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WmLambert
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The Pledge of Allegiance inclusion of "Under God" is under attack in The Supreme Court and may be banned once again from use. This is being laid at the feet of Michael Newdow who is personally incensed over his daughters' mother, who he is divorced from, who has become a born-again Christian. However, the issue is long-reaching and will cascade into many pending ACLU lawsuits, many generally considered frivolous. I personally believe the U.S. Constitution explicitly forbids the government or court from evoking any law that prohibits the free exercise of religion. However, in this day of activist courts, who knows what will happen.

Psalms preserved at Grand Canyon... for now.
quote:
Three bronze plaques inscribed with Biblical passages that had been removed from scenic lookouts on the canyon's South Rim were reinstalled last week pending legal advice on whether they are permissible under United States law.
...The plaques, bearing passages from the Book of Psalms, were removed from three popular lookouts on July 9th after an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) affiliate in the U.S. Capitol region asserted that religious messages at American National Parks violate the U.S. Constitution's precepts on separation of church and state.

The assertion that inscriptions of a religious nature on federal property contravene the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is not entirely accurate.

The Amendment reads, in part, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." It bars the U.S. Congress from organizing a State religion and passing laws to promote a particular faith group. The plaques in question, however, do not endorse any one religion, as the Psalms are holy texts to several faiths. Nor has Congress passed any laws placing the plaques in the park - they were donated by a private group.

... David Barna, a spokesman for the National Park Service in Washington, acknowledged that religious items are a bit of a grey area for his agency, noting that one of their missions is to preserve the historic heritage of the nation.

"We've always walked a fine line on religious issues," said Barna, "You can't tell the story of American history without at least some of it including the impact of religion on Americans."

Some of America's most famous monuments illustrate his point. For example, the Washington Monument's peak proclaims "Praise be to God" in Latin, and no less than four inscriptions on the Jefferson Memorial express unequivocally religious sentiments. The Park Service itself has numerous religious items and properties under its control, ranging from a historic chapel in Yosemite National Park to the San Antonio Missions in Texas to American Indian sacred sites in other parks. The Park Service also oversees the lighting of a Christmas tree and a menorah on the White House grounds.

And while the Biblical plaques are the only religious items at the Grand Canyon whose legality is currently being contemplated, a number of the Canyon's formations - like Isis Temple, Wotans Throne, and Krishna Temple, for example - share the names of gods from Hinduism and other religions.


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Gaoics79
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No one hates activist courts more than me, but in this particular case, if you accept that the state is not supposed to be pushing any particular religion over the other (seperation of church and state), then it would seem to me that having God in the pledge of allegiance is technically unconstitutional. Let's not forget that "under God" was only added to the pledge in 1954, so you can't claim that some activist court is taking some great historic document and making it PC friendly. On the contrary, they are only restoring it to its original form, the one which it existed in for the majority of its history.

People who know me will have noticed that I have often taken the side of the religious right in many issues, from gay marriage, to abortion. But in this case, as an atheist, I find it kind of offensive that some religious propagandists inserted their God into this pledge in the fifties, and now are screaming bloody murder because the court is setting things right. This isn't activism, it's upholding the constitution and sending a little wake-up call to the religious right that they don't own the country.

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TomDavidson
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"The plaques in question, however, do not endorse any one religion, as the Psalms are holy texts to several faiths."

You know, Christian zealots are really, really lucky that they're an offshoot of Judaism; otherwise, they wouldn't be able to hide behind this tired excuse.

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Rte66
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Dr. Michael Newdow was never married to his daughter's mother.

When I was a Christian I viewed The Pledge of Allegiance as idolatry. You are essentially praying to a flag.

As a post Christian, I think the plegde should be to the Constitution

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NSCutler
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With all of the hoopla over this, one question I have has yet to be answered: Do believers feel that non-believers should be allowed to pledge alligance to their country? And if so, do they have any objection to an edited pledge being used in official circumstances, such as in military service or naturalization ceremonies?

The uproar is always being couched in terms of theists feeling their belief is being censured and athiests feeling others faith is being forced upon them. Isn't the purpose of the pledge an oath of allegiance to our nation? And shouldn't we all swear by whatever we personally hold sacred? I think at the end of the day, any pledge which the individual does not believe in is a mockery.

So I say, we should all edit the pledge of alligance to fit our own beliefs. The cartoonist Tom Toles whittled it down to something that works for me: I pledge alligance to liberty and justice for all.

