A US District Court in California recently ruled in favor of Michael Newdow, an atheist, and stated that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public school is unconstitutional. For now, this only affects a handful of school districts in California, but it could eventually have greater effect—the 9th Circuit (AK, HI, WA, OR, CA, MT, ID, NV, AZ), or the entire country. Some thoughts:
- Does including the words “under God” in the Pledge—which no level of government should be able to force anyone to say—truly constitute an “establishment of religion”? It’s not as though President Bush said, “We are all going to be Eposcipal– Episco– Epis– we’re all going to be Baptists now.”
- One of Newdow’s arguments was that his rights were violated because he was made to feel like a “political outsider” and that his ability to “fit in” was inhibited. Great news! According to this jackass, we have a constitutional right to “fit in”! That must be in the Twenty-Eighth Amendment that was passed while everyone was distracted by Katrina. Well, it’s about time, because I’m sick of being a lefty in a right-handed society. I’m sick of having thirteen toes in a ten-toed world. I’m sick of women telling me I have beautiful blue eyes, not ugly brown ones. Where’s my lawyer?
- Newdow, the plaintiff, strikes me as a busybody. There is a saying, “Don’t make a federal case out of it,” which would apply here. For Christ’s Sake, just tell your kid: “I’m an atheist, and I am going to raise you to be an atheist.” The same as I’ll have to tell my children one day: “I know what your teacher taught you, but as long as you’re living in this house, you will use Roman numerals.”
- Was the status quo really so intolerable that Newdow felt compelled to take this “bold stand” against a Pledge that nobody is forced to say, that a minority of people actually take seriously, and that a majority of people don’t even remember the words to? Does he think that because his daughter (a Christian, by the way) might hear the words “under God,” or even say them if she chose to, that he is as oppressed as, say, Rosa Parks? Or the Japanese-Americans in the internment camps during WWII? Or the Cherokees marching along the Trail of Tears? Or anybody else who actually had a real-live valid gripe about the government?
- How can teacher-led recitation of the Pledge be considered a violation of the Establishment Clause, without some higher court eventually finding the Pledge itself to be unconstitutional on the same grounds?
Ultimately, the issue is the constitutionality of the “under God” version of the Pledge. Or of our motto, “In God We Trust.” Or of the use of Egyptian and Masonic religious symbols on our money. Or of the Constitution’s own mention of “the Year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven.” So here are some potential solutions to this “crisis”:
1. Remove “under God” from the Pledge. Upside: Restores the Pledge to its pre-1954 text, which was undoubtedly constitutional. Downside: God unleashes earthquakes, floods, and locusts upon us.
2. Replace “under God” with “under the supernatural or natural force, or lack thereof, of my own choosing.” Upside: Covers all the bases. Downside: Too wordy. Doesn’t flow.
3. Replace “under God” with a phrase from the Declaration of Independence. For example:
- “under Nature’s God,” who entitles us to have separate and equal station with other nations.
- “under our Creator,” who endows us with certain unalienable rights, among which are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
- “under divine Providence,” which gives teachers the opportunity to teach two more terms which could show up on the SAT Verbal.
Upside: Recognizes the historical influence of religion on the founding of our country in a way that will probably irritate Newdow even more—just for the sake of irritating him. Downside: Runs the risk of having the Declaration of Independence declared unconstitutional, which would immediately return the United States to British colonial status.
Seriously, though, I like #3.
PS. Two Mormon gentlemen just knocked on my door to share a message and I turned them away. I’m in a lot of trouble.
This entry was posted on Friday, September 16th, 2005 at 4:18 PM.
6 Responses to “The Pledge.”
1. Anyone USA Says:
September 18th, 2005 at 10:51 PM
You must be lonely. But not lonely enough. Try a roast beef sandwich. And then visit Cicero for other worthwhile discoveries.
2. MyCreativeAlias Says:
September 19th, 2005 at 11:02 AM
Guess who, bi-otch….
Well, all I’ve got from this posting is that this Newdow fellow is clearly a toolbox. Since I’ve practically been given divine powers… (long story, but it ivolves me somehow ending up holding the holy water at a recent funeral and having since been surrounded with a heavenly, Belushi-esque glow… like I said, long story)… I’ve decided to condemn this attention-starved [noun redacted by moderator for utter lack of taste] to a life of watching that crazy, pink-haired lady on TCN do impromptu interpretive dancing to “Our God Is An Awesome God”.
3. Vincent Viscariello Says:
September 19th, 2005 at 1:19 PM
That’s a little harsh, isn’t it? And don’t you blaspheme in here, don’t you BLAS-pheme in heeya!
4. Lassie-v 5.0 Says:
September 26th, 2005 at 4:56 PM
I too like #3, although MyCreativeAlias’ idea is pretty good.
5. domthebomb Says:
October 3rd, 2005 at 7:24 PM
why do we need a pledge at all? most of the little kids don’t even know what they’re saying…
6. Vincent Viscariello Says:
October 5th, 2005 at 11:31 PM
We need a Pledge because in 1892, the United States was conquered and its citizens enslaved by a race of multicolored cloth monsters from Mars. They have been merciful thus far and I for one don’t want to antagonize them.