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[P]
Hands Off Those Meaningless Phrases

By gonerill in Op-Ed
Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 04:45:06 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

Reading the newspapers this morning, I'm struck by the fascinating reaction to the Pledge of Allegiance ruling. A panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided [pdf] that the phrase `under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional. The response from most legal commentators has been that the decision will be overturned quickly, and rightly so. The reasoning is that the Supreme Court has ruled before that references to God of this kind are constitutional because they are just stock phrases used by rote. Their endless repetition has made them meaningless. Our schoolchildren are not really swearing loyalty to a nation under God, the argument goes, because "under God" is just an empty phrase. So we can keep it in without any danger of a threat to the separation of church and state.


Now, this isn't an unreasonable argument. Many of us --- believers and unbelievers alike --- use stock phrases of religious origin in everyday life (honest to God, as the L.A. Times says in its editorial this morning). Our currency claims that we trust in God. And even the constitution itself uses the phrase "In the year of our Lord...", and we don't want to declare it unconstitutional. So a sober legal mind will tell you not to take all that God stuff seriously. It's just padding. You'll barely notice it.

The only difficulty with this line of argument is that America has completely freaked out about the decision. It's front page news everywhere. The Senate immediately passed a 99-0 vote condemning the decision. A bunch of Congressmen assembled outside the Capitol and recited the Pledge. CNN is running its lead story about this issue under a photo of little children holding their cute little hands to their darling little hearts as they say the pledge. And of course the more conservative --- and many liberal --- Christian groups are apoplectic about the whole thing.

We can't have it both ways. Either the phrase "under God" in this context is meaningless or it is special. If it is meaningless, it doesn't deserve this amazingly severe reaction. If it is special, its place in the Pledge can't be defended by arguments that it is meaningless. As it stands, however, it looks as though the courts will happily live with this equivocation. In the light of the public response, the legal doctrine that will soon be used to overturn this ruling should read something like "These little references to God here and there are of course de minimis and meaningless, but DON'T YOU DARE TOUCH THEM YOU GODLESS BASTARD!"

A number of pundits have suggested that the ever-liberal 9th Circuit (and just a panel of three of its judges, at that) were trying to get up the noses of the Supreme Court and the U.S. people generally. They've succeeded admirably. And in the process, they've brilliantly exposed the central, sacred role that professions of faith in God play in American public life.

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Hands Off Those Meaningless Phrases | 269 comments (231 topical, 38 editorial, 0 hidden)
*yawn* (3.31 / 16) (#4)
by streetlawyer on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:05:30 AM EST

Reading the newspapers this morning, I'm struck by the fascinating reaction to the Pledge of Allegiance ruling.

Reading kuro5hin this morning, I was struck that it already had an article on this topic, to which this would be better posted as a reply.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever

Not quite. (3.40 / 5) (#12)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:13:49 AM EST

This is more of a meta-topic: why are people so freaked by this decision? After all, it's certainly following the precedents handed down over and over about school prayer and so on. You'd almost expect this sort of decision. So why the brohaha?


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
It's an Op-Ed piece, not a news story (4.60 / 5) (#24)
by gonerill on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:38:49 AM EST

Op-Ed is for opinion and editorials. This is too long for a reply to the existing story.

[ Parent ]
I think most people are stunned (1.92 / 27) (#8)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:07:36 AM EST

Not by the idea of removing God from the pledge, but by yet-another-example of how the litigous far-left obsesses over pointless minutia rather than tackling real problems.

My personal take is that since they've failed to solve every real problem they've faced since 1965, they've turned to picking fights with strawmen as a way to keep their fundraising intact.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


What She Said's comment (1.40 / 10) (#9)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:10:12 AM EST

It's not pointless to someone that doesn't believe in god, or believes in a non-judeo-xtian deity (or deities). Tell you what...insert "Satan" into the pledge instead of "God". Recite it a loudly a few times, and tell me if it's still pointless minutiae.

Yeah, so? Sticks and stones you know. People obsess over the stupidest shit.

oh, and how is it that stripping all references to a deity from public life isn't an endorsement of athiesm?


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Nope, (4.00 / 5) (#13)
by DeHans on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:18:23 AM EST

oh, and how is it that stripping all references to a deity from public life isn't an endorsement of athiesm?
That would have been:
"... one Nation, under no God, indivisible, ..."

This is more of an endorsement for Agnosticism.

[ Parent ]
Nope (4.14 / 7) (#16)
by gauntlet on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:22:56 AM EST

For Agnosticism it would be:
"... one Nation, under a God or Gods that may or may not exist but it doesn't affect us so we don't worry about it, indivisible, ..."

Into Canadian Politics?
[ Parent ]

LoL. (2.66 / 3) (#32)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:46:23 AM EST

Did you ever read "Creatures of Light and Darkness" by Roger Zelazny? Among other things it features a preacher who talks like that. Great book, too.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
An agnostic preacher? (3.00 / 2) (#93)
by gauntlet on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 04:42:54 PM EST

I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around that idea. Is that like an ethics professor, or a philosopher, or what?

Into Canadian Politics?
[ Parent ]

agnostic preacher (4.00 / 5) (#105)
by ethereal on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:15:51 PM EST

It's somebody who talks about stuff he may or may not know about. You know, kind of like management.

--

Every time you read this, God wishes k5 had a "hide sigs" option. Please, think of the
[
Parent ]

You gotta read the book. (3.33 / 3) (#106)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:18:44 PM EST

He was very careful not to offend anyone, including God - assuming that He/She/It exists and is interested in communicating with minor lifeforms such as I.

You get the idea.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
This rating system drives me nuts. (1.00 / 3) (#203)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 04:26:17 PM EST

how is it that on-topic posts get no ratings at all, while people waste time indicating what they think of my description of a secondary character in a minor science fiction book. Would I have gotten a higher rating if I had mentioned the Iron General, too?


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Nah (1.00 / 1) (#233)
by greydmiyu on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 07:18:13 PM EST

I rated you 1 and that wouldn't have changed.  =D
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]
Oh, good. (1.00 / 2) (#236)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 07:24:37 PM EST

At least now I know.

Always thought that character was very giger-esque, though. A robot that wore a ring made from the flesh he used to have...


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Unitarians (4.00 / 2) (#129)
by revscat on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:28:25 PM EST

Unitarians are frequently agnostic; it wouldn't surprise me to find an agnostic Unitarian minister. I mean, any established church that has groups within it that support drug legalization can't be all bad.



- Rev.
Libertarianism is like communism: both look great on paper.
[ Parent ]
Equal Representation (4.62 / 8) (#19)
by pb on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:30:34 AM EST

"under God" is an endorsement for Monotheism, and in the US, generally for Christianity.  Removing it allows you to continue believing whatever you want; the US shouldn't have anything to do with religion.

Or maybe they should let people insert their favorite Gods in there, like "under Odin", or "under Cthulu", or "under Bob", or "under Satan"...  I'm sure that would go over really big in the High Schools.  :)
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

You carefully avoid the point... (2.25 / 4) (#34)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:47:29 AM EST

Which is that we have actual problems to worry about and this wasn't one of them. This comes under the heading of "too much free time".


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Not at all (3.00 / 3) (#36)
by pb on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:48:49 AM EST

I completely agree with that point, and this entire article is proof of it.  And hopefully it will disappear once it hits the queue.

But, seeing that we do have too much free time, we can discuss other points as well.  :)
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

True... True... (3.25 / 4) (#38)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:50:24 AM EST

Which pretty much explains what we're doing here now. All I need is a beer.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Good call. (3.00 / 2) (#47)
by pb on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 11:36:44 AM EST

It's a shame I'm at work, though.

Telecommuting, here I come!
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Lantern (5.00 / 5) (#48)
by medham on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 11:38:26 AM EST

Or beacon, or whatever you choose to designate yourself: the 9th Circuit was hearing a case. That's what they do, being judges. The case was filed by an atheist man on behalf of his daughter in 2nd grade. Did he have a legitimate complaint? They think so.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

What? (2.80 / 5) (#77)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 02:26:44 PM EST

Lantern? Beacon? How's the weather on your planet?


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
But... (4.66 / 3) (#121)
by vectro on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:06:11 PM EST

If this is such a non-issue, then why the big uproar?

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Ummm.... (2.50 / 2) (#124)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:09:30 PM EST

Isn't that what we're here to talk about? My original point (if you read it) was that people were mostly annoyed that someone actually wasted the time litigating this. There are bigger fish to fry than this.

Racism. Middle east peace. We could be spending our time and energy on those. But, no, apparently not.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Right. (4.33 / 3) (#146)
by vectro on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 07:26:46 PM EST

But that's an argument you can apply to either (or both) sides of the debate; it's a non-issue, so let's move on.

The fact of the matter is that it is very clearly not a non-issue (though it should be), given the uproar the decision prompted.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

Heaven forbid (4.00 / 1) (#183)
by DavidTC on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 12:12:26 PM EST

Heaven forbid the Circuit court actually hear cases brought before them! They should be out there doing that they're supposed to do in a time of war. Wait, no, in a time of war, they're still apparently supposed to hear cases brought before them.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]
Courts throw cases out all the time (2.00 / 2) (#223)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 05:58:31 PM EST

for being a waste of the courts time. Personally, I wish they had done that on this one.

What I find really amusing is how upset the people on K5 are getting over the idea that people in the Real World are upset by this decision. (The idea that they might be wrong apparently has not occurred to many posters to K5.)


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
How on earth was it a waste of the court's time? (5.00 / 2) (#226)
by DavidTC on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 06:23:17 PM EST

Someone said something was unconstitutional to the court. They have a duty to actually check this out. They looked up precedents that say, yes, school prayer is unconstitutional even if it's 'optional', as there is pressure regardless, and precedents that say that laws that do not have any secular purpose are unconstitutional, and looked at how the original pledge was explictly modified to be non-secular, and how it's recited in front of kids each day. It's not some big complicated thing, 95% of this was already decided and they just applied those decisions.

This didn't take more than a day, and that's what the circuit court is paid to do. And, more to the point, it's the 'correct' decision, exactly in line with Supreme Court decision. The precedents are there, linking them together took nominal time.

What is wasting taxpayer's time is Congress getting upset about this and trying to pass resolutions and whatnot. If they want to do something about the problem, they can easily remove 'under God' and none of this matters anymore. Actually, more to the point, they could have choosen to never sign such a blatently unconstitutional bill into the first place, but they did. Congress are the people wasting money, not the courts who are having to deal with this relic of the 50s, just liek they had to deal with Jim Crow laws and anti-communism laws.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Wasting time... (2.50 / 2) (#230)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 06:52:31 PM EST

Someone said something was unconstitutional to the court. They have a duty to actually check this out. They looked up precedents that say...

But then deliberately chose to ignore contradictory precedents like where the supreme court has already ruled that such minor expressions of religion (printing "in god we trust" on currency, for example) have no impact and are therefore permitted.

As for Congress wasting time on this? oooo yeah. Like I've said before: politics as entertainment. Keep the voters from remembering that their retirement savings just evaporated in a puff of stock-share smoke.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
No. (5.00 / 2) (#232)
by DavidTC on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 07:03:17 PM EST

I already listed the precedents. Schools have a specific duty over other government functions. No one cares if Congress leads a prayer. People do care when schools, which children must be at, use a member of the government that excersize control over our children eight hours a day and, just as importantly, are in charge of teaching them everything.

A teacher, to a small children, knows everything. Do they know if there is a god or not? Why would that be any different than knowing if there is a China or not?

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Given that... (none / 0) (#234)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 07:18:23 PM EST

I already listed the precedents. Schools have a specific duty over other government functions.

given that enforcement of the ruling has already been put on hold (political pressure, I know) I guess we'll get to waste even more money and time and find out if the supremes agree with your assertion.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
I wish Congress had some sense. (4.00 / 1) (#237)
by DavidTC on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 07:53:09 PM EST

This entire thing could be decided with fifteen minutes worth of Congress's time, revoking the flag code amendment that added 'under God'.

