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Arkansas 10-Year-Old Won’t Pledge Allegiance Until Gays Gain Equality

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Nov 11, 2009
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A 10-year-old Arkansas boy name Will Phillips has decided that he cannot in good conscience pledge allegiance to the flag as long as the country for which it stands refuses legal equality to its GLBT citizens.

That stand has brought young Mr. Phillips anti-gay taunts in the lunch room, but admiration from around the country, reports a Nov. 5 Arkansas Times article. The West Fork School District fifth grader clashed with a substitute teacher for his refusal to stand for the pledge, prompting a call to Will’s mother, Laura Phillips. When the principal acknowledged that Will has the right to refuse to say the pledge, Ms. Phillips asked that her son receive an apology--a request that the principal declined to honor.

A 1943 Supreme Court decision found that schools may not punish students for refusing to recite the pledge. Objections to compulsory recitation of the pledge arose from the Jehovah’s Witnesses on the basis that their religion does not permit expressions of allegiance to anything other than their own religion and to God. The Jehovah’s Witnesses lost their first case before the Court in 1940, and reportedly suffered from bias-motivated violence in the aftermath of that case. The Court’s 1943 decision reversed the earlier finding, and students have had the right to decline saying the pledge since then, although socially such refusal is often met with disapproval.

Such has been the case with Will Phillips’ stand, but he hasn’t backed down. Laura Phillips told the Arkansas Times that her 10-year-old is "probably more aware of the meaning of the pledge than a lot of adults. He’s not just doing it rote recitation. We raised him to be aware of what’s right, what’s wrong, and what’s fair."

Fairness in this case is more than a mere abstraction, since the family has a number of openly gay friends and has participated in GLBT equality events such as Pride parades. Will, who told the newspaper that he would like to pursue a career in law when he’s older, could not square the tenets of the pledge with the political realities faced by his family’s GLBT friends, whose family and individual rights are under constant challenge. "I really don’t feel that there’s currently liberty and justice for all," said Will.

That led the young man to his decision not to pledge his allegiance due to the injustice he perceived to prevail against gays and lesbians. He discussed the matter with his family and then took his stand--or rather, refused to stand with the rest of the kids when the time for the pledge came around each morning. The first week of the young man’s protest happened to be a week when a substitute teacher, a friend of Will’s grandparents, was in charge of the class; as days went by, the teacher grew more aggravated, until finally she took Will to task.

"She got a lot more angry and raised her voice and brought my mom and my grandma up," Will told the Arkansas Times. "I was fuming and was too furious to really pay attention to what she was saying. After a few minutes, I said, ’With all due respect, ma’am, you can go jump off a bridge.’"

That was enough to get Will sent to the principal’s office, which was when his mother received a call. The principal "said we have to talk about Will, because he told a sub to jump off a bridge," recounted Will’s mother. "My first response was: Why? He’s not just going to say this because he doesn’t want to do his math work." Upon learning the specifics of the exchange, Laura Phillips requested an apology for her son. "She said, ’Well I don’t think that’s necessary at this point,’" Laura Phillips told the Arkansas Times.

Will’s mother tweeted about the incident, and family friends informed the media. Support has poured in from around the country, and some of Will’s classmates have also been supportive.

But not everyone, said Laura Phillips, has been supportive, and those who oppose Will’s stand "are much more crazy, and out of control and vocal about it than supporters are."

Moreover, Will’s stand for equal rights for gays has led those who disagree to attack him personally with anti-gay epithets: "In the lunchroom and in the hallway, they’ve been making comments and doing pranks, and calling me gay," Will said. "It’s always the same people, walking up and calling me a gaywad."

That hasn’t been easy for Will, who skipped fourth grade but seems older than his age, especially in contrast to some of his peers. Said Laura Phillips, "It’s really frustrating to him that people are being so immature."

The interviewer from The Arkansas Times asked Will what it means to be an American. The answer: "Freedom of speech. The freedom to disagree. That’s what I think pretty much being an American represents."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor, writing about film, theater, food and drink, and travel, as well as contributing a column. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

Comments

  • sweetbranigirl2004, 2009-11-11 18:28:49

    Good for him !! This little boys is more aware of whats right and whats wrong then most adults who just play the game and go along with society....forgetting what our country truely stands for


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-11 21:02:31

    This boy is an inspiration for a beautiful future for our country. Hopefully someday more people will be able to recognize that reciting a pledge about rights is unjust when rights are continually denied in this country. You go Will!! We are extremely proud of such a motivated and assertive young boy!