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msquared
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I have no problem with the words getting removed.

I have a hard time with the ACLU wanting to remove the plaque, especially since it was donated. Is there a policy against other faiths donating thier own plaques? If not, then what it the problem? The government is not supporting one religion over another.

msquared

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Enumclaw
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quote:
The Pledge of Allegiance inclusion of "Under God" is under attack in The Supreme Court and may be banned once again from use.
Lies. The words "under God" are not at risk of being banned; what it at risk is the notion that the State can FORCE people to say them.

If you, in your house or in public or whatever, want to say "one Nation, under God" while reciting the pledge, nobody is saying you can't or shouldn't.

But a school which has the kids recite the pledge can't and shouldn't be using "under God" in it. It's not up to the school to make that determination for the child and/or the child's parents.

quote:
This is being laid at the feet of Michael Newdow who is personally incensed over his daughters' mother, who he is divorced from, who has become a born-again Christian.
His motivations are none of your business, and are irrelevant to the issue of personal freedom from the State forcing a religion down someone's throat.

quote:
However, the issue is long-reaching and will cascade into many pending ACLU lawsuits, many generally considered frivolous.
Speak for yourself only, please; many people are perfectly happy with the ACLU standing up for individual rights. Some of us are a little ticked off that the ACLU conveniently forgets 2nd Amendment rights while they fight for the rest of the Bill of Rights, but we can live with it.

quote:
I personally believe the U.S. Constitution explicitly forbids the government or court from evoking any law that prohibits the free exercise of religion.
Agreed. Fortunately, that's not what is at stake here; nobody is trying to say that the State (through its instrument, the school system) is trying to STOP anyone from their right to religion.

What's happening here is people are trying to stop the State from USING the school system to push religion onto unwilling people. Individual liberty is being protected, not suppressed.

Paul

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Gaoics79
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"And if so, do they have any objection to an edited pledge being used in official circumstances, such as in military service or naturalization ceremonies?"

You see, the pledge already IS edited, so it's the religous types who have done the editing, not us. They're the ones who have inserted their God into something that has nothing to do with God. Indeed, I agree with Rte66, having God in the pledge is tantamount to idolatry. There is no rational connection between showing allegiance to your country and believing in God. Yet no one now can say the pledge without invoking God. God needs to be removed from the pledge.

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FIJC
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I suppose that I have a few thoughts on this. Most everyone is aware that the phrase "Separation of Church and State" is found nowhere in the US Constitution. Because of this, two conflicting viewpoints have emerged in this debate--the Non-Preferential View and the High-Wall of Separation View. There are rational people on both sides; I personally believe that the Non-Preferential view is the most accurate and practical way in which to interpret the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.

Because of this, I believe that the US Constitution grants considerable leeway for certain recitations at school, especially those that acknowledge our nation's historical heritage, including the Pledge. The Pledge is voluntary and doesn't establish one particular religion over another, nor does it establish an official church. Because the reference to "God" is totally generic, I don't view the Pledge as establishing any one official religion or as preferring one religious view over another.

Of course, it wouldn't be the end of the world to have the words taken out of the Pledge, but I don't think that the government needs to be an adversary of religion either.

Anyway, if anyone wishes to make an educated guess as to how the Court will rule on this case, apply the case to the Lemon test.

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TomDavidson
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"especially those that acknowledge our nation's historical heritage, including the Pledge."

Except that the Pledge, having been perverted in 1954, no longer reflects our historical heritage.

Why do you believe returning it to its original wording would be hostile to religion?

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simplybiological
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from about 9th grade on i skipped those words when we said the pledge, so obviously i don't feel they have a place there. by 11th grade i stopped saying the thing altogether, and one of my teachers tried to send me to the dean's office.

i think a slightly related issue is the fact that having children say it every day diminishes its meaning. the pledge is a pretty powerful thing- is it supposed to be recited in singsong voices by 5 year olds who have no idea what they're saying? do any of you start the day at work by facing the flag and saying the pledge? if not, then why should your children?

[ March 24, 2004, 01:12 PM: Message edited by: simplybiological ]

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Rte66
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Janson,
I said pledging to the flag is idolatry. When I was a Christian, I concidered the whole pledge idolatry, not just the under God part.

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FIJC
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quote:
"Why do you believe returning it to its original wording would be hostile to religion?"
Why? For the reason that it can be reasonably argued that because the Pledge is generic, does not prefer one particular religious creed over another, and does not establish an official state church, a removal of the word "God" is not necessary. In removing the word, government may be taking on the role of being hostile or adversarial to religion when it needn't be.

