The Pledge of Allegiance
Why we're not one nation "under God."
By David Greenberg
Updated Friday, June 28, 2002, at 1:39 PM PT
Poor Alfred Goodwin! So torrential was the flood of condemnation that followed his opinion—which held that it's unconstitutional for public schools to require students to recite "under God" as part of the Pledge of Allegiance—that the beleaguered appellate-court judge suspended his own ruling until the whole 9th Circuit Court has a chance to review the case.
Not one major political figure summoned the courage to rebut the spurious claims that America's founders wished to make God a part of public life. It's an old shibboleth of those who want to inject religion into public life that they're honoring the spirit of the nation's founders. In fact, the founders opposed the institutionalization of religion. They kept the Constitution free of references to God. The document mentions religion only to guarantee that godly belief would never be used as a qualification for holding office—a departure from many existing state constitutions. That the founders made erecting a church-state wall their first priority when they added the Bill of Rights to the Constitution reveals the importance they placed on maintaining what Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore have called a "godless Constitution." When Benjamin Franklin proposed during the Constitutional Convention that the founders begin each day of their labors with a prayer to God for guidance, his suggestion was defeated.
Given this tradition, it's not surprising that the original Pledge of Allegiance—meant as an expression of patriotism, not religious faith—also made no mention of God. The pledge was written in 1892 by the socialist Francis Bellamy, a cousin of the famous radical writer Edward Bellamy. He devised it for the popular magazine Youth's Companion on the occasion of the nation's first celebration of Columbus Day. Its wording omitted reference not only to God but also, interestingly, to the United States:
"I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
The key words for Bellamy were "indivisible," which recalled the Civil War and the triumph of federal union over states' rights, and "liberty and justice for all," which was supposed to strike a balance between equality and individual freedom. By the 1920s, reciting the pledge had become a ritual in many public schools.
Since the founding, critics of America's secularism have repeatedly sought to break down the church-state wall. After the Civil War, for example, some clergymen argued that the war's carnage was divine retribution for the founders' refusal to declare the United States a Christian nation, and tried to amend the Constitution to do so.
The efforts to bring God into the state reached their peak during the so-called "religious revival" of the 1950s. It was a time when Norman Vincent Peale grafted religion onto the era's feel-good consumerism in his best-selling The Power of Positive Thinking; when Billy Graham rose to fame as a Red-baiter who warned that Americans would perish in a nuclear holocaust unless they embraced Jesus Christ; when Secretary of State John Foster Dulles believed that the United States should oppose communism not because the Soviet Union was a totalitarian regime but because its leaders were atheists.
Hand in hand with the Red Scare, to which it was inextricably linked, the new religiosity overran Washington. Politicians outbid one another to prove their piety. President Eisenhower inaugurated that Washington staple: the prayer breakfast. Congress created a prayer room in the Capitol. In 1955, with Ike's support, Congress added the words "In God We Trust" on all paper money. In 1956 it made the same four words the nation's official motto, replacing "E Pluribus Unum." Legislators introduced Constitutional amendments to state that Americans obeyed "the authority and law of Jesus Christ."
The campaign to add "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance was part of this movement. It's unclear precisely where the idea originated, but one driving force was the Catholic fraternal society the Knights of Columbus. In the early '50s the Knights themselves adopted the God-infused pledge for use in their own meetings, and members bombarded Congress with calls for the United States to do the same. Other fraternal, religious, and veterans clubs backed the idea. In April 1953, Rep. Louis Rabaut, D-Mich., formally proposed the alteration of the pledge in a bill he introduced to Congress.
The "under God" movement didn't take off, however, until the next year, when it was endorsed by the Rev. George M. Docherty, the pastor of the Presbyterian church in Washington that Eisenhower attended. In February 1954, Docherty gave a sermon—with the president in the pew before him—arguing that apart from "the United States of America," the pledge "could be the pledge of any country." He added, "I could hear little Moscovites [sic] repeat a similar pledge to their hammer-and-sickle flag with equal solemnity." Perhaps forgetting that "liberty and justice for all" was not the norm in Moscow, Docherty urged the inclusion of "under God" in the pledge to denote what he felt was special about the United States.