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-11 23:21:32

    I don’t know what to really say about what you did or to you Will, but you are truly wise beyond your years & WAY TO GO BOY! What you are doing takes a lot of courage and pride. Do not ever back down for anyone or anything that you truly believe in and don’t ever let anyone tell you different. It’s kids like you that give the GLBT community such great hopes of the future. If only more kids like you took a stand for the GLBT community a long with the teens and adults then maybe this country and world would turn into a better place to live instead of a shame. This country has truly lost it’s minds and the true meaning of being equal and free. What you are doing here for the GLBT community whether you are gay or not is not the question or problem here, but it takes A LOT of GUTS. I commend you on your actions Will. Be strong and stand proud young man. GOD will truly bless you one day for this. May GOD & his Angels and all Neophyte Spirits watch over and protect you. Blessed Be!


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-12 00:53:44

    Hang in there Will. I took the same position as you, back in 1968 after MLK was assassinated. And I haven’t said it since.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-12 05:37:20

    If the kid understood freedom, he would refuse to say it until all anti-discrimination laws were repealed. Freedom of association is freedom. Forcing your way into the company of people who don’t want to associate with you is not. A free society would not have anti-discrimination laws. Everybody, regardless of race, sex, or sexual orientation, would have the right to freedom of association, in their private lives and in their businesses (isn’t that what the kid wants: equality?).


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-12 06:38:45

    Congratulations to the parents for raising a child with principles.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-12 08:29:07

    Speaking as a straight woman with friends in the GLBT community, I wish more people had your strength, courage and wisdom. We need more Americans like you! Stay strong.


  • Aguacate64, 2009-11-12 08:58:15

    He is only 10 years old and already he knows that there is something wrong with Equality in the United States of America. Reading this I felt like it was a Little (but Powerful) Flower growing up in the Desert and I hope that this Little Flower gives the seeds of hope in the Desert that we are living now!


  • Phil Theo Man, 2009-11-12 10:08:01

    he’s just a ten-year-old kid who doesn’t like popping up outa his seat every time a teacher yells "jump." and that pledge of allegiance is the most subtle form of child indocrination to survive the commie scare following WWII. letting him get away with this will flush out the most dangerous non-americas - his loudest opposition! anyway it’s getting close to time for us all to don our gay apparal and openly love all our neighbors.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-12 10:33:53

    This boy is amazing. I hope he does end up practicing law. This country needs more lawyers with his sense of justice.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-12 12:04:12

    He is a True American! We can all take a lesson from this young man.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-12 12:31:05

    "My kids now in 4th and 5th grade have never stood for the Pledge. And yes, early on we had these same problems with the school. The district policy always has been that kids don’t have to participate, but who knew? After 3 years of working with the district: teachers are now informed of the policy yearly; it is in the parent handbook; it is read to parents at back to school night; and the principal now starts the daily call to the pledge with "If you are going to say the Pledge, please stand. If you aren’t going to you may stand or sit quietly." It is very important to be clear about this, what with principal, teacher and peers acting as if participation were expected behavior as it is with every other school activity. Now my kids have company in their seats during the Pledge for no other reason than the policy and choice is clear to everyone. These kids ARE heroes. Thank you all for recognizing it."


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-12 13:50:38

    I was in school will’s age almost ten years ago and now as a young gay male i feel his plight.... I wish I had had the same courage when i was his age. But it was hard enough to get by as a ten year old in school who knew he was gay. Thank You Will for doing what your doing.


  • Elliot David, 2009-11-12 15:52:56

    Yesterday was Veteran’s day, a day I thought would be respected and honored by all. As I stood tall and proud at attention for the pledge, I noticed that I was the only one. From my spot in the room I had a view of everyone as I faced the flag. People played with their hair and talked and goofed off while I stood alone. I found this to be outrageous. On a day honoring those who fought and died for our rights nobody could stand and honor that. Whether your rights are being honored or not, they still fought nonetheless. So what if a guy can’t marry a guy. Cry about it. I certainly don’t want homosexuals to be allowed to flaunt it with the right to marriage. The last thing I want is for it to become the norm and end up with a son bringing guys home. If you want to live together, have sex, etc. then go for it. I don’t care what you do in the privacy of your own home, but don’t bring it out in the media and news and worst of all, in our schools. That is where the line needs to be drawn.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-12 15:55:08

    Show me a 10-year old who cares about gay rights and I’ll show you a parent using their kid as cheap publicity for their own cause. At least do something like fake a balloon ride that a kid might actually think of as fun.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-12 17:15:07

    Hello Crazy Government People, THIS little boy IS THE FUTURE.........all you folks dragging your feet to give equal rights and the right for gay marriage, ARE the PAST. America needs to move into the future now........


