Here’s a letter to you from Kathrine Morningstar-Simon…

It’s not about lunch. It’s about community. Early this month the Mullis Center Operations Committee announced we would no longer be standing for the prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance at noon before announcements. The folks at the table at which I frequently sit were aghast. We were told the goal was to make the  lunch acceptable to more people, especially younger people.

I circulated a petition asking The Committee to reconsider, which was signed by a supermajority of those present.  Half the page was reserved for dissenting Opinions.  The only entry there cited  “We have separation of church and state.” A few abstained. I sent a copy of the petition to each member of The Operations Committee with a letter asking that the Pledge be reinstated.

It was the proposal of the Pledgers that we take responsibility for the pledge at 11:45 so that anyone offended could come later than that. One of our members (he is one of our veterans representing the sentiments and wishes of many of us), invited those who so wished to stand for the Pledge. The majority of us could hardly get to our feet fast enough. He and another vet were “spoken to” and left. He was petitioned by members to return.

The Operations Committee apparently did reconsider as it was next announced the Pledge would be reinstated on a list of specific national holidays. Another member stood and led the Pledge.  The next lunch I attended the flag had been removed and an announcement was made that the flag had been put in the craft room and that anyone who wanted to say the pledge of allegiance go in there and say it, individually or as a group.  The administration said they considered this a win-win for everyone. I considered it adding insult to injury! I started to circulate copies of the original petition and was told that if I did they would come around and remove them. I was invited into the office of the director of the San Juan County Senior Services Manage and given a copy of the rules for Information and Signage Policy .

I wanted to hand out copies of the petition I had previously circulated.  I was told that if I did they would come around behind me and remove them. I was invited to come to the office of the San Juan Senior Services Manager and was given a copy of their signage rules, which read  “All postings and signage need to be approved by the Center Manager. Content should be appropriate to the Mullis Center. For-profit business advertising or political promotions are not allowed.”  I’m not sure which part I violated.

Last week I sat at a table with a Mullis Center member wearing a Vladimir Putin tee shirt.  He was not given a copy of the rules, and that is as it should be. In my country, we have right to free speech, including tee shirts. Our principles guarantee that and I am proud to be from a country in which such a shirt could be manufactured, sold, bought, and worn. It wouldn’t happen in Russia. 

Katherine Morningstar-Simon

Posted on May 31, 2019 at 5:38 am by

Categories: Letters, Opinion, People
One comment:

One comment...

  1. Katherine is right, it is not about lunch. It IS about the 1st Amendment. Let the Seniors continue with their long standing traditions of saying a generic prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. I have witnessed the county staff threatening, and even telling people that must “get out”, just because they want to say the Pledge. Now the flag that has been in the dining room since the Mullis Center opened has been removed completely. This is abusive behavior!

    Comment by Minnie Knych on May 31, 2019 at 7:21 am

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