The ensuing congressional speechifying—debate would be a misnomer, given the near-unanimity of opinion—offered more proof that the point of the bill was to promote religion. The legislative history of the 1954 act stated that the hope was to "acknowledge the dependence of our people and our Government upon … the Creator … [and] deny the atheistic and materialistic concept of communism." In signing the bill on June 14, 1954, Flag Day, Eisenhower delighted in the fact that from then on, "millions of our schoolchildren will daily proclaim in every city and town … the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty." That the nation, constitutionally speaking, was in fact dedicated to the opposite proposition seemed to escape the president.
In recent times, controversies over the pledge have centered on the wisdom of enforcing patriotism more than on its corruption from a secular oath into a religious one. In the 1988 presidential race, as many readers will recall, George Bush bludgeoned Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis for vetoing a mandatory-pledge bill when he was governor of Massachusetts, even though the state Supreme Court had ruled the bill unconstitutional. Surely one reason for the current cravenness of Democratic leaders is a fear of undergoing Dukakis' fate in 2002 or 2004 at the hands of another Bush.
The history of the pledge supports Goodwin's decision. The record of the 1954 act shows that, far from a "de minimis" reference or a mere "backdrop" devoid of meaning, the words "under God" were inserted in the pledge for the express purpose of endorsing religion—which the U.S. Supreme Court itself ruled in 1971 was unconstitutional. Also according to the Supreme Court's own rulings, it doesn't matter that students are allowed to refrain from saying the pledge; a 2000 high court opinion held that voluntary, student-led prayers at school football games are unconstitutionally "coercive," because they force students into an unacceptable position of either proclaiming religious beliefs they don't share or publicly protesting.
The appeals court decision came almost 40 years to the day after the Supreme Court decision in Engel v. Vitale. In that case, the court ruled it unconstitutional for public schools to allow prayer, even though the prayer was non-denominational and students were allowed abstain from the exercise. When asked about the unpopular decision, President John F. Kennedy replied coolly that he knew many people were angry, but that the decisions of the court had to be respected. He added that there was "a very easy remedy"—not a constitutional amendment but a renewed commitment by Americans to pray at home, in their churches, and with their families.
I just thought that this was not only an interesting article, but highly informative as well.
This has been quite interesting reading the different opinions on the "under God" issue. I am seeing all sides and agree with various things on each side really. I still believe this is not something that should be causing so much fuss though. But then... that is just my opinion.
In the newspaper today there was an article that fairly well coincides with my position. I don't want to re-write the entire article here but I felt that these were some very interesting points...
"After all, this is a pledge, not a prayer, the recitation of a patriotic creed, not a directive from the state to pray. No one's sacred space need be violated."
"What we have here is another maddeningly narrow reading of a Constitution that is anything but narrow. That document and act of grace was intended to promote the general welfare, not make all of us march to the beat of a different, dictatorial drummer. It was designed to "secure the Blessings of Liberty," but that phrase will surely have to go, too, what with its religious connotations. So will "God save this honorable court" if this case ever gets to SCOTUS. "
"The Constitution itself was unveiled 'in the Year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty- seven ... .' And the republic itself was declared in the faith that all men are created equal, and 'are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights ... .' Live with it."
Granted many will disagree with many things that were said I am sure but as I personally read the article, I nodded in agreement with every word. The words "under God" are in place. Nowhere does it say that those words HAVE to be said.
Oh yeah, removing "under god" from the pledge.
Another reason I want this to take place is for all the kids who believe in something different.
School, public school, is supposed to be accepting of everyone.
The county I live in, still buses black kids in because they have to accept everyone.