  • takbryant, 2009-11-12 18:05:29

    I wish there were more kids and parents out there that teach their kids to think about what comes out of their mouths. His parents should be proud for they are raising a boy who know who he is and has a conscience of ethics and justice. Wow! What a story!


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-12 18:53:21

    David Elliot: I have fought and will continue to fight for the right of any person, but especially for one such as Will, who cannot, in good conscience "recite" the Pledge of Allegiance, for the lack of justice for ALL. It is a freedom that good men and women still die for so that people such as you and he can express your opinions without repercussion. I believe, at ten years old, he is an amazingly intelligent and compassionate human being. I would be honored to meet him and tell him how proud I am of him. And if you think about it, you’re basically saying that anyone who is different shouldn’t be allowed to show it in public. That’s like saying my Caucasian father and Korean mother shouldn’t be married, or at least shouldn’t be out in public together, god forbid young people think its ok to date or marry outside of their own race. You can’t make the argument that being gay is different from being bi-racial. I didn’t choose to be a bi-racial child. They didn’t choose to be gay. Its about civil rights, the same civil rights that MLK died for. That every man, woman, and child is entitled to. Its hard to be different from the "norm". Schools AND parents are where children learn to be tolerant of other. Nobody said you have to like it, but I’ve never heard of anyone getting hurt by being tolerant.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-12 20:18:53

    This kid is AMAZING!! He renews my hope for the future of our country, and both he and his parents have my unlimited respect. As for the comment by Elliot David,honoring veterans and the pledge of allegiance are two completely different subjects. It’s not necessary to recite the pledge to show honor to veterans, and as long as gays and lesbians are refused equal civil rights and are actively discriminated against by our government via Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, our country can’t honestly claim to be "the land of the free". Will Phillips and other kids like him are what our country needs. Great job, Will - you’re as much an American Hero as my father, who served in both WWII and the Korean War - I salute you!


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-12 20:33:35

    Thank you all for your words of support. To those who disagree with him I would thank you for your time and consideration. When this first started up Will was adamant that he didn’t mind public criticism if it raised awareness and ’educated people". Initially I advised him to "pick his battles" and that it was "easier to just go with the flow." He took a moment, chose his words carefully and said, "Sure it makes things easier but then nothing ever changes." From the very start he has viewed this as a "non-violent disobedience act", as an activist, and a statment about equality. If you want to see Will’s speech given to the NWA Center for Equality check this link- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgC9HsuAwaw respectfully, jay phillips tobe17200@yahoo.com http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/nerdjayrocks


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-12 20:35:45

    Amazing and Beautiful. Amoung many things that make me proud to be an American is seeing parents raise such a very aware child. Thank you for the courage of a 10 year old. WOW!!!


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-12 20:40:09

    Will, you are amazing...you just brought tears to my eyes. I’m from Oklahoma and know what it is like to live there. If you and your parents are ever in LA, I would like to shake your hand and buy you dinner! Brian Meiler


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-12 21:44:01

    What a great job these parents are doing with their son. They have showed him the real world, discussed their freinds and chose to support them. Why can’t 50% bof the voting adults in this country act as responsibly as this 10 year old?


