Posted in: Politics

Pennsylvania Lawmaker Babette Josephs Refuses To Say Pledge Of Allegiance

babette josephs philadelphia pennsylvania

A Pennsylvania lawmaker’s refusal to lead the Pledge of Allegiance sparked an onslaught of controversy. Unlike many politicians who are criticized for making a specific statement, Democratic State Representative Babette Josephs is being chastised for what she refused to say. What began as a mundane House State Government Committee meeting took a dramatic turn when Chairman Daryl Metcalfe tapped Josephs to lead the patriotic pledge.

The routine meeting opening activity was abruptly stalled when Josephs announced her opposition to accepting the request. The Philadelphia representative had this to say about her refusal to lead the Pledge of Allegiance during the meeting:

“Based on my First Amendment rights and based on the fact that I really think it’s a prayer. I don’t pray in public.”

The awkward and somewhat startling incident ended as quickly as it began when the Republican chairman from Butler simply called on another committee member to lead the pledge, according to WHTM 27 ABC News. Josephs noted after the meeting that Congress chose to insert “under God” into the pledge when she was about 14 years old. The Democratic politician maintains that the additional wording turned the patriotic statement of allegiance into a prayer, WPXI notes.

Babette Josephs had this to say about the incident about the committee meeting:

“How many years ago was 1954? I have not said the Pledge of Allegiance since and I will not say it into the future unless they take those words out and make it less of a prayer. Especially if you’re in elective office and you’re invoking the name of God all the time; to me it’s the height of hypocrisy. I will not do it.”

Metcalfe readily conceded that Josephs’ has the right not to say the pledge but personally feels it is wrong. He noted during an interview with WHTM that he was shocked that an elected official would not pledge allegiance to the flag. Josephs’ lost her primary bid in April and will soon end her 28-year career as a lawmaker.

abc27 WHTM

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73 Responses to “Pennsylvania Lawmaker Babette Josephs Refuses To Say Pledge Of Allegiance”

  1. Bob Armstrong

    The addition of that theism to the pledge to differentiate ourselves from the "godless" commies when I was 9 has always stuck with me. It helped form my view that a major use of religions is to choose up sides and as a test of subjugation to one's tribe.

  2. Diane McAllister

    You are a disgrace to the State of Pa. And to your Country

  3. Andy Greco

    Please send me your money because it says 'In God we Trust' on it…..i am sure that must truly offend your high moral standards as well. We wouldn't want to force you to choose a religion over your principals, would we???

  4. Yvonne Steiner

    She's a PIG. Demand her resignation NOW! She should immediately deport herself to another nation!

  5. Patriotism ForAll

    Good for Babette. She refuses to play the game of "Hey, look at me, I say the Pledge, I'm a patriot".

    The say that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. Council members, we don't care about your flag-waving and lip-service to our community. You can show your civic loyalty, by getting down to business.

  6. Patriotism ForAll

    Good for Babette. She refuses to play the game of "Hey, look at me, I say the Pledge, I'm a patriot".

    The say that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. Council members, we don't care about your flag-waving and lip-service to our community. You can show your civic loyalty, by getting down to business.

  7. Patriotism ForAll

    No, Diane, you are. (Pretty easy just to insult people without any justification. )

  8. Victoria Frye Livingston

    How do people like that even get elected in the first place?

  9. Patriotism ForAll

    No Yvonne, your the PIG. Look at how easily intolerance spurts out of your snout.
    (Pretty easy to just insult people without providing any justification, ain't it? )

  10. Patriotism ForAll

    Oooh, there's getting to be a whole herd of sows, here. Yeah, that would be you, the ones name-calling without giving a clue as to why you feel justified.

  11. Patriotism ForAll

    No, Andy, let's take that treasonous wording off of our money. You are traitor to the Constitution, if you defend it being there.

  12. Robert Roseman

    I am Jewish and originally from the same area she's from. The answer is that Liberal Jews are stupid and elect their own more stupid Jews….

  13. Yvonne Steiner

    If she doesn't want to pledge her allegiance to this nation, she needs to get out! Don't like it here? LEAVE! But, you don't see a lot of people deporting themselves, do you? What they do is stay and degrade society to their own low class confused level. And you infer you're patriotic. HaHa Yea, that's funny.

