unfortunate.” Stone says the legislation represents a “fairly typical effort” to promote patriotism in a time of likely war, but it’s wrong to think it serves the country well because the US is not about government-mandated conformity but rather freedom of thought and the right to disagree. Stone says similar legislation’s come up in past sessions, and never passed.
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