The mayor of Silverton, Colorado, is under fire after unilaterally deciding to nix the Pledge of Allegiance at city meetings. Shane Fuhrman made the announcement during a recent meeting, claiming the pledge is divisive.
"Due to direct and indirect threats, inappropriate comments in and out of public meetings, and general divisiveness and issues created in our community, we will not be reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during Town of Silverton trustee meetings," Fuhrman said. "And it's removed from agendas and our protocols until such time that we can discuss this at a board retreat or workshop."
Other board members were not happy with his decision and asked what authority he had to make the change. Silverton Trustee Molly Barela spoke up and pointed out that Fuhrman tried to ban the pledge in April 2020 but was voted down by a 4-3 vote.
"We already discussed this as a board, and any other unilateral decisions we need to know about?" she asked the mayor.
"If you'd like to find somewhere in the code that does not permit me to do this, I welcome that discussion at our next meeting," Fuhrman responded.
"It's just been done for a long time. We all took an oath. And we, as the board, collectively decided it would be done," Barela replied.
Fuhrman then moved on with the meeting, but the attendees were not done speaking about the issue. When it came time for public comments, one person stood up to address the council and asked to recite the pledge.
She was joined by nine other people in attendance, along with Barela and Trustee Jim Harper.
Fuhrman allowed them to finish the pledge but then called them out of order and threatened to have them removed if they recited the pledge again.
After the meeting, Barela blasted Fuhrman for threatening to throw out members of the public for voicing their opinions.
"To tell members of the public they are not allowed to say the Pledge of Allegiance during public comment and threaten to have them removed that it was one strike in you're out policy violates every single one of their first amendment rights," Barela told KDVR.