Pledge of Allegiance debate draws big crowd at St. Louis Park City Council study session

Updated: July 08, 2019 10:33 PM

The debate over the Pledge of Allegiance in St. Louis Park is just getting started.

Council members recently voted to stop reciting it before meetings, but after a study session on Monday night, they say they need more time to figure out whether to reconsider the controversial decision.


Dozens of people showed up to share their frustrations with the decision, and many came from outside St. Louis Park. 

"I'm proud to be an American now and I just don't find anything in the Pledge of Allegiance offensive," said Kathleen Bryan, who lives in Orono. 

"We're standing up as patriots coming together saying we love our country," said Randal Thom, who lives in Lakefield.

Last month, the council unanimously voted to no longer recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of meetings. Many agreed it was an issue of diversity and wanting to make sure everyone felt welcome. Since the decision, some council members say they have received rude comments from people.

More from KSTP: 

St. Louis Park council to discuss decision to drop Pledge of Allegiance

St. Louis Park City Council drops Pledge of Allegiance

"As a proud American, I'm appalled that our little suburban community's meeting protocols have sparked this polarizing conversation," said City Council Member Anne Mavity.

"I feel like we made a mistake," Council Member Steve Hallfin said.

While some apologized for not including the community in the decision, others stood their ground.

"Evidently here in Minnesota, we're playing around with their hallowed traditions," said Council Member Tim Brausen.

The crowd challenged the decision at a study session to reconsider this move, something that does not include public comment.

"I think to take things like this away from the American people, it's very hurtful," Bryan said. 

"It feels like we may have missed a step there," said Mayor Jake Spano.

Spano believes the council's vote was premature, and wants to focus on having a conversation of returning to the pledge.

"My hope is that they have an opportunity to say 'Wow (I) didn't think this was a big deal, but boy it really is a big deal, so yeah we should have a conversation about it,'" Spano said. 

Ultimately, they agreed to meet again to figure out a way to engage with the community on this issue. The council does not have a date yet to continue talking about this topic, but they do plan to to do some community engagement.

For now, the pledge will not be recited at meetings.

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Brett Hoffland

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