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This 10-Year-Old Won’t Pledge Allegiance to a Country that Discriminates Against Gays

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He’s got a small voice, and he’s just one kid, but 10-year-old Arkansas fifth grader (he skipped a grade) Will Phillips might as well have Barack Obama‘s ear as much as Joe Solmonese. That’s because Phillips, who’s already aware of the gay rights struggle at such a young age, is making a small stand against a nation with discriminatory policies on the books: he’s refusing to recite the Pledge Of Allegiance at school.

He wouldn’t do it when the substitute teacher asked him. And he’s not about to start now, even if other kids are, predictably, teasing him over his stance.

Given that his protest is over the rights of gays and lesbians, the taunts have taken a predictable bent. “In the lunchroom and in the hallway, they’ve been making comments and doing pranks, and calling me gay,” he said. “It’s always the same people, walking up and calling me a gaywad.”

Even so, Will said that he can’t foresee anything in the near future that will make him stand for the pledge. To help him deal with the peer pressure, his parents have printed off posts in his support on blogs and websites. “We’ve told him that people here might not support you, but we’ve shown him there are people all over that support you,” [his mother Laura] Phillips said. “It’s really frustrating to him that people are being so immature.”

[Arkansas Times]

By:           editor editor
On:           Nov 11, 2009
Tagged: , , , , ,
  • 114 Comments
    • AlanInUtah
      AlanInUtah

      What an awesome kid. Hopefully he is a sign of what is to come from the younger generations just beginging to take notice of this big, crazy world we live in.

      Nov 11, 2009 at 12:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      Will Phillips, Thank you for having the courage to stand up against discrimination. You have the strength of 10 men and we are grateful for your resolve. Your parents did a good job rearing you and the world is a less cruel place because of it. You rock.

      Nov 11, 2009 at 12:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • cgd
      cgd

      Will Phillips, you and your family are awesome.

      Nov 11, 2009 at 1:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • William Day
      William Day

      Things like this seriously make my world just that little bit brighter. All hail little Phillips, people.

      Nov 11, 2009 at 1:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Toronto Lover
      Toronto Lover

      What an inspiration. Is there a facebook group to support him?

      Nov 11, 2009 at 1:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      Will, from a 73 year old man to a man of 10, I just want to say that you rock.

      You obviously have more common sense (and a good heart) at the age of 10, than a good many friends within my own age group.

      I salute both you and your family.

      Nov 11, 2009 at 1:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael W.
      Michael W.

      There’s nothing awesome about that. Patriotism shouldn’t be selective.

      You don’t pledge allegiance to the flag based on what stance the government takes. That’s like righties refusing to do it because Obama is the president or lefties who ignore the flag in protest of the Iraq war. That’s not how it’s done.

      No, you pledge allegiance to the flag because you live in a country where gays can at least fight for their rights without suffocating to death after having a flaming tire hung around their necks for 20 minutes. You live in a country where you can protest and march in the streets and pressure politicians and volunteer and donate money and VOTE all in furtherance of your beliefs and causes. It’s not about the current situation, it’s looking toward the future and being proud that you live in a nation where you have the power to shape it.

      This country belongs to us, not any elected or appointed official. A lot of you folks will never understand this and that’s the way these politicians want it to be. They want us to feel weak and defenseless until they “grant” the freedoms which have already been bestowed upon us.

      That flag is your flag, William. It belongs to you, not the government.

      Nov 11, 2009 at 1:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Michael W. wrote, “There’s nothing awesome about that. Patriotism shouldn’t be selective.” At the risk of letting reality intrude, reciting some “pledge of allegiance” to an inanimate object (a flag) is far less “patriotic” than trying to make the country a better place by eliminating prejudice.

      Most of the kids reciting it are doing it on autopilot, and probably a good chunk of them don’t have a clue as to what it means. At least this kid is thinking, or at least trying to.

      Nov 11, 2009 at 1:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      The 10 year old is literally reading this pledge and seeing that the words don’t match the deeds. We all should stand together against discrimination, even young people. Just because we aren’t donning burning tire necklaces, doesn’t mean we should mouth words that are hollow and currently very untrue.

      “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

      Inequality is injustice. You’ll see that the younger generation won’t be bullied into repeating words, made meaningless, by NOM and short-sighted Republicans. Equality is inevitable, but until all of us are seen as equally represented by the law, this kid should not be guilted into saying it. It simply isn’t true. I know this, personally.

      Our taxes should be prorated until equality is won.

      Nov 11, 2009 at 2:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael W.
      Michael W.

      You’re right, B. Pledging and doing your best to make the country a better place are both good patriotic deeds. There’s no disjunction between them.

      I also agree that children need to be taught what it means. They need to be taught that the flag belongs to them and isn’t the property of the US government. They need to be taught that it’s a symbol of their right to protest, not what they should be protesting against. If young William understood that more clearly, I doubt he’d refuse the pledge.

      Nov 11, 2009 at 2:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Keith Kimmel
      Keith Kimmel

      Gives me hope for the future. Every once in a while, we get a smart one. Skipped a grade, now calling bullshit on bullshit. Ladies and gents, we have a winner!

      Nov 11, 2009 at 2:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Seth
      Seth

      Having grown up gay in Arkansas myself, I have to say i’m extremely proud of this boy for taking a moral stand on this particular issue. The children will torment him and beat him and they will do it in front of the teachers who will do absolutely nothing to stop it. Screw the pledge of allegiance. Since the pledge is a lie, it is without meaning anyway.

      Nov 11, 2009 at 2:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael W.
      Michael W.

      What does your seemingly painful childhood in Arkansas have to do with the pledge of allegiance?

      You people are the victims of statism. America is only great when and if Obama signs some legislation into law that restores the freedoms which never should’ve been taken away from us in the first place. Only then can we pledge allegiance, when you’re placated by the state to the point where you no longer have nightmares about being bullied as a kid.

      It’s disgraceful. No wonder people like Barney Frank and Barack Obama feel so comfortable taking their sweet time getting around to fixing the problems that their friends created. You’ve relinquished your power to them. You have no leverage.

      Nov 11, 2009 at 2:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      Obama is against same-sex marriage, he said it with his own lips, or should we give those words the same weight as, Francis Bellamy’s, “liberty and justice FOR ALL”? Words mean nothing, starting with the president’s, if law still discriminates against one group of “unpopular” Americans.

      Nov 11, 2009 at 3:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JRD
      JRD

      Will Phillips is a hero.

      He may be objecting to a tradition to demonstrate a point, that demonstration may rub you the wrong way, but that isn’t the point.

      I do think he knows what the pledge is for and I am sure he does believe in the symbolic power our flag bears, but he is taking a stance on something he believes in. He isn’t objecting to the pledge itself, he is demonstrating against an unfair government in a totally appropriate manner. If you disagree, look at why our country was founded: Freedom from an oppressive government. If it has become the oppressor, do we not have the right to object as it’s founders did?

      He is supporting me and my rights, and if I could follow him around on the playground and protect him for it, I would.

      I pledge allegiance to Will Phillips and to the ideals for which he stands, one child, free thinking, with liberty and justice for all.