In Abington School District v. Schempp, the Court stated:

"It is true that religion has been closely identified with our history and government. As we said in Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 434 (1962), "The history of man is inseparable from the history of religion. And . . . since [374 U.S. 203, 213] the beginning of that history many people have devoutly believed that `More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.'" In Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306, 313 (1952), we gave specific recognition to the proposition that "[w]e are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being." The fact that the Founding Fathers believed devotedly that there was a God and that the unalienable rights of man were rooted in Him is clearly evidenced in their writings, from the Mayflower Compact to the Constitution itself. This background is evidenced today in our public life through the continuance in our oaths of office from the Presidency to the Alderman of the final supplication, "So help me God." Likewise each House of the Congress provides through its Chaplain an opening prayer, and the sessions of this Court are declared open by the crier in a short ceremony, the final phrase of which invokes the grace of God. Again, there are such manifestations in our military forces, where those of our citizens who are under the restrictions of military service wish to engage in voluntary worship. Indeed, only last year an official survey of the country indicated that 64% of our people have church membership, Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce, Statistical Abstract of the United States (83d ed. 1962), 48, while less than 3% profess no religion whatever. Id., at p. 46. It can be truly said, therefore, that today, as in the beginning, our national life reflects a religious people who, in the words of Madison, are "earnestly praying, as . . . in duty bound, that the Supreme Lawgiver of the Universe . . . guide them into every measure which may be worthy of his [blessing . . . .]" Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, quoted in Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1, 71 -72 (1947) (Appendix to dissenting opinion of Rutledge, J.). [374 U.S. 203, 214]

This is not to say, however, that religion has been so identified with our history and government that religious freedom is not likewise as strongly imbedded in our public and private life. Nothing but the most telling of personal experiences in religious persecution suffered by our forebears, see Everson v. Board of Education, supra, at 8-11, could have planted our belief in liberty of religious opinion any more deeply in our heritage. It is true that this liberty frequently was not realized by the colonists, but this is readily accountable by their close ties to the Mother Country. 5 However, the views of Madison and Jefferson, preceded by Roger Williams, 6 came to be incorporated not only in the Federal Constitution but likewise in those of most of our States. This freedom to worship was indispensable in a country whose people came from the four quarters of the earth and brought with them a diversity of religious opinion."


Do you think that the Pledge's phrase "Under God" is more explicitly religious than the phrase "So help me God."?

(Edited for grammar)

[ March 24, 2004, 01:31 PM: Message edited by: FIJC ]

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Gaoics79
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"I said pledging to the flag is idolatry. When I was a Christian, I concidered the whole pledge idolatry, not just the under God part"

Sorry, Rte66, I misread your statement.

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witless chum
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quote:
The Pledge is voluntary and doesn't establish one particular religion over another, nor does it establish an official church. Because the reference to "God" is totally generic, I don't view the Pledge as establishing any one official religion or as preferring one religious view over another.
This just where we part company. I think it does establish a specific pair of religions. "God" refers to the God of Jews and Christians. You could argue Muslims, too.
But doesn't saying this is a nation "under God" suggest it is not a nation under many Gods, for example, or under the non-specific power of nature? That leaves out Hindus, Shintoists(sp), Buddhists, Traditional American Indian beliefs, just to name a few.
I don't know if I'm comfortable arguing that the constitution protects atheist kids in school or not, but I don't have to be because of this.

That said, Lambert's posted article about the Bible verses on federal property is infuriating. The reason the pledge is important in this regard is 1.) it is supposed to be a basic statement of your committment to your country. 2.) Kids in school have to say, whether by fair means, or foul.
Nobody has to read a Bible verse on a rock. Well, I suppose I do, because I can't stop myself from reading anything in front of my eyes. Remind me to tell you how that saved my house from burning down. But that is MY PROBLEM. Why? Why? Why? Must people do this? I don't like religion myself, but I'm perfectly happy to happen upon it occasionally in a National Park. Certainly better than what you can find in the woods around Mt. Rushmore, I am reliably informed. I'm very happy to have the ACLU blocking for me, but I can't really take a slippery slope argument seriously here. So long as the Park Service would accept a verse from the Koran to go up alongside, then I don't even see how they have a case.

Edited to add: I don't think the "Ceremonial Deism" argument holds any water at all. If it was Ceremonial Deism, then wouldn't nobody care if it was there or not?

