July 16, 2019
A lot of the residents in Mullis Senior Center survived Korea and Vietnam. Now they're facing a new enemy: political correctness. When the seniors found out that the Pledge of Allegiance had been banned, they fought back. If the board of directors at the Washington State facility wants to deprive them of the freedom they sacrificed for, they'll have to try harder.
"The Mullis Senior Center is simply adjusting to the changing times," the statement read from the board of directors. "We feel we cannot let the habits of our past be the enemy of our future." But since when did patriotism and prayer become "enemies of our future," residents asked? A lot of them think the facility, which is situated on a tiny island, isn't just removed from the mainland -- it's removed from common sense. So, a group of seniors reached out to the American Legion for help.
Post 163 Commander David Holzer replied that they "were more than happy to assist local senior citizens who wanted the pledge restored." But, as Fox News's Todd Starnes points out, "even the brave military veterans were not prepared for the community center's open hostility toward patriots." When a group of veterans kept coming in to say the traditional prayer and pledge at lunch, the staff called the police -- three times. At one point, Holzer explained, his personal conversation with the center got so heated that when he asked how the management could restrict people's constitutional rights, the employee fired back, "You think that the people of Nazi Germany enjoyed saying, 'Heil Hitler?'"
"My response to her," Holzer told a local radio station, "besides a dumbfounded look, was, 'They didn't have a choice. In this country you do,' he recalled. 'And you're taking away everyone's choice and right of saying the Pledge of Allegiance.'" Along with the facility's flags, which were also removed. "It's amazing," another Legion spokesman said, "the amount of people who enjoy the liberties of this country, but they don't want to have to go ahead and produce any of the work that those liberties entitle you to."
In the meantime, veterans and residents are persistent. They continue to carry flags in and say the pledge, despite being harassed, threatened, or physically removed from the premises. If the center's goal was "provid[ing] a safe and peaceful environment in our building and on our property, inclusive to all," they've failed miserably. "These senior citizens should be free to pray together before their meal," First Liberty's Roger Byron argued. "The Supreme Court just last year said, 'There can be no doubt that the First Amendment protects the right to pray. Prayer unquestionably constitutes the 'exercise' of religion.'"
Obviously, that message hasn't made it to the extremists running the Mullis Senior Center. And until it does, you can bet: these patriots aren't backing down. They weren't taught the meaning of the word "quit" -- and a world that owes its freedom to them ought to be grateful.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.