      Nov 11, 2009 at 3:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Attmay
      Attmay

      It’s a shame he won’t be eligible for the White House for another 25 years or able to vote for another 8. This child is a hero. When I was 10 I didn’t even know what a gay person was or that I would turn out to be one.

      This is a free country, god fucking dammit. It’s my flag and I’ll pledge all the allegiance I want when the words behind that pledge are reflected in the deeds of this country. Right now they are not.

      Nov 11, 2009 at 3:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Seth
      Seth

      Michael W:

      Heh.

      Sorry if I confused you by omitting a paragraph marker. I was commenting on two separate points in one post. I can do that, mayen’t I?

      Nov 11, 2009 at 3:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Toronto Lover
      Toronto Lover

      Phillips never said he didn’t love America, or that he disrespected the flag that represents the country I’m sure he does love. He just can’t recite the words “for liberty and justice for all” when he knows it isn’t true.

      I love my country too, but blind patriotism isn’t the answer either.

      Nov 11, 2009 at 4:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RomanHans
      RomanHans

      My dad took me to a ballgame once, when I was a teen, and I refused to stand for the National Anthem. He hated me for it. But who are they kidding, with that “land of the free, home of the brave” crap? You can still fire people for being gay.

      Idiots can write to newspapers and complain that there aren’t many flags up on Flag Day, but they’d do better to actually fix the fucking system and back up the words EQUAL RIGHTS with reality.

      So, bravo to Will Phillips, standing up for his principles and sitting down against bigotry, from this proud gaywad.

      Nov 11, 2009 at 4:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joe Moore
      Joe Moore

      Don’t listen to those kids calling you names, you have thousands of supporters all around the world right now. I’m in Japan, and I support you! So who cares about those ignorant kids. It’s sad to think that they will go through their lives with such blinders on. And what is a ‘gaywad’ anyway? I never figured that out. lol

      Way to go kiddo! Make a stand! If you’re the next generation to come, then I welcome it!

      Nov 11, 2009 at 4:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • scott ny'er
      scott ny'er

      yes bravo for Will. But I’m concerned that he’s going to get the shite beat out of him. If he was popular, it wouldn’t matter but if not…

      elementary, intermediary, high school… it could be a rough time ahead.

      Nov 11, 2009 at 5:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Quake
      Quake

      That kid has the biggest balls known to mankind!

      Whats his name, he needs to run for president in 2050!

      Nov 11, 2009 at 8:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      “Our taxes should be prorated until equality is won.”… do that and business in gay bars and clubs will quadruple as lots of previously straight people try to generate a paper trail with credit card receipts! If there was literally a “gay card”, there’d be an instant shortage!

      Nov 11, 2009 at 8:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kevin B
      Kevin B

      Thanks Michael W. for some common sense.

      Nov 11, 2009 at 11:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • michael
      michael

      What a wonderful kid this Will Phillips is! He should be President.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 12:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • michael
      michael

      Let’s send him Christmas gifts. This kid deserves truck-loads.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 12:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chase Oliver
      Chase Oliver

      To be taking such a stance at such a young age is a wonderful thing to see. If he can change opinions at his school by standing up for equality, then there is hope that true freedom will one day arrive for LGBT people.

      GOD BLESS YOU.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 1:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • fuzzypony
      fuzzypony

      @Michael W.

      Asking a child to recite the pledge of allegiance every morning at school is automatically setting him or her up for a failure. It’s indoctrination, and if the child grows up to disagree with the country, he or she is automatically a liar and a traitor, hundreds of times over. That is absolutely *wrong.* The pledge of allegiance should be said when a child turns into a legal adult, and is recognized to have the ability to make his or her own decisions about who or what they will give their loyalty to. This will make it worth a thousand times more than daily, mindless repetition.

      Young Mr. Phillips, you are to be commended for your thoughtfulness and courage. And thanks to the parents, for raising such an awesome kid.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 3:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian NJ
      Brian NJ

      Great kid, standing up for gay families.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 7:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SickupandFed
      SickupandFed

      Well kid, they persecuted Jesus too. So you’re in good company.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 8:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Corey GA
      Corey GA

      Michael W you need to open your eyes. This kid is obviously of above average intelligence forced to live in a society that is beneath him. That includes the millions of brainwashed Americans such as yourself who think that everyone should bow down to the flag. That is a complete and total contradiction of the idea of freedom. A student is free to refuse to recite the pledge or have you forgotten that? He sees what the pledge is supposed to mean but also realizes that it doesn’t live up to it’s expectations. Why is it that anyone who has a negative opinion about the government, military or anyone who fights for gay rights is attacked and branded as an enemy of the state?

      I admire and applaud anyone who is brave enough to make a statement this bold and if self loathing gays like Michael here who suffer from internalized homophobia don’t like it, too bad!

      Nov 12, 2009 at 10:17 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • terrwill
      terrwill

      I think I woke up this morning in the Seinfeld type bizaro world, where everything is the opposite of the norm. There has not been one post here where some bitter queen has said anything negative about this great little kid!! WTF?????

      Nov 12, 2009 at 10:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • terrwill
      terrwill

      And thank you Will for introducing a great new word…….Someone please say something negative, I want to call them a gaywad!

      Nov 12, 2009 at 10:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • F*U*C*K YOU
      F*U*C*K YOU

      calm the fuck down. big fucking deal.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 2:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • melanie hawkins
      melanie hawkins

      He doesn’t even know what sex is — how can he have any honest opinion?

      Nov 12, 2009 at 2:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • StareClips.com
      StareClips.com

      I absolutely applaud this kid for standing up for what he believes in.

      On a side note, however, I feel his protest is misplaced. If his goal was only to cause a stir and make his voice loud enough to be heard, he has certainly succeeded and for that, we should all respect him.

      However, the “Pledge of Allegiance” isn’t about pledging that you believe in the current administration… or the current majority… etc… It’s pledging that you believe in what the flag STANDS FOR.

      Treating homosexuals differently than non-homosexuals is NOT “liberty and justice for all”. The flag, however, DOES stand for “liberty and justice for all” (among other things).

      Given this, he SHOULD be pledging his allegiance to that ideal. Again, the pledge isn’t saying “I think our current administration is sticking to these ideals”… the pledge is essentially saying, “I believe in these ideals, even if the current administration doesn’t… and I will continue to fight for these ideals.”

      So, it sounds like the very thing this kid is refusing to pledge to is the very thing he believes in. Standing up for what you know is right… and sticking to a believe that everyone should be treated equally, with “liberty and justice for all”.

      So, again… while his actual protest is misplaced… by stirring the pot, he’s made his voice heard. So, the outcome is still a good thing.

      Keep making your voice heard, kid!

