The mayor of a remote Colorado town sparked outrage after he nixed the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance from public meetings.
Shane Fuhrman, mayor of the 550-person town of Silverton, announced his decision during a trustee meeting last week, saying the pledge has led to threats and divided the community, KDVR reported.
“Due to direct and indirect threats, inappropriate comments in and out of public meetings, and the general divisiveness this is creating in our community, we will not be doing the Pledge of Allegiance during town of Silverton board of trustee meetings,” he said.
Fuhrman, who didn’t elaborate on the nature of the threats, said he was suspending recitation of the pledge “until such time that we can discuss this at a board retreat or workshop.”
His announcement was immediately challenged by one trustee of the small mountain town, Molly Barela, who blasted the “unilateral decision” she said was made without board approval.
But Fuhrman waved off her concerns, saying, “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.”
Later, during the public comments section of the meeting, one attendee openly defied the mayor and stated that she wanted to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
About nine other attendees and two board members, including Barela, joined her in reciting the pledge — prompting Fuhrman to declare that they were out of order, The Journal reported.
“I’m not going to ask everyone to leave tonight, but if something like that happens again I will,” Fuhrman warned.
Barela told KDVR that “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 and you’re out policy, violates every single one of their First Amendment rights.”
The mayor’s decision also caught the attention of Republican Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, who shared video of the meeting on Twitter, writing, “It’s hard to put into words what kind of anti-American disgrace this is.”
“Mayor Fuhrman should resign and purchase a one-way ticket to China where he won’t have worry about hearing the pledge!” Boebert added.
It’s not the first time that Silverton has been divided over the Pledge of Allegiance. In 2018, a resident was nearly charged with harassment and menacing for verbally attacking a former trustee member who didn’t stand during recitation of the pledge.