Pledge of Allegiance may soon be a Council requirement

Tuesday, December 7, 2010 | 6:41 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — City Council meetings might soon be 31 words longer.

During Monday's City Council meeting, Fourth Ward Councilman Daryl Dudley proposed an ordinance that would require the council to recite the Pledge of Allegiance before any Council meeting or work session. The proposal was seconded by Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser and will be voted on at a future City Council meeting.

"We're in America," Dudley said in an interview Tuesday. "We need to respect the veterans that we've got and the country that we're in. And I think the Pledge of Allegiance should be said before every Council meeting."

Dudley was not alone on the Council in his support for the pledge. Both Nauser and Second Ward Councilman Jason Thornhill said they support the proposal and were glad Dudley put it forward.

"It does seem to be appropriate before you do the business of the community, you say the Pledge of Allegiance," Nauser said.

First Ward Councilman Paul Sturtz disagreed, saying the proposal made him uncomfortable. 

"The Pledge of Allegiance has a complicated history," Sturtz said. "To me, government requiring this sort of thing doesn't seem in keeping with the Bill of Rights."

"I need to think about it a little longer, I guess," he added.

The Council asked city staff to draft a resolution, but it was unclear when it would come up for a final vote.

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