  • Elliot David, 2009-11-12 22:17:09

    The call to duty is to defend the flag that has been defended by our nation’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. It’s a symbol. Gay rights, in my opinion, is a joke. I think that the rights you have as citizens are enough. The sanctity of marriage is between a man and a woman. You don’t need to be married to live with someone. Do what you please in the privacy of your own home. Yeah, going against "the norm" is hard to do. Would you "gay rights activists" be okay with me letting your kids know that it’s a good thing to praise Satan and have sex with house pets? If you answered Yes to this question then you have serious psychological issues. Agreed? Well thats the same thing with homosexuality and our youth. As for the don’t ask, don’t tell policy; I don’t think there is a better solution. For the military I find it absolutely genius. I dare someone in Marine boot camp to tell everyone they like men. See how well the situation is handled. I’m not saying that they should be discriminated against. I personally do not believe it should be allowed outside the privacy of homes. And I know that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I think that kids should be left to figure this all out on their own. A parent against homosexuality should not have to disown their child because of an outside influence.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-13 00:16:25

    In response to Mr. Elliot comparing gay rights and homosexuality to satanism and bestiality is an unfair comparison. It’s a shame that you were offended on Veterans Day but in this day, a lot of speaking the Pledge of Allegiance is rote memorization. Kids stand up for the first few minutes of the day and say words that they could care less about. It’s lost it’s meaning, and it’s sad but it has. Everyone is entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, gay and straight alike. If heterosexuals can pursue those in marriage and love so should homosexuals. And this child has figured it out on his own. He sees people being discriminated against and believes what he believes. If anything, his parents have done a fantastic job of letting him develop his own beliefs and values.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-13 00:57:27

    Please, everyone go back to making your comments be in praise of this awesome little kid who is braver than most adults. He is willing to to stand up for what he believes in in the most hostile of locations in the world...a Junior High School. That is brave. Speaking of Junior High School, didn’t your mother tell you that if you ignore the bullies, they’ll start picking on someone else? Internet comments sections can get a lot like Junior High if you bait the trolls. Don’t engage, and they’ll find some other place to be petty. Please go back to the happy comments and make Will feel special, not some troll named Eliot. He’s already special enough.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-13 01:27:33

    To the anonymous poster who wants everyone to go back to just praising Will for his deeds, you are suggesting that we all be the same as all the kids reciting the pledge of allegiance with no thought for its meaning. Pretending that people don’t have differences of opinion will not cause them to not exist. Dialogue is needed so that we may resolve our differences. The differences will still exist, but we must hear both sides if we ever hope to have at the least tolerant coexistence.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-13 02:48:26

    Veteran of the war, I am not. When I was 21, I tried to join. The recruiters spoke to me on the phone and heard my voice. I was not what they were interested in. Thank Jesus for me. My best friend’s girlfriend did serve though. She did an awesome job. She is the one I respect on veterans day. My birthday. I respect her and my mother and my father, RIP. I recently joined my best friend and her girlfriend at the local VFW. I was scared at first. It was unjustified. Veterans of Foreign Wars feel the same as the rest of us. One said to me. I don’t understand why Gays can’t get married. It doesn’t bother or effect me. I don’t care. If my lifestyle can be so accepted by those that fight valiantly for my freedom, why can’t it be accepted by those that we’ve elected to positions? This truly bothers me? Me being an obviously out gay man is accepted and greeted openly in the VFW but I cannot serve my country. I cannot do anything in my country, unless I’m doing it with those who did serve my country and those that don’t care about my sexuality. Are you serious? My country cares more about who I spend my nights with than does my local VFW? Or American Legion? How is it that the Government has become more discriminative than organizations that have the power and ability to discriminate. Does the piece of paper we all stand for(and those that fight and die for) mean nothing anymore, unless it’s getting you ahead in politics.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-13 07:36:12

    Elliot David... comparing activities between two consenting adults with those between an adult an an animal is not a valid comparison. And since you bring Satan into this, obviously part of your view is religious based. Well, my religion allows same-sex couples to marry. So why is my religion being discriminated against? Equal protection under the law, buddy. Until a same-sex couple that is "living together" has the same legal rights and legal status as an opposite-sex couple that is "married", there is not justice for all. I honestly don’t give a crud what name you decide to call it, but the legal rights and responsibilities need to be the same. They aren’t now.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-13 13:49:52