      Nov 12, 2009 at 2:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev
      Chitown Kev

      This story makes my day.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 2:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Matthew
      Matthew

      Regardless of how you interpret the pledge and flag’s symbolism; a very personal thing. This boy, with no money to donate to a cause and no ability to vote got his message of not tolerating injustice and bigotry to the public on a profound scale. He also lives in a country where he has the right to do that without fear of government persecution. This should give you pride in your country and this wonderful example of humankind.
      Young man, you are doing just fine. Don’t let anyone discourage you.
      Best regards,
      Matt from California
      Engineer, Mt. Everest summiter, Humanist, American.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 3:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Heather Lawler
      Heather Lawler

      This is the most amazing story I have read about an American touth in a very long time. Congratulations Will for standing up for what you believe in though it isn’t always the easy road, it’s the right one. You are wise beyond your years and your family and friends should be proud to have such an intelligent and strong person in their lives.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 4:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Heather Lawler
      Heather Lawler

      This is the most amazing story I have read about an American youth in a very long time. Congratulations Will for standing up for what you believe in though it isn’t always the easy road, it’s the right one. You are wise beyond your years and your family and friends should be proud to have such an intelligent and strong person in their lives.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 4:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill
      Bill

      Give ‘em HOPE, little man!

      If only more parents taught their children TRUE morality, we would have more little guys like Will Phillips, who has more courage at 10 years old than most of the adults 5 times his age.

      Will Phillips seems to understand that doing nothing while an entire segment of the population is abused, degraded, humiliated and marginalized is morally repugnant and Unconstitutional.

      Why can’t the rest of us?

      Nov 12, 2009 at 4:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tyler
      Tyler

      Kid, you rock. Thank you so much for standing up for what you believe in and for standing up for us.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 4:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ian
      Ian

      facebook group:
      http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=179022586366

      Nov 12, 2009 at 4:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • nursenimue
      nursenimue

      Hi all1 My name is Laura Phillips and I am Will’s mother. Thank you all for the support! As you can imagine, most of what he hears at school is predictably negative! there is a facebook group, Will The Mighty Project. Also, if you would like to see more articles or to see a video of the speech he gave a fundraiser recently, feel free to find me on Facebook as well. Again, thank you all for your comments, both positive and negative (but really, more for the positive!)
      Laura Phillips
      nursenimue@yahoo.com

      Nov 12, 2009 at 4:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jay Phillips
      Jay Phillips

      Speaking as Will’s father I wanted to thank everyone for their supportive comments as well and anyone who might disagree I would like to thank you for your time & consideration. Will was very adamant when the press 1st started sniffing around that he was willing to face public criticism if it raised awarness or “educated people”.

      Initially I encouraged him to “pick his battles” & that it was “easier to just go with the flow”. He choose his words carefully and said, “Well yeah it does make things easier… But then nothing ever changes.”

      If you want to forward any messages of support for Will my e-mail is tobe17200@yahoo.com . His mother’s e-mail is nursenimue@yahoo.com.

      If you want to hear Will’s speech from a couple weeks ago to the NWA Center for Equality you can check out this link- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgC9HsuAwaw

      once again, thank you for your support and kind words.

      respectfully,

      jay phillips

      Nov 12, 2009 at 4:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joann
      Joann

      Kudos to this young man for standing up for his beliefs. His parents must be very proud, and he should be, too. Funny how the young ones can be so evolved! Gives a lot of people hope that we may one day live in a more tolerant and educated America. Stand tall Will. Stand tall.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 4:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      Will Phillips should be the next President of the United States.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 4:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kerri
      Kerri

      It is sad that all of the adults posting comments on this story are praising a child for doing something that he doesn’t completely understand. For that matter, most of you don’t understand either. Refusing to pledge allegiance to our flag is not making a statement against the discrimination of gays and lesbians, it is refusing allegiance to the country completely. If he wants to express his dissatisfaction of U.S. law, then the adults in his life should help him find another way to do it. They should at the same time, teach him that refusing the pledge is contradicting his right to protest in the first place.

      The last time I checked, no one bows to the American flag, Corey GA. Saluting the flag and reciting the pledge among other things, shows a sign of respect for the blood and lives lost to give us the very freedom that we all boast about. Freedom is not free. It comes at a very high price. Adults seem to forget this and it seems that children aren’t even being taught this.

      There will always be injustice in the world, even in this great country of ours. The second you allow ignorance to prevail, the second we all become weaker.

      Shame on the adults who teach our youth that this is ok.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 4:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jay Phillips
      Jay Phillips

      Thank you all for your words of support. To those who disagree with him I would thank you for your time and consideration. When this first started up Will was adamant that he didn’t mind public criticism if it raised awareness and ‘educated people”. Initially I advised him to “pick his battles” and that it was “easier to just go with the flow.” He took a moment, chose his words carefully and said, “Sure it makes things easier but then nothing ever changes.” From the very start he has viewed this as a “non-violent disobedience act”, as an activist, and a statment about equality.

      If you want to see Will’s speech given to the NWA Center for Equality check this link- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgC9HsuAwaw

      respectfully,

      jay phillips

      tobe17200@yahoo.com

      http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/nerdjayrocks

      Nov 12, 2009 at 5:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Macleod Sawyer
      Macleod Sawyer

      Hi!

      My name is Mac, I am 12 years old, and I am a friend of Will’s. I started the first group in support of Will on Facebook. If you would like to join, you can find the group at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=150229855628

      It has links to stories, photos, and an awesome VIDEO of Will giving a speech at a fundraiser for the NWA Center for Equality in Fayetteville, AR.

      Please help us support Will, and let him know he is doing the right thing!

      And for #47 Kerri, we all understand what the flag stands for, and what the “pledge” means. Refusing to pledge to the flag is not “refusing allegiance to the country completely,” nor is it “contradicting his right to protest.” I think you might need to re-educate yourself on exactly what it means to be an American and what the Founding Fathers actually wanted us to do as citizens of the United States of America.

      Look it up! It’s all in books!

      Mac

      Nov 12, 2009 at 5:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kira
      Kira

      If he has free speech, he has the right to not pledge something that he feels is an embodiment of prejudice. There is not one interpretation of the Pledge of Allegiance, there are 300 million different interpretations of it in this country.

      Plus, it’s not someone’s place to suggest the child doesn’t understand the implications of his decision. There are some perfectly healthy adults in this world that lack the comprehension of which some children have a solid grasp, particularly when it comes to demeaning others. Personally, I think adults have more of a tendency towards bigotry than children. You have to learn prejudice, because people are all born knowing nothing of society or politics or fairness.

      I say, keep it up, Will! Your right to your opinion and nonviolent expressions of that opinion is the root of American freedom. I completely agree with your stance on the unequal treatment of the LGBT community (and their supporters), and I firmly believe that the people of America should give to others the rights that they claim for themselves.

      Don’t let the insults get you down!

      Nov 12, 2009 at 5:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MackMichael
      MackMichael

      Interestingly, Michael W., you wish to tell Will that the “flag” belongs to him, not to the government; yet, the greater truth is that the government belongs to him. We have a government that is “of the people” and “for the people.” Too many American’s have bought the notion sold to them by conservatives that the government is bad and is an entity that has it out for them, making it ever so much easier for them to sell the country out to vast and powerful corporations, serving corporate needs, rather than the needs of the people. The flag is a mere symbol, Michael W., but the government is here to serve and protect its people, and the sooner we get back to believing in that, the sooner we will demand that it serves its actual purpose. Will’s freedom of speech also protects Will’s freedom not to speak or participate, while making a political statement louder and more clear than the screaming heads in Washington.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 5:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • FakeName
      FakeName

      Kerri says: ” Refusing to pledge allegiance to our flag is not making a statement against the discrimination of gays and lesbians, it is refusing allegiance to the country completely.”

