The St. Louis Park Pledge of Allegiance controversy of 2019 is over

Council members said pushback from nonresidents led them to reinstate the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings.
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St. Louis Park will reinstate the Pledge of Allegiance at city council meetings, bringing to end a national controversy that included commentary from President Donald Trump.

At a packed Monday meeting, the council voted 7-0 to bring back the Pledge. At-Large Council Member Thom Miller, who introduced the amendment, said while he agreed with the council’s earlier move, the harassment from nonresidents was too much.

"To be perfectly clear, I fully support the change we made in June to eliminate the Pledge of Allegiance from our standard meeting agenda," he said.

"However, while the feedback from St. Louis Park residents on all sides of the issue has been fair, honest and constructive, there are many from outside of St. Louis Park who are abusing our city staff, making it very difficult for them to serve the residents of our city businesses, which is the very reason for our local government to exist."

This was met with boos from protesters, who recited and pledge and waved American flags in the council chambers. Outside, more protesters showed up to support for the Pledge.

Ward 1 Council Member Margaret Rog echoed Miller’s sentiments, stating the feedback she’d gotten from residents had been "thoughtful and respectful" but that the same could not be said for those not from the city.

"We don’t need to be at the epicenter of a manufactured standoff of what it means to be a good American," she said, directing her message to St. Louis Park residents. "This circus needs to end."

"It’s hurting our staff; it’s impacting their productivity and mental health. It’s costing us money. It’s taking your elected officials’ time and energy away from working on issues that actually impact the daily lives of residents – safe streets, housing, climate action, and so much more."

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Per MPR, many of the protesters who showed up to a previous meeting where the issue was discussed were not from St. Louis Park, hailing from cities including Wayzata and Rochester.

The council's June decision to get rid of the Pledge from meetings except for on special occasions caused national outcry and brought protesters from across the state to city hall. President Donald Trump even tweeted his disapproval of the decision.

In light of this outrage and criticism from Mayor Jake Spano, who noted only five of the seven council members were present for the June vote, the council agreed to revisit the decision.

At-large Council Member Steve Hallfin said at Monday's meeting he originally supported getting rid of the Pledge as a routine procedure to make it more meaningful when recited at special events.  

While St. Louis Park City Council will recite the Pledge before roll call for now, they were not the only council in the Twin Cities to opt out. According to the Star Tribune, both Minneapolis and Edina councils do not include the Pledge in proceedings. 

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