What was supposed to be a routine city council meeting turned out to be a controversial affair after one of the members in the room refused to stand up for the opening invocation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Following the refusal of Joseph Richardson to stand up for the pledge of allegiance, the Mayor of Winter Garden city ordered police officials to remove Richardson from the room, reports CNN. The entire incident was caught on camera by Joseph. The incident happened at a local Florida city commission meeting and the footage was later uploaded to YouTube.
Richardson had earlier sent emails to the local officials asking them if he would be allowed to deliver an invocation that according to him would make it an “inclusive” affair rather than something very religious.
In the video, it is seen that Richardson refuses to stand up for the invocation while everyone else in the room does. Mayor Rees is then seen asking him to stand up. Richardson refuses to do so and says that he doesn’t have to stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance. The obviously angry mayor then asks police officials present in the premises to escort Richardson out of the room.
Rees later told media persons that he thought it was disrespectful of Richardson to not stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance. He added that his reaction was not premeditated and that he just reacted to what had happened.
“I just said, ‘Either stand or go in the hallway.’ He wouldn’t. It wasn’t premeditated. I just reacted. It hit me. I said it. I gave him an option. … Life will go on.”
According to Richardson, he did nothing wrong when he did not stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance. He says that whatever he did was well within his constitutional rights. The 51 year old father of three says;
“It bothers me to suggest my actions represent a lack of patriotism. To me, patriotism is a lot more than just saying the pledge. It’s living out the values we have as an America of equality, liberty and justice.”
Richardson was shaken by the mayor’s suggestion that by not standing up for the Pledge of Allegiance, he was actually disrespecting U.S. troops that are serving the nation.
Do you think it was correct on part of the mayor to have Richardson kicked out of the meeting for not standing up for the Pledge of Allegiance?
[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]