  14. Gloria Castilleja

    That's irony in your name is "patriotism for all", give me a break…you liberals are ok that people don't say the pledge of allegiance or any criticisms of Christianity but you guys get furious when we say anything about Islam? Oh God forbid we say anything about Islam. Give me a break, obviously liberalism doesn't work, it is a complete and utter failure. Step aside and let a "true" a American Mitt Romney show you how a country can grow again. You guys are angry that your pitiful pathetic candidate is failing miserably, and no one is buying the blame game any more. Quite frankly if you don't like Capitalism, get the hell out of the country and go live in a socialist country, Your comment is about as important as used toilet paper, at least that served a purpose, unlike you.

  15. Robert Roseman

    It was all the Jews, not just the Liberal Jews. As you know I am talking about the Liberal Jews of today's ilk that want to get rid of stuff like this…the pledge. How come it's okay to use the "well back then argument" when it fits your agenda, but you won't allow others to use the "MLK" was a Republican back then, because it doesn't fit your agenda.

  16. Michele Talamo

    If she cannot recite the pledge, she is serving in the wrong profession – resign and find another.

  17. Michele Talamo

    If she cannot recite the pledge, she is serving in the wrong profession – resign ahead of schedule – Goodbye!

  18. Gannon Christopher Small

    I must say this, the reason she is not "swearing to our country" is that the wall of separation if church and state is broken. It has been ever since 1954 when "Under God" was added to the pledge and money. This nation is, never will be, and never was a "Christian Nation" that was stated in the Treaty of Tripoli. If any of you do not belive me, go and look it up for yourselves.

  19. Daniel Wood

    Gee, forced to say a pledge that mandates you believe in a specific higher power….that sounds like something that happens in a fascist country. Personally, I'm a patriotic American. I love my country, and I don't have to prove that love to anybody. I guess if somebody doesn't go around 24/7 saying the pledge, wearing a flag pin, flying an American flag in front of their house, and only playing the Star Spangled Banner from their Ipod they must be terrorists! Grow up people, stop being so childish.

  20. Matthew Condio

    This woman is awesome. I'm glad to see someone in her position stand up against having god in the government. Religion never was and shouldn't be a part of our government.

  21. Michele Talamo

    Not a specific power. If she wants to not say the two words "under God", then fine, but if she's not prepared to devote her allegiance to the USA, then she shouldn't have run for office to affect change in legislation. Non-allegiance to the country and it's citizens leaves pause to wonder how she decides on which laws are beneficial to citizens and which are not.

  22. Andrew Michael Calhoun

    Hey Robert, you know who also had sentiments like yours? Adolf Hitler… Heinrich Himmler… Joseph Goebbels…

  23. Daniel Wood

    Words are empty. If Adolph Hilter said the pledge of allegiance, would you accept him as a loyal American? A person's actions should be judged, not their words. Forcing somebody to say a phrase of loyalty to their country

    And yes, its to a specific power. The phrase 'Under God', which was added to the pledge of allegiance AFTER it was created, is referring to the Judeo-Christian deity. Or are you claiming that the Christian law makers who added the phrase really had Vishnu and Odin in mind?

  24. Daniel Wood

    Forcing somebody to say a phrase of loyalty to their country IS NOT AMERICAN. It is the opposite of American.

    Let me guess, you think flag burning should be illegal too, right? Fascist.

  25. Gal Murphy

    Don't ya love a liberal who can't debate issues and resorts to name calling. Oh, so tolerant and revealing of the real bigotry. So much is revealed by the writing of this Daniel – and the hat is just a small hint of the workings of that mind. LOL Mich: no need to waste time with a closed mind.

  26. Misha Krul

    As a Pennsylvanian and a secularist I am very proud of Babette Josephs for standing her ground and supporting the First Amendment.

    This woman has studied the law and has made her career by interpreting the law. She understands the Constitution better than most Americans, and she is entirely correct in claiming that "Under God" was added in the 50s and that its insertion into the Pledge was a violation of the Establishment Clause. But thanks to ignorance and fear-mongering, it was added anyway as a response to Evil, Godless Communism (TM).

    Some of the language and name-calling in these comments are disgusting. "Pig"? "Ugly sow"? "Stupid Jew Bitch"? Yes, I'm sure Jesus would be proud of you. To those who feel it necessary to condemn, belittle, or vilify Mrs. Josephs for her decision, consider that how you react to stories like this helps to paint a picture for those who are not a part of your religion. Are your words and actions doing your religion a favor, or a disservice?