And let's also assume pigs can fly and my internet connection will stay up, while we're creating this world that bears no resemblance to reality.

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
-Mark Twain


-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Oh, yeah. That'll happen. (none / 0) (#239)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 09:10:33 PM EST

Sigh. Actually, given the current state of that, errrrrr, august body, I hope they don't. Instead of fifteen minutes of voting, we'd have weeks of flame-festivals and end up with every line of the code reworked.

(Isn't that the same document that describes what order the flags have to be presented in, which flags are higher than which other flags and so on? Can you imagine?)


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
So (5.00 / 1) (#198)
by slippytoad on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 02:23:47 PM EST

Having a society free of compulsions to believe in this that or the other is a waste of time?

I find that hard to believe. Huge numbers of people have died over these silly things.
If I were the al Qaeda people right now I would be planning a lot of attacks in the next few days and weeks -- John "Bring 'em On" McCain
[ Parent ]

Right. Why, just the other day (1.00 / 1) (#222)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 05:45:03 PM EST

I saw a guy get his hand cut off for scribbling out the words "In God We Trust" on his dollar bill.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Endorsement? (4.62 / 8) (#35)
by BadDoggie on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:48:24 AM EST

and how is it that stripping all references to a deity from public life isn't an endorsement of athiesm?
It's not an endorsement because stripping references doesn't deny the existence, unless you're of the "If you ain't with us, yer agin' us!" mentality. Atheism is not a religion, although some promote the idea religiously. It is a simple label or statement that the person does not hold a belief in any supernatural deity. It is not a "belief" that there is none.

The Constitution of the United States expressly calls for the separation of Church and State, despite the use of religious phrases (which were part ofnormal English 200 years ago) in the documents themselves. "In the year of our Lord" is nothing but the English translation of "Anno Domini (A.D., which is still favoured over BCE/CE)" -- only English was used in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

People obsess over the stupidest shit.
Yep, like complaints about or challenges to any of their own beliefs. I rather expect you wouldn't be thrilled about rotating the motto among deities, especially when it came time for "In Ganesh We Trust" or "In Wicca Is Our Strength".

woof.

Truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.
[ Parent ]

Wrong (2.40 / 5) (#49)
by LQ on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 11:47:46 AM EST

Atheism [...] is a simple label or statement that the person does not hold a belief in any supernatural deity. It is not a "belief" that there is none.
Wrong. How can you "not hold a belief"? You can believe (deist), deny (atheist), be undecided (agnostic) or, maybe, have never thought of the idea. The last would require a most unusual upbringing.

[ Parent ]
easily (4.66 / 6) (#63)
by pb on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 01:00:22 PM EST

Or you can not care.  I call such a position "areligious".

I don't practice it, but I know people who effectively do--apparently they have better ways to spend their time.

And since when was atheism synonymous with immorality?  The idea that not having religion equates to not having morals is sloppy at best.

Personally, I'm almost an atheist; I don't deny anything, but I definitely don't believe it either.  Based on what I've seen, I see no reason to believe in "God" any more than there is a reason to believe in any other invisible, untouchable, inexplicable, unobservable construct (which is apparently there nonetheless)...  Given more convincing evidence, I might end up changing my opinion, but evidence based on faith isn't evidence.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Selective definitions (5.00 / 7) (#68)
by BadDoggie on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 01:26:26 PM EST

It is NOT "denial". The entry you refer to reads:
"1a. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods. b. The doctrine that there is no God or gods."
Didja catch that part about "disbelief in"? Even "denial of" does not denote a faith, any more than the denial of the belief that the moon is made of green cheese forces a religion or belief on me.

The part about "doctrine" isn't too hard, either. Here's the Heliumite doctrine and belief: "Humans can't live on a planet which has no helium in the atmosphere." Agree and you're a Heliumite. Disagree and you're an Aheliumite, right? Wrong, of course. You smply don't accept some fictitious or silly statement which is not backed up by any proof. Or maybe you *do* accept and/or believe that statement, but don't subscribe to the Heliumite dogma.

"Disbelief" is just that: Refusal or reluctance to believe. Show me a sound reason to believe something (like a lunar dairy core sample) and I'll accept the bovine idea about our favourite satellite ans much as I do the rocks that a dozen guys brought back and I'll be curious about whatever theory comes out of it to explain the dichotomy.

The burden of proof is on you to prove your statement. Until then, you can believe whatever whacked-out things you want; I refuse to do so until you can convince me otherwise using basic, logical proofs which follow the scientific method.

While you're at it, check the etymology of the word: It means "without god", not "religion of there being no god".

woof.

Truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.
[ Parent ]

Huh? (2.40 / 5) (#84)
by Danse on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 03:40:04 PM EST

Even "denial of" does not denote a faith, any more than the denial of the belief that the moon is made of green cheese forces a religion or belief on me.

Denial of the existance of a deity or deities is most certainly an expression of faith. You simply can't offer any proof, or even any real evidence to support it. The only thing that you can back it up with is faith. Denying that the moon is made of green cheese is not an act of faith. It can be proven. The fact that we have chunks of the moon here on earth that are not made of green cheese would seem to provide the evidence.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Faith (3.75 / 4) (#120)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:05:40 PM EST

What if you have no faith in your denial?
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Invisible pink unicorns. (5.00 / 2) (#181)
by DavidTC on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 12:08:20 PM EST

So I take it you believe in invisible pink unicorns, huh?

What do you mean, you don't? So you claim they don't exist?

Is the belief they exist as valid as the belief they don't?

Athiests don't go around 'believing' in the lack of God, in any meaningful sense, anymore than you go around believing in the lack of invisible pink unicorns. There is a large difference between 'believing in the lack of' and 'disbelief'.

Many people out there believe in things you've heard of, and some of them believe in things you think are wrong. That's the difference between disbelief and belief-in-a-lack-of. It's a fine line, but saying that a 'disbelief' is just as unprovable as a belief is missing the point, people aren't trying to prove a disbelief because they don't care. I disbelieve in a car that gets 5000 miles to the gallon, but I'm certainly not going to sit down and prove mathmatically that a car cannot get that much gas mileage. No one is 'denying the existence of God', they're simply saying 'you guys don't have any evidence, so I'll just continue to place you in the same category as alien abducties and flat earthers.', where they stick all the people who make huge, universe-view changing claims without evidence.

Now, there are some people out there who do believe in a lack of God, usually people who used to believe in God until something really bad happened. And, yes, that belief is as much faith as any religious belief. But those are not the majority of atheists.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

How about this guy? (3.66 / 6) (#110)
by paxtech on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:24:16 PM EST

This guy claims to be a "mystic atheist", as in God came to him in a vision and instructed him NOT to believe in God, if you can wrap your mind around that.. :)

I think it's mostly just his way of pissing off the Christians though..
--
"Eggs or pot, either one." -- Ignignot
[ Parent ]

Great (2.00 / 2) (#151)
by cep on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 08:39:24 PM EST

I like it.

And just try to imagine how it would be if, e.g., George Bush were like this guy...

Try it very hard. It is difficult, but it creates very nice cognitive dissonances.

[ Parent ]

Belief, faith, and mindset (5.00 / 2) (#197)
by slippytoad on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 02:17:19 PM EST

I never thought about the idea until I was about 7 years old. That's long enough for it to simply be the way I think. Lifelong theists tend to equate atheism with doubt, which would require a pre-existing belief, and for me there is simply no doubt. It's not a matter of faith that there is no God in my universe, it's a matter of fact. By not believing in God, I am not asserting anything about God. It's not an act of faith. I don't worry about it being tested. I simply never considered it until some jackasses in my neighborhood decided to make a big deal out of it.

After that, yeah, it became kind of important to me. And it took a long time for me to realize how untrue your oft-repeated statement is. The statement I believe in no God is very different, as a categorical proposition, to the statement I don't believe in God, to which you could easily add anymore. The latter is an expresion of doubt, which implies belief of some kind. The former is simply the way things are. So when you put it in the mindset above, you distort and confuse the issue enormously to make it a contest of faiths. There is no contest in my mind. Faith is something that was intruded into my world-view at a very late date, when I had already made much out of the shape of my world (yes I knew people talked about God and stuff but I never had any conscious discussion of it). I posit no single reason why the Universe exists, and assume that for what I don't know, there either is an answer that reason and science will discover, or there is not. The absence of my assertion in this area does not constitute a statement of belief.


If I were the al Qaeda people right now I would be planning a lot of attacks in the next few days and weeks -- John "Bring 'em On" McCain
[ Parent ]

Huh. (4.88 / 9) (#50)
by kitten on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 11:53:38 AM EST

oh, and how is it that stripping all references to a deity from public life isn't an endorsement of athiesm?

I've noticed that no government or legal documents include references to fuzzy firebreathing dragons, either. Obviously, they're endorsing the sect that doesn't believe in fuzzy firebreathing dragons.

mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
By that rationale (4.28 / 7) (#95)
by Dephex Twin on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 04:54:11 PM EST

...our national anthem endorses atheism because there is no mention of God.

mark


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

Fourth Verse (4.00 / 5) (#108)
by Mzilikazi on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:21:23 PM EST

If you look at the full lyrics:

Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."

Some may find this abhorrent, but it isn't quite as rough as the Marseilles, which calls for the blood of their enemies to run through the fields. :)

(Quick question: Are the US and Australia the only nations whose national anthems were originally drinking songs? Ours was an unrelated English drinking song, and "Waltzing Matilda" was, IIRC, a Scottish drinking song.)

[ Parent ]

Not part of the anthem (4.00 / 5) (#112)
by Dephex Twin on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:30:12 PM EST

While that may be the full lyrics to the song, that version is not part of the actual national anthem.

You may have just brought that up as a point of interest, but hopefully you realize that misses my point completely.

My statement could be "any major American document/speech/saying that doesn't mention God".

mark


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

Waltzing Matilda is not the national anthem (3.00 / 2) (#149)
by ajf on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 08:00:18 PM EST

and I can't imagine Advance Australia Fair as a drinking song. :-)

"I have no idea if it is true or not, but given what you read on the Web, it seems to be a valid concern." -jjayson
[ Parent ]
OT: Sorry mate... (2.00 / 2) (#164)
by Mzilikazi on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 12:10:37 AM EST

...I imagine this is a pretty common mistake. I had to learn to sing Waltzing Matilda back in 84 or 85, when our city honored Australia for our annual spring festival (Memphis in May). For some reason, I had always thought that it was the anthem, or that God Save the Queen was technically the anthem, or something like that. A great song, regardless.

By the way, I read "Sunburned Country"* by Bill Bryson about a month ago and found it to be both informative and hilarious. How was it received in Australia, if it was even noticed?

In penance for my mistake, I'll switch to Foster's for my beer drinking needs for the next week. ;)

*I know, it's supposed to be "Sunburnt Country". The author covers the publishing decision in the intro.

[ Parent ]

No... (5.00 / 4) (#122)
by vectro on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:07:07 PM EST

It's a refusal to endorse any particular regigion or class of religions. An endorsement of atheistic religions would be to replace "under" with "without".

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
It isn't an endorsement for Atheism... (5.00 / 4) (#143)
by greydmiyu on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 07:10:53 PM EST

...for atheism isn't a religion.  Furthermore let's look at the first words of the first ammendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"

That says it all right there.  NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion.  NO LAW.  NONE.

A lack of "under god" doesn't endorse atheism.  It endorses nothing.  That fits the amendment.  "Under god" does not.  It is that simple.

Too bad the elected officals of this nation have forgotten that they are sworn to uphold the Constitution not circumvent it.  Quite frankly I don't believe most of them have even read the document.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]

Fair enough. (3.00 / 1) (#213)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 05:12:00 PM EST

True. I over-spoke. (to invent a new word)


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Go Back to Logic School (5.00 / 2) (#195)
by slippytoad on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 02:07:19 PM EST

And how is it that stripping all references to a deity from public life isn't an endorsement of athiesm?

You have comitted the Fallacy of False Alternative. For starters, a majority of those "meaningless" references were inserted after the fact, with the specific goal of promoting Christianity as an alternative to Godless Communism.

