Wisconsin county supervisor up for re-election wants Pledge of Allegiance, word ‘prayer’ nixed from board meetings

In an example of death by a thousand cuts to American culture, a progressive county supervisor in Wisconsin is seeking to get rid of the Pledge of Allegiance and any mention of the word “prayer,” believing them to be “inappropriate.”

Heidi Wegleitner is a supervisor for the 2nd District in Dane County, WI, and has held her position since 2012. With her current term coming to end in April, Wegleitner has selected a rather controversial platform in her bid for re-election.

The board’s rules are undergoing their biannual redraft and Wegleitner has proposed that the traditional pre-meeting recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance be scrubbed from proceedings and further requested any mention of the word “prayer” be removed from the rules, Madison.com reported.

“It just doesn’t feel like it’s appropriate for us to be doing, when in a pluralistic society we want to be inclusive and representative,” Wegleitner expressed. “At the end of the day, I think it’s divisive.”

Coming from a background as a public interest attorney, the Working Families Party endorsed county official explained that she had researched the procedures of other local government bodies and found no basis to argue for or against the tradition as participation was mixed. Wegleitner argued, “There’s other ways to show community and shared values.”

The proposal will be discussed at the Thursday meeting of the board, but not fully decided on until after the April 5 election. During their last committee, Sup. Tim Kiefer of the 25th District voiced his concern that by removing the word “prayer,” his right to pray would be removed as well.

“We already have an inspirational message,” Weigleitner countered, “and I have explained to the proponents of inclusion of prayer this is not about taking away their right to offer a prayer at that time if they want.”

However, Sup. Tim Rockwell, 19th District, noted that Dane County was the home to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an organization based on the false pretense that the Constitution’s barring of the establishment of an official religion of the United States means that there shall be no religion in government whatsoever.

Sup. Jeff Weigand, 20th District, told WMTV he was “amazed” by his colleague’s proposal. “One of the greatest aspects of our country is we had that freedom to worship or not worship. That’s why I like the Pledge of Allegiance because it’s the least we can do to support the men and women who have sacrificed to maintain the freedom we have in this country.”

“The fact that we have the freedom and opportunity to pray openly and freely,” Weigand went on, “we should not be taking this out of the conversation and out of the equation.”

The Pledge of Allegiance was composed by socialist Francis Bellamy in 1892 before later being updated at the behest of President Dwight Eisenhower (R) in 1954 to include the phrase “under God.” As Madison.com reported, the bipartisan acceptance of this acknowledgment of support toward the Republic of the United States has faltered of late into a partisan debate.

Wegleitner compared opposition to the pledge to those taking a knee during the national anthem and others have referred to the practice as a form of “white nationalism.”

The progressive supervisor is also seeking, by way of vote, the ability to limit public comment to less than three minutes while simultaneously eliminating the authority of the board to deny public comment on matters of the budget so long as they follow a public hearing.

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