  27. Daniel Wood

    So somebody disagrees with and they're automatically liberal? Talk about being close minded. I hold both liberal and conservative beliefs. I'm not dumb enough to think that any belief structure is 100% correct on every single subject. I'm a Libertarian, I believe in the constitution, unlike most Americans. As for debating issues, I go into great detail on why its unpatriotic to force somebody to say the pledge of allegiance, and the best counter argument you have is "He's a damn dirty liberal who wears hats!"? Wow, you really showed me.

    Why don't you go move to North Korea or Iran where people are forced to publicly swear allegiance to their country. You might feel more comfortable there.

  28. Daniel McCully

    Good to see someone in politics who isn't a mindless idiot. Good on her.

    Also the comments here show you just how stupid/Christian America has become. It is almost as bad as Islamic nations.

  29. Mason Haynes

    You realize that "under god" was not in the pledge of allegiance until 1954. Right around the same time that our national motto was changed to "In God We Trust" (from "E Pluribus Unum", which is by far a better motto).

    By doing this, theists were attempting to make the US a "christian nation", and attempting to blur the line between church and state. We are not, were never, and won't ever be a "christian nation". Read the fucking constitution before spouting out your hate please.

  30. Robert Roseman

    Andrew, if you knew me, you would know I was nothing like any of those German henchmen. My comments are strictly to point out the stupidity of Liberal Jews like Ms. Josehps who are dangerous to our country and he ilk like the German Jews who helped elect Hitler in the first place. Unfortunately Obama's policies will lead to the same results.

  31. Andrew Michael Calhoun

    Robert Roseman: Liberal German Jews elected Hitler? …okay, who said that and what are they smoking? That's absolutely false and utterly insane.

  32. Kaj Lydestad

    Yes, because upholding the 1st Amendment, and respecting the original version of the pledge is so disrespectful to your heritage.

  33. Kaj Lydestad

    Yvonne Steiner "If she doesn't want to pledge her allegiance to this nation, she needs to get out! "
    Spoken like a true bigot.

    The original pledge, as written in 1892:
    "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

    Government has no place in religion, and religion has no place in government.

  34. Anonymous

    And you're an IDIOT. Is there an inkling of thought or understand in your stupid head?
    I'm pretty proud of Babette to stand up and say what I've been thinking for so long. 'Under God' doesn't belong in our pledge. I refuse to say it. It was added to the pledge 50 years ago to help solidify the nation's self-image of good, christian, patriotic people, as opposed to godless Russian commies. The only reason it was added was to manipulate us in the first place. The government used religion as a tool to help fight the Cold War. It should never have been added in the first place. A few years after it was added they put 'in god we trust' on the money, too.
    There is every reason in the world to NOT add religion to the constitution. It doesn't belong there. America is run by majority rule, but with minority rights. Forcing everyone to say something like 'under god' is insensitive to a large portion of people who do not believe the same as you.
    I'm SICK of having to defend my position on REMOVING God from the pledge and money. I should not have to be JUSTIFYING MY POINT. There needs to be justification for WHY IT WAS ADDED in the first place, and there is NOT a SINGLE good reason.

  35. Catherine Wade

    Yvonne Steiner It isn't her not wanting to pledge allegiance (although, who cares if she doesn't want to say a dumb nationalistic poem?), it's about the fact that we added God to it so now no atheist can feel welcome in this country. Get over yourself, Jesus probably doesn't like name calling.

  36. Anonymous

    Wow. Nice one Andy. You stupid shit. Go fuck yourself.
    Let's all make fun of Bob for being offended at having to say ' under god' in the pledge! I mean, who the hell does think he is? He must be some kind of godless commie! Everyone should be forced to believe what we believe in! And if they don't, then fuck them, right? We've got faith! We know our good book is right! We KNOW our god is the one! We've got faith! AND if you don't you can leave, cuz this is MURCA! USA! USA! USA! USA!
    You make me sick, Andy. Think before opening your stupid mouth and trying to talk to the adults.
    Your persecution of those who refuse to submit to your faith or way of thinking are sickening. Absolutely sickening. Do you remember why people left Britain to colonize America? Most that volunteered to leave were tired of being religiously persecuted, and wanted to start over where they could be accepted. When we finally declared our own independence, we took those values to heart and made sure the separation of church and state was a key principle in our Constitution. We knew that it was awful being persecuted for religious beliefs, so we attempted to make sure it wouldn't happen again.
    Apparently the majority has stopped caring about this however; or at least they didn't in the 50's. Now, however, it appears I, and fellow atheists are the ones being persecuted and told to leave. Well, you know what? Go and fuck yourself. I don't give a shit what you think about whether I belong in this country or not. You can't even see me through the fucking book you're looking at. There is no 'War on Religion'. There is a war on 'anything other than the Christian majority'. I"m tired of people being unable to hold public office based on their religious beliefs. Try being an atheist and running for something. Unless you lie and fake your faith, you'll never be elected. That's not democracy. That's theocracy.