To answer your question, the removal of "under God" would leave the Pledge as it was (perfectly servicable) before, and removing "In God We Trust" would simply entail replacing that motto with the original and far more appropriate motto of E Pluribus Unum "One from many" that was our original national motto. Which does not endorse Atheism at all.

In fact, since there aren't any really any symbols or phrases that specifically identify Atheism, it's safe to say that there is no real way to do that without inserting very complicated arguments and theses into our national mottos.
If I were the al Qaeda people right now I would be planning a lot of attacks in the next few days and weeks -- John "Bring 'em On" McCain
[ Parent ]

Strawman or not? (4.44 / 9) (#30)
by gonerill on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:44:17 AM EST

My personal take is that since they've failed to solve every real problem they've faced since 1965, they've turned to picking fights with strawmen as a way to keep their fundraising intact.

This is partly why I wrote the piece: if it's a straw man, why such a violent reaction from people?

[ Parent ]

dread has come upon you all (4.50 / 8) (#52)
by killmepleez on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 11:57:17 AM EST

Not by the idea of removing God from the pledge, but by yet-another-example of how the litigous far-left obsesses over pointless minutia rather than tackling real problems.
My personal take is that since they've failed to solve every real problem they've faced since 1965, they've turned to picking fights with strawmen as a way to keep their fundraising intact.
Beware the post which posits a neat category in which to place opponents, then makes astoundingly broad claims about the actions of that ex nihilo categorization [making frequent use of the dreaded "they" word], and then ties it all up with a completely sincere reference to "they" as employing strawmen.


__
"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "Jumpers" in The New Yorker, October 13, 2003.
[ Parent ]
no evidence of that (4.57 / 7) (#53)
by mech9t8 on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 12:08:09 PM EST

Not by the idea of removing God from the pledge, but by yet-another-example of how the litigous far-left obsesses over pointless minutia rather than tackling real problems.

If that was, in fact, the case, they'd go "we're outraged that that was a waste of time", let the decision stand, and get on with their real jobs dealing with real issues.  Instead, they're appealing the decision, making all sorts of public appearances denouncing the decision, and voting unanimously in the senate to fight it.

Me, I'm stunned that there isn't a single politician with courage to stand up and show some sympathy for the kids that get separated by the state into "us" and "them" because they don't recite the same "pledge" as the Christian kids...

Well, "stunned" isn't the right word.  "Pissed off but not surprised" would be more accurate.

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

I actually was surprised (4.60 / 5) (#97)
by Dephex Twin on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 04:59:53 PM EST

I knew that there would be many more conservative politicians who would be upset about this decision, but I honestly would never have imagined a 99-0 vote of condemnation from the Senate.

I am pretty cynical about politicians and yet this still surprised me.

mark


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

Would have been 100-0... (4.50 / 2) (#111)
by Mzilikazi on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:29:36 PM EST

...but Jesse Helms (R-NC) was absent, due to being in the hospital at the time. I imagine a breakdown in the House would be different, but still with a clear majority opposing it.

OT - Dephex Twin, I'm not singling out your posts, I just didn't see a better place to stick this bit of data or the previous bit. :) For the record, agree with you--I don't see this issue as anything to get particularly angry about one way or the other, and I'm surprised that the Senate reacted like it was another terrorist attack. Typically I get afraid when congressmen start working together--the only time they can agree is when it comes to spending more of my tax money or making up useless laws.

[ Parent ]

No offense taken (5.00 / 1) (#115)
by Dephex Twin on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:40:43 PM EST

Anyway, I was wondering about the identity of the one Senator who wasn't around.

I do know that I'll think twice before voting for Liebermann in the presidential primaries if he runs.  It's one thing to be part of that 99-0 vote, and not wanting to be a scapegoat.  It's another thing to join in the irrational overreacting.

mark


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

Only the litigious far-left? (4.80 / 5) (#57)
by Pac on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 12:21:02 PM EST

Doesn't it get you stunned how the litigious far-right is forcing every news outlet to spend pages upon pages "informing" us how this strawman is "nuts" or "plain stupid" or "will certainly be overturned"? One would think that the mighty Senators have more pressing issues to deal with.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
What? (2.33 / 3) (#78)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 02:36:35 PM EST

Who, exactly, is threatening the news media and forcing them to report that the decision is likely to b e overturned?


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
No one (4.71 / 7) (#89)
by Pac on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 04:14:45 PM EST

Except their desperate fear of appearing less sheep-like than a good God-fearing news company should be.

My point is, if it is a non-issue as you say, if we have better things to worry about, how come it is all over the place? how come the whole Senate found time to stop worrying about those other important things and participate in a major photo-op about the said non-issue?

And by the way, is there no dissenting voice available except for those misguided judges and that atheist father (Oh God, said Aunt Millie, I thought atheits were not allowed to have children)? The so-called independent media haven't found any that I saw.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
"Liberal" media (none / 0) (#194)
by slippytoad on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 01:52:36 PM EST

I think after yesterday we can also kill forever the myth of the Big Bad Liberal Media. At the best, they're just a bunch of cynics who manipulate people's emotions with fear, anger, and resentment. At the worst they are nothing but the mouthpieces of large wealthy organizations who want to feed us bullshit and keep us in the dark. But I dare anyone to call the coverage of yesterday's screaming right-wing outburst "biased" to the Left.
If I were the al Qaeda people right now I would be planning a lot of attacks in the next few days and weeks -- John "Bring 'em On" McCain
[ Parent ]
Hey Porkchop: Kiss my white ass! (3.71 / 7) (#127)
by revscat on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:21:34 PM EST

Yeah, and pro-prayer groups haven't sued everyone in site to force their proselytization on schoolchildren. And conservatives certainly didn't sue Clinton about everything under the sun that they could possibly come up with, no matter how flimsy the evidence. Nor did they sue Larry Flynt because of stupid parodies in "Hustler." Or sue to get strip clubs removed. Or meaningful sex-ed out of schools. Or Darwininism.

Christ, two decisions handed down today were brought forward by conservatives: the school voucher decision, and the drug-testing decision.

If you think that lawsuits are the exclusive -- or even primary -- tool of the "far-left" you are a moron.

Go watch Fox News and shut the fuck up.



- Rev.
Libertarianism is like communism: both look great on paper.
[ Parent ]
Cites. (none / 0) (#215)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 05:13:54 PM EST

Yeah, and pro-prayer groups haven't sued everyone in site to force their proselytization on schoolchildren.

Really. Which cases were those, where people wanted to "force" their proselytization on schoolchildren? In anycase, what does your self-righteous hot air have to the far-left failing to solve any of the issues they supposedly care most about?

If you think that lawsuits are the exclusive -- or even primary -- tool of the "far-left" you are a moron.

Oops.You're right. I forgot about dressing up as giant vegtables and attacking women for wearing fur.

Go watch Fox News and shut the fuck up.

Sorry, always been more of an NPR man, myself.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Far-left? (3.50 / 4) (#128)
by enki on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:25:22 PM EST

I see no far-left in US politics. The Democrats are to the right of the UK's Liberal Democrats (and used to be right of the Labour party until Nu-Labour was invented).
US politics is very right-wing as far as I can tell (and rife with corruption, but that's another matter)
Far-left is the Communist party or Socialist Workers  etc.
But the 'S'-word (socialism) is a dirty word in the USA.

[ Parent ]
Strawmen (4.00 / 1) (#171)
by DarkZero on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 04:35:28 AM EST

Few political trolls have had the huge brass balls required to mix statements like "litigious far-left" with the word "strawmen" (or any variation thereof). I salute you, sir, but I salute you with my zero. Then again, I think it's what you were hoping for anyway.

[ Parent ]
Far left??? (4.00 / 1) (#177)
by Devilgate on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 09:05:10 AM EST

yet-another-example of how the litigous far-left obsesses over pointless minutia

The USA doesn't have a far left. Hell, even the UK hardly has anymore.

Martin.

[ Parent ]

Well, it's all relative. (none / 0) (#214)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 05:13:15 PM EST

Yeah - by global standards, the US doesn't have much of a true political left. That's one of the reasons they've turned to the courts. On subjects ranging from important ones like civil rights and abortion, to stupidities such as this, they've been much more effective using the courts to get their way than actually getting people to vote for them. That's also one of the reasons you get this kind of reaction to this kind of legal decision. Despite the way people rant here, probably less than 10% of the general population would agree with the decision - or with the attitude of the people who brought the suit.

(I agree with it because I agree with that it's consistent with the US constitution, not because I think it matters two farts whether or not those words are there or not)


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
pfft. (4.27 / 22) (#18)
by pb on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:27:20 AM EST

This has nothing to do with the words "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance; it has to do with children being forced to say it, in a state-run school, every day.  I knew it was wrong when I was a child, and I'm glad to see that it's finally getting fixed.  So STFU.

Or, as one poster said before in one of the many other Pledge of Allegiance articles, try replacing the words 'under God' with 'without God' and being forced to say it every day, and see what you think about it.

Both of these equally bad and contradictory under the US Constitution, which states that the state has no business forcing any religious views on their people.

Got it?

-1
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall

Wrong. (3.14 / 7) (#20)
by gonerill on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:34:49 AM EST

Read the opinion. (Or just the news.) This case has nothing to do with being forced to say the pledge. That was ruled unconstitutional years ago.

[ Parent ]
People with Wrong in the subject are often wrong.. (2.87 / 8) (#23)
by pb on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:37:48 AM EST

Why don't you read it?  It's on page 6 of the PDF; it has everything to do with a little girl being forced to say the pledge every day, and any news that reports otherwise is being irresponsible.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Nope. (4.00 / 7) (#28)
by gonerill on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:42:21 AM EST

It's about a girl being forced to sit and listen as her classmates all say it, and the legal issue is whether this amounts to coercion in the same what that mandatory school prayer has been ruled to.

[ Parent ]
Big deal (4.73 / 15) (#33)
by pb on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:47:26 AM EST

California law states that the class has to recite it; the fact that she doesn't have to is heartening, but really irrelevant.

Teachers are authority figures in the classroom; they wouldn't lie--if they assert the existence of a God, why should the students question this?  More importantly, why is our government paying them to do religious education?

Similarly, I find the "required patriotic exercises" disturbing as well.  Patriotism is like respect; it should be earned.  If you think that you live in the greatest country ever, well great; if you don't that's understandabe too, especially when they're trying to force it on you.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Cool. (3.50 / 4) (#102)
by juju2112 on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:12:35 PM EST

Patriotism is like respect; it should be earned.
I think i've just found a new tagline. :)

[ Parent ]
w00t I'm quotable now [nt] (3.00 / 2) (#130)
by pb on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:28:46 PM EST


---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Wrong! (2.00 / 2) (#86)
by lapaul123 on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 03:53:03 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Wrong, Wrong, Wrong *smack* (2.00 / 3) (#87)
by pb on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 03:56:08 PM EST

A friend of mine actually had a .WAV file of that; it was great.

But yeah, I think I'm going to make a habit of bugging people who put "Wrong" in the subject line.  Anyone who does that is already not changing their mind, and is usually agitated enough to produce a really screwed-up line of reasoning.

Plus, it's obnoxious, and the last few times I've done it, I've ended up being quite wrong.  :)
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Pfft yourself. (1.19 / 21) (#29)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:43:40 AM EST

If declaring your loyalty to the country that feeds and protects you is "wrong" then go somewhere else.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
It's not wrong at all (3.75 / 8) (#39)
by pb on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:51:31 AM EST

Being forced to, however, is completely wrong, and for that matter, Unamerican...
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
feeds me? (3.71 / 7) (#71)
by joshsisk on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 01:55:36 PM EST

If declaring your loyalty to the country that feeds and protects you is "wrong" then go somewhere else.

Feeds me? This country may protect me, but I feed myself - I haven't waited on any bread lines lately, have you?
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]

Oooo I got two! (1.00 / 4) (#100)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:09:40 PM EST

BTW, YHBT.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
sorry... (4.00 / 3) (#134)
by joshsisk on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:41:57 PM EST

... I don't speak in acronyms. Speak English next time.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]
By The Way, You Have Been Trolled (none / 0) (#199)
by slippytoad on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 02:32:16 PM EST

And So Have I.