    Elliot David: You types never cease to frustrate me. But your reasoning always gives me a chuckle. Let’s start with Satan worshiping, which is a completely abstract concept-- so let’s just drop that one and chalk it up to your own personal religious beliefs. Fine. Now, onto the often-regurgitated but never-sensical bestiality topic. Here’s the bottom line: animals can’t make informed decisions. Period. Two men can. Just because it grosses you out, doesn’t mean we have the right to deny their rights to happiness. How can you possibly justify denying a person the same inheritance and child-custody rights as a straight couple after 40 years of companionship (and then one dies, leaving the partner alone and unsupported by our government). It’s pure insanity fueled by hateful interpretations of Old Testament nonsense. The same book that preaches goat blood bathing and eye-gouging. Besides, straight people have been defaming the sanctity of marriage for centuries. One day people like you will, hopefully, be a remnant of history, studied with the same wide-eyed disbelief as those who burned witches. I pity your hateful, dark heart... sadly like so many others, who would rather disown their child then accept their sexual orientation. Congratulations: you represent the true wicked among us.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-13 14:02:51

    Congrats to you Will and your parents for doing a great job raising you. I wish we had more adults, gay and straight, who would stand up for what they believe, and not rely on a priest or minister to tell them what they believe.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-13 14:05:59

    What an amazing story about an amazing young man. I say "young man" because, as some readers have said, he is wise beyond his years. I congratulate him and know that he will be one terrific lawyer someday. Freedom and justice for ALL should mean exactly that.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-13 14:38:20

    Dear Elliot David: It is convenient to blame "outside influences." It is sad that you equate a son’s theoretical "bringing home guys" as being caused by something "becoming the norm" and "outside influences." Think about it. How much have outside influences on sexuality affected you? How many people wait around, sexually neutral, until an "outside influence" rises up and makes them think, "Hmmm, I think I’ll try this or that sexual orientation on for size"? Like a hat. The argument is just silly. Ask a gay person. Ask a straight person. Did they know in their hearts and minds what their orientations were? Of course they did, from a young age. A person’s heterosexuality is no more caused by "outside influences" than a gay persons’. Thousands of straight parents find out a child of theirs is gay. What then? Do you deny it? Do you disown your own child, whining about those evil outsiders? Your child is who he (or she) is. You don’t just love their hair color or their nose shape or their interest in books or their taste in cereal or whether they’re exactly the way you are. You love your child for who she or he is, inside and out. Period. I feel sympathy for any gay person in a family with a parent who has your attitude. Love is love, my friend. People are people. You can’t control who they are inside, and any parent who chooses to cherrypick qualities of their own kids to love is, in my opinion, a sad case. The boy in this article is growing up, is confronting principles, is thinking. These are qualities on which this country was built -- qualities which most of us still prize. We don’t know if he’ll always have the same opinions and actions as he has now. But he is daring to think for himself. He is daring to question, which is the only way progress is made -- in any field, in any society. He is refusing to go along with the herd. So good for him. Good for his parents. And godspeed to any child saddled with parents who choose dogma over love.


  • Elliot David, 2009-11-13 15:40:19

    The call to duty is to defend the flag that has been defended by our nation’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. It’s a symbol. Gay rights, in my opinion, is a joke. I think that the rights you have as citizens are enough. The sanctity of marriage is between a man and a woman. You don’t need to be married to live with someone. Do what you please in the privacy of your own home. Yeah, going against "the norm" is hard to do. Would you "gay rights activists" be okay with me letting your kids know that it’s a good thing to praise Satan and have sex with house pets? If you answered Yes to this question then you have serious psychological issues. Agreed? Well thats the same thing with homosexuality and our youth. As for the don’t ask, don’t tell policy; I don’t think there is a better solution. For the military I find it absolutely genius. I dare someone in Marine boot camp to tell everyone they like men. See how well the situation is handled. I’m not saying that they should be discriminated against. I personally do not believe it should be allowed outside the privacy of homes. And I know that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I think that kids should be left to figure this all out on their own. A parent against homosexuality should not have to disown their child because of an outside influence.


  • Tim McNatt, 2009-11-13 16:50:20

    Good for you, kiddo. Sounds like you have really enlightened parents. Hang in there!


