When I was in elementary school, I decided to stop saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school because my family was atheist and I thought it absurd that a pledge to a supposedly secular nation included the phrase "one nation, under God" (that said, I should've stopped using American money, too, but that seemed a bit complicated). This was not my parents' choice, but my own, and I went many years during pledge time either just standing up and not saying anything or remaining seated at my desk. After a brief explanation, teachers were very accommodating and no one ever tried to force me to say the pledge--and I wasn't alone, as a friend of mine (whose family was Dutch and also atheist) and a good acquaintance (who was a Jehovah's Witness) also didn't say the pledge. The (non-)response of my teachers and classmates is just a testament to how liberal my primary schools and teachers were (and, for the record, I went to public school). I felt I was taking a stand and, as an 8 or 9-year-old, that was very important to me. But, considering my environment, I wasn't taking a huge risk.
But this kid, who refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance in spite of his (then substitute) teacher's protests and classmates' teasing and in support of same-sex marriage rights, is my hero:
Also, check out this great rebuttal to the boy's detractors from a reporter at the Arkansas News.
With all the other crap going down right now vis-a-vis same-sex marriage and health care and the war(s) in the Middle East, at least there are a few good things left. Maybe the younger generation really will be different?
(Via Huff Po.)