<CENTER><B>Letters to the Editor</B></CENTER>

No one can be forced to recite Pledge

Editor:

Once again, I must revisit the persistent misunderstanding of the legal status of the Pledge of Allegiance. In the March 7 edition of The Verde Independent, your reporter Carol Keefer wrote: "The father sued the Elk Grove district; an atheist who felt his daughter should not be forced to recite the pledge with its reference to "under God." This is a misstatement of fact.

No person, Man, Woman or Child, can be "forced" to recite the Pledge. While most consider it an honor and privilege to do so, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in 1942 that it is a violation of the Constitution for one to be "compelled" to recite the pledge. Please note that this ruling was made 12 years prior to the insertion of the words "under God" into the pledge by an act of Congress in 1954.

I personally wish that Congress had not pandered to the Knights of Columbus and made that change to the Pledge. In my opinion, it is intrusive and serves to cloud the principle of "one nation indivisible"; the principle which was the primary dispute in the Civil War.

However this case ultimately turns out, I will continue to recite the Pledge with or without "under God" as I choose to reaffirm my allegiance to Flag and Country. Just please remember that it is a choice, not an obligation and, by law, can't be compelled.

Ken Miller

Cottonwood

Why was Butner replaced?

Editor:

I agree with Kathryn Adams. Why was Judge Butner replaced? When I served with the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office as a detention officer, I had the pleasure of serving as his interpreter when he came in to hold court in the activity room of our jail, whenever there were any Hispanic inmates that needed to be brought before him for their initial appearance.

Ms. Adams is correct; Judge Butner administered the law and his decisions fairly and honestly. As his interpreter, he also made sure that whatever he said or decided in an inmate's case, that it was interpreted correctly and clearly without confusion or question.

I am disappointed that Judge Butner is no longer there, but I look forward to seeing him again on the bench hopefully very soon.

Master Sgt. Art Valles

Coalition Forces Land Component Command

U.S. Army, Kuwait

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