It's a very diverse school, African Americans, Hispanics, whites, Russians, you name it, this school has it.
I battle the school every year at Christmas time because they have taught my kids, and all the kids, songs for Hanukkah.
I am not against Judaism. Nor Buddhism, nor Christianity.
But the schools, are supposed to represent all the faiths if they choose to represent any at all.
At the Christmas pageants, they sing Christian carols as well as Hanukkah songs and one or two standard carols.
What about all the other faiths?
How do they celebrate? I have yet to see Buddhism, represented at this school.
We teach our kids to pledge to the flag and god but they don't all share the same god nor are all the gods represented.
This is unfair.
I ask every year that my kids not be allowed to participate in any learnings of any religious based carols and my kids do not attend the pageants. By choice.
What the pledge currently tells all these kids who believe something other than god, is that they don't exist in the eyes of the school. At the pageants they are not represented yet they are forced to learn songs that go against their families faith.
If we remove the words "under god" from the pledge perhaps it will let all the kids feel like they belong no matter what they believe.
Maybe the schools who have pageants will realize that they can't impose only two religions on the students.
I don't think, in my opinion, that this is about trying to convert anyone and everyone to become non-believers. This is simply, in my opinion, about recognizing that we all belong.
Many of my kids friends go to church and my kids even started the summer off (one session cuz' that's all I could afford) at a Jewish summer camp. They were not taught any songs or made to pray or anything like that.
They had fun and played and made new friends of a different faith which is what I want for them. To accept everyone as they are and for who they are regardless of what they believe.
People keep telling me that I'm going to hell for not teaching my kids the word of god, by not making them go to church. I have to disagree with that.
As Christians who put so much effort into preaching those words and getting on bended knee, I think they should re-read the bible and those words.
According to those words, they are taught to accept their fellow man and embrace him.
To love every man as your brother.
I'm sorry to be so passionate about this but I'm raising two great little men here all on my own and I want them to grow up to be strong and healthy and smart and love every man as their brothers.
Try to remember that more wars have been fought in the name of god than for any other reason.
Don't you think it's time we stop? Don't you think it's time we teach our kids that enough is enough?
Don't you think it's time to teach them to live, love and be happy.
I have a tendency to be long winded, I apologize in advance.
Yes, I'm another one of those godless heathens, though I wasn't always so. In my youth I was once a devout Baptist who tried his best to do what his church said was the right thing to do and whom believed in God with all his heart. As I grew older and my critical thinking skills developed I started to question various aspects of the church and it's teachings and it's history until one day the Pastor suggested that perhaps this whole religion thing just wasn't for me. So I set out to figure out which religion was the right one. I studied the various major Christian sects for awhile, but I made the mistake of actually reading the Bible from front to back during that time and was appalled at what it contained. From there I went off to study other religious beliefs for awhile including Islam, various neo-Pagan beliefs, and so on. Eventually I found myself standing in a spot where, when I looked out at the various belief systems, they all looked more or less the same. I also realized that, even at the height of my belief, I had never had a religious experience I could think of. I concluded I had no reason to believe any of it and that meant I was an atheist, but not from lack of trying nor from lack of wanting to believe.
I've been an atheist for a good portion of my adult life now and have experienced the prejudice and bigotry that being honest about my lack of belief can cause. I have been fired from jobs for it, was kicked out of the Boy Scouts because of it, have lost good friends over it. These experiences have made me particularly sensitive about the separation of church and state in our country for I know of some people who would gladly see me arrested, tried, and hung from a gallows because I dare to not believe in their god. I have studied the history of our country and those who founded it and what their beliefs were and why they did things the way that they did. I am no expert, but I know more than the common American it seems.
