July 05, 2002
A response to a comment

Post edited.......

When I posted this entry originally, I was in a horrible mood with a chip on my shoulder. Things that I posted about have since been worked out so I would prefer to just remove what I had to say and leave it at that. ;o) I am leaving the comments in tact though. :o)

Posted by at July 05, 2002 05:18 AM
Comments
"Hypothetically speaking, say I do not believe in prayer. (Incidentally I do but this is an example...) I guess that I should go out of my way to have the daily prayer removed from our local newspaper then?" The difference here is that your local newspaper is a private institution, not a government institution. That's a huge difference. Posted by: Kim on July 5, 2002 12:25 PM
Yes... BUT... it is still a public medium. I realize it is not the same as in the sense of separation of church and state. I realize it is not a GOVERNMENT issue but it all boils down to the same thing in the end. That was my point when I stated that. That it all boils down to stifling something so it won't be offensive to a portion of the population. That can be a two way street. I do believe in the separation of church and state. Don't get me wrong. And I am not opposed to the words being removed from the Pledge. I see both sides of the issue. I do however think the whole thing is a huge waste of time. Where was everyone before this case came about? People may have objected to the words but they "accepted" it and went on. Now all the sudden everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to abolish the "offensive" words. And as for them being unconstitutional... in a sense yes but if that is so... then the entire Constitution itself should be considered as such considering it contains words such as "the year of our Lord" and such. But again, no one is making anyone say these words so I just don't see the point in this whole mess at all. And quite frankly, God is everywhere in the history of this nation. Should we then have someone go and rewrite the entire US history because the reference to God is unconstitutional?? Posted by: Jill on July 5, 2002 01:42 PM
First off, I haven't put any words into your mouth. I merely presented how I viewed your argument. From where I am standing you were using the argument that folks don't treat each other equally as some sort of excuse for leaving the Pledge as it is and I'm sorry, but that's a pretty lousy excuse. Now then, in reference to your statement about the prayer in the newspaper I'm going to have agree with Kim on this one. Yes... BUT... it is still a public medium. I realize it is not the same as in the sense of separation of church and state. I realize it is not a GOVERNMENT issue but it all boils down to the same thing in the end. Actually, it is not the same thing. As Kim has already pointed out, the newspaper is a private entity that is free to print whatever it wants in its pages regardless of how its readers may feel about it. Smarter newspapers don't try to piss off too many subscribers and in some cases, if you'll pardon me a little cynicism, may even use things such as a daily prayer to suck up to what it views at the majority in order to keep sales healthy. Now, if that same newspaper were being printed by the government the prayer would be totally inappropriate. Especially if folks were required to listen to a room full of their peers recite the prayer from it every day whether they themselves said it or not. See the allegory I'm going for here? Why is this difference so difficult for some folks to grasp? That was my point when I stated that. That it all boils down to stifling something so it won't be offensive to a portion of the population. That can be a two way street. This is true, it can be a two way street. One things folks don't seem to be considering is the option to leave the Pledge just as it is. I'd actually be fine with that option so long as it's never repeated in a classroom again. If folks want to keep it the prayer that it currently is then it has no business being in a public school or hung in a public office as it is a clear violation of Church and State which you have admited yourself in your above statement. Personally, I rather like the original Pledge and would rather see it restored to it's former status so that it could be used in public classrooms to encourage ALL students of ALL faiths (or lack thereof) to feel they are a a part of this wonderful country. I do believe in the separation of church and state. Don't get me wrong. And I am not opposed to the words being removed from the Pledge. I see both sides of the issue. I do however think the whole thing is a huge waste of time. Where was everyone before this case came about? People may have objected to the words but they "accepted" it and went on. Now all the sudden everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to abolish the "offensive" words. How do you know people objected, but accepted it? Are you aware of how many lawsuits have been brought up over the years on this issue? I've said before that this isn't the first time it's come up, this is just the first time someone actually got the court to agree with them about it. The fact that the percentage of the population that considers itself "non-religious" has grown from less than 8% in the 1980's to almost 14% in 2001 might also factor into why it's now becoming an issue. Some of us have been following the various lawsuits as they've come and gone for years now. This isn't anything new. And as for them being unconstitutional... in a sense yes but if that is so... then the entire Constitution itself should be considered as such considering it contains words such as "the year of our Lord" and such. But again, no one is