      Um…no. A flag is not a country. This conflation of national symbols and the nation has been the cause of a great deal of misery throughout our history, from the Alien and Sedition Acts to forcing Jehovah’s Witnesses to recite the PoA to requiring employees to sign loyalty oaths to criminalizing flag burning. Criticizing this kid is every bit as ridiculous as the lunatics who chastised Obama for not wearing a flag lapel pin during the presidential campaign. We as a nation and as a people are strengthened by the stands taken by Will Phillips and other dissenters, not weakened by them. “My country, right or wrong” is an idea that many of us have been past for quite some time now.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 6:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      No-one should be compelled to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. That’s the beauty of a free society. It’s contradictory to insist that anyone do anything in a free society.

      Besides, it’s not illegal.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 6:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      FakeName wrote ‘”My country, right or wrong” is an idea that many of us have been past for quite some time now.’

      Curiously, the original (dating to 1872 and based on a similar, earlier, and more verbose statement) was ““My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”” As these things usually turn out, the right wingers into flaunting their “patriotism” dropped everything after the first semicolon. For a citation, look at http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/my_country,_right_or_wrong

      It seems that the 10 year old in question understands the full quote, not the shortened version that sticks in some jingoistic adults’ minds. :-)

      Nov 12, 2009 at 6:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      The Bill of Rights starts with the immortal words “we, the people”. I include Will Phillips in the people. He has every right to refuse to make the Pledge as a sign of protest against anti-gay discrimination.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 6:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • StareClips.com
      StareClips.com

      “He has every right to refuse to make the Pledge as a sign of protest against anti-gay discrimination.”

      He also has every right to say that homosexuals are “stinky poo-poo heads”.

      The fact that he has the right to do so does not eliminate the rights of others to disagree the way he is going about it.

      Again, I think what he is doing is awesome… and the fact that he got his voice heard is remarkable. I applaud his message, though I disagree with the method. The method was effective, but it has alienated people on the issue, as evidenced by the reaction so far.

      A flag is just cloth… or paper… just some colors. To some, sure. To others, it is a symbol of freedom. It is a symbol of what we should continue to fight for. It is what we should wave WHILE telling our President that there should be liberty and justice for all, which includes homosexuals.

      So, what he is doing can easily be taken the wrong way, which clearly it has. Refusing to pledge to the flag, while using your freedom to say how you think things should be… would be like a Christian refusing to read the Bible because some Catholic priests are fondling children.

      This kid’s issue isn’t an issue with what the flag stands for… but an issue with how the government has strayed from the ideals represented by the flag. In reality, he should be waving the flag… pledging allegiance to the flag… and using his freedom of speech to insist that no country which calls itself free and civilized should treat homosexuals differently than non-homosexuals.

      Instead, he is denouncing the wrong thing (a symbol which represents liberty and justice) while simultaneously calling for liberty and justice. It’s contradictory.

      For those complaining, though… keep in mind. He’s 10. He’s allowed to make mistakes. It’s understandable that he would. Many 40-year-olds make the same mistakes, or worse.

      He’s on the right path… he just needs to continue to mature and stand up for what he believes in… while learning that there is a better way to get your message across.

      As for making his message a viral one, he has certainly figured out how to do just that.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 7:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kerri
      Kerri

      First of all, I want to make it clear that I am NOT criticizing Will. I said that he should most definitely stand up for and express what he believes is right and just. Yes that is what America is all about. What I am saying is that the way he chooses to do so is contradictory to his cause. He is 10 years old. He is obviously astute and I am in no way taking that away from him. He, like all children need guidance. People with more years of experience in the world, who hopefully understand why we pledge, could explain it to him so that he can choose a better way to express himself.

      People love sensation. This is a 10 year old child attempting to address a very controversial issue. What is more sensational then that? I have not seen one person post that he should not express himself, and yet people are arguing his right to freedom of speech. The thirst for sensation is already overshadowing (like it usually does) the more important issue: teaching a child how to express his thoughts and feelings effectively.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 7:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob
      Bob

      What Would Jesus Do?

      Nov 12, 2009 at 7:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • phil
      phil

      seems similar to obama not wearing a patriotic pin of the flag because it might make him look like he was proud of america

      Nov 12, 2009 at 7:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      StareClips.com wrote, “Instead, he is denouncing the wrong thing (a symbol which represents liberty and justice) while simultaneously calling for liberty and justice. It’s contradictory.”

      How is not reciting some “pledge” the same as denouncing a symbol?
      The one he is not reciting contains a declarative statement that we live in a republic with “liberty and justice for all” but that statement is obviously false – it is stated as a fact, not a goal to work towards, and we aren’t quite there yet.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 9:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • StareClips.com
      StareClips.com

      B wrote:

      “…it is stated as a fact, not a goal to work towards, and we aren’t quite there yet.”

      I agree that we aren’t quite there yet, but if it were stated as a fact, it would have been worded:

      “And to the Republic, which exists today.”

      It doesn’t. It says:

      “And to the Republic FOR WHICH IT STANDS.”

      Translation: It stands for (represents) a Republic. The Republic that is described in the pledge. That many men and women have fought for over the years, many even died for. Not because they agree with exactly where we’re at today… but because they agree with what we are all trying to achieve.

      If it was assumed we have already achieved this, then our system of government wouldn’t allow for the changing of laws or the introduction of new laws, nor amendments to the Constitution. It is a proverbial “work in progress”.

      The colors of the Great Seal, which are the same colors of the flag, were described as follows:

      “The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valor, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice.”

      Also this from a book about the flag published in 1977 by the House of Representatives:

      “The star is a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun.”

      So, taken literally, you could say the boy refused to pledge allegiance to purity, innocence, hardiness, valor, vigilance, perseverance and justice… because he thinks “we aren’t quite there, yet.”

      Which, as you can see, is completely backwards. The pledge doesn’t say “we’ve made it”… it’s a pledge to keep fighting the good fight to work towards such resolve and fight for the right to continue to do so.

      So, the very right he was exercising in protesting is one of the things the flag stands for, the very thing he was protesting.

      So, again… he MEANT well… and the fact that his message got out is great… many people need to hear the message… but, the delivery is a bit backwards.

      Here’s another example of how people, who mean well and have good intentions, often do things in such a way that the message gets twisted. There are laws that are obviously meant to protect children. Child pornography laws. Any person who takes an indecent picture of a minor is a criminal. Great intention, great cause, great purpose. However, there have been some cases where minors have taken indecent pictures of THEMSELVES (using a cell phone). And, according to the law, are now criminals and could face jail time. Imagine that. Throwing children into jail because of laws meant to protect children.

      So, again… it’s not his message that I am concerned about. His message is an important one. However, the delivery can backfire if not carefully implemented.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 9:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      StareClips.com wrote, “I agree that we aren’t quite there yet, but if it were stated as a fact, it would have been worded: ‘And to the Republic, which exists today.'” … not really – people don’t “pledge allegiance” to imaginary republics. You are really twisting things to pretend it refers to some platonic ideal, not something that actually exists.