One of the points about this court decision about the Pledge that seems to get overlooked by most who comment on it is that the original author left the words out of the pledge intentionally. Francis Bellamy was a Baptist minister and a Christan socialist, had he thought the two little words of "under God" should be in the pledge, he would have put them there himself. He knew the addition of those words would take the pledge from being a statement of unity to a statement of us vs. them. The pledge wasn't about acknowledging some form of supreme being, it was about being a good citizen to one's country. When they changed the words "my Flag" to "the Flag of the United States of America", Bellamy protested, but was ignored. That change was minor compared to the addition of "under God" that would occur later, and yet Bellamy was incensed that it occurred and made it quite clear at the time. Does anyone really think he would have approved of the other change? His granddaughter didn't. But who cares, the man was dead by then and it was a nice opportunity for the Christian Right to hijack the pledge for the promotion of their religious belief.
I've seen a lot of people ask the question: "It's been fine this way for so long, why are people complaining now?" It was fine for 62 years before Congress decided to add the words "under God", what was so wrong with it that they felt the need to improve it? No one challenged it immediately for the simple fact that it occurred during the height of McCarthyism and would probably have resulted in immediate FBI investigation, black balling in the Senate, and ruination of one's career and life. This complaint isn't new, either, as various people offended by it have brought lawsuits to the courts many time over the years. This is just the first time anyone has succeeded, those other attempts rarely made the news because no one succeeded in their challenge. Just as attempts have been made on getting "In God We Trust" off of our money, but you've probably never heard about them or, if you did, brushed it off as another kook.
Another person asks "Why waste the time and energy? If it's so offensive, don't recite the pledge." OK, so let's go tell all the blacks in South Carolina that we're going to let the State fly the Confederate Flag on their Capitol building again. Surely if the blacks there are so offended by the mere site of a flag they can just avert their eyes as they walk into the building instead of wasting time and energy suing to have it removed. Yet because they found it offensive, the State was forced to remove the flag from the building. Was the flag really harming them? No, not in any physical sense. It just made them feel like second-class citizens. Do the words 'under God' really harm non-Christians, not really. Except it makes those of differing faiths that aren't monotheistic, or those of us without faith, feel like second class citizens. Oh, that's right, it's still OK to be bigoted toward non-Christians where as it's not OK to be bigoted toward blacks anymore. I'd forgotten, forgive me. I was under the mistaken assumption this country believed in the concept of equality where there wouldn't be any need to make others feel like they don't belong.
I suppose if you're not offended by it then it does become difficult to understand why some of us think it should be removed. I'm relatively certain many amongst our Founding Father's would be appalled it was ever put in in the first place for the same reason they'd be appalled with the phrase "In God We Trust" on our money, but that's another issue that I'll go into later. For now, I've taken up enough screen space.
I received this in my email about an hour ago and thought I'd share with everyone who may be interested (or not if the case may be).
Humanist and family research council to air on television
I'm an atheist through and through. I ain't got no religion, and I'm quite happy this way. Obviously, I was thrilled to hear the decision. I'll reiterate here the comments I've made in my journal so far.
In Somebody We Trust
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional because it contains the words "under God" - good! My boss mentioned this to me a few minutes ago and seemed genuinely horrified, but he's ex-Coast Guard. I refused to say the pledge in high school for two reasons: first, because I wasn't particularly patriotic, and also because I'm an atheist. (Actually, I tried not to say it in seventh grade, and the teacher yelled at me.) I was always quiet and respectful while others said the pledge, but I never stood and said it myself.I Should Join Americans United
So when can we get In God We Trust taken off money? I find that equally inappropriate as the "under God" bit.
I'm looking forward to seeing what Americans United for Separation of Church and State has to say about this.
Update: Somebody over at Plastic.com provided me with links to both the history of our national motto and evidence indicating it's not going away anytime soon.
