Vetoing the Pledge of Allegiance

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Published May 28, 2002

| FoxNews.com

Video: To watch "the memo" click here.

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thank you for watching us tonight.

We'll have the latest on the Chandra Levy investigation in a moment.

But first, a stunning veto by Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura. That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.

The governor has said no to a bill that would have required Minnesota students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance once a week. But local school boards would have retained the power to opt out of that requirement for any reason.

Mr. Ventura said forcing kids to say a political pledge is what the Taliban and Nazis do.

The governor also has a problem with the "one nation under God" line because he's not a big fan of organized religion, and he says that patriotism and religion cannot be mandated, but all expressions of it should be optional.

I say that the public schools have a responsibility to teach American children about the values of loyalty, honesty, and love of country, the Judeo-Christian values that the founders based on our Constitution on.

All schools mandate rules. The kids can't wear certain clothes, must address the teachers as "Ms." or "Mr." and must respect school property.

Likewise, because the school is paid for by the American taxpayer, the symbols of our country, the flag, the National Anthem, and the Pledge of Allegiance should be respected and the significance of them taught.

In many schools today, that's not being done, and it should be mandated. American students have a responsibility to learn about and respect their country.

Anyway, Governor Ventura and I shot it out on The Radio Factor earlier today.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

In every public school system, governor, paid for by the taxpayers, the public schools have to be loyal to their country, in the sense that they have to uphold democracy, our system of government, because it's the public school system. That's what we are here. We're teaching people.

GOV. JESSE VENTURA (I), MINNESOTA: Yes, but Jim, Bill, I will agree with you, but it shouldn't be mandated. That's...

O'REILLY: But the kid has an opt-out...

VENTURA: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

O'REILLY: The kid has an opt-out. He doesn't have to say it.

VENTURA: Wait a minute, now.  And as far as Judeo-Christian goes, excuse me, didn't the people flee to this country because they didn't want government-sponsored religion in their former country? And now we're locking ourselves right back into the same thing.

O'REILLY: There's a difference between tradition and religion, OK? No government-imposed religion, but our whole system of government and criminal justice system is based on...

VENTURA: Well, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

O'REILLY: ... Judeo-Christian tradition. You know what.

VENTURA: I got an idea, then, Bill, I got an idea, then. I think there are plenty of adults that need the same indoctrine. So if we're going to do it in the public schools, let's mandate it in all the factories...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: All right. There is no question that America's public school system has taken a sharp turn to the left over the past couple of decades. Students have far too much power, and some are not being taught the basic disciplines of life.

That being said, I would give every student the option of not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, because I respect dissent.  But all students would have to rise while the Pledge was recited out of respect for the country that is educating them.

Governor Ventura should send the bill back to the legislature with some suggestions. But an outright veto of a worthy patriotic gesture in Minnesota's public schools is not what is best for the kids.

And that should always be the top priority.

And that's the memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day."

A convicted rapist is suing the hospital where he committed a rape. Edward Brewer filed a lawsuit in Sandusky (ph), Ohio, charging the hospital failed to provide enough security to protect visitors and patients. So the rape was the hospital's fault. Brewer's serving 10 years for raping a woman with cerebral palsy at that hospital, if you can believe it.

He filed his suit from prison. Two things, this thug should be serving 20 years, not 10. And when that suit was thrown out, he should have to pay all court costs associated with it. Ridiculous? You bet. Also infuriating.

— You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com

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