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ShelbyAD
06-26-2002, 06:05 PM
Sorry if I spelled it wrong. Have any of you heard about what is going on in schools with the Pledge of Alligance (sp?)? Some kid did not want to say it, apparently the teacher made him/her and now the parents are making a big production out of it and wants it emliminated from schools. It is now in the California Supreme Court for ruling. It was that it was Against the Constitution. All because of the words "Under God". Apparently the student did not believe in God. When I was in school you had a choice of whether or not to say it. If you did not believe in the "Christian God" you could just "sit it out".

I think students should be given a choice.

I know religion is a VERY TOUCHY subject, just wanted to voice my opinion.

ImaginationHost
06-26-2002, 06:20 PM
I also know religion is a touchy subject but I figured I'd voice the Constitutional Rights side of me...
When the Supreme Court declared that the Pledge is unconstitutional, they were correct from a "Constitutional Aspect". Because the "Under God" part is not defined and there is a separation of church and state in the US, it does go against the constitution. However, I am not saying that this is right. I just thought I would clarify what the court's decision was based on.

ImaginationHost

Figaro
06-26-2002, 10:42 PM
The phrase "Under God" could mean ( i dont want to sound as if im attacking religion or anything if i mess up ) the christian god, the muslim god,the jewish god, it really applies to ALL religions, so it shouldn't be that big of deal and saying it's "prejidice" (sp?). Yes, the teacher was wrong for making the student say it, but it still stands that "under god" means the god you belive in and worship.

angel8783
06-26-2002, 11:42 PM
The appeals court in Circuit 9 did rule today that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional. In my opinion this is another example of the separation of church and state being misinterpreted. This will definently find its way to the Supreme Court.

Ian
06-27-2002, 12:50 AM
Some people really have a misconception about what the separation of church and state really means.

Remember ... In the old days the "Pilgrims", for lack of a better word, came to America seeking freedom of religion. Simplisically speaking, the government of England endorsed one religion and persecuted those who were not members of that religion. The church and the government were virtually one, with the church having major influence over laws and actions of the people.

When the new government of the U.S. was established, freedom of religion and separation of church and state were written in to the Constitution to prevent this from happening again. Basically all it says is that the U.S. government cannot discriminate against folks based on their religion ... this was in the very first amendment to the Constitution, or the first amendment in the Bill of Rights.

It reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

As you can see, it says only that Congress shall make no laws that establish an "official" religion, nor can they prevent the free exercise of religion.

Because saying the words "under God" when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance doesn't really violate any of those rights (I.E. it doesn't tell you what God it is or that you must worship him) I don't think it's unconstitutional.

All that being said, I suppose if I didn't believe in God it might be a problem, so why don't we just re-word it to remove that and make all school kids say it? I think it's important, especially nowadays.

Disney-4-Me
06-27-2002, 12:52 AM
This country is becoming sue crazy! You don't want to say it, don't say it. I wonder if the child really wants to do this or if it is the parent.

TiggerRPh
06-27-2002, 01:11 AM
Stupid thing is the parent started this because he didn't want his daughter to feel excluded by not saying the pledge....with all this fuss, how do you think the social interaction with his daughter is now?

roses
06-27-2002, 01:19 AM
The pledge is to our nation. Not to a relgion. I think people are taking this way out of proportion. I think they need to remember the first few words...

I pledge allegance to the flag, of the United States of America...

That is what the pledge is for. Its not a relgion thing. So you don't believe in god, then don't say those two words. Simple as that. :mad:

Rhetoric2000
06-27-2002, 07:07 AM
Speaking as someone who is a Catholic turned strong agnostic (who was still told I had to attend church by school).

As far as I am concerned, it seems as if there is a strong social pressure at various times to recite the pledge. The phrase "One nation, under God" is INARGUABLY a statement of a belief in God.
Therefore there is a strong pressure to state a belief in God.

In my opinion this is indeed unconstitutional/ wrong and despite the inevitable hoodoo that will result from this ruling it is actually the correct one; unfortunately people will think that this "ruins the pledge" or "disturbs the fabric of America" - but "coincidentally" these will all be Christians and Jews.

People must accept that religion has no place in organisations and politics, and certainly not in "national doctrine".

MoususMaximus
06-27-2002, 11:04 AM
The Constitution protects freedom "OF" religeon, not freedom "FROM" religion. No one is guaranteed the right to never be exposed to religion, just to not be forced to to practice one. The pledge includes no prayer or other religious rite, just an acknowlegment of religion.

[ June 27, 2002, 10:04 AM: Message edited by: MoususMaximus ]

TheSorcererofFantasia
06-27-2002, 11:14 AM
Ian, you took thoughts out of me head! ;)

This ruling deeply saddens me after everything this country has been through. While I understand religion is a 'heated' subject I think this unbelievable.

This father was concerned with his daughter's contitutional rights not to have to say the Pledge because of his religious beliefs. So for this one child we should take away the constitutional rights of the other say 20 other children in the class who want to say the Pledge of Allegiance?

The easiest solution would be for those who find the words 'under god' in the Pledge of Allegiance offesive DON'T SAY THAT PHRASE while you resite the Pledge!

If this father finds this so offensive tell me what does he do for cash?? Doesn't US currency contain the phrase 'In God We Trust'?? Does he find the use of US currency offensive too??

A Big Kid
06-27-2002, 11:17 AM
I am amazed that none of the talking heads on TV /radio have brought the point I am bringing up.

Last week, the US Supreme Court ruled that executing the "borderline retarded" is unconstitutional because "public opinion" on the death penalty has changed.

Well, "public opinion" is clearly on the side of Saying the Pledge as it stands.

