Why Did a Young Cub Scout Kneel During the Pledge of Allegiance?
It was 'against racial discrimination,' declared the 10-year-old boy from North Carolina — whose father, an attorney, then said he was 'really proud' of his son
Cub Scout Pack 451 attended a city council meeting in Durham, North Carolina this past Monday — and what one of the scouts did during the Pledge of Allegiance has been sparking debate since.
Young Liam Holmes can be seen dropping to a knee, a video shows, during the pledge.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick popularized this “method” of protest in the 2016 NFL season during the playing of the national anthem before professional football games.
“What I did was took a knee against racial discrimination,” the North Carolina boy told reporters, “which is basically when people are mean to other people of different colors.”
But prior to the city council meeting, the 10-year-old talked about all of this with his father, Scott Holmes, an attorney, it turns out.
The father said he was not sure whether or not his son would actually do it.
“When he did it, I was really surprised and also really proud of him,” the elder Holmes said later, as several outlets reported. “Liam took a knee when his Boy Scout troop opened the City Council meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance.”
Scott Holmes works as a civil rights attorney and supervises civil litigation at North Carolina Central University.
He has represented defendants in Confederate monument protests in Durham and Chapel Hill in the past.
Fox News contributor Raymond Arroyo was skeptical on Wednesday night that the decision to kneel was the child’s alone.
“The father discussed this with him beforehand,” Arroyo said on “The Ingraham Angle” on Wednesday night. “This is not conscience. This is propaganda and political child abuse.”
“He’s not an NFL player — no reason for him to kneel,” Arroyo added.
“He wants to protest, then why not help poor people? Or better yet, take your Cub Scout troop and help people out there if you’re worried about racism.”
Raymond Arroyo on Cub Scout taking a knee to protest racial discrimination: "This is… political child abuse… If he wants to protest, go help poor people or better yet, take your Cub Scout troop, go the inner city and help people out there if you're worried about racism." pic.twitter.com/cqvXvT1xV5
— Contemptor (@TheContemptor) February 7, 2019
Fox News host Laura Ingraham agreed, adding that the organization is not supposed to be politicized in this manner.
“I think a lot of veterans — I saw some commenting on this story — some of them former Eagle Scouts, saying, ‘Our whole thing is patriotism,’” she said. “It’s patriotism and service to others. Daddy is using a little pawn there. That’s sad.”
Turns out the city’s mayor, Steve Schewel, a member of the Democratic Party, also approved of the action.
“Thank you, Councilman, and thank you, scouts,” he said after the Pledge of Allegiance. “To the scout that expressed his conscience by kneeling, we will say we endorse and appreciate all expressions of conscience in Durham City Council.”
Although the city’s mayor and the boy’s father approved of the kneeling action, that was not true of everyone. That includes Brandon LaRoque, who describes himself as a lifelong scout and a military veteran.
“It just blew my mind that this was Cub Scouts and politics,” he told CBS 17.
“Part of the scout oath is to God and your country, and I understand people have the right to freedom of speech,” LaRoque also told the station. “I just don’t understand why it has to be during the Pledge of Allegiance.”
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Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, and other outlets.