      The point, however, is that you should not be expected to recite something just because lots of other people do, nor should you be expected to believe precisely what others do. After all, “under God” was added in middle of the last century, mostly to distinguish us from “Godless Commies”. Can we change it to “under gods, real or imaginary”? I live in a very diverse part of the U.S. and that would cover the Christians, Muslims, Mormons, Buddhists, Taoists, Hindus, and atheists I know. And can we change “with liberty and justice for all” to “aspiring to liberty and justice for all” or “with liberty and justice for most”? That would be more accurate given our current and historical state of affairs.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 9:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • StareClips.com
      StareClips.com

      @B,

      If the kid had pledged allegiance, but re-worded things to the way you put it… I think his message would have been much more effective.

      The way he chooses to protest, he doesn’t sound willing to compromise. When someone isn’t willing to compromise, they appear as if throwing a temper tantrum.

      I doubt this kid was just throwing a temper tantrum and had a much deeper message in mind, which is weakened by his methods.

      So, yes, I agree with you… re-wording the pledge would have been much more effective.

      Nov 12, 2009 at 10:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      StareClips.com wrote, “@B, If the kid had pledged allegiance, but re-worded things to the way you put it… I think his message would have been much more effective.”

      While I gave some variants as an indication of why someone might not like the current one, you seem to be reading a lot more into what I wrote than I intended. I wasn’t recommending the kid say anything – that’s his decision.

      Also, from a purely practical standpoint, this thing gets recited by a class more or less in unison. If the kid had inserted his own words at that time, it would have been disruptive, so the polite thing for him to do is to simply remain quiet so as not to interfere with the other kids.

      Why do you think it is necessary for someone to recite some standard “pledge” anyway? Some people don’t see a reason to, figuring that actions speak louder than words.

      Nov 13, 2009 at 12:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • StareClips.com
      StareClips.com

      @B,

      I suppose, while he’s at it… he can exercise his freedom not to do the lesson plan. He can do so quietly, as to not interfere with the other kids, and just don’t do any school work.

      When he gets home… he can exercise his freedom not to do any of his chores or keep his room clean. He can do so quietly, as to not interfere with anyone, and just sit around doing nothing.

      Yep. You’re right. Just doing nothing, instead of doing something productive and possibly (gulp!) disruptive, is so much easier… and exactly what we should be teaching children. Be complacent, children.

      What’s funny is… I only stated my opinion. I stated my opinion about how I perceived his actions, whether he intended this perception or not. I stated my opinion about how he could have communicated his ideals better to me, and to others who also perceived his actions in a similar way.

      On the other hand, you have continued to counter my opinions, suggesting my opinion is somehow “wrong”… or that I just need to have the same opinion as you.

      That’s a whole lot more worrisome of an attitude than simply reciting the pledge of allegiance and, perhaps, enhancing a child’s memory and recall function.

      Nov 13, 2009 at 12:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      StareClips.com “@B, I suppose, while he’s at it… he can exercise his freedom not to do the lesson plan. He can do so quietly, as to not interfere with the other kids, and just don’t do any school work.” Uh huh. Trying a pathetic attempt at sarcasm?

      “On the other hand, you have continued to counter my opinions, suggesting my opinion is somehow ‘wrong’… or that I just need to have the same opinion as you. That’s a whole lot more worrisome of an attitude than simply reciting the pledge of allegiance and, perhaps, enhancing a child’s memory and recall function.”

      You can’t be serious. You are the one with some pressing desire to get this kid to recite some “pledge” and now claim that a kid who skipped a full grade would somehow have his “memory and recall function” meaningfully enhanced by reciting the same rote statement over and over at the start of school?

      And you think it is “worrisome” because I don’t agree with you, figuring your “concerns” are just a tad overblown? It is you who seem compelled to tell people what to do. Why is that?

      Nov 13, 2009 at 2:00 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      Our gay community has been saying the same things, presenting the same reasonings, offering biological evidence of our having been born gay, intelligently refuting horribly translated Biblical texts with original language searches, poring over the Constitutional laws, holding our families out to show their need for equality and benefits, on and on and none of this helped fight the tide of discrimination washing over us. Here comes a young man who blew HRC out of the water with his strength of conviction. Out of the mouths of babes.

      Nov 13, 2009 at 3:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WC
      WC

      Way to go, William! It’s going to be hard, but standing up for what’s right is often hard. It shouldn’t be, and it’s shameful that it’s that way, but it is.

      It sounds to me that you’re the kind of person this country needs more of. Keep it up!

      Nov 13, 2009 at 7:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • StareClips.com
      StareClips.com

      @B,

      “Trying a pathetic attempt at sarcasm?”

      No. I was just testing your sarcasm meter. You passed. But thanks for grading my sarcasm. You must be fun at parties.

      “You can’t be serious. You are the one with some pressing desire to get this kid to recite some ‘pledge’…”

      Maybe you were reading someone else’s posts? I have repeatedly applauded this kid’s actions. I only said that his protest may have been more effective done another way, and somehow this is me having a “pressing desire” to force my will upon him? Wow. Amazing interpretation, there. Again, you must be fun at parties.

      It also seems that you skim over words. You missed my use of the word “perhaps”. My use of the word was intentional. Are you not an outside-of-the-box thinker? I feel it is important to accept that we don’t know everything there is to know. Therefore, we should be advancing science… improving upon our world… testing new ideas… etc… Maybe you don’t think having children memorize a phrase and repeat it daily helps develop any aspect of the brain? That’s a valid box to think within, but I suggest there may be other boxes to think within.

      I never said it’s worrisome that you disagree with me. I think that’s a great thing. What is worrisome is your attitude that you will not relent until you have changed my opinion to match yours.

      I applauded the child, and you lambasted me. I made one minor critique of the child’s approach, and you came at me like I was critiquing Jesus. Are you so much a fan of this child that you don’t see your own obsession?

      Nov 13, 2009 at 9:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Humbly european...
      Humbly european...

      I say, good on the kid for his observational skills and his guts.
      I would also like to add an observation of my own- most of the countries in the world now are democratic, free speech advocating countries. It’s nice that you are so positive, but you are really banging on about America (which I have nothing against) and I can’t really think of a better way to say this, so i’ll just say it: The rest of the world don’t endlessly repeat how wonderful they are. It’s annoying. It contributes to the bad reputation of “stupid” Americans (I actually heard that particular phrase today so don’t call me out on it.)
      All this technical language of the Bill of Rights crap…I mean, it’s an article about a 10 year old.
      @ Michael W: You make me radically happy I don’t live in America with people like you.

      Nov 13, 2009 at 11:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Patrick Waechter
      Patrick Waechter

      I know from personal experience what a struggle it can be to stand up against anti-gay remarks in a Southern grade school situation. It can be brutal, terribly uncomfortable, even dangerous. Will, you are brave and courageous, amazing and enviable. I predict great things from anyone with such strength at your age.

      Nov 13, 2009 at 1:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      StareClips.com seems to be trying to rewrite history!

      “Maybe you were reading someone else’s posts? I have repeatedly applauded this kid’s actions.” Actually, what you wrote was, “I applaud his message, though I disagree with the method.” I.e., you were criticizing him for not reciting a “pledge of allegiance” and that is what I implied you did.