What will they say about "public opinion" now?

goofgal
06-27-2002, 11:19 AM
Originally posted by TheSorcererofFantasia:
If this father finds this so offensive tell me what does he do for cash?? Doesn't US currency contain the phrase 'In God We Trust'?? Does he find the use of US currency offensive too??Actually, I saw an interview with the "gentleman" yesterday and he said his original thought was to sue to take "In God We Trust" off of all our currency. He settled on the Pledge of Allegiance suit because he figured that one was more winnable.

And according to what I saw, the child was not forced to recite the pledge. The father objected to her having to listen to it!

pjbs35a
06-27-2002, 11:38 AM
More (http://www.msnbc.com/news/772714.asp)

TheSorcererofFantasia
06-27-2002, 11:39 AM
Originally posted by goofgal:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by TheSorcererofFantasia:
If this father finds this so offensive tell me what does he do for cash?? Doesn't US currency contain the phrase 'In God We Trust'?? Does he find the use of US currency offensive too??Actually, I saw an interview with the "gentleman" yesterday and he said his original thought was to sue to take "In God We Trust" off of all our currency. He settled on the Pledge of Allegiance suit because he figured that one was more winnable.

And according to what I saw, the child was not forced to recite the pledge. The father objected to her having to listen to it!</font>[/QUOTE]Hopefully he protects her from having to see US currency too! :rolleyes: As a matter of fact, wonder if he protects her from hearing the Star Spangled Banner . . . maybe he should sue to have that stopped also since the orginal with all the verses contains the words "In God We Trust". ;)

Munch
06-27-2002, 12:15 PM
I'm hearing so manythings here . . .

Something to remember. The words are there in the pledge and on our money because the founding fathers DID believe in God. They were creating a nation "under God". If you don't like what they created, you don't have to live here. No one says you have to have the same beliefs, but you shouldn't be able to silence anyone else's beliefs either. And why is it always the Christian faith that gets picked on? If someone spoke out against a Star of David or any other religious symbol being displayed they would be shot down in a heartbeat.

As to the Constitution, its not there to protect against hurt feelings. Its a set of guidelines for governing. The job of the Supreme Court is to interpret what the founding fathers meant. It seems to me by using the words "Under God" and "In God We Trust" they were pretty clear about that.

p.s. Christians and Jews DO worship the same God why do people have trouble understanding that? And as I understand it, the Moslem faith has the same roots. So, what's the problem?

imported_JohnY
06-27-2002, 12:24 PM
Better remove the word God and Creator from the declaration of Independence while we are at it. Heck, it's only the document that founded our nation. We need to be PC don't you know. Can't have the name of God invoked there can we? Oh, and we better not have "God Bless America". But then, if we just say, Bless America, who will Bless Us?

It's fairly clear to me that this will be overturned and was generated by one of the most liberal courts in the country which is clearly out of touch with the mood of the public and nation in general.

Want to understand what the pledge means...
http://home.att.net/~poofcatt/july.html

I echo Ian's sentiments.

Munch
06-27-2002, 12:45 PM
Originally posted by JohnY:
Better remove the word God and Creator from the declaration of Independence while we are at itUh huh. And eliminate any symbols on religious buildings -- wouldn't want anyone to get the idea that it was OKAY to have different beliefs. And no more expressing your faith by wearing either the Cross or the Star of David on a chain -- you might offend someone. That goes for anyone who wears clothing or body decoration that is symbolic to their faith. This must stop. In the future, all peoples will be required to wear shapeless beige garments, have the same hair color and cut (a nice mousy brown page boy) and refrain from listening to music of their choice even in the privacy of their own home -- which will have to conform to basic saltbox format so as not to make others feel bad for having less money.

and on and on and on and on and on

Ian
06-27-2002, 01:18 PM
Not to sound repetetive (although it wouldn't be the first time I was accused of that ;) ), but the pledge states that the nation was founded as one nation, under God ... and the fact of the matter is ... IT WAS!!!

Some people forget that this country was begun by a bunch of people who were seeking the freedom to practice the religion of their choice ... not to escape from practicing religion at all.

Yes ... in the United States you are free to refrain from believing in God. That is a guaranteed Constitutional right and no one would argue that point. HOWEVER, where most people go wrong is they have forgotten that the United States is a democracy. We are ruled by the will of the masses and there is absolutely no doubt that the VAST majority of U.S. citizens belive in a God of some sort. Why then, should the very small minority of people have any influence at all over the majority?

What the Constitution grants you is the right NOT to say the Pledge if you so choose. It does NOT grant you the right to impose that will on others. In fact, by doing so you are turning around and doing exactly what you accuse people of doing to you!

Somewhere along the line people got the idea that the Constitution guarantees you freedom from offense, which it does not. It merely says if something does offend you, you have the right to ignore it, speak out about it, protest it, or whatever else floats your boat, without being persecuted by the Government for it. That's it. No more.

I have no idea when this notion came into being, but it is wrong and eventually a groundswell will come about in American and the silent majority will speak up and put an end to the vocal minority infringing on OUR civil rights.

[ June 27, 2002, 12:29 PM: Message edited by: WDWacky ]

MickeyMom
06-27-2002, 01:39 PM
What a sad day in America. Remind me never to move to any of the states where circuit 9 has any say.