Dan

[ March 24, 2004, 01:33 PM: Message edited by: witless chum ]

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WmLambert
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You are all missing something. This is a nation that derives all of its sovereignty as coming from God. It is in the Declaration of Independence and does specifically say we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights. You can argue whether it is valid or not, or whether God exists or not - but the Constitution forbids the government from making that decision for you. The Declaration and Constitution specifically avoids naming a God of any particular religion. The "Creator" is the same one in Bhuddism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or Hinduism - but we are absolutely under that God by the paperwork that founded out country. Our law does not devolve through common law - but through that simple declaration that a Creator endows us with our rights. Then these rights drive everything else.

I maintain there is logically no such doctrine as separation of Church and State - only an admonition not to screw with anyone's Faith. It does appear that saying "under God" in the pledge forces an atheist to accept an almighty being and it is an intrusion into Bellamy's original words - however accepting citizenship is tantamount to accepting rights based from a Creator. It may be best to remove "Under God" from the pledge, or better yet, to allow a person an alternative version as is used in court the way "affirm" was allowed to be used instead of "vow."

Maybe the Supreme Court will change the phrase to "empowered by the Creator."

[ March 24, 2004, 01:31 PM: Message edited by: WmLambert ]

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FIJC
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quote:
"Maybe the Supreme Court will change the phrase to "empowered by the Creator.""
If this is the case, the Supreme Court will just strike down the Pledge as Unconstitutional in the form it is currently recited. It won't "change" anything, but may imply that some changes would render the Pledge as Constitutional.

[ March 24, 2004, 01:33 PM: Message edited by: FIJC ]

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Gaoics79
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"Why? For the reason that it can be reasonably argued that because the Pledge is generic, does not prefer one particular religious creed over another"

But it does prefer one creed over another. It prefers monotheistic creeds over polytheistic ones, or atheistic ones, for that matter. Also, let's not fool ourselves; we all know which God this is referring to, and you can bet it ain't Allah.

"and does not establish an official state church"

It is explicitly stating that the state and the nation are "under God". I think you could make a very strong argument that this is unconstitutional, even by the less onerous non-preferential standard.

Let's just put all our cards on the table. We all know as a matter of common sense that the God being referred to is the Christian God. While this may incidentally encompass the Jewish and Moslem Gods (which are technically the same as the Christian one) it certainly has nothing to do with, say the Hindu Gods, or the Native American God/Spirits (or whatever they believe in). It is stating explicitly that the state is subordinate to this God. How is this not establishing a state religion?

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Ron Lambert
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Didn't the inclusion of the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 pass judicial review at that time, and was not found to be unconstitutional? Are we going to have activist minority groups with agendas hostile to the majority being able to go back to the Supreme Court every few years to try their luck again?

I think that once the Supreme Court has ruled on the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of something, then that should only be reversible by the adoption of a constitutional amendment, and not just by a change in the makeup of the court from generation to generation.

I realize that this means it would take a constitutional amendment to reverse Roe vs. Wade, and I would like to see Roe vs. Wade reversed; but I think it is desirable to have a bit more stability in such things. The Supreme Court is politicized enough already, without holding out the inducement that if a party or faction can get enough justices favorable to its position put on the Supreme Court, then they can completely redo the judicial judgments that determine jurisprudence throughout the nation for the past century. Such change, if they are seen to be necessary by future generations, should come through the legislature and the amendment process, not the court.

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witless chum
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Re: Wm Lambert's post:

Is the Declaration of Independence even law? If the U.S. Constitution is the highest law in the land, then that subordinates the D. of I. to, in any case.

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Rte66
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For you Christians,

Jesus said to make no oaths. Then ironically we swear on the Bible which viloates the very content on which we swaer. Jesus commmanded not to swearing by anything in Heaven or on Earth.

This is not exactly the same as swearing, but is this the same in princliple? Your obedience to the laws of a government is equaled to obedience to God. So you do not have to pledge. And the oath should be to God and your neighbor (the two greatest commandments)

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FIJC
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quote:
"Jesus said to make no oaths."
Jesus stated to make no oaths that we aren't planning to keep.
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FIJC
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quote:
"Is the Declaration of Independence even law?"
It's an official US Charter document.
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Rte66
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quote:
...we all know which God this is referring to, and you can bet it ain't Allah.
Actually Allah is much closer to the Hebrew for God, than God.

Coptic Christians used Allah when Europeans were still Pagans.