making anyone say these words so I just don't see the point in this whole mess at all. Pardon me for a moment while I consult my refence copy of the Constitution. Hmmm. No actual statements about God. No references to Jesus or Allah or Buddah or any other god/goddess/prophets. One mention of the word "Lord" in a formal statement of the date on which the document was signed. It's hard to see how this is anything more than just listing a date in a manner consistent with the time period. The statement in which it is used is not one that attempts to establish any kind of speciality provision for the concept of God nor does it appear to either directly or indirectly promote the idea of religion as the "under God" statement in the Pledge does. Nor is this particular document recited every day to a captive audience first thing in the morning. Hardly the sort of thing that makes scrapping the whole Constitution worthwhile, though I can think of some religious right types that would love to, or at least amended it heavily. The point of this whole mess is simple: The words weren't part of the original Pledge and were never intended to be. The Pledge is commonly recited by a captive audience of young impressionable minds daily in a greater majority of the schools in this nation. The addition of those words has been demonstrated through the statements of the man most directly responsible for their inclusion to have been placed there for the SOLE PURPOSE OF PROMOTION OF ONE TYPE OF RELIGIOUS VIEWPOINT. This is something the government isn't supposed to be engaged in by the rules laid down in the BILL OF RIGHTS. The public schools are a function of the GOVERNMENT. You'll note that private schools are totally free to recite the Pledge as it currently stands along with any other prayers/wishes/whatever that they feel is necessary to start the day with. Tell me, honestly, that you wouldn't be upset if the Hindus managed to convince the government to change "under God" to "under Vishnu" and your kids had to listen to a classroom of their peers repeat it every day. And quite frankly, God is everywhere in the history of this nation. Should we then have someone go and rewrite the entire US history because the reference to God is unconstitutional?? I don't recall anyone advocating re-writing the history books, except for some of those pesky religious right folks who would like to paint this country's past in such a way as to imply it was intended to be a Christian nation. Teaching of history, even when it involves discussions on God, does not equate to promoting it. Your argument so far has relied on two main fallacies: First is argumentum ad antiquitatem and the second is the slippery slope fallacy. Just because the Pledge has had the words "under God" in it for a long time is no reason not to correct it now and there's nothing that says making this correction will in any way lead to the abandonment of the Constitution or the re-writing of American history. The issue is really rather simple. The Pledge as it currently stands endorses a particular religious viewpoint. The Bill of Rights establishes both that government shall not endorse a particular religious viewpoint and that the rights of minorities can not be overrun by the will of the majority. The fact that the Pledge is a daily morning routine in public schools led by the teachers and staff to a captive audience is a clear violation of the first amendment. It doesn't get much more clear cut than that. Posted by: Les on July 5, 2002 11:35 PM
Les, I gained quite a bit of insight to some things after reading your comment/trackback... First, let me extend a big thank you for the understanding of my situation at home. That alone meant a lot to me. Ummm.. maybe you could talk to my husband? :laugh: As for my last post... I should have held off posting that I think and I actually almost deleted it later on. I was up at 3am that day in tears and was not really thinking with a clear head at all. I was angry and when I get like that, I tend to have a monster chip on my shoulder. I shouldn't have let my personal problems affect what I was saying there. While I do still hold the same beliefs regarding the Pledge issue, I do respect those that feel differently and I do continue to see the other side of things. I may not be the most educated person out there but I still feel that this is a pointless issue in the long run. I agree that the words probably should not be in the Pledge and I would not stand in the way to have them removed but at the same time, I think there are more important issues in this country. It is not a federal law to speak the Pledge at all let alone those two little words. That is basis of my argument really. May seem like a weak argument but it is still a valid one. :wink: Maybe we are both guilty in reading our words the wrong way. It is entirely possible that I have been too defensive about my standing. Wouldn't be the first time. LOL And if that is the case, I am sorry. But it truly did seem to me that you were twisting things. Again, if I mis-read you, I apologize and I hope there are no hard feelings. Truce? :smile: Also, don't feel bad about "adding to my stress". You didn't. And if, by any chance, you have any suggestions at all on how to get my husband to "see the error of his ways" please feel free to let me know. These days I don't know if it is him or if it is something I am doing wrong. I have gone from thinking he just doesn't care to maybe we (my girls and me) just aren't interesting enough to him. Thank you again for shedding a little light on the whole subject and now maybe we can just agree to disagree. :wink: Posted by: Jill on July 6, 2002 10:21 AM
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