According to the Associated Press, in a Tupelo, MS courtroom when Chancery Court Judge Talmadge Littlejohn instructed the people in his court to stand and repeat the Pledge of Allegiance, Danny Lampley, an attorney from Oxford, MS appearing before the judge in a divorce case, stood but refused to recite the pledge. Chancellor Littlejohn ordered Lampley to be taken into custody for criminal contempt. Judge Littlejohn ordered his release five hours later because Lampley had to represent another client in court.
Obviously, there’s some question of legality here as to whether the Chancellor can force someone to say the Pledge of Allegiance even if he does rule his courtroom. But when I was in elementary school, there was no such question. We started every class off by standing, saying the Pledge of Allegiance and having a moment of silent prayer.
To be honest, it never occurred to me not to do any of those three things. I most assuredly was not going to be the only one seated when the entire class stood up. After all, everyone would look at me, and when you’re in elementary school, standing apart from the herd is your worst nightmare.
Saying the Pledge of Allegiance isn’t difficult for me, because I guess I’m one of those people who loves being an American and feel it’s a great thing. I still say it when the occasion arises.
The prayer time didn’t bother me or anyone else I knew. If you were in Old Lady Duffy’s room, you did a lot of praying. Most of the time you were praying that she didn’t call on you to go the blackboard.
In fact, in never occurred to me not to do anything Mrs. Duffy said, because she was in good with the principal, Mr. Logan, down the hall. It was well-known around school that Mr. Logan had a nice long paddle he had nicknamed “Old Glory.” We’d all heard stories of how Old Glory had been introduced to one of those high school boys who’d watched a little too much James Dean and thought he was a tough guy.
In my opinion, Mr. Lampley may have had the right not to say the Pledge of Allegiance as long as he was respectful to the judge and the others, which seems to be the case. I suppose the Chancellor was making a point by locking him up. At least, Mr. Lampley didn’t have to face the fury of Old Glory, and I can assure him that’s a fact he can be happy about.
“The Oxford Eagle”