But you can bet it's not Ganesha

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FIJC
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quote:
"Let's just put all our cards on the table. We all know as a matter of common sense that the God being referred to is the Christian God. While this may incidentally encompass the Jewish and Moslem Gods (which are technically the same as the Christian one) it certainly has nothing to do with, say the Hindu Gods, or the Native American God/Spirits (or whatever they believe in). It is stating explicitly that the state is subordinate to this God. How is this not establishing a state religion?"
Let me think about that, and I will get back to you.
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Everard
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If it did pass muster, in 1954, the court was definetely wrong then... the explicity stated reason for adding the words "under god" to the constitution was to promote christianity and fight against "godlessness." Definetely promoting one religion over another, and definitely unconstitutional, as the first amendment states "congress shall make no law" (congress passed this law) "respecting an establishment of religion," (the law congress passes respects the establishment of the various christian churches, and attempts to establish christianity as the sole religion of the united states).
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FIJC
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The US Supreme Court has never directly ruled on the Pledge, to my knowledge. If there was a ruling, it would have been to make the Pledge voluntary, as it currently is.

Edited: Nevermind, it has, though not on the issue being discussed: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=319&invol=624

[ March 24, 2004, 01:49 PM: Message edited by: FIJC ]

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Ray Bingham
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Next time I go to Golden Gate State Park, I'm going to demand they destroy all the Buddahs and tear down all those shinto arches!

Cuz I feel COMPELLED to worship there... obviously the state wants me to be buddist... [Big Grin]

I also think the capital should be burned, because it has too many elements that comply with Feng Shui!

And that Washington Monument, is clearly an attempt to reinvoke Egyptian mythology with its use of the monolith...

As a Muslim any statue is against the commandments, so clearly all statues are anti-Islamic.

I guess it's fitting...

--Ray

P.S. Even atheists have their god, it's themselves or science or spicy chicken sandwiches at Wendy's.

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Gaoics79
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"Next time I go to Golden Gate State Park, I'm going to demand they destroy all the Buddahs and tear down all those shinto arches!"

This is a very good point, which is why I am hesitant to suggest that religous monuments be torn down, especially if they have historical significance, or significant artistic merit. The Ten Commandmants monument is iffy. On one hand, I am a little uncomfortable with the idea of some renegade judge spending enromous amounts of public money to build a honking ten commandments monument on public property, evidently satisfying his own personal politics and ego more than anything else. But then again, there is the equal gardens, not equal graveyards principle in constitutional law. Must we forevermore forbid the construction of any religous monument on public property? Must we obliterate legitimate religion and replace it with PC washed generic crap that NO ONE is happy with? It seems to me that while you could make a constitutional argument against such monuments, in the interests of the common good, we should let these things slide; as long as every group gets to have its fair chance to put up monuments (proportionate to their population, of course) I see nothing wrong with said monuments. The pledge of allegiance, however, is another story. This is a blatant attempt to endorse state religion perpetuated by people who evidently believe(d) that the United States is a Christian nation that should be run according to Christian values.

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Ray Bingham
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Why not acknowledge that in some public lands you might find all sorts of various religious symbols. Just because one park has something of one religion, why can't we just see that somewhere in the country there's a park for some other religion, or no religion at all.

Imo, it all kinda balances out, giving people a chance to see all sorts of things.

This type of thing reminds me of the overtly religious and therefore "offensive" prophetic vision of Isaiah who predicted...

"And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable."
(Isaiah 3:5)

Or in a more temporal sense, ever been a part of an overzealous Home Owners Association, who dictated that you can't plant decorative cabbage in the front yard, because it might clash with the street lamps (or something equally arbitrary). Only this HOA is the whole US...

Best regards,

--Ray

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Everard
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Interesting... you're trying to draw a parallel between a explicity unconstitutional act passed by congress, and a home owners association....
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Ray Bingham
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I suppose I could've used Orwell... [Wink]

--Ray

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potemkyn
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I've noticed several people mentioned you HAVE to say the pledge. This wasn't the case at all for me and my school...I guess I'm out of step with the mainstream again [Smile] . Seriously, no one said the pledge at my high school, not because it had God in it mind you, but because it was high school and most kids didn't care. I remember saying it by myself several times to get a laugh.

"I pledge allegiance to Queen Frag and her mighty state of Hysteria..." - Calvin and Hobbes

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Everard
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I HAD to say it in elementary school. Well, maybe I technically didn't, but certainly no one ever told me that and all my teachers expected everyone to say the pledge.
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Ray Bingham
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Ev: Did it traumatize you?