  • Maureen Malardo, 2009-11-13 17:03:00

    This 10 year old has more guts then some adults. He’s my new hero


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-13 18:03:26

    Good for you Will and good for your parents! I can only hope that my husband and I are able to instill the same strength of character and courage for convictions in our son. We are a straight couple, but we have many gay and lesbian friends who have been affected by our society’s bias. They are simply looking for our government to grant them the LEGAL rights afforded to straight couples. No one is asking US churches to santify anything. And as for the comments about being disrepectful to verterans and servicemen... The pledge of allegiance is a pledge to this nation and what it stands for, NOT to the men and women of the armed forces. We can love and respect those in the service regardless of whether or not we pledge allegiance to a country that has yet to grant freedom and justice to 100% of it’s population, regardless of color, gender, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-13 18:29:12

    It’s nice to see such a young intelligent person think for a change. This young man is exactly what society should want to have as our future. To Elliot....Why are you so hateful? Why are you so fearful of two men marrying openly? They didn’t tell you that you could not make the choices you have made in your life. If you truly have respect for the service men and women that have fought for freedom, then you should embrace these freedoms. The freedom to choose who you love, how you live your live, and whether or not you choose to stand for the pledge. Your missing the point completely, but you do, however, have the right to your own opinions and free speech. Which are two of the freedoms that your service men and women have protected. Why are you so fearful of others? Maybe you need to take a long hard look at yourself and discover where this fear comes from.


  • Teaching Dustin, 2009-11-13 18:54:10

    Elliot David: You are clearly completely ignorant on the subject of what you would deem the "homosexual agenda". The rights homosexuals are denied as citizens go beyond the right to marriage. Do you know that it is perfectly legal in most states to hire and fire on the basis of sexual orientation. Homosexuals, even if perfect employees, do not have the right to job security. As a homosexual, who has served in the military and fought to maintain the freedoms and rights I am denied, I can tell you that I am more offended by your legit ignorance than I am by someone refusing to pledge their allegiance to a flag.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-13 19:23:48

    Will, you are so strong... and you are RIGHT! I used to sing the National Anthem for sporting events when I was in high school and college, and stopped doing so because I also do not believe our country is the "land of the free" as the song goes. I commend you. You are inspiring people and children all over the country. I hope one day you read Howard Zinn’s book "A Young People’s History of the United States". You’ll love it! It’s often young people who push for and make change.. often going unnoticed. As you get older, it might get harder and harder to stand up for what you think is right, even when you feel like you’re the only person doing it. But as one of my college professors said to me (and I printed it out and put it on my wall), I will say to you- DON’T shut up!!! ~Albany, New York


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-13 20:22:25

    Just once I would like to hear someone stand up for something conservative instead of the typical indoctrinated liberal drivel. How does a 10 year old even know what being "gay" means. My dream is to one day see several rock stars gathering for "The Concert for Tax Cuts".


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-13 21:33:23

    High school science teacher here. 100% support (I would go with 110% but that is scientifically impossible so I will stick with 100%.) for what the young man is doing.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-14 03:12:29

    Will Phillips, I haven’t worn the Combination Cover in more than 15 years, but I would re-don it simply to render you a smart salute! You are clearly a young man of your own mind. I hope there are many more like you. America needs you! -------------------------- Elliot David, by your own words, I have to assume you are still somewhere in the ranks of K-12 school, and have therefore not yet served in the military. I served in the Army for 4 years back when I was fresh out of high school and full of doe-eyed ideology. Even at veterans and service members funerals, I do *NOT* recite the Pledge, because it does *NOT* begin "[insert name of dead person here] pledged allegiance..." The pledge begins "I pledge allegiance". *I* cannot say the pledge in good faith, because I do not believe this country offers Liberty and Justice for all. Before you claim to know what people live and die for, or know what Marines might do in boot camp -- I suggest two things: 1. READ the Armed Services Oaths of Enlistment. 2. Go through Marine Corps boot camp. Views such as those you stated, about keeping everyone homogenized like milk whenever they stand in the public eye, with all variances kept entirely hidden behind closed doors, have motivated incredibly hateful crimes, and even wars all around the world. Douglas MacArthur said, "The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war." From just the brief glimpse of yourself you have chosen to give us, you have very little idea of why people choose to serve their country as members of the military, the beliefs which keep them motivated when all seems dark, or the prayers they pray. In praying for peace, the soldier likewise prays that the hateful motivations that CAUSE the war will dissolve. ---------------------- The flag is ONE SYMBOL of the USA. I have heard some people ALTER the Pledge to say "with Liberty and Justice for SOME." I find this incredibly distasteful. Out of respect for the millions of service members who have SWORN their faith and allegiance to THE CONSTITUTION, as well as SWORN their OBEDIENCE to the ORDERS issued by the Commander in Chief, direct superiors, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice -- all frequently summed up in one symbol: the flag, I REFUSE to alter any Pledge to -- what *WE who HAVE served* very lovingly call -- The Colors. I have not said the Pledge of Allegiance since high school. No matter how many Veterans Service Organizations begin their meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance, NEVER ONCE during my years in the Army did any of my units require us to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Our allegiance was given over to one thing and one thing alone: The Constitution. Until the Constitution of the USA gives Liberty and Justice to ALL -- I will not recite the pledge to a flag that symbolizes the USA and her Constitution. I salute Will Phillips, and I salute every other American who stands by- and speaks out their beliefs just the same.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-14 10:02:08