TheSorcererofFantasia
06-27-2002, 02:15 PM
Originally posted by JohnY:
Better remove the word God and Creator from the declaration of Independence while we are at it. Heck, it's only the document that founded our nation. We need to be PC don't you know. Can't have the name of God invoked there can we? Oh, and we better not have "God Bless America". But then, if we just say, Bless America, who will Bless Us?Does this mean we can't celebrate 4th of July as it is Independence day. graemlins/doubleeek.gif ;)

I'm not sure we should use Bless either, John. Someone might say that has a religious tone also. graemlins/shakehead.gif ;)

Ian, great post! graemlins/thumbsup.gif

Lil'Dreamer
06-27-2002, 03:10 PM
It's kinda interesting that this subject is coming up again after all these years. Something very related (not nessicarily similiar) happened in 1943 in the Supreme Court. Before that the supreme court ruled in the Gobitis case that all students must say the pledge. Then in 1943 in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette they rule that student don't have to say it, if it violates there own personal convictions. Interesting enough if I remember the case is that it was brought up by a Jehovah's Witnesses who felt it was against his religion to salute it or say the pledge. The part of the bible concerning "bowing down to graven images". In relation to this, an easy application of this law is all thats really need to settle the problem.
Technically the guy is right in that it is an endorsement of the Judeo/Christian God. But Christian offshoots were that was around when the country was forming. The Puritians came over to america because they had lost power and the others wanted them out of the country because they couldn't put up with the puritians amazing strick laws. The rest just came over in search of fortune mainly, what greater motivation for the human race, right?
So personally I'm against it. People seem to have ants in their pants about so many things today. Considering the voucher ruling just came in, if this cases makes it too the Supreme Court then we aren't really sure how it will end up.

Disneypro
06-27-2002, 03:12 PM
Oh jeez...this is a heated one. I'm really on the fence about this. I can see where people who are Atheists would be un-nerved by having the government endorse religion through the pledge. Although the words "under God" can be taken to mean any god (Vishnu,Allah,Buddha etc.), that is really irrelavent IMHO. It doesn't matter what religion a person might practice, that fact is that the government is forbidden by the Constitution to endorse any religion. Keep in mind that the words "under god" were not part of the original pledge but were added by a federal statute in 1954. It goes against first amendment principles what the President and Congress did when they changed the pledge in the first place. Perhaps rather than ruling on Newdow v. California, the court would have been better off refering the 1954 statute to the US Supreme Court for review.

I think that overturning this might be a bit of a tough road keeping in mind a few of the other recent US Supreme Court decisions regarding schools and prayer. In order to overturn the ruling of the federal appellate court the US Supreme Court would have to overturn at least these two rulings:

The precedent set by the 2000 Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe ruling states that although the school's prayer policy was not secular in nature, that it does have "the improper effect of coercing those present to participate in an act of religious worship."

In the 1992 Lee v. Weisman ruling which struck down student led prayers at school sponsored sporting events and assemblies the court ruled that "at a minimum, the Constitution guarantees that government may not coerce anyone to support or participate in religion or its exercise, or otherwise to act in a way which establishes a state religion or religious faith, or tends to do so."

As to
If you don't like what they created, you don't have to live here. That is, IMHO, about as glib a retort as I've ever heard. The fact is that we are a nation of laws and those laws are in a constant state of flux. The greatest part of the Constitution is that the founding fathers had the foresight to know that the world will change, as a nation we would grow and that there needs to be a mechanism within the Constitution to accomadate those changes through the ability to add amendments to the Constitution. To tell people to just pack up and get out because you don't like something is akin to suggesting that we as a nation never question the status quo. We, as citizens of the US have a right, if not the duty, to question our leaders and laws.

I could go on about this for hours, but I think I'll climb down off the soapbox for now.

Munch
06-27-2002, 03:30 PM
Questioning laws is more than a right. I don't recall the exact wording but the Declaration of Independence says that citizens have a DUTY to speak out. and the Constitution protects that. However, if you start creating laws everytime someone gets their nose out of joint, you soon have a state of chaos where everyone is afraid to say ANYTHING for fear that someone, somewhere might inadvertently be offended and sue you, essentially imobilizing the freedom of speech that is at the core of the Constitution.

TiggerRPh
06-27-2002, 03:59 PM
I echo what John and Ian have said. It is also very important to remember that the phrase "separation of church and state" does not exist in the Constitution. The Constitution is very clear (I don't know why all the legal talking heads ignore this) in that the government can't endorse or prohibit the practice of any particular religion. The Constitution was not meant for us to be a godless society.

FROG0823
06-27-2002, 10:51 PM
My best friend in grade school was from Australia. I remember standing every day to say The Pledge and she would stand with us, out of respect for the country she was living in, but did not recite the words. That was fine with me. Those of us that believed what we were saying said it. Those who did not wish to participate, for whatever reason, showed their respect by standing with us but did not recite.

Now, more than ever, it is important for our kids (really, for all of us) to learn the importance of what our founding fathers fought for and stood for. It only adds to my pride in this country. And, as has been said above, this country WAS founded as One Nation, Under God, Indivisible...

imported_JohnY
06-28-2002, 01:28 AM
Just a small note here... while the words "under god" were added in 1954, there is absolutely NO arguging the point we were a nation founded under god. Period. End of Story.

Did some checking tonite. Maybe we should ban our national anthem as well? Anyone ever read the whole thing? I had, which is why I searched it out tonite and it is now in my signature.

Seems Francis Scott Key in 1814 even knew we were founded "under god".....

Emily
06-28-2002, 01:20 PM
Oh I can't believe what I am reading. I had to respond. A couple of points:

Better remove the word God and Creator from the declaration of Independence while we are at it. Heck, it's only the document that founded our nation.

Thomas Jefferson wrote the majority of Declaration of Independence. Would you like to see some of Tom's thoughts on religion and government? Here are just a few:

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 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.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.

-Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813.

Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814

The Declaration of Independence, while extremely important to this country, is not law. It came before the Constitution and the establishment of the law of this land.

...but the pledge states that the nation was founded as one nation, under God ... and the fact of the matter is ... IT WAS!!!