I remember not having a clue what half the words meant when I said it... I'm still not entirely sure what it means, except that it serves a good reminder to me that I think freedom is cool, and to try to tolerate people of different backgrounds and treat people with respect... including religious folk...

A pledge can mean what you want it to, if you lived in my head... then again... you don't want to go there... [Wink]

--Ray

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Everard
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No, it didn't traumatize me, but it certainly angered me when I figured out what was going on.
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KnightEnder
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quote:
Do you think that the Pledge's phrase "Under God" is more explicitly religious than the phrase "So help me God."?
They both should be taken out of any government functions or speeches.

quote:
however accepting citizenship is tantamount to accepting rights based from a Creator.—WmL
This is ridiculous. Since I do not accept the fairly ridiculous idea that a Creator exists, then I am not a citizen of the United States?

The Constitution can be amended, and our founding fathers owned slaves, they were not perfect. And they weren’t privy to many of the discoveries that have made the very idea of God so in doubt.

KE

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Ron Lambert
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The opening words of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution say that "Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment of religion...."

I wonder if everyone is clear on just what an "establishment" of religion is. An establishment is something that religion or specific religions create, as part and parcel with their traditions.

For example, it is a common tradition in many Christian denominations to refer to the pastor of a church with the title "Reverend." Some fundamentalist protestants, however, contending that the Bible says only God's name is Reverend, feel it is wrong to call any mortal man "Reverend." They prefer to use the New Testament term, "Pastor." Now if the federal government were to enact a law requiring that every pastor or head of a church congregation must be referred to with the title "Reverend," then that would be making a law regarding an establishment of religion.

Likewise if the federal government were to enact a law requiring everyone to close their businesses and shops and observe Sunday as if it were the Sabbath, that again would be making a law regarding an establishment of religion, since Sunday-keeping is based solely on the authority the Roman Catholic Church claims to have to change the day of worship from the original seventh-day Sabbath to Sunday. There are several Christian denominations who do not accept this, and still keep the seventh-day Sabbath. Jews do, as well. Indeed, such a law would clearly be harmful and discriminatory toward those who keep the seventh-day Sabbath, because they would be required to close their businesses and shops and refrain from work on both Saturday and Sunday.

Still another example would be for the federal government to make a law requiring everyone to pay tithe to some religious organization on an approved list.

Now here is the thing about the words in the Pledge of Alligiance. It is not an establishment of religion simply to acknowledge that God exists, and that America is indebted to God for its existence. No church, no denomination, created this view. No one is favored or discriminated against by these words. They express a basic, general, overall philosophy, and do not support any particular religion.

Atheists may disagree with the view that God exists and that America is indebted to God for its existence. But the majority does have the right to rule what it regards as the preferred wording for the Pledge of Allegiance. As for being fair to Atheists, they have the right not to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. It is not required for anything.

No one is required to observe Independence Day on the Fourth of July, either.

Both these observances are equally voluntary, and a small minority cannot reasonably claim to have a right to prevent the vast majority from following these observances if they want to, as an accepted way to express their patriotism.

To argue otherwise, to attempt to remove the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, is a direct attack against all religion, and is an example of supreme intolerance.

[ March 24, 2004, 05:35 PM: Message edited by: Ron Lambert ]

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Everard
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"es·tab·lish·ment P Pronunciation Key (-stblsh-mnt)
n.
The act of establishing.
The condition or fact of being established.
Something established, as:
An arranged order or system, especially a legal code.
A permanent civil, political, or military organization.
An established church.
A place of residence or business with its possessions and staff.
A public or private institution, such as a hospital or school.
often Establishment An established social order, as:
A group of people holding most of the power and influence in a government or society. Often used with the.
A controlling group in a given field of activity. Often used with the."

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KnightEnder
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quote:
No church, no denomination, created this view.
? No, some person created this view and then built a church or denomination around it. You make it sound like the idea that God existts is "natural" and that to deny it is silly. When in any logical sense the opposite is true.

Somehow it is an attack on religion if we don't want to be forced, or have our children be forced, to say something we don't believe? Phrases like "under God" belong in church or at religious gatherings, not in public pronouncements of allegiance to our country.

To say we should just not say the pledge is insulting. Atheist Americans are just as patriotic as religious Americans, maybe more so since we don't put God before country. But if not more so, definitely not less so.

KE

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