Pledge of Allegiance Incident Proves We Need More Critical Thinking

04/14/2015 05:32 pm ET | Updated Jun 14, 2015

A middle school girl is scolded, embarrassed and banished from the classroom for refusing to stand for the pledge of allegiance in Pennsylvania. And what makes this story even more disturbing is that she was refused medical care by a school nurse because of it.

The American Humanist Association, an humanist group, has sent a letter of complaint to Pennsylvania's Carlisle Area School District. So far, the school district hasn't said what it plans to do, only saying, "It is aware of the allegations and is investigating."

This incident is another example of what a joke our education system is in the 21st century. We shouldn't be teaching kids to accept anything they are told. We need to be teaching them to push back and punch holes into outdated rituals, dogma and behaviors.

It's time to start teaching children to think for themselves and not be forced to adhere to someone else's point of view. After all, education is about teaching kids how to think, not what to think, and the pledge is a form of indoctrination.

A child doesn't even know what the word allegiance means. Children are not capable of making a decision to pledge their allegiance to anything. So, instead they are forced by teachers and school officials to robotically repeat words they don't even understand or they are punished.

When are we going to start using critical thinking? We need to teach our children critical thinking skills and begin showing them how to open their eyes, look around and make decisions for themselves regardless of political stance, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or anything else.

The average family, along with other authority figures, passes down the same limiting beliefs they were taught and that were passed down by their parents, grandparents and great grandparents. When does it stop? When will someone standup and say wait a minute, is it possible everything we've been handing down and were taught is wrong or misguided? Is it possible there is a better way? Shouldn't we be allowed to think for ourselves?

I love America. Unfortunately, our population has become an army of drones, unwilling to think independently. Whether its teachers, politicians or religious leaders, everyone seems to be telling us what to think and how to live. And it has to stop in order for America to survive. It's time to wake up and realize that none of these people are any smarter than us. None are morally superior nor can they prove their way is the right way.

It's time to take control of our own lives and start thinking for ourselves. Shouldn't American citizens have the freedom to live their lives without limits as long as they're not hurting anyone else of infringing on others' rights?

In a lifetime that lasts approximately 80 years, is there any reason we should waste a single minute being bullied by power hungry leaders and religious zealots who wish to control and manipulate us? The only way to save America is to ask all Americans to save themselves, the foundational method of which is independent thought.

If your own critical thinking tells you to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, by all means, recite it. But if for whatever reason you choose not to want to participate, you should be left alone and your wishes respected. America is a great melting pot of cultures that was founded on independence and free thinking, yet somehow we've lost our way. The bottom line: it's time to start thinking for ourselves again.