WRONG. Regardless of the founding fathers' religious beliefs, this country was not founded "under God." In fact, more than a few of them were not religious at all. And to the argument of "the United States was founded on Christianity," as so many are wont to argue, here's an excerpt from a little known piece of legislation called the Treaty of Tripoli signed by President John Adams in 1797 - notice the very first line:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

There was no debate over this, it was signed without a second thought. Why? Because this was not an issue then. It was clear the politicians understood that religion had no place in government.

The phrase "under God" was added to the Pledge, as already stated here, in 1954, when people in this country were scared and wanted to separate us from those atheistic Communists :rolleyes: (as if all atheists are Communists - please)... here's what Eisenhower said concerning the phrase: "From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty." Can you seriously sit here with a straight face tell me that the intention of adding "under God" to the Pledge was not in any way related to religion? Is that not an endorsement of religion? Specifically, the Judeo-Christian monotheistic religion? That they weren't trying to promote that belief in the schools?

Our founding fathers placed the clause "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." in the First Amendment as the first item because it was so important that religion be kept OUT of government entirely. Notice I did not say out of SOCIETY. Understand the difference.

You have to be able to separate LAW from EMOTION on this issue. I don't care what your religious persuasion is or if you even have one. NO ONE is saying you personally cannot pray, even in the schools! BUT... for the government or any institution supported by the government to endorse, espouse or support ANY religious belief or overtone (and "under God" or "In God we trust" or any of the others is - at the very LEAST - a monotheistic belief) is simply and utterly unconstitutional. It's not banning God, it's not picking on Christians, it's not placating a minority, it's not political correctness... it's the LAW. WHY is that so hard to understand?

If you are a true American, you have to believe in defending all of the rights granted in the Constitution for EVERY SINGLE American. That means protecting someone's freedom of speech when you hate what they're saying, it means granting a sick murderer due process and a fair trial, even when his crime disgusts you, it means protecting everyone's right to bear arms, it means understanding that although we all have the freedom to practice the religion of our choice, NO religion has a place in government policy. You have to defend ALL of our rights when you LEAST want to. THAT IS TRUE FREEDOM AND LIBERTY. That is what the Constitution was designed to do. Protect freedom and liberty. It's what makes this country the greatest on earth. And just because the majority of people in this country may hold a religious belief, or go even further and say their Christians, that does NOT mean that we can violate Constitutional principles simply because *most* people wouldn't be offended by it. Do you really want to go down that road? Again, it has nothing to do with offending people, or majorities and minorities. I hate PC stuff as much as the next person (believe me I hate it!! :mad: ). That's not the issue. It's about protecting what is written in the Constitution. And that First Amendment, to me, is pretty darn clear.

You've got to understand that you can be fervently religious (or fervently atheist) AND understand that the notion of separation of church and state is so important. The founding fathers did understand this, and it's precisely because they understood that religion has no place in government that they wrote that portion of the First Amendment. The intention was not to remove religion from American society, or have a "Godless" America, but to keep it where it belonged - in the hearts and minds of citizens and in the churches. And yes, to protect all Americans so that they're free to practice, or NOT practice, any religion they so choose.

When governments start infusing religion into public policy, certain groups or religions will inevitably seek power (they always do) and the ability to further their own agenda and set of beliefs. Thomas Jefferson understood that, as did many of the other leaders of that time. Why can't Americans understand that now?

[ June 28, 2002, 12:27 PM: Message edited by: SteelyGirl ]

MaryburkS
06-28-2002, 03:15 PM
I'll keep it short:

All of this is very alarming.

According to a News program I saw last night, 96% of the people in the country believe in some sort of supreme being. Why do the masses have to cater to that other 4%? That's what I don't understand. It was also being reported that President Bush called the whole situation ridiculous. I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

I honestly just feel like this is not the time to be divisive as a country. The whole thing feels really rather petty. :(

EvaBryan
06-28-2002, 04:57 PM
I have tried to stay out of this because I am always the voice of dissent. But it is time for me to butt in my big ol' nose.


Originally posted by MaryburkS:
96% of the people in the country believe in some sort of supreme being. Why do the masses have to cater to that other 4%? That is not the point at all. Under apartheid in South Africa more than 90% (a clear majority) were living under the rule of a tiny minority. In the United States until the 1870's many counties in the south were not allowing their black majority to vote in elections - that doesn't mean that any of this is right. The same Founding Fathers who we "assume" were God-fearing religious men and who said our nation was formed "Under God" were also slave owners - does that mean that everything they said should be taken as rule? None of this is "law." Any decision made by any court has to be made by "law."

I am not going to state my particular opinion on the issue (although I think Emily gave an excellent argument based upon fact and not emotion) this is a matter based on law - not how patriotic we should feel post 9/11. Would this backlash have been the same on September 10, 2001? I don't know - something to consider.

Has anyone read the actual decision yet? There have been a lot of valid points raised that could set precedents for future First Amendment and Fourth Amendment issues.

I was listening to NPR today and I heard a Con Law professor from Harvard state that President Bush is the ABSOLUTE first president who has ever declared that our nation was absolutely formed "Under God" and that every court system in America must believe the same thing. That is a ridiculous, absolutist statement and could cause a lot of future problems. Does that mean that agnostics or atheists should not serve as judges? What would a judge's particular religious view have to do with settling small claims cases, settle speeding tickets or declare divorce decrees? Absolutely nothing. And for him to say something so emotional and not based on any law or intellegent reasoning whatsoever is irresponsible.