In an article from today's Washington Post (the Style section), Senate Chaplain Lloyd John Ogilvie is quoted thus:And just to add something new, I found it interesting that on the very next day, the announcement came out that Virginia Governor Mark Warner (whom I actually voted for) signed a law in May that requires Virginia schools to post the national motto.We acknowledge the separation of sectarianism and state, but affirm the belief that there is no separation between God and state. With gratitude we declare our motto "In God we trust." Though that trust may be expressed in different religions, we do proclaim You as ultimate soverign of our nation.What?! No! I am an atheist. I don't consider anybody the "ultimate sovereign" of my country. That's what the whole checks and balances system is for: so there isn't an ultimate sovereign to have the final say. And how can multiple deities - each with its own set of laws - possibly form the basis for a national law, when the people of that nation are of different religions?
I thought I should start off with a little bit about myself so that I'm not taken as someone who can't see both sides.
I was raised Christian and went to church and Sunday school and every instrument I know how to play, I learned them there.
I can still to this day recite all the books of the bible from memory and know most scriptures by heart.
I stopped believing in God when I was 12.
It was really a child's' heart that had been broken that brought it all on.
My grandfather died and when I asked the church leaders why him, their response to me was that god had called him home for a better purpose.
What better purpose could he serve than right here with his family loving and playing and being the gram-pa we needed.
I kept asking why and kept getting more of the same just have faith answers.
I began looking into the bible more diligently and learning all I could about this man named Jesus that I pretended to hold when I played Mary in the Christmas pageants.
I was in Godspell and so many other church musicals and paraded around because I could sing and play instruments.
I was taught to fear God.
The whale that ate Jonah. Yikes man. Growing up right near the beach and hearing that story kept me out of the water for a whole summer.
I learned allot in my studies of the man known as Jesus. Scientifically, I can prove to you that this man did exist. But as far as walking on water and turning water to wine, this guy had to be a better magician than Copperfield.
This whole thing with taking under god out of the pledge is right for so many reasons.
Was anyone ever taught what the pledge really means or did your teachers just teach you the words like mine did?
As an adult, some people may have looked into the meaning of the pledge like I noticed a few other posters mention.
We know NOW what it means, but as a child did you have any idea what you were agreeing to be so faithful too in kindergarten?
My kids, who are in 4th and 6th grade, have no idea what any of it means. They just know that's what they do every morning after the bell rings. Stand, place your hand over heart and pledge all of your loyalties to your country and god.
After September 11th, everything here in the bible belt became all about god blessing our country. Where was he when it was happening?
Where was he when thousands of families prayed to him to find family members alive in all that rubble?
At the job I worked at, a grocery store at the time, told us we could all wear god bless America shirts to work and pins or necklaces proclaiming our faith.
I tired to wear my atheist A necklace to work and was immediately told to remove it. Why? Because my lack of belief in someone else's' god, offended everyone namely my boss who told me I was going to hell.
I have so much more to say on this god issue and I hope that my thoughts don't offend anyone but rather bring a different viewpoint to the table.
I am a single mom raising my kids to believe in humanity rather than a faith and a hope that something bigger than them will save their lives someday.
I will be back tomorrow to talk about this under god court issue that's taking place.
First off, a big thanks to Promo Guy for starting up this blog. I think this is going to be a unique experience for all of us, and I look forward to some good discussions on a wide range of topics.
Quick intro on me: I'm a somewhat moderate liberal in certain areas, feeling that in some areas (defense, national security), we need to be more hawkish. However, in just about everything else, you'll find me touting the cause of the Left. I, too am a pagan, following an alternate path of Spirituality. I've been walking this path since 1987 and have found a deep fulfillment because of it over the years. This influences much of my politics, being as my beliefs tend to fall outside of the mainstream.
I've already written a bit about how I feel about the "under God" ruling over on my blog, and wanted to clarify upfront how I feel about this: I've felt since around 5th grade that using the words, "under God" wasn't right. The older I got, the more I researched this issue and realized just what the Pledge had been turned into.
Yesterday, I was offering up some thoughts on my own blog that were a rebuttal to another blogger who came down vehemently against this ruling. Phrases like, "this is an American heritage that's being altered for political correctness" (a paraphrase) were being bandied about right and left.