He believes that he's being clever by posting a comment that gets a rise out of people.

Trolls, of course, belong to a class of people who think it's clever to act like idiots and then get people to come out and tell them they're idiots. What they don't realize is that we can't tell that they're not idiots, and the difference between a troll and an idiot is invisible unless the troll reveals himself explicitly. I for one have no patience with either trolls or idiots, but that may be because I have no patience for fools or liars. Say what you mean or go jack off in the corner.
If I were the al Qaeda people right now I would be planning a lot of attacks in the next few days and weeks -- John "Bring 'em On" McCain
[ Parent ]

postscript (none / 0) (#200)
by slippytoad on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 02:40:52 PM EST

I should have figured it out earlier. Porkchop was consistently the biggest idiot on the thread, and his opinions were crafted in diametric opposition to anything he responded to. I noticed that every time I hit reply I was looking at the same sig, but I figured I had a fanatic on my hands, one who constantly backpedaled as his ridiculous opinions were refuted one by one.

By the way, porkchop, go play with your legos or something. I'm sure there's an episode of rugrats you're missing right now.
If I were the al Qaeda people right now I would be planning a lot of attacks in the next few days and weeks -- John "Bring 'em On" McCain
[ Parent ]

LoL. (none / 0) (#204)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 04:29:22 PM EST

Nothing like whiny overgeneralizations. That post was the only troll I put in this thread - and PB and I were having a perfectly good conversation before you two butted in.

By the way sonny, I was building star ships with my legos before you left your fathers sack


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Don't go away mad, Porkchop (none / 0) (#240)
by slippytoad on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 09:34:51 PM EST

Just go away.
If I were the al Qaeda people right now I would be planning a lot of attacks in the next few days and weeks -- John "Bring 'em On" McCain
[ Parent ]
LoL. Takes a bigger man than you to piss me off. (none / 0) (#262)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 11:35:42 PM EST

You've been what, a member for a month now? And which of us should go away? Unless of course, your a coward fighting under an assumed name. In which case, I still have more fight, intelligence and sense than you.


--
ACK.


[ Parent ]
Oops. Sorry, I take that back (none / 0) (#263)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 11:37:26 PM EST

You've been a member longer than I thought. Still can't piss me off though.


--
ACK.


[ Parent ]
About the protection... (3.50 / 2) (#148)
by chris mahan on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 07:32:42 PM EST

This is not a feudal state. The "Country" does not protect me. The Government of the Country protects me, and only because the government has the money to do so (my money), and only because my representatives  are instructed, by me and those like me, to spend some of that money on a military force.

The "Country" is just a piece of land. The "protection" comes from the men and women in the armed forces and various law enforcement agencies who risk their lives to ensure our physical safety.

This is not a feudal state. We do not have a Liege, we are not under his protection. (The British Commonwealth needs to see past that--this was the reason for the revolution in the US)

[read Chapterhouse Dune by Frank Herbert]


[ Parent ]
um, what protection? (1.00 / 1) (#169)
by seer on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 03:59:52 AM EST

sorry to burst your bubble, but have you ever been threatened, even in front of a police station before?  What do the cops do?  nothing.  They can't, even.  They have no duty to PROTECT you at all... just clean up after all the shooting has ended.  That's what the cops do.

As for the Army, all they do is fire weapons that my tax dollars went towards, so that a few companys can profit off the free R&D they do for Big Brother.  Then they go off and fight wars that I don't want or need, defending an unjust foreign policy, again to help a few large companies make money off of millions of workers (who happen to be working for the lowest possible wage that the worker can bear).  

What was it we were fighting about again?  The Pledge?  A great little form of civil disobediance would be to take a note from Jello and add a nice loud "WHO CAN AFFORD IT" after "justice for all".

(School kids, please don't try this at home.. it will get you in trouble.)

[ Parent ]

Dang, bitter, No? (none / 0) (#202)
by chris mahan on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 02:52:43 PM EST

Maybe you need to become active in the political process. Yes, it's hard, yes, it's messy, and yes, you can get your shoes dirty. But so is fishing.

Anyway. About being threatened. Threatened by who? By a buddy? By a would be burglar? You need to be careful who you associate with, where you go, who you look at askance. And perhaps not be so quick to be confrontational. There's more than one way to skin a cat.

[read Chapterhouse Dune by Frank Herbert]


[ Parent ]
Come on... (3.80 / 5) (#81)
by Danse on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 03:28:18 PM EST

It's not about declaring loyalty to your country, it's about declaring loyalty to "one nation, under God." That's something that a lot of people don't believe in. In 1954 they soiled the pledge by attempting to insert religion into it. There is no other explanation for adding those words. It's about time it gets fixed.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Nothing but net. (2.00 / 3) (#99)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:09:02 PM EST

And here I was thinking no one was going to bite on that one.

BTW - PB was referring to the whole pledge, not the "under god" part.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Oh... (3.50 / 2) (#107)
by Danse on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:21:18 PM EST

From his post, namely these portions:

try replacing the words 'under God' with 'without God' and being forced to say it every day, and see what you think about it.

and

Both of these equally bad and contradictory under the US Constitution, which states that the state has no business forcing any religious views on their people.

I assumed it was the "under God" part that he really took issue with, not the whole pledge.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
So... (4.00 / 1) (#160)
by mercutio on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:11:16 PM EST

So, following that logic, unless we pledge allegiance each day to our parents for clothing, feeding and protecting us, we should leave town?  No.

Just because you don't say it each day doesn't mean you don't appreaciate it.  As a Canadian, I don't have to say any pledge each day and yet it doesn't make me appreciate my country any less.

[ Parent ]

It's the "Under God" that's objected to (1.00 / 3) (#166)
by MrYotsuya on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 02:39:22 AM EST



[ Parent ]
No one has any problem with loyalty oaths. (none / 0) (#179)
by DavidTC on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 11:37:18 AM EST

Though they do invoke a rather stupid time in American history and make we wonder if I'll be arrested as a communist. No one has a problem with the mere existence of pledges, and one has a problem with the US having an offical one, as long as it is religion neutral. (Not 'religion neutral' as in, doesn't mention which God, but 'religion neutral' as in doesn't make references to God at all.)

However, the first objection to the pledge (before 'under God' was added), and the original court descision, is that forcing people to promise, no matter what the wording, to do anything is a violation of their constitutional rights, and I have to agree. Forcing them to promise to do stuff violations due process and freedom of speech.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Feeds? Protects? (none / 0) (#192)
by slippytoad on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 01:44:29 PM EST

The country does neither. And the country is not the government, nor vice versa. Why the government has any official pledge on record is kind of a mystery. Why I should have to declare my loyalty when it is part of the very goal of a Democractic Republic to be able to replace one's leaders at regular intervals is also kind of a mystery.
If I were the al Qaeda people right now I would be planning a lot of attacks in the next few days and weeks -- John "Bring 'em On" McCain
[ Parent ]
Sigh. (4.00 / 2) (#170)
by DarkZero on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 04:33:00 AM EST

This has nothing to do with the words "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance; it has to do with children being forced to say it, in a state-run school, every day.  I knew it was wrong when I was a child, and I'm glad to see that it's finally getting fixed.  So STFU.

No, you STFU, because you're an idiot that doesn't know what he's talking about. What this has nothing to do with is children being forced to say the pledge of allegiance, because a Supreme Court ruling from decades ago declared that reciting the pledge in school is not mandatory. What this IS about is whether or not teachers are required by law to lead the class in reciting the pledge of allegiance and allow any child that doesn't want to recite it to just stay in their seat and probably be ostracized by everyone in their class because of it.

The people that tell others to shut the fuck up are usually the ones that need to do so themselves, but I honestly can't fault you for getting it wrong. The news reports on it in every form of media have been horrible.

[ Parent ]

well, yeah (none / 0) (#176)
by pb on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 08:44:14 AM EST

I agree in part, but I think we've gone over this already; maybe in this thread, even.

However, when I was a kid in school, I certainly didn't know it wasn't mandatory (and apparently it wasn't); they never told us we didn't have to do it.  Actually, they told us the opposite, and I always resented the whole thing.

So it's nice to know now that it isn't required, but it's sort of a case of "too little, too late". And even if it wasn't required, I probably would have stood up there with everyone else; I didn't need any more reasons to not fit in.

Not only have the news reports been horrible, but we also keep getting them (on the front page of K5 no less).  I think by now we probably have all the facts, and could write a correct and objective "Pledge Allegiance" article.  But who wants to see another one of those?
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Not Mandatory? (none / 0) (#191)
by slippytoad on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 01:42:41 PM EST

I went to school in the '70's, and I was never made aware that saying the Pledge was not mandatory. I think that it may be one of the more frequently-ignored SC rulings of all time, considering that everyone I know grew up saying it. It was certainly news to me yesterday. As was the fact that "under god" was inserted after 1954, not to mention the whole origins of the pledge in the end of the 1800's, rather than at the Dawn of Time, as I had been led to believe.
If I were the al Qaeda people right now I would be planning a lot of attacks in the next few days and weeks -- John "Bring 'em On" McCain
[ Parent ]
Not mandatory, but... (none / 0) (#218)
by damien on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 05:25:18 PM EST

At some point in high school, I stopped reciting the Pledge every morning along with the rest of the class. I did not believe in a god, and felt that it would be utter hypocrisy for me to say the words "one nation under God".

I feel that it is shameful that only those who believe in a monotheistic religion should be allowed to affirm their allegiance to their country alongside their fellow students. When you say that they may stand silent rather than recite the words "under God", you trivialize the importance of their patriotism.

-Damien

[ Parent ]

More sighs here... (none / 0) (#260)
by dachshund on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 12:15:30 PM EST

What this IS about is whether or not teachers are required by law to lead the class in reciting the pledge of allegiance and allow any child that doesn't want to recite it to just stay in their seat and probably be ostracized by everyone in their class because of it.

Since you're so concerned with the top-level poster's accuracy, let me clear this up: the decision is actually concerned simply with the words "Under God". Teachers may still be required by law to lead the class in reciting the pledge-- as long as those two words are not part of the pledge they recite.

[ Parent ]

other reasons not to say it (none / 0) (#243)
by bolthole on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 01:30:57 AM EST

I was kinda forced to say 'the pledge' in school, and I objected to it. But not because of 'under God'. Because I wasnt a US Citizen at the time, so they had no business making me say it.

[ Parent ]
The Supreme court is on a roll... (1.66 / 6) (#45)
by poopi on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 11:12:26 AM EST

Here's another ruling. The funniest part of this whole thing is that this and the "Pledge" ruling was done "On the last day of their term...". Looks like the justices wanted to slip it in right before the bell.

-----

"It's always nice to see USA set the edgy standards. First for freedom, then for the police state." - chimera

It wasn't the Supreme Court's ruling... (3.66 / 3) (#69)
by aidoneus on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 01:48:55 PM EST

The PoA ruling came from the 9th Circuit of the Federal Court of Appeals, one step below the US Supreme Court. As a result, Reinquist and pals won't get to hear any appeal of the PoA case until the autumn at the earliest (they set their schedule months in advance, so it may still be a while). Needles to say, expect this ruling to stay in the headlines for a while, and provide lots of fodder for politicians running for mid-term elections in November.

[ Parent ]
Woooops (1.50 / 2) (#79)
by poopi on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 02:58:22 PM EST

You are correct sir!

-----

"It's always nice to see USA set the edgy standards. First for freedom, then for the police state." - chimera
[ Parent ]

should be diary (3.00 / 7) (#51)
by khallow on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 11:55:04 AM EST

I guess that court decision pressed somebody's buttons. Let me point out that this hoopla is very similar to the flag-burning frenzy. It will pass.

Stating the obvious since 1969.

Yup. Crisis Du Jour. (none / 0) (#221)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 05:41:26 PM EST

In two more weeks we'll all be saying "Enron Who?"