We need to start looking at this from a legal point of view, not an emotional one. I personally have always felt the Pledge of Allegiance to be a very personal experience and was never fully comfortable stating it in school. I feel proud of my country and my fellow citizens but choose to express it differently and a little more privately. I vote in every election, support my political party and stay abreast of local and federal political issues. I would hate for someone else to judge my worthiness as a citizen or a person because I don't wholly believe in what I perceive is an immediate, wartime emotional backlash to a court decision.

Also:
This has been a wonderful civics lesson for all Americans. It shows that any citizen, at any time, and with any means, can challenge an existing law in the court system. Most of the rights and privileges we take for granted on a daily basis were granted to us because a brave citizen stepped forward. Even though many of us aren't thrilled with this particular issue it is important that all voices are heard.

starryeyes21
06-28-2002, 06:37 PM
I usually don't chime in on things like this but the whole Pledge issue has been bothering me since it happened.

Children should not be forced to say the pledge in school. The phrase "One Nation Under God" promotes religion. If you want your children to be patriotic then it should be taught in the privacy of the home. The plege promotes the Christian representation of God. It was added with that particular deity in mind. The pledge excludes everyone who does not believe in God.

Argueing that people who do not want to say "One Nation Under God" should just leave those words out, or think of their own representation of God is unfair and exclusionary. Why should one child be forced to stay seated while his classmates stand? Why make one child stick out when there are other ways to show your patriotism? It is just another way to persecute and mark those of us who do not subscribe to mainstream religion.

As a side note the founding fathers were not Christians. Most of them were Deists. They believed that people shaped the fate of the nation, not God.

MickeyMoose15
06-28-2002, 06:56 PM
This will get overturned by the Supreme Court and will just be a skid mark in American History. A moment that was so stupid and idiotic that it gets corrected right away and the American people will make it seem just like a bad dream.

Let's correct the mistake and just forget about it.

Ian
06-28-2002, 10:04 PM
Em, while you made some good points, many of the quotes and references you cite are incomplete and taken out of context. I'd be willing to bet you got them from a source (probably Libertarian) that espouses the same position you are attempting to defend, so I would have to say your they are questionable at best.

Also ... You'll note carefully that all of those quotes are taken about 25 years after the Declaration was written, making them of little use in determining what the Founding Fathers intentions were at the time the document was written.

Your point about the phrase "under God" denoting a monotheistic religion is, however, a good one. I can see how it would be exclusive to those who's religious profess belief in more than one supreme being.

I don't see this as being and insurmountable problem, however, because I'm quite sure even those folks can take the quote in the spirit it was intended.

Kronk
06-29-2002, 01:57 PM
It's a sad day when you can use the lords name in vain freely in public and on TV & Radio, no matter what religion you practice, yet it can't be used in a simple pledge of ones patriotism.

Call me whacky! I just don't get it. :rolleyes:

[ June 29, 2002, 01:02 PM: Message edited by: Kronk ]

DW88
06-29-2002, 02:17 PM
I agree on that Kronk. edited by Moderator for content graemlins/smokin.gif

COMMENT - We need to keep this discussion civil, please.

[ June 29, 2002, 01:34 PM: Message edited by: WDWacky ]

Emily
06-29-2002, 05:11 PM
Thank you, Eva, for addressing the point about minorities/majorities much more eloquently than I could have. It is SO not the issue here! It's not about one man in CA (or his daughter) being more important than the rest of the citizens in that district, or about 4% dictating over 96%. It's a simple Constitutional matter. That's it!

(Oh, and I did read the actual decision. smile.gif )

Ian, to address a couple of your points:

To respond to your statement: NO, I did not get those quotes from a Libertarian source. Question though: why would it matter if I did? Does that make them less true? Does that mean Jefferson didn't write them? If you were to post a quote from Thomas Jefferson in support of your position, and you pulled it off, oh I don't know, a Republican or a religious website... does it somehow make it less valid because it supports your position? Or because it was posted on that site? I find your argument a little flimsy. Because I chose to quote Jefferson in support of my argument (rather than quote him contradicting my argument!) those quotes are somehow "questionable at best?" Or I guess they would be questionable coming from a Libertarian source, is that it? :confused:

At the very least, the first quote I placed in that post is no doubt the most famous, and it's where we get the notion of "separation between church and state." There can be NO doubt of Jefferson's intent there. The other quotes I used were merely supporting the notion that although Jefferson had religious beliefs, he felt strongly about keeping that "wall" standing. He understood the havoc that is wreaked when governments involve themselves in the religious matters of citizens. However, since you seem to think I have misquoted Mr. Jefferson, please, if you in fact have the complete transcripts of Jefferson's letters from which I pulled quotes, by all means post them. If I took them out of context, I will apologize for misquoting him. You cannot deny, however, the power of that first quote. And quite frankly, I think the year it was written/said has little to do with it.

"Your point about the phrase "under God" denoting a monotheistic religion is, however, a good one. I can see how it would be exclusive to those who's religious profess belief in more than one supreme being."

Or exclusive to those who profess no belief at all. Are atheists, agnostics, non-believers, secular humanists... second-class citizens in America? I hope not. Here's some fodder for that notion:

"No, I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God." - George H.W. Bush, as Presidential Nominee for the Republican party; 8/27/87

Replace the word "atheists" with African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, women, homosexuals... and tell me if George Sr. would have made it through that with his political reputation in tact?