Little did this person realize that the Pledge has gone through several changes. For instance, up until the late Thirties, apparently one said the Pledge with one arm up in the air. The obvious reason this was done away with lies in Nazi Germany.
Would he want this restored as part of the American Heritage?
I think not.
I'm an opinionated person, and I'm sure you'll be hearing a lot from me when it comes to this and other issues.
I'll leave off for now with this quote from the man I consider to be the greatest citizen in American history, Thomas Jefferson:
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should `make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore man to all of his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties."
It's truly a rare occurance when I find myself completely unsure about where I stand on a particular issue. September 11th found me torn between two fundamental American principles; On one hand...pride and patriotism, and on the other...complete mistrust for the government. This issue is a little different, but still equally perplexing.
First, I guess you ought to know where I'm coming from here. I am a deeply spiritual person, but one who is strongly opposed to practically all "organized" religion. I am a Buddhist - which is probably best described as a "disorganized" religion. Second, I am a liberal in the utmost sense of the word. Third, I have a tremendous amount of pride in the ideals that went into the forming of this country, the fundamentals being Seperation of Church and State, and the Balance of Power. Which brings me to this issue.
On one hand, I think this is a genuinely stupid thing to argue about on EITHER side of it. Does it really matter this much? And have those people that are responsible for bringing this matter to the forefront of political discussion really doing anything other than provide the politicians in power grounds to chip away even MORE at the sacred seperation? It seems to me that this is a counter-productive way to bring about a solution to the "problem," if it is even one at all. Considering the complete and utter barrage of Christianity-Inspired messages we've been getting from the government since the 11th, it seems like it would be fairly obvious to whoever brought this to court that almost nobody in a position of political power is going to agree with them.
On another hand...after hearing the backlash against the decision, I have found myself leaning more and more towards favoring it, just so that I don't end up on the same side of the fence as these evolutionary left-behinds. These are the same people who claim to be pro-life, but bomb abortion clinics. These are probably the same people who sent the anthrax last Autumn (as we'll find out someday, I'm almost sure of it.) to what they considered to be "liberal" institutions and individuals. These are the same people who can't see beyond that which they've been brainwashed into - that the Republicans they support so fervorously are just as morally backwards as the Democrats, if not more. I don't even want to agree with these people as to who should make the MLB All-Star Team, let alone political decisions.
And on the third hand...("you have three hands?")("yes.") One has to consider who all the players are here. The people who want "God" removed from the Pledge, The people who would probably rather see the Pledge be a Bible passage, and one group practically unheard from, as of yet - the children. If we take this word out of their morning routine...what are we telling them? Are we telling them that their religion is wrong? And even if we (read:I) think it is, who are we to do such a thing? Could that be sending the wrong message? The message that it's OK to tell somebody that their beliefs are wrong? (This hand is the "devil's advocate." I don't use it very often. It's annoying.)
So what's the solution? We make it silent. We have the children talk to their teachers and their parents about what a pledge should be...and have every child make up his/her own, different pledge. If little Timmy wants to mention God, fine. If little Jenny wants to mention Allah, that's fine too. If not-so-little Rocco (He got held back a few years.) wants to praise the almighty Satan, that's cool too. As long as they're doing it for the right reasons.
Or we could always just ask Clapton. See what he thinks about his name being the subject of all this mess.
I'm Canadian. And after surfing around the blogs of the other ONU Journalists, I believe myself to be the only one who's not going to be directly affected by this ruling. However, I will be affect in the long run, as Canada tends to follow suit in many ways. This will probably be one.
I also am a Witch. Yep, that "nasty" W word. Most could classify me as Wiccan, but the reason why I myself don't classify my religion as Wiccan is a long debate that is completely off topic at this point. I just felt that everyone should know my background before I continue.