      Then, “It also seems that you skim over words. You missed my use of the word ‘perhaps’.” … the word “perhaps” did not appear in the comment I was replying to.

      “I never said it’s worrisome that you disagree with me.” Here’s the quote of what you wrote: “On the other hand, you have continued to counter my opinions, suggesting my opinion is somehow ‘wrong’… or that I just need to have the same opinion as you. That’s a whole lot more worrisome of an attitude than simply reciting the pledge of allegiance and, perhaps, enhancing a child’s memory and recall function.”

      You obviously thought it was “worrisome” that I disagreed with you, since disagreeing about your “pledge” hangup was only what I was doing.

      And some of the stuff you wrote really is wrong. E.g., your statement “Instead, he is denouncing the wrong thing (a symbol which represents liberty and justice) while simultaneously calling for liberty and justice. It’s contradictory.” It’s wrong because the kid didn’t “denounce” anything – he just stayed in his seat and remained silent. Would you accuse someone of “denouncing” Christianity if that person refused to recite some Christian prayer but said nothing about that religion? Remaining silent is simply not the same as denouncing something.

      Nov 13, 2009 at 5:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alicia
      Alicia

      To Will, if you read this:

      Will, you are so strong… and you are RIGHT! I used to sing the National Anthem for sporting events when I was in high school and college, and stopped doing so because I also do not believe our country is the “land of the free” as the song goes. I commend you. You are inspiring people and children all over the country. I hope one day you read Howard Zinn’s book “A Young People’s History of the United States”. You’ll love it! It’s often young people who push for and make change.. yet go unnoticed. As you get older, it might get harder and harder to stand up for what you think is right, even when you feel like you’re the only person doing it. But as one of my college professors said to me (and I printed it out and put it on my wall), I will say to you- DON’T shut up!!! ~Albany, New York

      Nov 13, 2009 at 7:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alicia
      Alicia

      To Will, if you read this:

      Will, you are so strong… and you are RIGHT! I used to sing the National Anthem for sporting events when I was in high school and college, and stopped doing so because I also do not believe our country is the “land of the free” for everyone, as the song goes. I commend you. You are inspiring people and children all over the country. I hope one day you read Howard Zinn’s book “A Young People’s History of the United States”. You’ll love it! It’s often young people who push for and make change.. yet go unnoticed. As you get older, it might get harder and harder to stand up for what you think is right, even when you feel like you’re the only person doing it. But as one of my college professors said to me (and I printed it out and put it on my wall), I will say to you- DON’T shut up!!! ~Albany, New York

      Nov 13, 2009 at 7:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • cornucopia
      cornucopia

      This little boy is a beacon of light! He does his world proud.

      Nov 13, 2009 at 8:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kate
      Kate

      Thanks Phil, you have more courage than when I was 10, it was all I could do to just stand up to the bullying in my narrow-minded small town but YOU are standing up to it and taking a principled stand, good for you! (Just remember those who beat you down are being beaten by their own demons, keep your head high.)

      Nov 14, 2009 at 1:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • StareClips.com
      StareClips.com

      You miss the point. I was simply saying that you can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. I wasn’t criticizing the use of honey on crackers. I wasn’t criticizing the use of vinegar to clean out a coffee pot. I was simply saying that he didn’t use a good choice of methods to get his point across without upsetting others. That’s all. He got attention, sure. However, I am sure there is some elderly man somewhere whose leg was blown off in a war he fought valiantly in to protect our freedoms, and he sees a 10-year-old refusing to pledge allegiance to a symbol which represents liberty and justice while calling out for more liberty and justice. It just sends a really mixed message.

      It would be like Jennifer Aniston refusing to eat meat because she loves animals, while wearing a real fur coat, then telling people they shouldn’t smoke while puffing on a cigarette. Finishing up her protest, she tells people they shouldn’t vote because this government isn’t worth voting for. While it may get the point across, it just does so in a completely backwards way. If you don’t like the government, you don’t refuse to vote… because voting is our only power as individuals. Give up that right, and you’re essentially giving your thumbs up to everyone in power. Nobody is saying this kid SHOULD pledge the allegiance. I never said it, at least. But if he is going to refuse to pledge allegiance, his message should be about not having to be forced to pledge allegiance at all, not about what the allegiance stands for.

      Imagine for a moment that I created a pledge called, “The Pledge Of StareClips.com”. And the pledge went something like this: “I love freedom. The end.” And you, then, refused to recite this pledge because you don’t feel this current administration is allowing us to be free enough. How is this a protest? Why should the current administration care one way or another whether or not you say the words, “I love freedom. The end.”? It does nothing to the government. The only thing you refused to do was say words that, incidentally, you probably believe in. So, to others, it might look like the reason you refuse to say the words is because you actually don’t love freedom. This makes freedom lovers worried, because they think maybe you want to take away their freedoms. It just sends a whole bunch of mixed messages.

      The kid only refused because, basically, he doesn’t believe the government is holding its end of the bargain of the pledge. Then what he should have done is insist that the members of government stop reciting the pledge… or else, if they do recite it, start acting like it. Instead, his protest sounds more like it was done by a 10-year-old. Which is OK, because he is 10. But to think we have adults who are applauding him and saying “you go!” while not recognizing the fact that his logic is flawed… just shows why our government is the way it is.

      People forget that the government consists of “we, the people”. The people in the government are human beings, born in this country. They are people like you and me. They were chosen by people like you and me to run. Then, they were voted by people like you and me to gain their positions. If the government is doing a terrible job, it is a reflection of the fact that we, the people, are really screwed up. And it’s like the same people who are applauding a 10-year-old to have no respect for authority. Should he also refuse to follow the teacher’s lesson plan because he doesn’t feel his teacher is really doing her job well enough? Maybe you think so. But how is blind rebellion a good thing? I’m all for resisting the system when the system is wrong, but I’m for it when it involves deep thought, well laid out plans, etc… not a torch and pitchfork movement by a 10-year-old mentality… from a 10-year-old or not.

      Then, “It also seems that you skim over words. You missed my use of the word ‘perhaps’.” … the word “perhaps” did not appear in the comment I was replying to.

      I will repeat. I never said it’s worrisome that you disagree with me. You quoted me: “On the other hand, you have continued to counter my opinions, suggesting my opinion is somehow ‘wrong’… or that I just need to have the same opinion as you. That’s a whole lot more worrisome of an attitude than simply reciting the pledge of allegiance and, perhaps, enhancing a child’s memory and recall function.”

      You followed up by saying, “You obviously thought it was ‘worrisome’ that I disagreed with you…”

      Obviously, to a closed mind. But the part you’re completely ignoring, which is convenient, is this part: “suggesting my opinion is somehow ‘wrong'”

      I stated my opinion. Period. All you would have needed to say was, “That’s your opinion. I disagree with you. It looks like we disagree.” That’s it. Instead, you keep coming up with a laundry list of why my opinion makes no sense, then countering with your opinion and why it must be fact. That puts me on the defensive, clarifying what my opinion really is (because you take it out of context)… which you then counter by, once again, bashing my opinion. What do you gain by “proving” my opinion right or wrong?