But Ian, you and I have talked about this before and I want to make one thing very clear, because I know it's a sticking point with you: I really believe this is not a "the minority is making a stink so the majority have to bend to their will" issue. It's not about atheists taking God away from grade school kids or expecting all Americans to hide their religion. You have to boil it down to its core - the root issue is one of Constitutionality. If, for example, I were vehemently opposed to guns in any form, didn't want to be near them, felt they were "evil" etc. (I'm not, BTW - just an example)... I would still absolutely 100% support your right to own a weapon, because that right is granted to you, an American citizen, under the Second Amendment. And if 99% of Americans felt that guns were evil, too, and you were in that 1% who wanted to carry a weapon, I would still staunchly defend your right to bear arms. Because there are certain rights in this country, that no matter how unpopular they may be at times, are still afforded us by our Constitution. And we all have an obligation to make sure that document retains its strength and those rights are preserved, IMO. Public opinion ebbs and flows. The Constitution should endure.

And one more thing I'd like to point out as food for thought to anyone... here are two quotes pulled directly from two different posters in this thread (just for illustrative purposes, I'm not taking issue with either statement):

1. The phrase "Under God" could mean ( i dont want to sound as if im attacking religion or anything if i mess up ) the christian god, the muslim god, the jewish god, it really applies to ALL religions...

2. And why is it always the Christian faith that gets picked on?

Does anyone else see the dichotomy here? I find it interesting that Christians in this country often complain about being "picked on" precisely when it comes to issues like this one, because - I am guessing here - it's their Judeo-Christian God that is under attack, right? It's their God and their belief system that is being censored. But wait!! Then they're the first to say in defense of the "under God"-type statements... No, we're not referring to the Judeo-Christian God when we say "under God"... we're referring to some all-encompassing, formless, mega-God that spans all religions. :confused: How can we be talking about the mega-God when we say "under God," and yet when the arguments start about removing it, we're suddenly singling out only Christians? If the mega-God is at issue, shouldn't ALL religious people everywhere be upset? We aren't singling out Christians because we're not talking about just their God, correct? So why do they feel singled out and attacked I wonder? Could it be because it's pretty much assumed and implied that when you say "under God" in America, you're talking about the God of Judeo-Christian worship? And then we're right back to where we started: the statement endorses a particular religion or set of religions, depending on how you want to look at it.

[ June 29, 2002, 04:17 PM: Message edited by: SteelyGirl ]

EvaBryan
06-29-2002, 05:25 PM
Emily -
That was a very well reasoned argument, whether people agree with it or not.

I couldn't possibly add anything else - very eloquent. smile.gif

citizensnoopy
06-29-2002, 05:31 PM
I agree, it was very well put! smile.gif (Although I completely disagree with it...)

Disney2002
07-02-2002, 12:03 AM
I think people are missing a huge point here. All of the religious folk on this board are assuming that there is a god. This was exemplified in a post that presented the arguement that the US was indeed founded as "one nation, under God" I find it very disturbing, this day in age, that people have not gained a sense of cultural relativism. By having "under God" in the pledge, you are forcing religion. And yes, freedom of religion does include freedom from religion... there is a legal precedent on this issue. I'm certain people would raise a stink if it stated "one nation, under Allah". For those of us who do not believe in a god, it is the same issue. I would fight to the death defending any one of your rights to individual, private worship... even included in your community. However, by having invocations of a god in the pledge, on currency, etc. you no longer make that invocation private. This is the problem. Futhermore, in the study of constitutional law, the methodology that seeks to interpret the document based on what the authors intended has long faded away. The constitution is, by design, a fluid document intended undergo interpretation, annexation, and modification as times change. To say that the circumstances of civilization and legal code are the same now as they were in 1776 is foolish.

Disney2002
07-02-2002, 12:06 AM
Originally posted by SteelyGirl:

To respond to your statement: NO, I did not get those quotes from a Libertarian source. Question though: why would it matter if I did? Does that make them less true? Does that mean Jefferson didn't write them? If you were to post a quote from Thomas Jefferson in support of your position, and you pulled it off, oh I don't know, a Republican or a religious website... does it somehow make it less valid because it supports your position? Or because it was posted on that site? I find your argument a little flimsy. Because I chose to quote Jefferson in support of my argument (rather than quote him contradicting my argument!) those quotes are somehow "questionable at best?" Or I guess they would be questionable coming from a Libertarian source, is that it? :confused:
Actually, it is valid. It's called an ad hominem critique. You undermine the authority of a source as to strip its ideologies of validity.

Rhetoric2000
07-02-2002, 02:37 PM
Disney 2002, thank you for putting the point I was attempting to put across better than I did it.

There is NOT A CHANCE ON EARTH that 94% of people believe in a supreme being. It will be a TV Company statistician at work, nothing more.

Incidentally, if that quote by George Bush Snr. is genuine then I find that downright discusting. As was said - just substitute "African American" or "Homosexual" into that phrase.

goofgal
07-02-2002, 06:00 PM
These comments are of a general nature, not directly related to the Pledge of Allegiance ruling.

I think what's upsetting me about this whole debate is the lack of historical context. This nation WAS founded as a result of religous intolerance, and it WAS founded as one nation under God. Any attempt to discredit these basic historical facts is a disservice to the men and women who quite literally changed the world, first by settling this continent, then by instituting the first truly democratic form of government.

Read the Declaration of Independence which is THE founding document of the United States.

The first few sentences read:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

As was mentioned previously, the Constitution does NOT dictate a separation of Church and State, it just prohibits the establishment of a national religion. My history lessons taught me that the founding fathers wanted all religions to be given respect, and all citizens be given the right to practice freely and openly however, whenever, and wherever the citizen wishes to practice it.

The courts have interpreted this "freedom of religion" phrase to be "freedom from religion". With each decision, religion can be practiced freely in fewer and fewer places, and in fewer and fewer ways. With each judicial decision, more and more religious freedom is being taken away.

It upsets me that the very documents that were meant to ensure that citizens could practice any religion they choose are now being turned around to slowly REDUCE the amount of religious freedom individuals have.