Now, when I first heard of this court case, I thought it was a lie. While I did know that it was completely legal and probably would stand up in the courts, I didn't think anyone would have the guts or balls to try it. And when I found out it was true, I had to smile. Personally, I believe it's about time. The words should have never been added in the 50's, and in my opinion, should be removed. But good luck doing that with good ol' Bible-thumping, Retrobution-Bush at the wheel.
Why do I think "under God" should be removed from the Pledge? First, yes, it's unconstitutional. But, to me, it's somewhat a statement of snobbery. I mean, this line was added during the Cold War. Statments that it was added to one-up those "commie bastards" (their words, not mine) are all too frequent not to be taken as a possibility.
Religion has its place, and it's not in government. Or in schools, baseball games, or in foreign policy. Religion should be a personal thing. That doesn't mean that one can not be religious and share this religion with others... It just should not be implied that everyone holds the same views. "Under God" implies everyone has the same views...
My 2 cents to get things going.
I have been giving a lot of thought to the issue of the removal of all public references to "God". While I understand both sides of the coin, I truly feel that this is such a huge waste of time and energy.
As I have stated on my own site, I do believe in God but am not a religious person by any means. I live life for what it is. Whether the reference to God is in the Pledge or on the money or not makes little difference to me in general. What has me fired up is the attention it takes away from other national issues that are TRULY important such as school violence, crime, terrorism... take your pick. Who cares what is printed on the currency. How many times do you sit down and read your money?? It spends just the same whether "God" is on it or not. As for the Pledge, the words "under God" are miniscule compared to the overall meaning behind it. I have not heard the Pledge said in classrooms in 25 years. Maybe other area schools are different but that is the way it has been in my experience. And how many people actually get up in the morning and recite it at home?
And as I have stated before, you cannot please everyone no matter how hard you try. This is really a no win situation. Leave the words in place, people who are offended by them will throw a tantrum. Remove the words, the people who take pride in them will be offended and throw a tantrum. What is the point?
Religion and any reference to it tends to be an extremely hot subject. People get fired up about it every time. Frankly, it is redundant. The end result is the same no matter what you believe. Whether you believe in a supreme being or not... what happens in the end is the same for everyone, right? So when you get right down to it, the reference to God can mean whatever you WANT it to mean. :wink:
Also, I do agree that this is not a case for the lower courts. This is more than just a People's Court kind of case. It has become a major national issue... it stands to change this history of this nation. I swear these people have no clue what they are doing.
Anyways, my drawn out point is this... I wish the bigwigs that are exploding all over this issue would get a clue and put all their energy into things that really matter in this country. There are bigger fish to fry after all!
OK, so after all the big smackdown, the Honorable Judge Goodwin decided to stay his ruling, thus, keeping it from going into effect.
Then Attorney General John Ashcroft said he will ask the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider the three judge 2-1 ruling that the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional.
What else, umm, California Gov. Gray Davis is really upset (he should be, the whole nation is looking at his state for this). He claims he will "take decisive action to overturn this decision." Like what I wonder? Hmm? Please tell us.
Oh yeah, the Senate passed some worthless rulings standing behind the inclusion of "Under God" in the Pledge. Way to secure re-election there, gang!
Of all the recent news however, I think the request made by Ashcroft is the most disturbing. His suggestion would keep the case in the lower courts. That would prevent the case from going to the Supreme Court.
Whether you support the inclusion of "Under God" in the pledge or not, shouldn't the case go before the Supreme Court? To have a final decision on this would be groudbreaking. It seems to me, that simply sending it back to the lower court reduces the importance of the case.
And whether the ruling stands or not, this is certainly an historical lawsuit. It deserves to be treated as such.
Two little words "Under God" have started off a firestorm across the Nation.
Let's keep the conversation going. A point/counter-point if you will.
I need participants, so if you want to join the fray, and can make educated, literate arguments and stand toe-to-toe with like-minded individuals, then e-mail me or post a comment with a valid e-mail.
Let's get the fire started!