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Seattle Pacific University overturns controversial Veterans Day decision

Seattle Pacific University has changed its mind and will not ban the American flag and the pledge of allegiance during a Veterans Day ceremony in the campus chapel. (AP)
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Seattle Pacific University overturned a controversial decision Friday, and will allow an American flag and the pledge of allegiance at a Veterans Day ceremony in its chapel.

The Christian university had previously told organizers of the Veteran’s Day ceremony that they should not include the flag or pledge after objections were raised by a handful of faculty and students.

“The organizers decided not to include the pledge of allegiance and the presentation of colors during the November 10 chapel, given that there are a diversity of views on campus whether such elements should be part of a Christian worship service,” the university told Q13.

It’s something that enraged KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.

“I am sick and tired of how all of society has to … cater to the vocal minority of the easily offended,” Dori said. “If they don’t like the flag and the pledge being part of this chapel &#8212 don’t attend the chapel. Don’t attend the ceremony. To deny everybody else, that is the tyranny of the minority imposing their will.”

Organizer Sarah Martin told Dori that she wished to include the flag and pledge, but understands that the university is home to a range of perspectives.

“At SPU there is a lot of diversity and different perspectives of faith,” Martin said, noting that there are some Christian perspectives that embrace pacifism.
“They believe that anything associated with war is not something that Christians should be associated with. They wanted to voice their opinion about how that would make them feel uncomfortable in a chapel and that Christians should not be supporting a symbol of the state.”

Faculty and perhaps some students with such beliefs voiced their opinions to university officials.

“Initially, the plan was to include the flag and the pledge,” Martin said. “University ministries was on board with that. We found out on Wednesday morning that some individuals complained and voiced they were uncomfortable having the flag in the ceremony in the chapel.”

Within hours of Dori’s Friday afternoon show, the university announced that it changed its mind and that a presentation of colors and pledge would be part of the event. Retired Navy Reserve Captain and Professor of History Rod Stiling will speak at the event.

“We regret that our initial decision about out Veterans Day service caused so much misunderstanding. It was never our intent to dishonor our veterans or their service to our country,” the university said in a statement.

Seattle Pacific University’s Veterans Day Ceremony will take place on Nov. 10 at 11 a.m. in the First Free Methodist Church on campus.

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