As an aside, if Congress feels that the Constitution is an outdated document and the original intentions irrelevant, perhaps they should initiate a new Constitution to reflect todays values. I suspect if that was done, many people would be surprised by just how many people would want it to stay exactly the way it was intended.

[ July 02, 2002, 05:13 PM: Message edited by: goofgal ]

Disney2002
07-02-2002, 07:08 PM
Originally posted by goofgal:
These comments are of a general nature, not directly related to the Pledge of Allegiance ruling.

I think what's upsetting me about this whole debate is the lack of historical context. This nation WAS founded as a result of religous intolerance, and it WAS founded as one nation under God. How can you say it was founded "under god"? The problem is that this statement is meaningless to those who do not believe in a god.

Aurora
07-02-2002, 07:41 PM
Just wanted to say that I'm proud of being a part of a board in which people who disagree can make very persuasive, articulate arguments. I'm saving this thread for my kids in case they ever have to argue this in school.

As far as "majority rules," that doesn't apply in interpretation of the Constitution, unless you mean the majority of Supreme Court justices. Yes, we are a democracy, but all that means is that we get to elect our representative leaders, with the ones getting the most votes (the majority) winning. Although there are even loopholes in this, as we saw in the last presidential election. ;)

[ July 02, 2002, 06:55 PM: Message edited by: Aurora ]

piget
07-02-2002, 08:15 PM
All I can say is - thank you Steelygirl and Evabryan!!!! voices of reason - I love the points you made and the way you made them!!! I totally agree - and I learned something!!!

AND...I completely disagree that post Sept 11 - we should not be having this type of discussion..."to be divisive as a country". Maybe this is the best time! - I refuse to let anyone - or their actions keep me from practicing the rights I have in this country - it's part of what makes it so great!! AND...I also refuse to "love it or leave" I will stay right here and fight to make it better!!!!

[ July 02, 2002, 07:26 PM: Message edited by: piget ]

darthdarrel
07-03-2002, 12:35 AM
Originally posted by Disney2002:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by goofgal:
These comments are of a general nature, not directly related to the Pledge of Allegiance ruling.

I think what's upsetting me about this whole debate is the lack of historical context. This nation WAS founded as a result of religous intolerance, and it WAS founded as one nation under God. How can you say it was founded "under god"? The problem is that this statement is meaningless to those who do not believe in a god.</font>[/QUOTE]IT`s quite easy! This country was founded by very religious men! and they made sure to put "god" in the constituion to show this.

Disney2002
07-03-2002, 09:45 AM
[/qb][/QUOTE]IT`s quite easy! This country was founded by very religious men! and they made sure to put "god" in the constituion to show this.[/QB][/QUOTE]

Actually that's not true. Most of them put their Free Masonry ideals WAY before any belief in a god. This was an era on Enlightenment... of rational thought moving away from the ideas of a god. Furthermore, if I said this was one nation under Santa, and I believe in Santa even though he doesn't exist -- then this nation is not actually under Santa. It's under nothing (and not to digress too much here, but doesn't the wording "under" imply Christian conceptions of heaven?) Now I don't believe that the US is a nation under nothing. I believe it's composed of excellent, hard work people.

Emily
07-03-2002, 10:23 AM
Thank you piget!! And I completely agree that it's nice to see we can have a good discussion on this topic. I think it's one of the things that makes this country great! graemlins/thumbsup.gif And I also agree with your statement about 9/11 - now is the BEST time to discuss these things and ensure our civil liberties as a whole don't get run over because we are in a time of war. But I won't get into all that. ;)

And one more point:


IT`s quite easy! This country was founded by very religious men! and they made sure to put "god" in the constituion to show this."God" is NOT in the Constitution! Check for yourself: I did a search of the Constitution (http://www.house.gov/Constitution/Constitution.html) for the words "God," "Almighty," and "Creator" and found nothing. So unless my "find" feature isn't working in Internet Explorer, God doesn't appear in the Constitution. And lest my source be questioned again :rolleyes: , that link is for a copy of the Constitution provided by the United States House of Representatives website. :D

JimmyC
07-03-2002, 10:57 AM
Though this has a few errors, it's basic statements can pretty much be verified.

Founding Fathers (http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/summer97/secular.html)

As a kid, our teachers told us we could leave out the 'Under God' part. It never became an issue. I understand the courts ruling, but also see some of the other arguements listed above.

Freedom of Speech is a wonderful thing as long as we are all allowed to speak our views.
I respect just about all religions. I believe in God, just can't believe in any church. They all seem to have a small piece of the puzzle but are hampered by those who want to force square pegs in round wholes.

imported_dpamac
07-03-2002, 12:01 PM
You know, that's the beauty of a democratic nation. Government officials aside, we can have this debate freely, sanely and without worry.

No matter which side of the fence you are on, this whole debate, to me, proves that our system is working.

How? A court makes a decision. The people raise their voices, the court puts the decision on hold. It will be appealed, and voices will be heard.

Voices will be heard. Those who don't believe that "under God" belongs, those who do and those who don't care.

Our voices are being heard. And, as petty as some people think this issue is, I think it's a healthy discussion that allows many of us to realize that a democratic country is made up of many people with different ideas, backgrounds, races, creeds, religions, beliefs, etc. who work towards a common goal and that is the preservation of our freedom and liberty.

Personally, I'm proud to be associated with a group of people who can so argue their points so eloquently. Kudos to all of you.

And you still don't know which side the coin on which I fall. Heh heh.

JimmyC
07-03-2002, 12:24 PM
Gary's a closet Libertarian ;)

imported_dpamac
07-03-2002, 12:53 PM
Originally posted by JimmyC:
Gary's a closet Libertarian ;) If Libertarian means that I like Liberace fan, then you're wrong.

