A veterans group in a Chicago suburb is cutting off cooperation with a local parks and recreation board because one of the commissioners refuses to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Morton Grove Park District begins each meeting with the pledge as part of its normal agenda, according to the Chicago Tribune.
But there’s nothing normal about district Commissioner Dan Ashta’s response.
Ashta, whom the Tribune calls “an attorney who focuses on constitutional law,” not only refuses to say the pledge, he won’t stand while others do so.
“We have an item on the agenda that says ‘Pledge of Allegiance,’” Ashta told the Tribune. “The only choice you have is to utter a statement. … You don’t have a choice to remain silent.”
(Actually, you do. People do it all the time.)
American Legion Post 134 isn’t taking it lying down.
The post has voted to stop contributing money and volunteer time to park events – “until such time that everybody stands for the pledge,” Post Commander Joseph Lampert told the Tribune.
Since Ashta was elected in April to a term that doesn’t expire until 2019, according to the park district’s website, the impasse is likely to continue for a while.
The Tribune reports the parks district is looking for other sponsors to take over the veterans’ spot.
The vets say the whole thing could have been taken care of with a little cooperation from Ashta.
“Nowhere did we say that he has to recite the pledge or put his hand over his heart,” Lampert said. “We would just like to see him stand out of respect.”