Politics as entertainment. Don't it make for an exciting chase scene, though?


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Patriotism (2.66 / 9) (#54)
by joecool12321 on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 12:11:18 PM EST

I haven't read all the comments in all the stories, so someone may have mentioned this.

Doesn't anyone think it's possible the reaction is less religious and more an issue of patriotism? "That's our pledge, dammit, and don't mess with it!" For good or ill, the whole issue reeks of patro-speak, not god talk.

--Joey

It's not the pledge, it's the God part. (4.80 / 5) (#58)
by gonerill on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 12:21:14 PM EST

That's a fair point. But the court doesn't say the whole pledge is unconstitutional, just the two words, "under God". And, as most of us learned for the first time yesterday, those words were only added by Eisenhower in 1953, during the early days of the Cold War and the worst period of the Red Scare. They weren't in the original pledge.

[ Parent ]
But still... (3.71 / 7) (#60)
by mattbelcher on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 12:44:33 PM EST

People get angry and irrational when you start messing with their patriotic symbols. Sure, its only two words, but people don't want to see their symbols change at all. I'd imagine we'd see a similar uproar if someone ruled that "for which it stands" was unconstitutional for some reason.

[ Parent ]
Well... (5.00 / 4) (#80)
by Danse on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 03:24:43 PM EST

Apparently there wasn't much of an uproar when they changed it in 1954 to add the words. Only now that the words are being removed. Sounds like it's pretty well grounded in religious belief to me.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
In 1954... (4.25 / 4) (#85)
by mattbelcher on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 03:49:17 PM EST

the school system was far less homogeneous, people generations of people had not grown up reciting it, and a popular President was endorsing the change (the President is also a patriotic symbol).

[ Parent ]
Reciting it in 1954 (4.87 / 8) (#88)
by BlaisePascal on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 04:12:29 PM EST

The decision discussed the legislative history of the Pledge, and USA Today mentioned some of the pre-legislative history of the pledge.

The pledge was originally written in 1892, and was intended to be adopted world-wide.  It didn't mention the US at all (it simply said "my flag" instead of "the flag of the US of A"), nor did it mention God.

In the 1920's, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) popularized an amended form of the pledge (with "my flag" replaced with the USA-specific phrase), and encouraged schools to adopt a daily recitation of it.

In 1942, the US Congress enacted the pledge into law in the form the DAR published it.  It was already being used in schools, and this encouraged even more schools to use it, especially in light of the heightened sense of patriotism caused by WWII.

In 1943, the SCOTUS ruled that students could not be forced to say it, or forced to salute the flag, because the government is not allowed to push specific political beliefs in that manner.  The SCOTUS recognised that it was being used in schools widely by this point in time.

In 1954, the US Congress amended the pledge to include "under God", for the explicit purpose of getting a mention of God into as many public schools as possible on a daily basis.  Not only did Congress know that it would be recited by millions of school children daily, they were counting on it.

[ Parent ]

Right, but (3.50 / 2) (#94)
by mattbelcher on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 04:43:37 PM EST

I didn't say that people weren't reciting it. I only meant that people had not been as indoctrinated as to its form then because it was not the state-wide custom that it became following world war II. There are few people in the US today who grew up without the pledge in its current form, whereas that was not the case in 1954.

[ Parent ]
How about in 1954 (1.00 / 2) (#165)
by MrYotsuya on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 02:36:06 AM EST

I understand there wasn't an uproar when it was modified in 1954.

[ Parent ]
Not really, no (3.66 / 6) (#114)
by revscat on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:38:27 PM EST

If it were, then the screaming hordes wouldn't have a problem with a compromise, such as replacing "under God" with "indivisible." It's all about religion.

Personally, I feel the same way about the school voucher decision that was handed down today. I have no proof of this, but I feel that the main reason that so many members of the right oppose public education is that it is thwarts their desire to proselytize: "We can't force prayer on everybody, and those goddamned secularists keep insisting on preaching that 'Darwin' nonsense, so let's undermine the whole system!" Again, this is pure hyperbole, but it fits the available evidence.



- Rev.
Libertarianism is like communism: both look great on paper.
[ Parent ]
not quite... (3.75 / 4) (#116)
by startled on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:44:48 PM EST

"If it were, then the screaming hordes wouldn't have a problem with a compromise, such as replacing "under God" with 'indivisible.'"

Well, actually, if you did that, it would go: "one nation, indivisible, indivisible", and that would just be silly. :)

"Personally, I feel the same way about the school voucher decision that was handed down today. I have no proof of this, but I feel that the main reason that so many members of the right oppose public education is that it is thwarts their desire to proselytize."

I'm pretty liberal, and I support vouchers because California public schools mostly suck, and there's no way I'd send my child to one of them. I'm an atheist, so chalk one up for the anti-public school, but non-proselytizing side.

[ Parent ]
Public schools suck... (5.00 / 1) (#154)
by DanTheCat on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 09:02:38 PM EST

Because they do not have enough funding, yet you support a measure to take even more of that funding away? Brilliant.

So, what kind of effects do you think this will have on california public schools now? Did you even think about that?

Dan :P

<--->
I was in need of help
Heading to black out
'Til someone told me 'run on in honey
Before someone blows your god damn brains out'<
[ Parent ]

They will improve or die. (5.00 / 2) (#168)
by startled on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 03:50:19 AM EST

"So, what kind of effects do you think this will have on california public schools now? Did you even think about that?"

I'm not exactly a poster-child for the voucher movement, because a lot of them don't feel the way I do (and it's threatening to public school types), but I don't see them as a fit place to send your child to school.

So go ahead, give me your worst-case scenario-- they can't operate, and have to be shut down? Oh no! Good riddance.

Just to add more fuel to the fire, it appears they suck in New York too:
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/27/opinion/27HERB.html
"in the view of the majority in Tuesday's ruling, the city's 1.1 million schoolchildren are already getting all that they are entitled to. The state is not obligated, the panel said, to provide the kids with anything more than a "minimally adequate opportunity" to receive a sound, basic education. An opportunity to achieve at about an eighth grade level was deemed sufficient, and that is already being provided, the justices ruled.... as Justice Alfred D. Lerner, writing for three of the four justices in the majority, said, 'Society needs workers in all levels of jobs, the majority of which may very well be low level.'"

You send your kid to school to work at a "low level" job, and I'll take back a tiny bit of my taxes and prepare my kid for something better.

[ Parent ]
Just to be careful (none / 0) (#185)
by joecool12321 on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 12:14:23 PM EST

I think we need to try and make sure all children have some place to go. I just think that rather having one monopoly on the government spending, there should be competition for the money. As long as everyone is treated equally under the law (everyone gets the same stipend), I think vouchers are good.

--Joey

[ Parent ]

Not quite (5.00 / 1) (#142)
by joecool12321 on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 07:09:21 PM EST

"If it were, then the screaming hordes wouldn't have a problem with a compromise..."

startled's comment aside, your observation doesn't disprove my thesis. If people are upset because it's a symbol, any change at all would upset them. Furthermore, compromise isn't really an option, now, is it? It may be in the future, but it's not yet at this point.

Imagine I wanted to take away your right arm. Your initial reaction would be, "No, I want all of it!" You wouldn't say, "Oh, perhaps, kind sir, you'll only take the pinky finger." Not a perfect illustration, but I think you see my point. For good or ill, people have become attached to that symbol.

I have no proof of this, but I feel that the main reason that so many members of the right oppose public education is that it is thwarts their desire to proselytize: "We can't force prayer on everybody, and those goddamned secularists keep insisting on preaching that 'Darwin' nonsense, so let's undermine the whole system!" Again, this is pure hyperbole, but it fits the available evidence.
  1. What available evidence does it fit?
  2. What if people oppose publec education because public education is a failure.
  3. Perhaps the evidence fits this scenario better: the money-grubbing teacher's union is (on the whole) lazy as all-get-out. The people who are most upset about this decision are the people with their hand in your pocket , as someone else pointed out.
  4. I really don't care about debating evolution. I was the affirmative speaker at a debate attended by over 200 people in which teaching ID in public school was the issue. I have yet to hear an answer to my challenge: what are you afraid of? Evolution is by no means a fact in the same way QM is a fact - let kids decide for themselves, rather than forcing your view on them.
  5. As long as everyone is recieving an education, why shouldn't the be able to decide where to recieve it?
Well, this isn't a debate on school vouchers, so if you only want to respond to the first two paragraphs, that's o.k.

--Joey

[ Parent ]

Symbols (none / 0) (#190)
by slippytoad on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 01:36:42 PM EST

For good or ill, people have become attached to that symbol.

This morning it sort of coalesced to me why I was so bothered by the God all over our national symbols -- it's because having "meaningless" religious symbols pasted over the symbols of our patriotism puts something that I can't accept between me and those symbols. Therefore when the flags and "God Bless America" came out en masse on September 12th, I had nothing but a sort of senseless anger and a lukewarm feeling of shared communal suffering. That communal feeling is gone, as of yesterday, and all that's left is the fear and the anger.

On a completely different note:

# I really don't care about debating evolution. I was the affirmative speaker at a debate attended by over 200 people in which teaching ID in public school was the issue. I have yet to hear an answer to my challenge: what are you afraid of? Evolution is by no means a fact in the same way QM is a fact - let kids decide for themselves, rather than forcing your view on them.

Because Intelligent Design is a thin facade over the face of Creationism, which is not based on any factual information, and casting the two as "competing theories" is utter nonsense. Theories are models of the world that fit the available evidence and (if they're any good at all) predict either future discoveries or phenomena. There is no evidence for Creationism outside of the Bible and some fake plaster footprints in Texas. Creationism (and ID) make no predictions that can be tested. And for those interested, here are some of the reasons why were are not as intelligently designed as some people would have us think. My favorite is the spearing of our easily-infected prostate gland by an important channel like the urethra -- the infection of the prostate of course swells it shut.

Another greatly-misrepresented point (which you seem happy to continue to twist here without cause) is that Evolution is not a theory, it is and always has been a fact. Evolution by natural selection is the theory, but Creationist's pseudo-scientific supporters would have us simply ignore the enormous body of facts about our biological origins, and often get away with it because the facts are complex enough that it takes a bit of study to appreciate their reality, and much of the evidence can be merely wished away, at least in front of a significantly credulous and otherwise uninformed audience.

All of this because they are so afraid that people will doubt their precious Biblical Word if they begin to critically examine the world around them. Sickening.
If I were the al Qaeda people right now I would be planning a lot of attacks in the next few days and weeks -- John "Bring 'em On" McCain
[ Parent ]

taking an oath (3.85 / 7) (#56)
by mech9t8 on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 12:16:43 PM EST

Similarly, if "under God" doesn't mean anything, then (therefore) raising your right hand and taking an oath doesn't mean anything.  Is that what we want to teach kids?

Either taking an oath means something, in which case "under god" means something, or it doesn't?  Is everyone that contends "under god" is a meaningless phrase willing to contend that taking an oath is meaningless as well?

--
IMHO

If you do not believe in God (3.25 / 4) (#59)
by krek on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 12:22:55 PM EST

then, yes, taking an oath to God is meaningless.

[ Parent ]
that's not what you're saying (3.25 / 4) (#62)
by mech9t8 on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 12:57:42 PM EST

Putting your hand on your heart and raising your hand doesn't necessarily have anything to with God; you're basically indicating that you are absolutely telling the truth.

So if you indicate that you're absolutely telling the truth when you say "I swear allegiance to one nation under God", you're indicating that you think the nation is under God.

Or you have to acknowledge that when you take a "solemn oath", you're not actually promising to do anything, but are merely reciting meaningless gobbledigook.  

I mean, when kids grow up they're going to realize that most oaths don't end up meaning much, anyway... but I don't think most people that think "under god" is important would also admit that honoring oaths is unimportant.