As Groucho used to say, I would never belong to a club that would have me as a member.

Jasper
07-03-2002, 01:21 PM
You know, this whole discussion points out a very serious flaw in our whole system of law. Unfortunately, I don't have any idea how you go about correcting this flaw.

If you can, take the fact that this whole argument is about God, the pledge and all those other emotional hot buttons.

Ok, so this child has a right to not be exposed to religion. Doesn't my child have a right to be exposed to it. In other words, when you say that one person has a right not to do something that means you are inherently taking away someone elses right to do it. You are forever trapped in a catch 22.

Just think about it!

Ed
07-03-2002, 02:00 PM
Folks, please take a few minutes to turn up the speakers on your PCs and listen to this discourse on the Pledge of Allegiance (http://www.wafb.com/Global/Link.asp?L=55077) done by the late comedian Red Skelton. I can guarantee it will give all a new outlook on the Pledge.

God Bless America !

Aurora
07-03-2002, 03:36 PM
Originally posted by dpamac:
And you still don't know which side the coin on which I fall. Heh heh.Betcha I do.

Emily
07-03-2002, 04:48 PM
OK, honestly, I really wasn't going to reply to this anymore, but since I'm already knee-deep in it, might as well! :D

I know this is difficult, folks, but we have to focus on the issue - focus focus focus!!!


Originally posted by Jasper:
Ok, so this child has a right to not be exposed to religion. Doesn't my child have a right to be exposed to it. In other words, when you say that one person has a right not to do something that means you are inherently taking away someone elses right to do it. You are forever trapped in a catch 22.This is NOT a serious flaw. You're not understanding the issue. Let's see if I can break this down: The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals never said that that child had a "right" to NOT be exposed to religion, ever. Heck, she's going to be exposed to a LOT of things in her life that her father probably isn't going to like. That point is completely irrelevant. The courts in this country do not and have not ever made rulings on the general practice of religion in this country, outside of government. The only time a court will hear a case and make a decision on a religious matter is if there's a government entity or a government-sponsored entity (in this case, the public, tax-payer-supported SCHOOL!) allegedly involving or sponsoring religion. A court is not going to rule that you cannot pray on the street, in your home, in church, in the shower, in your car, etc. A court is not going to rule that you (or your child) cannot pray in school even. They step in (when someone brings a case) on issues where the government might be considered to be sponsoring or endorsing some kind of religion. As an American citizen, you have the right to expose your child to any religion you so choose (well, assuming you don't break any other laws in there anywhere)! NO ONE is taking that away from you! But no, as long as he/she goes to a PUBLIC school, he/she will not get it (religion) in school. See the difference?

Please, someone show me one instance where a court made a ruling that somehow prohibited an American's right to worship as they please that did not involve any government entity or government-supported entity - this includes govt buildings, schools, etc. Every time we hear of issues like this, the government is involved. These cases are all about the First Amendment. They are NOT about taking away your right to practice your religion!! With the exception of a case where maybe the worship or religious practice harmed another human being or violated that person's right to life, liberty or property, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a single case where an American's right to worship was violated, outside the conditions I just gave.

What we are discussing is religion in government!! Let's stop acting like the courts in this country are on a crusade to take religion away from everyone. It's simply untrue.

Am I the only one that can see this distinction? :confused:

Jasper
07-03-2002, 05:53 PM
But that is my point, I want my child to be exposed to religion at school as well as at home and church. So my child should have the right to say the pledge out loud at school if they so desire just as that child should have the right to not say the pledge at school. However, my child is having their right to say the pledge out loud at school taken away from them so in the end they are having their right trampled upon.

See what I mean: you can't make a ruling on something like this without taking something away from someone else.

By the way, my comments are not intended to reflect on what I believe in this case, I am playing devil's advocate and wish to keep my true feelings to my self.

Emily
07-03-2002, 08:41 PM
Originally posted by Jasper:
But that is my point, I want my child to be exposed to religion at school as well as at home and church.I'm not picking on you, Jasper, I promise! ;)

I don't mean this to sound flippant (and I know it's going to), but then send your child to a private school, or home school him/her. That's your option. But you cannot expect a state supported school to have officially sanctioned activities (in this case, the Pledge) that involve religion. It violates the First Amendment. It's just not going to happen. As long as your child is in a public school, (s)he shouldn't be exposed to religion in any official manner, by law.

I should add, though, that I think banning the Pledge is the wrong solution. I think the more appropriate solution is removing the "under God" portion.

Also, there is no law that would ever keep your child from saying the Pledge (with or without "under God"). (S)he may not get to do it at an official time, in unison, with the rest of the class, but there is no way anyone can prevent that child from reciting the Pledge if they so desire (well, OK - unless they're yelling it out loud in the middle of class and then it's just a discipline issue! ;) ). So your child's rights have not been taken away.

And on that note, I would like, in all sincerity, to wish everyone a very happy and safe 4th of July! I know my views aren't popular, but the debate is a fun one. And this kind of discourse is an integral part of our society in America. graemlins/thumbsup.gif

Happy 4th!!!! :D

Disney2002
07-06-2002, 10:17 PM
Originally posted by Jasper:

Ok, so this child has a right to not be exposed to religion. Doesn't my child have a right to be exposed to it. In other words, when you say that one person has a right not to do something that means you are inherently taking away someone elses right to do it. You are forever trapped in a catch 22.

Just think about it!Your child has the right to be exposed to it while the other child has the right NOT to be exposed to it. Therefore, in a public forum such as the schools, based on the logical binary nature of exposure, there cannot be any religion. The reason is that in the home, you can then choose to supplement your daughter's religious life. However, for the other girl, her parents cannot un-expose her!