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Bye-Bye God!
Ding-dong, the Pledge is gone! Well, at least, there might be hope it's on its way out...or, at least, the god part might be:

Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools was ruled unconstitutional Wednesday by a federal judge who granted legal standing to two families represented by an atheist who lost his previous battle before the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled that the pledge's reference to one nation "under God" violates school children's right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God."


Posted by aalkon at September 14, 2005 10:01 AM

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Unfortunately, judges who actually understand and correctly apply the Constitution simply infuriate (and activate) the right wing idiots who predict the fall of civilization if the God reference isn't kept in the Pledge of Allegiance (and the 10 commandments posted in every public place, public Christian prayers at government meetings and high school football games, and so forth).

Of course, these idiots will conveniently ignore the fact that the "under God" line was only put there in the 50s to emphasize our differences from the "godless commies" - so I guess the republic was in grave danger and simply didn't realize it prior to the Eisenhower administration.

I just wish we could stick some of the right wing Christian leaders in a Muslim country, so they could experience first-hand what it is like to be in a religious minority that is told daily, and in all walks of life, that their point of view is totally invalid. Let's have their kids have to start the day being required to chant "there is no god but Allah" and face ridicule or worse if they refuse - force little kids to defend their parents' idiosyncratic beliefs to peers taught by THEIR parents to be intolerant - and see how they like it.

Posted by: Melissa at September 14, 2005 2:23 PM

Well, this has certainly already caused some cranial implosions amoung the fundies, though I applaud the decision.

Incidently, the phrase "under God" was added to the Pledge in 1954, at the urging of the Knights of Columbus, to distinguish us from the "godless communists".

The pledge itself was written by a Socialist back in 1892.

Posted by: deja pseu at September 14, 2005 2:27 PM

I think you guys have shot yourselves in the foot without even knowing it. We have two vacancies on the Supreme Court. This ruling will make it easier for Bush to slip two uber-Conservative judges onto the court by arguing that the courts are out of control since 9 out of 10 Americans support the Pledge. You won this battle but might have cost yourself the war.

Posted by: nash at September 14, 2005 3:40 PM

Call me nuts, but in an era when people apparently are taught to look to government for everything, I really wonder how to teach people they have to put out in order for it to work. Indoctrination of the young isn't my goal - it seems creepy - but selfishness is highly overrated, for all its promotion.

Posted by: Radwaste at September 14, 2005 4:11 PM

Do you equate belief in god with unselfishness? Um, look to all the people driving huge air pollutionmobiles in church parking lots, and see how many of the believers actually take a vow of poverty?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 14, 2005 4:25 PM

Good point Nash.

Does anyone remember the study a few years back when they asked high schoolers to define "pledge" "allegiance" "republic" "indivisible" "liberty" and "justice" and the accurate responses were less than impressive?

Posted by: eric at September 14, 2005 5:03 PM

I was in elementary school when Eisenhower added the "under God" bit to the Pledge, which we had already been reciting every morning.

Even as a kid, I thought the two-word inflation was a bad idea -- the reference to "God" didn't bother me, particularly, but the damned thing no longer scanned right.

In any event, if the Pledge of Allegiance is so gul-durned important, why just force it on innocent schoolkids -- maybe we should be reciting it all the way through graduate school, then every day at work?

And why, for that matter, aren't meetings of Congress and presidential briefings (for instance) opened with the Pledge of Allegiance?

Posted by: Todd Everett at September 15, 2005 1:20 PM

"Do you equate belief in god with unselfishness?"

No, and don't jump to conclusions like that. I am remembering an account in Thomas Flexner's The Indispensable Man, a Pulitzer prize-winning biography of George Washington. George, while leading the Continental Army, realized that farmers were under duress when their land was occupied by the British; rather than punish them, he merely required an oath of allegiance.

We have too many voices yelling "Me! Me! Me!", and lining up for largesse without a thought. How does one counter that, to encourage people to be good citizens?

Posted by: Radwaste at September 15, 2005 4:07 PM

I'm with Nash. Sure, Newdow's right that 'Under God' had no place being put in by Eisenhower (at McCarthy's request). But is this battle really worth the cost? And even if he gets this back to the supreme court, how is he going to argue against the constitutionality of ceremonial deism before a body which begins each session by saying 'Oye, Oye, Oye, God Save America and God save the Supreme court?' (or something like that)

Fight the battles that matter, and let the idiots take the inconsequential ones so they can feel like they're on even footing.

Posted by: Little Ted at September 15, 2005 6:55 PM

I am amazed at how many "hate" or are "Christ-o-phobes" but have #1 no idea about nor have read the Bible... Ignorance is bliss but never never an excuse! Read it and you might, perhaps maybe understand what having a personal relationship with Chirst is all about...Until then, ignorance is bliss

Posted by: David at October 9, 2005 7:51 PM

Apparently, ignorance is bliss for you, since you believe, without proof, in the existence of a mythical figure whom somebody noted is a ringer for god myths in other cultures. I don't believe in Jesus as anything but a story, the Easter bunny, or that I'm going to wake up and be able to turn people chartreuse with the wave of my hand. Aren't you embarrassed, David, that your ability to reason lies fallow?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 9, 2005 10:08 PM

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