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

non religious oaths. (5.00 / 4) (#72)
by joshsisk on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 02:01:19 PM EST

Courts will provide an alternate oath that doesn't involve the bible or mention god if you tell them you are a nonbeliever.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]
That's not exactly rhe point. (none / 0) (#178)
by DavidTC on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 11:23:55 AM EST

The point isn't anything to do with the word 'God' in the oath, the point is if the word 'under God' is meaningless in the pledge, then what other words are meaningless in what other oaths? Maybe you're not really swearing to tell the whole truth, that word 'whole' is just meaningless, and it's okay to omit things.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]
That's not exactly rhe point. (5.00 / 1) (#182)
by DavidTC on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 12:08:57 PM EST

The point isn't anything to do with the word 'God' in the oath, the point is if the word 'under God' is meaningless in the pledge, then what other words are meaningless in what other oaths? Maybe you're not really swearing to tell the whole truth, that word 'whole' is just meaningless, and it's okay to omit things.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]
well... (5.00 / 1) (#253)
by joshsisk on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 08:35:54 PM EST

if it was meaningless in the courts eyes, why would there be a separate oath for nonbelievers?
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]
That's just for non-believers. (none / 0) (#255)
by DavidTC on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 11:48:14 PM EST

The phrase 'so help me God' is meaningless to the courts. It's hopefully not meaningless to the person, or they wouldn't be swearing it.

Oaths only mean things to the people who swear them. Hence the government not caring if you 'affirm' something or swear it. The government doesn't care if you take an oath at all, they do it so you will feel like you can't lie. They don't want you swearing to somethign you don't believe in, because at that point you're already halfway lying.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

so basically you're saying that... (none / 0) (#258)
by joshsisk on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 09:37:49 AM EST

...it's not meaningless to the courts.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]
No, I'm saying it is. (none / 0) (#261)
by DavidTC on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 04:10:06 PM EST

It's completely meaningless to the courts. It's effects, however, are not.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]
If the court cares about it's effects... (none / 0) (#265)
by joshsisk on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 11:53:58 AM EST

...which I imagine they do, then it's not meaningless to them.

If it was meaningless, they wouldn't bother to swear people in.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]

A full loop! (5.00 / 1) (#266)
by DavidTC on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:27:11 AM EST

And, we're back to the original point, I think: They don't bother swearing in people. Well, maybe, technically, they 'bother', but if a person says no, they don't worry about it.

I stand by my statement: the oath is not important, the effects are. Hence, if the oath will have no effect on you, they just skip it. ;)

It's like wedding vows. You aren't required to have wedding vows, and they have no legal status, but even the county clerk will ask you if you want to say them, because the state wants people to remain married and thinks wedding vows will help it. But forcing people to say wedding vows won't help anything.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

In my experience... (none / 0) (#268)
by joshsisk on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:22:32 PM EST

...you have to be sworn in, though not necessarily with the Christian oath. In fact, if you tell them you don't believe in God, they will use the non-Christian oath.

My courtroom experience is limited, however - I'll also admit I didn't try telling them that I didn't want to swear to any oath, though. They asked me if I wanted a non-Christian oath and I went with that, since I am indeed non-Christian. I can't remeber how it went (been awhile now), but it definitely didn't mention God at all. There was no Bible action, either.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]

Don't tell me what I am saying (none / 0) (#189)
by krek on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 01:20:21 PM EST

If you put your hand on your heart and swear "to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God", well, then, I am sorry but, the idea is that you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and if you do not, if you break your promise, you will be held accountable by God, not the court system, by God. If you swear allegiance under God, then it implies that God will hold you to your promise, and that if you break it, you will be punished, by God.

Promising under these conditions when you do not believe in God is, at best, not a very good promise, at worst it is interfering with your rights and disrespecting those who do believe in God.

[ Parent ]
that agrees with what I'm saying (4.00 / 1) (#196)
by mech9t8 on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 02:14:23 PM EST

Promising under these conditions when you do not believe in God is, at best, not a very good promise, at worst it is interfering with your rights and disrespecting those who do believe in God.

Which is why there are alternative oaths... when you take alternative oaths, however, you still put your hand in the air and do the whole "oath" motions, you just don't say "by God".  The "taking the oath" motions imply you're commiting yourself to what you're saying; the "by God" part commits what you're saying to God.  If you don't care about God, you swear by something else - I suppose the default (if you don't specify anything) would probably be "on my word of honour."

And the Pledge isn't "I swear allegiance to one Nation, By God", it's "I swear allegiance to one Nation, Under God, Indivisible" - "Under God" describes the "Nation" (just like "indivisible"), not the nature of the pledge.  So an atheist couldn't in good conscience make that pledge, because he doesn't believe that "under God" accurately describes the nation.

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

Good point (4.00 / 8) (#67)
by epepke on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 01:09:55 PM EST

I voted this up, even though it's struggling, because I think it's a worthwhile discussion and not just related to "In God We Trust." It's really about hypocricy. People claim that various things are a small deal when they gore someone else's ox. However, when they stand to lose these things that they say are a small deal, you can't hear anything for the shrieking of outrage.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


Ouch! (2.00 / 2) (#74)
by epepke on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 02:13:24 PM EST

Should be "hypocrisy." Aaaarggh!


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Ignored the word (5.00 / 1) (#140)
by chris mahan on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:57:41 PM EST

Don't worry, I just ignored the word as meaningless.

[read Chapterhouse Dune by Frank Herbert]


[ Parent ]
More hypocrisy from the establishment (4.72 / 18) (#76)
by bbuda on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 02:24:29 PM EST

While I don't necessarily like having the phrase "under God" in our 'secular' Pledge of Alligiance, or "In God We Trust" on our currency, it never mattered much to me before yesterday. Up until yesterday's ruling, I bought into the common belief that these phrases were indeed nearly meaningless, and stuck around for historical reasons. But judging by the reaction of the political establishment to yesterday's ruling, its clear that the phrase "under God" has a great deal of meaning to a large number of people.

As the author brilliantly points out, the monotheistic establishment can't have it both ways: either the phrase has religious meaning, and is prohibited by the establishment clause, or it is a 'historical artifact' (added in 1954 by the way) and can be safely removed by our tolerant society. While I used to trust that our elected officials respected the rights of atheist and agnostic citizens, the reaction of the last 24 hours has shattered that faith.

Congress shall make no law respecting an... (2.25 / 4) (#113)
by darthaggie on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:30:31 PM EST

As the author brilliantly points out, the monotheistic establishment can't have it both ways: either the phrase has religious meaning, and is prohibited by the establishment clause

Out of curiousity, how do references to God lead to the establishment of a State Religion?

I am BOFH. Resistance is futile. Your network will be assimilated.
[ Parent ]

Establishing a religion (4.57 / 7) (#117)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:48:31 PM EST

References to God elevate the class of monotheistic religions. Establishing a religion is elevating one particular religion. If you recognize a legal difference between the two concepts, then you would have to allow government to establish state religions as long as there were more than one. Saying that the government prefers monotheistic religions is legally equivalent to saying that the government prefers the set of ( Catholic, Greek Orthodox ).

It all depends on whether you consider the establishment of a State Type-of-Religion to be Constitutionally equivalent to a State Religion.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
respecting rights (3.50 / 2) (#152)
by adiffer on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 08:46:48 PM EST

I'm inclined to think they still do respect our rights.

I don't require my public officials to defend them though. There is no way they can defend the rights of all their constituents evenly or fairly, so why ask them. About the best they can do is defend the majority and try to prevent the minorities from getting too squashed in every-day affairs.

When it comes down to it, our social contract requires that I defend my own rights. That is what my neighbor here in Elk Grove is doing with respect to his and his child's rights.

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

Re: More hypocrisy from the establishment (5.00 / 2) (#212)
by damien on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 05:08:18 PM EST

While I used to trust that our elected officials respected the rights of atheist and agnostic citizens, the reaction of the last 24 hours has shattered that faith.

"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."
- George Bush Sr.


[ Parent ]
constitution (3.50 / 4) (#82)
by dirvish on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 03:30:28 PM EST

Either they foolow the constitution and the law or they make the majority of the US population (sheep) happy. I predict, since it will be decided by politicians, it will be overturned. They should uphold it because it is obviously constitutional.

Technical Certification Blog, Anti Spam Blog
Meaningless Pledge? (4.00 / 7) (#83)
by jabber on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 03:38:23 PM EST

<sarcasm>
The whole Pledge is recited by rote, not just that one phrase that has whipped the country into a media-frenzy. Why not stop bothering with the whole thing?

Since Sptember 11th, or I should say, "In the wake of September the 11th (or 911 as you prefer)" there are so many American flags on everyone's car, that it too has lost its meaning. Let's do away with that as well.
</sarcasm>

The point is that anything that matters should matter enough to be done right. If we leave "meaningless verbiage" in important things, eventually all important things will be so bloated with garbage that it will take a trained, and highly paid, professional to make any of any of it.

Oh wait... That describes the entire legal system to a "T". I think I closed that <sarcasm> tag a paragraph too soon.

If things are to mean anything, they should be kept clean of the "meaningless". Trivial daily conversation is not a matter of State sanction. In matters of State, there is no room for God.

Removing "Under God" from the pledge is a good start. Now let's also get rid of "In God We Trust" and "So help me God", and then we'll be much closer to Separation of Church and State.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

"Law is Reason Free from Passion" (4.50 / 6) (#91)
by snowlion on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 04:38:22 PM EST

...a quotation from Aristotle, popularized by Legally Blond.

We all know that practically speaking, personal opinion and passions actually DO influence judges, but you get the idea.

I think this is a good thing because we can't let our passions move us whichever way- that's mob rule, and we all know the problems with mob rule.
A healthy Democracy has mechanisms of Reason that can counteract majorities, and I think this is an exercise of just that reason.

You may feel like killing someone for a moment, but your Reason takes control and prevents you from doing so. That's a good thing. Reason is established over time. Sometimes we change our mind, but it is (hopefully) the result of careful observation and thought.

(I've frequently wondered if we couldn't just do away with the executive branch- have Congress, have the Judicial, but scrap the president.)

--
Map Your Thoughts

Sigh (3.33 / 3) (#98)
by gauntlet on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:03:46 PM EST

You've often wondered, hey?

Yes, you can join the executive and legislative in a single branch of governmnet. One member of the legislative (your leader of the majority in the house of representatives, most likely) would have some degree of power to appoint people to run the government, and to the judiciary, much as the president does now.

Usually, they're called the "Prime Minister." You remember, like in Britain, or Canada (or many many other countries).

Into Canadian Politics?
[ Parent ]

There are many ways to eliminate Executive office. (3.50 / 2) (#104)
by snowlion on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:13:10 PM EST

There aren't just one or two ways to eliminate the executive office.

To talk about this in more detail, we'd have to divide up the things that the executive does, both in theory and in practice, and then talk about rearranging them.

Consider leadership: I believe that there is a need for motions for future direction and planning. There are many ways of doing this without an executive branch. One good way is to have either a panel or an individual consiously working on planning for the future. They hole away for a few months, and come back and say, "This is our plan; Do you like it?" It goes in the edit queue for a while, they work on it, and then it goes to vote. Wa-lah.

That's just one aspect of the executive branch being performed by alternative groups. I see no reason why similar things couldn't be done for other aspects.

I have not seen the limit on the number of ways to run a government; I suspect that there are an infinite number of such ways.
--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]

Meaninglessness (4.54 / 11) (#101)
by bouncing on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:10:28 PM EST

Oh yes, the fact that no one thinks about what they are forced to repeat means that whatever the content is, it's OK. That is the most absurd defence I have ever heard of. If it's a meaningless phrase, then why are they in such an uproar that it's being changed? By that logic, maybe we could defend teaching the law of evolution in biology because it's just a meaningless textbook. The Creationists would have to concede that, wouldn't they? "Well we didn't really mean it when we specifically endorsed western monotheism over every other religion in the world." Yikes!

The real reason even liberals are siding with the religious far-right over this is because it's pretty clear that these Bible-thumpers are willing to repeal the Bill of Rights over this. Most of us would rather see the Bill of Rights unenforced than have it repealed by Congress.

I do find it ironic that when it comes to abortion, the right has no problem with a strict interpretation of the constitution. But somehow the statement of government making no endorsement of religion means that government must endorse religion.