    He’s a special child and there’s one born to each sect of race and people. Now it’s time for the older generations to stand behind the youth pushing to make a change. Don’t let him bit the bullet...


  • Gary Dee, 2009-11-14 14:33:35

    The Bible says ’and a child shall lead them’. Who better to hold up the mirror of conscience and reflect the image of hypocracy back in the faces of those have become parrots, mouthing the words, without understanding the true spirit of them. Those who wish to trivialize Will by saying he’s too young to understand, underestimate the intelligence of the young. They see much more clearly than we do. They haven’t been "indoctrinated". Fear, hatred, prejudice, and hypocracy are things that are learned. Rogers and Hammerstein, in their musical South Pacific stated it perfectly in a stanza of one of their songs. "They’ve got to be taught, before it’s too late. Before they are six, or seven, or eight, To hate all the people that their people hate, They’ve got to be carefully taught". Will, you are the bright light of the future, not only for the GLBT community, but for the whole world. Lead us, we will follow.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-15 16:41:00

    The bottom line is, if this country is going to acknowledge rights for one kind of person, it must do so for all people. Otherwise, "liberty and justice for all" is a lie. Well done, Will!


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-16 08:38:54

    Well, well, well. First of all Will, thank you. I am so proud of what you have done! To Eliot David, jeez. As a 15 year old transgendered gay teenager I do not understand where you base your argument. Saying that being gay is like having intercourse with an animal or praising satan makes you sound completely off your rocker. While I respect your opinion you should respect ours. What you are saying is it should be okay for a straight couple to use PDA and promote their relationship in public, but a gay couple shouldn’t? What if I told you that STRAIGHT PDA (between a man and a woman) makes me feel uncomfortable? Everyone has a right to express theirselves in public and in the home without feeling in harms way. Grow up and really think about what you are saying, you have no basis. -William Alexander


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-16 10:43:28

    The following website summarizes 900 court cases and lawsuits affecting children of Jehovah’s Witness Parents, including 400 cases where the JW Parents refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions for their dying children, as well as nearly 400 CRIMINAL cases -- most involving MURDERS: DIVORCE, BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS, AND OTHER LEGAL ISSUES AFFECTING CHILDREN OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES http://jwdivorces.bravehost.com The following website includes a section of nearly 150 secret JW "history" court cases, including PLEDGE and other court cases from the 1940s which tell a much different story than what has been related by the author of the above article: EMPLOYMENT ISSUES UNIQUE TO JEHOVAH’S WITNESS EMPLOYEES http://jwemployees.bravehost.com


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-17 00:54:41

    I actually did this same thing around 3rd grade in California but for different reasons. I did not like being forced into saying "under God". Religious freedom means freedom FROM religion as well as freedom of religion. Keep up the great work, Will. I know some day you will be a huge success because of your compassion and fighting for what’s right.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-17 11:08:47

    Have the parents taught the kid the biblical stand on gay relationships??? Apparently not. If god had meant for a gay society to exist why bother with the creation of woman??


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-17 20:09:15

    I suspect that the people who believe that their son is going to start bringing home guys because of outside influences are struggling with their own sexuality. I’m a straight woman and cannot imagine anything making me want to have sex with a women. I am what I am: a heterosexual. No choice there. Same with gays. If you really believe it is a choice, than you are obviously at least bi. David Elliot, try to be honest with yourself and you will no longer need to spread hateful drivel.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-18 15:16:05

    It is sad to say but WTF is the world coming to? The boy refuses to say the pledge, that fine. I did the same thing when I was his age to. My excuse was because we are not free none of us are. Did I get media attention? Nope. I’m all for equal rights but making this boy out to be a hero is just bull. He is a innocent kid who sees as all innocents do with open eyes. Now we have people corrupting that innocence. This boy is going to grow up being a hetero hating person because of the influence that you all are putting on his views. I don’t care if you are gay people. I don’t care if you are making out in public or even getting it on in the fountains. I don’t care. I’m all for equal rights but not at the cost of corruption you are bringing to the innocence of a child.


