Pledge of Allegiance breaks out in debate audience

Friction over whether to recite the Pledge of Allegiance developed before an 8th Congressional District candidates forum Wednesday night at Grayslake Central High School.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean, Republican Joe Walsh of McHenry and the Green Party's Bill Scheurer of Lindenhurst participated in the forum. They were on a stage before more than 300 spectators when the Pledge of Allegiance issue arose.

Moderator Kathy Tate-Bradish, of the League of Women Voters Evanston branch, was ready to begin the event with general candidate statements when some in the crowd asked if the Pledge of Allegiance would be recited first.

Tate-Bradish replied that while she meant no disrespect, the forum was not scheduled to begin with the pledge. She said no one demanded the Pledge of Allegiance to start at four other candidate forums she's moderated this year.

But the crowd was undeterred. Most suddenly stood and enthusiastically recited the Pledge of Allegiance in Grayslake Central's auditorium.

Tate-Bradish dished out a scolding from behind an onstage podium after the pledge.

“I hope that will be the last time I am disrespected,” she said.

The 8th Congressional District covers a chunk of northwestern Cook County, the western section of Lake County and the eastern portion of McHenry County.