      If I saw a movie and said, “I didn’t really like that movie. I thought the special effects could have been better.” If you DID like the movie, would you say, “What!? Are you CRAZY!? That movie was awesome! The plot was great!” Then, I’d follow up with, “No, I thought the plot was fine, too. I just didn’t like the special effects, and it ruined it for me.” You’d follow up with, “The plot didn’t ruin it for me at all!” This goes back and forth for a while until I just tire of the fact that you have no reading comprehension skills and are a terrible listener, all while you continue to tell me my opinion of the movie is wrong and that I clearly don’t know a good plot when I see one, when my only beef with the movie was the special effects.

      Case in point. Here is the next quote from you: “And some of the stuff you wrote really is wrong.”

      Wrong? Based on what scientific book? Is there some scientific book out there where you can point to evidence that proves my opinion is somehow wrong? I just don’t get your fascination with my opinion.

      The very first thing I said about this article was: “I absolutely applaud this kid for standing up for what he believes in.”

      I finished the post with: “So, again… while his actual protest is misplaced… by stirring the pot, he’s made his voice heard. So, the outcome is still a good thing.”

      And finally summarized, “Keep making your voice heard, kid!”

      And yet, you ignore those parts of my post and just attack the part where I disagree with his method. You seem to be more focused on me than on him, which I think distracts from the real issue. Let’s put this back on topic and applaud this kid already… keep your insecurities to yourself, or at least take it to another thread where it will be more on topic.

      Nov 14, 2009 at 3:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michelle
      Michelle

      Will- I have never met you but I am so proud of you. I have a ten year old son and I think you two would be great friends! Keep sticking up for your beliefs and try to ignore the kids who don’t know any better. I am a teacher, so I know what life is like in elementary school. You are very brave!

      Michelle

      Nov 14, 2009 at 12:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lee
      Lee

      I just want to give this kid a huge hug. It takes a lot of guts to stand up like that, especially at that age. I’m glad that he understands the pledge and what our country is supposed to stand for but fails to do. Now if only I could get the underclassmen in my GSA to do the same…

      Nov 15, 2009 at 12:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Marli C
      Marli C

      Hope you get to be a future Supreme Court Justice!!! Congrats to the parents!!

      Nov 16, 2009 at 11:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Levi
      Levi

      Uh, let me guess, he has a gay father???? OMG, this is child exploitation/abuse to the max!

      Nov 16, 2009 at 12:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Levi
      Levi

      Another guess, this poor kid has been sexually molested by a male family member or friend of the family. Truly sad.

      Nov 16, 2009 at 12:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @ No. 82 & 83 Levi:

      Umm…how long have you been suffering from acute homophobia?

      Nov 16, 2009 at 1:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bird
      Bird

      @36 and 78

      For what it’s worth, I agree with you. I think ideologically this kid is light years ahead of his age; it’s WONDERFUL that he supports the LGBTQI community as far as he is able. However, his methodology is a little backwards (though again, one of the only tools available to him, so I get it.)

      Basically, thumbs up William! Equality is awesome, and though the avenue he’s using doesn’t necessarily make sense to me, it’s working out for him, and his voice is being heard, which is what really matters.

      Nov 16, 2009 at 5:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Amy
      Amy

      Gutsy! Will, you give me hope for the future of humanity. :)

      Nov 16, 2009 at 6:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lizzie
      Lizzie

      Well done Master Phillips!

      Does this young gentleman have any plans to run for office when he comes of age? I’d vote for him. Indeed I’d likely vote for him right now over many current office-holders.

      Nov 16, 2009 at 8:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rebekah
      rebekah

      melanie hawkins

      He doesn’t even know what sex is — how can he have any honest opinion?

      Like it or not ten year olds do know what sex is. And beyond that he doesn’t need to know what sex is to be accepting of people based on their sexual orientation. Saying that is like saying that men cannot stand up in support of women because they don’t have a vagina

      Nov 16, 2009 at 8:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jonmichael
      Jonmichael

      Will Phillips for President! I’d be happy to contribute to his law school education.

      Nov 16, 2009 at 10:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      Jonmichael–what a nice idea. His mom and dad ought to open up an education fund for the lawyer kid. I would contribute to it too.

      Nov 16, 2009 at 11:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      As would I, Jonmichael and 1EqualityUSA.

      Nov 16, 2009 at 11:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Justin
      Justin

      What a gaywad.

      Nov 17, 2009 at 12:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • J.
      J.

      Wow. LOVE IT. Should I have kids, I hope I have one like that. I wish *I’d* been that socially aware at age 10. I was like playing freeze tag and playing with Barbies and shit.

      P.S. Teachers, there’s a need for you here: STOP LETTING KIDS CALL EACH OTHER GAY IN YOUR PRESENCE, AND PUNISH THEM. I have no idea how the anti-gay slurs have been allowed to become such a frickin’ hideous epidemic in K-12. Wait, I do: because douchebag conservatives, from teachers and administrators to politicians, think it’s funny and “harmless harassment” for those less-than-human gayfolk who deserve it anyway. Ugh. I wish I could pull the kid out of there and put him up on a platform to give speeches.

      Nov 17, 2009 at 8:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • McShane
      McShane

      I didn’t even know what ‘gay’ was until I got out of H.S.; I did know how it felt before ten. I hope he does. Even so he may not get laid for a while, unless he’s advertizing.

      In any case, there is so many appalling ignorance in this country about basic thiongs like healthcare and the putred Right wing economic situation. Even adults arte to busy trying to make it presumably to say NO! AMERICA IS FUCKED UP!

      Nov 17, 2009 at 9:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Frank
      Frank

      AND LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!!!! Not just whomever looks like me and acts like me!
      ANYONE WHO DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THIS DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THE CONSTITUITON OR WHAT THIS COUNTRY IS BASED ON.
      Go WIll!!! This kid is amazing. His conviction, bravery, sense of justice, and intelligence is waaaaay beyond his years or for that matter beyond most adults years in this country . Wish there were more in the world like him instead of the spoiled, whiney, vapid MTV/VH1 raised generations we are witnessing. HE IS A TRUE AMERICAN and by doing what he is doing in the face of bigotry he is truly exercising his right. I know that can be hard to swallow for alot of people in this country.
      Will is inspiring.

      Nov 17, 2009 at 10:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eli
      Eli

      Will, I know it’s hard when other kids make fun of you, but what you’re doing is amazing. You’re 10x more mature than those kids who are making fun of you, and thousands of people around the country admire you. Keep it up, you rock!

      Nov 17, 2009 at 10:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jason T.
      Jason T.

      This 10-year old has done more for LGBT Equality than HRC or Obama. Priceless.

      Nov 17, 2009 at 11:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tyler (14y.o.)
      Tyler (14y.o.)

