Wisconsin County Supervisor Submits Proposal to Remove Pledge of Allegiance From County Meetings

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo credit: Oleksii Liskonih)

The debate over the Pledge of Allegiance has raged for decades. For some, the patriotic oath that kicked off their school days is an integral part of being an American. On the other hand, some see the Pledge as divisive and seek to have it altered or removed. More specifically, they don’t agree with having the words “under God” in the oath. It is for that reason that one Wisconsin county supervisor wants to remove the Pledge of Allegiance from the agenda of her county’s standing meeting agenda.  

At a Glance:

  • County Board meetings in Dane County, Wisconsin start with the Pledge of Allegiance.
  • One county supervisor is seeking to remove the pledge from meetings.
  • The change would only affect county board meetings.
  • The county board’s rules are up for biannual redraft.

Wisconsin County Supervisor Wants to Remove the Pledge of Allegiance from Meetings

Heidi Wegleitner, a Supervisor in the 2nd District of Dane County, Wisconsin wants to remove the Pledge of Allegiance from the county board’s agenda. Wegleitner introduced the removal of the pledge recently along with a proposal to strike the word “prayer” from the board’s rules, according to Madison.com. The board’s executive committee will consider Supervisor Wegleitner’s proposals later this week. However, they won’t have the final say on the matter. Instead, newly-elected county officials will make the final decision in early April.

Wegleitner doesn’t believe that the Pledge of Allegiance represents all of the people in Dane County, Wisconsin. “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. At the end of the day,” she said, “I think it’s divisive.” She went on to say, “There’s other ways to show community and shared values.”

Before introducing her proposals, Supervisor Wegleitner did some research. She looked into local governments to see which ones started their meetings with the Pledge. She found that not all municipalities in Dane County, Wisconsin include the Pledge of Allegiance in their agendas. For instance, Madison and Waunakee don’t include the pledge. On the other hand, towns like Fitchburg and Sun Prairie do.

Some Pushback on Wegleitner’s Proposals

Currently, Wegleitner’s Wisconsin county hasn’t discussed the Pledge of Allegiance. However, they have briefly looked into her proposal to remove the word “prayer” from the board’s rules. Currently, the word appears alongside “inspirational message” on the board’s agenda.

Supervisor Tim Rockwell of Dane County’s 19th District said that having “prayer” in the agenda actually makes the board more inclusive and diverse. He cited the fact that nearly half of the county’s residents identify as religious. He added that the county’s religious diversity should be “celebrated and not squashed.”

Another supervisor worried that removing the word “prayer” from the agenda would disallow him from saying a prayer before or during meetings. Wegleitner said that isn’t her goal. “We already have an inspirational message, 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.”

If the sitting committee shoots down Wegleitner’s proposals, she plans to present them to the newly-elected board in April. Currently, several left-leaning candidates are running unopposed in the county. As a result, she may have a better chance of getting what she wants in April.