Here's a meaningless phrase for you: God save us all, especially these loony Christians!

Another example (5.00 / 2) (#153)
by adiffer on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 08:54:48 PM EST

I'm reminded of how the Catholic Church faced the Copernican revolution and the enhancements made by Kepler that actually made astronomical predictions really work for the first time in history. They didn't really enforce a ban on the material until someone (Galileo) forced them to face it as something more than meaninglessness.

"No one really believes the Earth goes around the Sun, do they? And the planets too? Those orbits are just conveniences for calculations, aren't they? They aren't real... are they?"

Words can be meaningless until someone decides to take them seriously.

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

BZZZT! Wrong answer. Please play again. (none / 0) (#220)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 05:34:37 PM EST

I'm reminded of how the Catholic Church faced the Copernican revolution and the enhancements made by Kepler that actually made astronomical predictions really work for the first time in history.

Bullshit. The copernican formulae were worse at predicting astronomical events than the older ptolemaic ones. And they continued to be worse until Kepler noticed that the orbits were ellipses, not circles, and didn't actually get better until (first) Newton explained the law of gravity (which explained how Jupiter was impacting the orbits of Mars and Saturn) and (second) Einstein explained the curvature of space-time under gravity's influence (which explained why Mercury just doesn't behave like a rational planet should).

Inventing history doesn't help your case, dude. Neither does the old myth that Galileo's trial had anything to do with whether or not the Catholics cared what he wrote - as opposed to his making a major political nuisance of himself (whereupon his statements became useful fodder for a kangaroo trial)


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
'Get a clue' meter just pegged (none / 0) (#229)
by adiffer on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 06:37:10 PM EST

Read it carefully. Kepler's enhancements to the Copernican theory were calculationally better than the preceding theories including Ptolemy. The Church didn't have to take them seriously though, because they could be brushed off as conveniences.

Galileo put his foot in his mouth by leaving written evidence that these differences did call into question the literal meaning of contents of the Bible. He then made it worse by not giving the Church a way to help all involved to save face.

We both know the history surrounding these events has been mangled to suit the purposes of those telling tales. I used to teach Astronomy and it always bugged me that this stuff got so screwed up in modern interpretations. The Arabic contribution to the field often gets mangled or left out too and that is equally irritating to me.

Newton's theory did more for the confidence of the Natural Philosophers than anything else having to do with the bulk of the work predicting planetary positions. With Newton, we were able to get the Moon's path right and begin to understand orbital precession. It wasn't until after the invention ('use' from an Arabic perspective) of the telescope in Europe that measurements of planetary positions became good enough to warrent addressing them with Newton's work, though.

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

Your right, I misread. (none / 0) (#231)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 06:59:52 PM EST

but I thought Kepler wasn't until after the trial of Galilleo?

Sigh. It's been twenty years, I'm probably misremembering. Still, I was "under the impression" that Ptolemy's theories had been "hacked" through the centuries of empirical observation that they were actually pretty damn accurate - complicated and ridiculous as descriptions of how the world worked, but still effective at predicting celestial events, like the Moon's orbit (as you noted).

Heck, we still can't project the orbit of an asteroid more than a few decades into the future! (Not that Ptolemy could, mind you...)


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Kepler was contemporary (5.00 / 1) (#244)
by adiffer on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 01:39:29 AM EST

Ptolemy's tables did work fine in the early years.  Fifteen centuries later, they didn't match within observational evidence.  The Arabs did a lot of the 'hacking' to make them work as long as they did.  Brahe compiled the observational evidence (no telescopes) and helped to bring it all crashing down.  Kepler found the way to make it work.  Newton showed why and enabled refinements on Kepler's emperical work.

Time to write a historical astronomy article?  This little subthread sure has wondered off the topic.  8)

Oh well...  It was Galileo who forced the Church to face all this stuff as something that could not be brushed off as meaningless.  Wheter he was a martyr for Science or just too stubborn to backdown when facing a superior authority, he forced the confict that reminds me of the current situation.  

If my neighbor is asked to recant, I think I shall have to go make a fuss in front of a camera.  I know the reporter I would call.8)

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

I find it ironic... (none / 0) (#219)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 05:28:56 PM EST

I do find it ironic that when it comes to abortion, the right has no problem with a strict interpretation of the constitution. But somehow the statement of government making no endorsement of religion means that government must endorse religion.

I find it ironic that the left was happy to let the supreme court invent a new right (to privacy) in order to legalize abortion but demand literal interpretation of the first amendment.

Personally, the more rights I have, and the fewer the government has, the more I like it.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
LOL @ America (3.83 / 12) (#103)
by wji on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:12:56 PM EST

This is just too precious. I feel like sitting up on top of Peace Bridge in a lawn chair with a bag of popcorn and watching you theocratic embarrasments duke it out with lame arguments and ludicrous emotionalism. God bless America.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
And God save (3.00 / 5) (#119)
by davidduncanscott on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:55:33 PM EST

your Queen.

[ Parent ]
Thanks. (none / 0) (#247)
by Karellen on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 09:55:21 AM EST

I hope that our Queen feels a manifestation of that that she calls `God' helping, or saving, her.

As the head of our state and church, believing that she had been appointed by `God Almighty' to rule over us, her position is well known to all that live in the country. And due to a great amount of religious tolerance and freedom, we, her subjects, are allowed to not believe in the state religion, or even to practice other religions if we so choose.

Those are the priciples our country is based on, and they are the principles we're living to.

We're not hypocrites here. What we preach is what we practice. We don't claim that we have a separation of church and state because it's for the good, and then go around pandering to a huge majority of Chrisitans who want the state to promote their religion and happen to shout the loudest.

May God save your president too, and your nation which wants to pledge to be beneath It. But if they do, they should at least stop pretending that there is this `separation of church and state' that they seem to be so proud of, despite its obvious non-existence.

K.


[ Parent ]

Actually (none / 0) (#254)
by davidduncanscott on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 10:04:54 PM EST

I'd agree that the Commonwealth has, in general, a pretty good record on religious issues, particularly in the last 200 years or so -- nobody burned at the stake or anything. That wasn't really my point, though.

If you look at the post that was parent to mine, you'll find a reference to the "theocratic embarrassments" here in the US. I couldn't help but note the irony of a nation which has sworn fealty to the Defender of the Faith, a nation whose Queen is, so far as I know, still legally bound not to practice the Roman Catholic faith (much less, say, Judaism or Hinduism), mocking us for our theocracy. Indeed the Monarch's authority is almost entirely symbolic, but then again the same is true of the Pledge -- it too is merely a symbol.

That the Commonwealth has moderated its theocratic urges, however, I don't deny. No doubt both Mary and Elizabeth I would be offended at the latitude now permitted, but I congratulate you.

[ Parent ]

are you sitting and laughing because of... (2.00 / 2) (#123)
by Husaria on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:07:57 PM EST

of the pledge or watching Buffalo not being able to decide on what to do about the peace bridge?

[ Parent ]
Because we never do anything this stupid. Right? (2.00 / 2) (#131)
by finite automaton on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:32:00 PM EST

I feel like sitting up on top of Peace Bridge in a lawn chair with a bag of popcorn and watching you theocratic embarrasments duke it out with lame arguments and ludicrous emotionalism.

It's not like we just had / are having a big dust up over "in all thy *sons* command" bit of the anthem. That would just be lame and ludicrous.

Being a Canadian is so much better than being a Yank, don't you think?



[ Parent ]
Uh, no we didn't. (none / 0) (#184)
by wji on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 12:13:47 PM EST

And that should be taken out. It's "all thy Son's command", IE Jesus. An anthem that says Jesus (well, Jesus is dead, so presumably his "interpreters") can command us is ridiculous.

But anyway, the "controversy" was a few call-ins to CBC Radio. The world media is pratically saturated with this bullshit.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

Some innocuous conversation... (1.00 / 1) (#137)
by chris mahan on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:50:15 PM EST

man walking on the sidewalk: "Aaachiiiiiiii!" (sneezing)

Woman walking by: "God Bless You..."

Man, walking away : "Thanks..."

[read Chapterhouse Dune by Frank Herbert]


[ Parent ]
Images of Cartman (5.00 / 1) (#138)
by RandomPeon on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:51:39 PM EST

Anybody remember the South Park where Cartman pulls up a lawn chair and watches Butter's parents beat the shit out of him? This is what's going through my head right now....

[ Parent ]
It Seems to Me ... (3.20 / 5) (#118)
by icastel on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 05:51:52 PM EST

... that the only unconstitutional part is the word "God." I say let's remove it and be done with it already. The revised pledge would look like this:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.



;)




-- I like my land flat --
Slow day at work... (1.50 / 2) (#125)
by Mzilikazi on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:18:29 PM EST

...and, unable to come up with clever posts of my own, engage in minor nitpicking here and there. :) Mostly the reference was for the benefit of those not familiar with the rest of the anthem, unrelated to the meaning or content of your post.

Still four hours away from going home and doing some damage to a bottle of bourbon...

Cheers,
Mzilikazi

Constitutional or not... (4.66 / 9) (#126)
by MSBob on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:19:56 PM EST

It doesn't matter if the phrase itself is legal or not under the US constitution. The important thing here is that this is a visible move to make the USA a more secular nation, which in my view can only be a good thing. Whether they started in the right place is debatable but their heart is clearly in the right place. I definitely am in support of this and other rulings that decouple deities from anything that is mandated by the state.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

Right. (1.00 / 1) (#209)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 04:55:58 PM EST

Freedom for anyone who agrees with you, right?

Nothing like fascism in the name of rationalism.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
99-0 (3.25 / 4) (#132)
by dr k on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:33:18 PM EST

The Senate is part of the same legislative branch that keeps trying to pass anti-cyber-child-porn laws, and they keep getting struck down by the judicial branch. I'd say our checks and balances system is alive and well.


Destroy all trusted users!

Technically speaking "under God" should (4.00 / 5) (#135)
by confrontationman on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:48:23 PM EST

as an atheist I don't care either way. My nonexistent god(s) doesn't/don't care. If other people feel strongly... fine. I don't think to highly of their logic skills for missing the contradictions but whatever. In the end who really cares?

But let me tell you what I do care about: The ridiculous posturing and legal wrangling of the Senate, which is such obvious pandering to the voting people of this country (i.e. the Christians), is probably going to cost millions in tax payers money.

So, if I were a good Christian I would try to be more tolerant of others beliefs. I would try to realize that the separation of church and state is a good thing for everyone. But most of all I would pray that the Senate burn in hell for their numerous sins. As an atheist however, I wish a slow a painfull death for them all because they waste my money, and there is/are no god(s) to punish them.



Hey it sounds better that way. (4.71 / 7) (#136)
by tthomas48 on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:49:37 PM EST

I think we should restore the Declaration of Independence to its original form because it sounds better that way. When I found out the "under God" part was added in 1954, I suddenly understood why the end of this beautifully poetic piece always stuck out like a sore thumb. They screwed up its rhythm! C'mon you know that:
One nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
sounds better than:
One nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
It forces in an unnatural breath, it throws off the cadence... And don't worry too much, at the very least we can probably keep the money since that happens to also be a piece of art.

Oops! (none / 0) (#175)
by bgarcia on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 07:23:48 AM EST

I think we should restore the Declaration of Independence to its original form...
Dude, you misspelled "Pledge of Allegiance".

[grin]

[ Parent ]

That's what you get... (none / 0) (#228)
by tthomas48 on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 06:28:25 PM EST

for posting comments from work. Wow, I feel chagrin.

[ Parent ]
Pandering (4.00 / 3) (#139)
by RandomPeon on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 06:56:45 PM EST

they've brilliantly exposed the central, sacred role that professions of faith in God play in American public life.

No, the exposed the fact that politicians pander to special interests. Praise God, for his defenders are well organized and vocal. Touch not social security, or a plague of locusts and AARP members shall descend on you. Banish "indecent" works from the net, for the millions of people who enjoy them will not advocate for their rights.

