Two Fargo school board members vote against saying Pledge of Allegiance before meetings

Despite the objections, the motion easily passed with a 6-2 vote.

Board members Seth Holden, left, and Jim Johnson voted against the resolution to say the Pledge of Allegiance before meetings. (Fargo Public Schools)

Although the Fargo Board of Education in North Dakota passed a resolution last month to begin each meeting with a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, the opposition of two board members led to a long discussion prior to the vote.

At the Fargo school board meeting on March 22, board members Seth Holden and Jim Johnson explained their opposition to the motion before casting their votes against it.

The discussion on the Pledge came near the end of the meeting. Holden voiced his objection by first asking if recitation of the Pledge would help the school board “do better work.”

“I would answer ‘no,'” he said.

Holden added that the Pledge creates “divisiveness” and admitted he doesn’t believe certain words in the Pledge are “true.”

“I firmly believe that as much as we strive … so that every single person in this country has liberty and justice, the fact of the matter is that not every single person in this country has liberty and has justice,” he said. “And for me, who does not want to partake in this, as I said, it’s not because I don’t love my country, and it’s not because I’m not a patriotic person…”

A few minutes later, board member Jim Johnson expressed agreement with Holden’s reservations, as well as his own hope that the words “under God” could be removed.

“My biggest problem with this motion is that in 1954, the year before I was born, when they altered the words of the Pledge of Allegiance to … ‘under God’ … making it, quite frankly, a Judeo-Christian pledge as opposed to a pledge to a nation,” he said, despite admitting he’s an Eagle Scout and Presbyterian church elder who keeps the Pledge and Jesus Christ “near and dear” to his heart.

Despite the objections, the motion easily passed with a 6-2 vote. Board President Rebecca Knutson voted in favor of the motion but also expressed concern with the phrase “under God.”

Fargo Public Schools spokeswoman AnnMarie Campbell told InForum that the Pledge will be recited before each school board meeting starting April 12.