  37. Anonymous

    If she doesn't want to say 'under god', she should just skip that part and ignore it's presence? Why the fuck should 'under god' be in the pledge anyways?

  38. Anonymous

    You.. I… You have obviously just experienced a CATASTROPHIC failure in your mind.
    1. No one said anything about Islam. That's irrelevant.
    2. No one is criticizing Christianity here.
    3. NO ONE fucking mentioned liberalism.
    4. Conservatism is awful because it is supported by stupid dumbfucks like you.
    5. In a way this whole country is socialist. Unless perhaps you never use the governmnent roads or other facilities. Or perhaps you never went to fucking school.
    6. 'True' American? What do you even fucking mean by that? An obese, ignorant, god-fearing right wing conservative republican Fundamental Christian? EVEN ROMNEY IS MORMON if youre going to play the stupid religion card.
    7. 'Don't like shit I like? Get out of this country!' You stupid, sniveling bitch. Maybe you should take a class on government so you can learn what a fucking democracy is. Democracy is not always getting what you want. It's about paying enough attention to give an informed opinion and join others who have done the same to make a decision. It wasn't made for stupid cunts like you to sit at home and absorb the opinion of Fox News. You are one fucking moronic individual.

  39. Anonymous

    Yeah. Who does she think she is, standing up for what's right in the face of a majority? Doesn't she know this is AMERICA?!

  40. Tad Plume

    Why she understands the intent of the founders better than you.

    "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion" – Treaty of Tripoli submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, receiving ratification unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797 and signed by Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797

  41. Anonymous

    Gal Murphy: You must be catastrophically fucking stupid if you JUST got on him for name-calling and called him a liberal in the process.

  42. Yvonne Steiner

    I don't care when it was added. We are ALL under God. It is good to acknolwedge God.

  43. Brendan Beckett

    She has no problem saying the pledge, she simply refuses to say it with the unconstitutional bit that was added in 1954. Maybe you should leave if you hate the constitution so much.

  44. Tim Guay

    Which god? Zeus? Poseidon? Odin? Don't forget to acknowledge them too :)

  45. Aaron Shorty Harman

    not only was your comment all over the damn place, but to retort, I quite frankly don't give the tiniest fuck about Islam,or any religion for that matter. And even though almost nothing in your comment is relevant to the article how bout we try to be less of a bigot huh?

  46. Brendan Beckett

    And you're going to hell for not being a Muslim, remember that too. You seem awfully unconcerned about that – maybe it's because you realize Islam is bullshit just like I realize Christianity is bullshit. Either way, whether Christianity is true or not, it doesn't belong in government according to the constitution and anyone who says it does is being un-American.

  47. David Evans

    Threatening unbelievers with hell is like telling an adult that they're getting coal from Santa. A small child might fall for it, but you're out of luck with everyone else.

  48. Tim Guay

    I'll remember hell is forever if you promise to remember that god is imaginary and the bible is a fairy tale :)

  49. Joseph Anthony Lara

    There's that good old fashion Christianity I've been waiting for, Yvonne! Do as I say, not as I do… or go to Hell! LOL!

  50. Kaj Lydestad

    Yvonne Steiner
    I felt more threatened when a hippy threatened to punch me in my aura… at least he might miss and actually hit me.

    Have you considered what threatening non-belivers with hell really says about you?
    1) You have no idea what people that disagree with you actually think – as in, they do not take your claim at all seriously.
    2) Your default position when challenged is to threaten eternal torture.

    #2 is the one that really gets me. You support a theology that maintains infinite punishment for the only unforgivable sin of Christianity; failing to be gullible.

  51. David Snay

    "Patriotism for all", it is pretty easy to critique others when you hide behind the shield of anonymity. I can't have any respect for anyone who bitches and complains without having the testicular fortitude to at least identify themselves. You were complaining about people insulting others without justification; you are even worse, for you are doing it without identity. If you truly believe what you say, if you speak with conviction and pride, you should be more than willing to use your true name, not some vague pseudonym.