      This kid doesn’t deserve to live in this country. We have soldiers overseas fighting to save his sorry *** and he can’t have the respect for the nation that he lives in to say a simple pledge? If he doesn’t support this country he can find someplace else to live because anyone who takes dislike to this country can feel free to take their ignorant selves elsewhere. I understand him supporting gay rights but first of all, the national government doesn’t even control laws about homosexuality because it was not a power given to them in the constitution; it is a right reserved for state legislation. If he is so knowledgeable in this area of politics he should also be aware that Arkansas, like most southern state, is a very traditional, conservative state and one that frowns upon homosexuality, in this case i could understand him not supporting his state because they do exactly what he is against. That being said, even if the national government did have control over issues like this, it’s still not an excuse to support the pledge. It’s very simple, if you don’t support the country than the country shouldn’t support you and you can find somewhere else to live like Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Somalia etc. and then see how bad it is to live here! This kid has a lot to learn! He is being just as ignorant as the gay bashers that he is fighting against and if you’re supporting this your just as ignorant as that kid too!

      Nov 17, 2009 at 4:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • detournment
      detournment

      uh Tyler, guess what…the military is wrong to be in those countries.THATS IT !

      Nov 17, 2009 at 4:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • College student
      College student

      Will, you have so much courage and you are an inspiration. It’s so great to see news like this in the midst of all the other, often depressing news we see. I didn’t say the pledge when I was in high school, because I also saw that the ideals didn’t match the reality in America today, but you picked up on that way younger than I did. The worst I got was weird looks – I can imagine how much harder it would be if the other kids were allowed to harass you. Stay strong, and know that you have my gratitude and support!

      @ everyone criticizing his “method” – Can we stop the activist infighting? There will always be disagreements over method, but this has obviously been successful at getting attention, which means it was effective, full stop. I don’t think we should bash the effective advocacy campaigns of other activists on our side – if you feel differently, work on something parallel (like a rewording of the pledge to be distributed however you see fit). The pledge has many meanings for many people – it’s not productive to argue over it.

      Nov 17, 2009 at 4:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      Way to go No. 98 – Tyler.

      America: Love it or leave it.

      You’re gonna grow up to be a fine, young redneck! *sarcasm font on*

      Got your four-wheel pick-up truck and back-window gun-rack picked out yet?

      Nov 17, 2009 at 8:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • J.
      J.

      98, “That being said, even if the national government did have control over issues like this, it’s still not an excuse to support the pledge.”: Uh, yeah, sorry, that’s just moronic. The Pledge of Allegiance, like so much nationalist rhetoric this country is based on, says “liberty and justice for all.” Clearly there is NOT “liberty and justice for all.” There is liberty and justice for straight white men, for those who possess privilege. Be honest here: It’s clear to any fool with rudimentary knowledge of U.S. social history that the U.S. has long supported and institutionalized inequality. I mean, c’mon – women were paying taxes without representation (without the right to vote) until 1920. Women weren’t considered fully human enough to vote until flocking 89 YEARS AGO. Did women suddenly just turn human 89 years ago? Or was the United States in fact fucking up all along?

      Also, the “United States” is not some God-given natural entity that fell out of the sky. It’s a bunch of random borders some rich white guys drew on a map after plopping down on top of a bunch of cultures that had existed here hundreds of years before Europeans.

      The United States was built on the mass genocide of Native Americans, and our wealth was built on the backs of black slaves. If you think this country would be half as “great” without its great history of oppression, you’re simply wrong.

      And bless this kid for standing up against that history.

      Nov 17, 2009 at 10:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ben
      Ben

      MediaCurves.com conducted a study among 328 viewers of a new clip discussing a student who refuses to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance in support of gay marriage. The majority of viewers (66%) reported that the student should not be forced to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. While the majority of respondents supported the student after watching the video, prior to viewing the video, the majority of viewers (65%) indicated that students “should be” forced to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. More in depth results can be seen at:
      http://www.mediacurves.com/Politics/J7639-PledgeofAllegiance/Index.cfm
      Thanks,
      Ben

      Nov 18, 2009 at 4:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • arianna
      arianna

      You give me hope for the future of this country. Until “liberty and justice for all” really applies to “All” and is not just so many words or a goal that may be achieved at some unknown time in the future, true patriots will take a stand for those who are disenfranchised. To have this kind of awareness and courage at the age of 10 shows that this young man is extraordinary. Kudos to you and I cannot begin to tell you how much respect I have for you for your courage and your ethics. Stay strong and be proud to be living the courage of your convictions.

      Nov 20, 2009 at 3:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Shawna
      Shawna

      Will,
      I admire your strength to do what you believe is right. I know it isn’t easy, it probably wont get any easier in the future. It is worth it though, and it makes a positive difference in the world. Thank you. And whatever the cause, just keep sticking to what you know to be right.

      To everyone else, I would like to say that while Will’s actions are special and take a lot of determination and strength, he is not the only 10 year out there with a good understanding and well thought out opinions. If you treat kids like human beings, give them a chance, and really listen, you can learn a lot. They do understand. We should encourage them to think for themselves, and we should listen to them.

      Nov 20, 2009 at 2:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Me
      Me

      What a gaywad.

      Nov 21, 2009 at 4:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • S. morbid
      S. morbid

      Good for you!

      Nov 22, 2009 at 12:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chris Brown
      Chris Brown

      Saludos Will…..you rock

      Nov 24, 2009 at 10:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Becker
      Becker

      Hi Will. I saw your story on the daily show (I live in Denmark, 20 years old). Don’t listen to your classmates. I am very proud of you and i think you deserve a lot of respect for standing up against your peers. It’s one of the hardest things to do. Of course gays should have equal rights. I don’t understand the issue anyway. I realise that America is quite religious and that the bible says that gays are an abomination in the eyes of the lord etc.. But it also says tons of other weird stuff, that you seem to totally disregard… Combined to that, you’re the most technologically advanced country on the face of earth, so it seems weird that two men (or women) getting married should be such a problem. I mean… what do you expect would happen? The world would end?

      Any how, you have the respect and support of about 75 % of the population of Denmark (i now were small but that’s still a lot of people ;)). I can vouch for that.

      So go do your thing. Be freethinking, logical and kind, and don’t surrender your principals because some people give you a hard time about it. I still can’t believe that your teacher would try to force you swear the pledge of allegiance. Again, I now that you’re very big on patriotism in America but that just seems wrong. Embrace the diversity America! Cus that’s what makes you great! :D

      Over and out

      Nov 27, 2009 at 4:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Evan
      Evan

      http://turnabout.ath.cx:8000/node/1022

      Dec 3, 2009 at 1:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1
      1

      What a gaywad! J/k; freedom of speech.

      Dec 3, 2009 at 8:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lu
      Lu

      Bravo for you kid!! You’re pretty brave, especially for your age. I wish I had been so brave when I was a kid. You’re an inspiration!

      Lu, who is now a fan of yours on facebook-http://www.facebook.com/pages/Thank-you-Will-Phillips-Your-only-10-and-you-stood-up-for-gay-rights/192948592256?ref=search&sid=100000638324304.1470701855..1&v=wall

      Jan 25, 2010 at 3:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rob from Manchester England
      Rob from Manchester England

      What a brave kid you are.

      Feb 17, 2010 at 4:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Terry Madison
      Terry Madison

      @Michael W.: Apparently your patriotism is blind patriotism – When a country is wrong, it should be told so…just as many such as Will told their government when it was once against the law for women to vote. Just as a person cannot grow without knowing their blind spots, neither can a nation.

      May 9, 2010 at 6:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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