  • bauppieandlittleone.com, 2009-11-25 03:44:49

    thank you young man! this country, this world needs more people like you! scott and patrick http://www.bauppieandlittleone.com


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-27 22:20:42

    Will, Thanks so much for supporting all the GLBT people in the USA. It is people like yourself, that a make huge difference in the world. Stand proud, and know that you have lots of people who are pulling for you. Stephanie & Joy


  • Airaloske, 2009-12-13 16:48:24

    to all of the LGBT community out there: I may totally disagree with your lifestyle and your opinions, but I will fight tooth and nail to make sure that you have the right as Americans to have those opinions and be treated as equals. I don’t believe that this boy is one of the thousands of children who protest just because Mommy and Daddy say to; I believe that this young man is truly a warrior of equality and should be more widely recognized. To the little toerags who make fun of him at school: JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED.


  • Anonymous, 2009-12-27 02:20:18

    Unfortunately, kids like this one (http://i50.tinypic.com/2s1rlp2.jpg) cancel Will out.


  • Anonymous, 2010-01-19 04:29:16

    I don’t believe in gay marriage. I heard that homosexuals attract bears. Now that’s putting the whole community at risk.


  • Anonymous, 2010-08-04 13:50:07

    What an awesome kid! WIll, if you read this, I think you are amazing. You are so proactive for your age! If I could, I would send you a letter jam packed with motivation and encouragement. You should always stand up for what you believe in and take advantage of your rights. True leaders are the ones that fight for what they believe (even if no one else agrees at the time) instead of following what everyone else does. It means you can think for yourself! Not very many ten year olds have the maturity to do that. Seriously, I think you are amazing. :) Thumbs up to you! As for the students that are giving you a hard time, I know that must be so hard for you. Learning how to deal with people like them will get you really far in life. It’s good that you are putting up with it rather than hiding from it. That’s another admirable trait. Good job little dude! Keep up the good work! I know you will go really far in life!


  • Anonymous, 2010-11-27 01:10:44

    What an awesome kid! WIll, if you read this, I think you are amazing. You are so proactive for your age! If I could, I would send you a letter jam packed with motivation and encouragement. You should always stand up for what you believe in and take advantage of your rights. True leaders are the ones that fight for what they believe (even if no one else agrees at the time) instead of following what everyone else does. It means you can think for yourself! Not very many ten year olds have the maturity to do that. Seriously, I think you are amazing. :) Thumbs up to you! As for the students that are giving you a hard time, I know that must be so hard for you. Learning how to deal with people like them will get you really far in life. It’s good that you are putting up with it rather than hiding from it. That’s another admirable trait. Good job little dude! Keep up the good work! I know you will go really far in life!


  • proud2bgay, 2010-12-21 17:59:36

    To anonymous on 2009-11-17.... Saying that if god intended to have a gay society he wouldn’t have created woman goes hand in hand with saying if god intended the human population to co-exist he wouldn’t have made them different colors & spread them out all over the world! It’s nonsense...god gave us free will & our government should honor that! TO WILL: You make me hopeful for our future. I sincerely hope that you do go on to become a lawyer, a politician, & maybe oneday President....you’ve definately got my vote! TO ELLIOT DAVID: I feel very sorry for you that you have been raised to have such a simple mind. Freedom, liberty, & justice for all is something everyone should have no matter their race, religion, or sexual orientation! Taking that away is no different than what Hitler did (just an opinion). Loving another human being with all of your heart is a wonderful thing & it shouldn’t matter if they are your same sex or opposite sex....it’s love & it’s BEAUTIFUL! If you don’t want to see the human population love each other than you are well within your rights to lock yourself in your house & never come out. Hopefully one day the leaders of our nation will open their eyes & see that GOD gave us free will for a reason & just because they don’t like it or understand it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t honor & respect it!


  • Anonymous, 2011-01-25 12:31:49

    To quote a hit movie- The Kids are Alright - and this kid is more than alright, he is awesome.


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