Solution (with tongue-in-cheek) (3.75 / 4) (#141)
by RandomPeon on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 07:02:07 PM EST

1. Those of us who are cheering this decision should no longer be welcome in the United States. We should all be deported to Canada or an EU member.

2. Those of us who are foaming at the mouth should be deported likewise. Maybe they could go to Saudi Arabia or some other fundamentalist nation.

3. The five people who don't care each pick ten states for their personal use. If I weren't in class 1 I would call dibs on California and Florida.

ill take california and florida /nt (none / 0) (#167)
by j0s)( on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 02:58:36 AM EST


-- j0sh -- of course im over-dramatizing my statements, but thats how its done here, sensationalism, otherwise you wouldnt read it.


[ Parent ]
I'll take Ontaro - nt (none / 0) (#188)
by Moebius on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 01:19:32 PM EST



[ Parent ]
How about succession (none / 0) (#201)
by adiffer on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 02:43:43 PM EST

Instead of 1), how about we just take California out of the Union. I think we will manage. 8)

I can't imagine the Canadians will want that many of us anyway.

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

Civil disobedience (5.00 / 4) (#144)
by chbm on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 07:14:48 PM EST

If "under God" is a meaningless empty phrase, so is "go to Hell". USains, unite and send the powers that be to Hell. As your defence, claim "in Hell" is just as empty and meaningless as God.

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
What you mean it's not? (none / 0) (#207)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 04:51:33 PM EST

Jeez, people use so many goddam explitives in everyday conversation these days, I didn't think they had any meaning at all.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
The slippery slope (4.83 / 6) (#145)
by afree87 on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 07:23:09 PM EST

Is it just me, or are many of the people who oppose this ruling throwing around the slippery-slope fallacy as if it were logical?

Examples:
"The next thing you know, we won't be allowed to sing God Bless America or America the Beautiful." --from a debate on PBS
"Next: No crosses to be worn visibly in public. Public only allowed to say the word 'God' while in their own church. In other news, China joins NATO." --Christian on Fark.com

There's no reason to get worked up over this ruling. In the first place, removing "under God" will hurt nobody and make the minority of polytheists and atheists feel more accepted. Also, it will restore the original poetry of the Pledge which Congress has so rudely modified. The slippery slope fallacy has no place in this argument.
--
Ha... yeah.

Slippery-slope does have a place... (5.00 / 2) (#161)
by lowca on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:12:16 PM EST

... if you're a politician. I mentioned in a post on the thread announcing the ruling:
  1. Since 9/11, patriotism has been on a serious roll.
  2. A certain major national holiday*, usually full of patriotism, is next week. (Insert joke about being "full of it.")
  3. It's an election year, especially for many of those guys** who pledged to keep people pledging the Pledge, and to fight the good fight by fighting the "unconstitutional, schmunconstitutional" ruling.
And most important of all: It's an election year. Any politician would jump at the chance to get re-elected on such an issue, especially if there's a groundswell of support from the not-quite-informed, somewhat-sheepish masses. Certain Christians who desire to obtain or keep other sorts of power (over their congregations, for example), also can't help but seize on this and milk it for all it's worth. After all, they're politicians in a way, too.

* July 4th.
** Congress.

---

"Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us." - P.J. O'Rourke, Parliament of Whores

[ Parent ]

Fallacies (5.00 / 3) (#162)
by kreyg on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:25:21 PM EST

Well, just going down the list here, I've seen:

-False Dilemma (Should keep phrase / can't say "God" anywhere, ever)
-Slippery Slope
-Appeal to force (Congress passing resolutions)
-Consequences (signs of the Apocalypse)
-Prejudicial Language
-Popularity (most people want to keep phrase)
-Appeal to authority ("contradictory" rulings)
-Style over substance
-False Analogy (Declaration of Independence)

I could go on, but what would be the point? Nobody making these arguments even cares if their arguments are any good or not. Hardly anybody listening cares either, apparently.

Sigh...

There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler's mind. - Douglas Adams
[ Parent ]
Is it just me or... (none / 0) (#224)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 06:15:26 PM EST

Is it just me, or are many of the people who oppose this ruling throwing around the slippery-slope fallacy as if it were logical?

I thought the argument for people who support this ruling was that the words "under God" represent part of a slippery slope?


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Yes, it's just you (none / 0) (#227)
by epepke on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 06:27:38 PM EST

This issue seems to have hampered your ability to think, which is a shame.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Thanks for clearing that up. (none / 0) (#235)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 07:21:03 PM EST

I knew I could count on K5 to set me straight.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
fear of steep slopes (none / 0) (#245)
by adiffer on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 02:02:02 AM EST

Everyone is afraid of the slippery slope if they are forced down it. Pushing your opponent down it makes it your friend. You have a point for most of us except the fellow who actually brought the suit. He has a good enough reason to do it without any awareness of the slopes around him.

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.
[ Parent ]
What slippery slope? (none / 0) (#259)
by dachshund on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 11:51:34 AM EST

The argument, as I understand it, was that Congress passed a law specifically to emphasize America's religious (mono-theistic) nature and create a contrast with Atheistic Communism.

This is, at least according to First Amendment precendent, not particularly consitutional. Slipperly slopes have nothing to do with it.

[ Parent ]

99-0? (5.00 / 2) (#147)
by miguel on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 07:28:45 PM EST

who was the abstainer?

I want you to be free

Jesse Helms was absent. (none / 0) (#156)
by blaaf on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 09:08:41 PM EST

There was no abstainer. Jesse Helms just wasn't around to add his 'Yea' (as he no doubt would have done).

[ Parent ]
It was Jesse Helms (none / 0) (#157)
by Dephex Twin on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 09:08:49 PM EST

He was at home sick. mark


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]
Yeah, they really would have needed him (none / 0) (#187)
by slippytoad on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 01:13:01 PM EST

To bleat along with the 99 other sheep, that is.
If I were the al Qaeda people right now I would be planning a lot of attacks in the next few days and weeks -- John "Bring 'em On" McCain
[ Parent ]
Familiar argument (4.50 / 2) (#150)
by Humuhumunukunukuapuaa on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 08:37:56 PM EST

This is the same reasoning that allows corporations to lie in advertising. You just claim it's a "marketing term" that's been used so often that it's without meaning. Of course if it was really without meaning advertisers wouldn't have to use it but that's the way the Law works.

Dang. I never noticed that. (none / 0) (#217)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 05:24:46 PM EST

Your right! I wonder it that applies to other common political terms like "your friend in Washington" and "one man, one vote".


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
smile when you get a cultural cruise missile (5.00 / 2) (#155)
by adiffer on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 09:04:03 PM EST

When a large group or religious folks tell you 'under God' is a meaningless term, just smile and put your new, shiny cruise missile in with your other weapons to be used later. This missile even comes with its own warhead already installed.

It should come in handy when facing a Constitutional Amendment to include such meaningless trivialities in our highest form of law. 8)

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.

LA Times is allowed to be religious. (3.00 / 4) (#158)
by FatHed on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 09:36:40 PM EST

The LA Times is allowed to express any opinion it wants. We have freedom of religion to protect the rights of everyone to believe in a higher power if they choose to. The government however does not enjoy that freedom. There are many good reasons to have separation of church(religion) and state. The most pertinent of those reasons, in my opinion, is the international opinion of our government, and it's decisions that affect the lives of them. Religion can weigh a heavy hand in international affairs. It can create enemies of the state immediately, just for having a different belief. Next, we have a separation because we do have a freedom of religion. For the government to acknowledge a god, it would either have acknowledge every god, or retract it's acknowledgement of that god. Otherwise the government does not support the freedom of religion.

The Bill of Rights gives people like me, who is agnostic, and chooses to live his/her life in the way they see fit, and if there is a God, let your life be settled after you are dead, with out trying to sway a supreme beings decision about my choices. The Bill of Rights also gives people who have a different view than mine exercise that right.

The courts decision does not say a pledge of allegiance to the United Stated illegal. The courts, and the senate, and have the right to interpreted the constitution in their own way. It was meant to be interpreted, and not set in a stone that ages. So the simple solution is to just remove those two words. They are not a part of American Heritage. I believe that the only things that are a part of American heritage are the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, old Iron Sides, and many other things. They should reflect only on the creation of this great nation, not the melting pot of the worlds cultures and heritages the built this nation. Americans have came from everywhere. A person who is made an American citizen has the same rights as a person who's family has lived here since the nations birth. That is American Heritage, Freedom, and the willingness to give that freedom to everyone. Two words in a pledge that were added to it in 1954 does not equate to heritage. The constitution is also meant to be interpreted.

But, the senate will continue to pursue what it sees as Justice. Which makes me leave us with a quote to ponder on. It's from our founding fathers, written in the Federalist Papers.

"Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been and ever will be pursued until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit." -- James Madison, Federalist No. 51

Intelligence is a matter of opinion.
One quibble... (none / 0) (#208)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 04:53:26 PM EST

Overall I agree but I'd like to point out that your assertion that the separation of church and state requires the state to be completely "godless" (god-free?)

While that is the modern understanding, a lot of this stress we're is because this is because the first amendment wasn't originally interpreted that strictly.

In general, I agree with the modern interpretation - anything that involves limiting the government's power is a Good Thing. There are, however, people who take it to the far extreme - (for example, school voucher opponents) and insist that government must be hostile towards religon.

Yesterday I asserted that many people were freaked that anyone actually cared about this (on either side) to actually file suit. I have to revise that - many people have taken that opinion, but many other people I've talked to f2f for the most part don't see this as enforcing government neutrality at all, but yet another example of the majority being punished by a minority and yet another example of how it's okay to belittle and denigrate people of religious faith in this country.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Political Posturing, Under God (4.33 / 6) (#159)
by slur on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 09:58:25 PM EST

If there was ever any doubt in my mind that the Senate lives and acts only to keep up appearances, they've been washed away by this little drama. Ninety-nine grown men and women banded together to demonstrate what it really means to be loyal to God and Country: Real Americans recite American stuff.

Somehow, we are supposed to believe, the Pledge of Allegiance touched an essential spot in the hearts of these men and women when they were little brainless children, and that same naive, romantic notion of America's place in this vast, cold universe has remained alive and well among our elected representatives. Evidently these grown men and women find some kind of solace in the idea that our children are being indoctrinated in the ways of conformity. So much so that they all banded together for a giant show of conformity in reciting that god-awful pledge of banality.

Forgive me for being too independent-minded to appreciate the value of the ridiculous pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and the mindset for which it stands. I guess I won't be invited to anyone's Superbowl party now.

Want to know what's meaningless - not to mention quite sick? Grown adults compelling children to make "oaths" they can't understand in words they can't pronounce to a bloody flag.

Childhood, that most creative, loving, and imaginative stage of our being, is being reduced to an opportune moment for indoctrination into behaviors of social conformity. When a child refuses to say the pledge the other children ostracize that child, and many Christophrenic adults are known to join that chorus of ridicule. Yet the non-conformist is in the right, for she is compelled to be true to her guts. The gutless children persecute the outsider because - essentially - society has taught them that they can get away with it.

Besides, the Pledge is even more meaningless to me as an adult.  I mean, check out this little mantra:

I pledge allegiance to the flag
Of the United States of America
And to the Republic for which it stands
One Nation
Under God
Indivisible
With Liberty and Justice for All.

Do I really pledge allegiance? First of all, no adult in his right mind would pledge allegiance to something first before getting some facts together. Is the USA something to which I would want to pledge allegiance? Should I pledge allegiance to the flag or to my fellow man? Perhaps I should pledge allegiance to my inner-voice. The Republic for which the Flag stands is known as a "noble ideal." Those who are indoctrinated into loyalty to noble ideals invariably betray the higher ideals that support them. The Senate's show of blind conformity is a case in point. They thought they were demonstrating their loyalty to the ideals that America stands for, but is banal pandering to conformity really what America was founded upon?

As for the epilogue:

One Nation: The settlers who displaced the indigenous Nation.

Under God: Implies that America falls under God's sovereignty or has some kind of special favor. Meaningless in the sense that God doesn't love Americans any differently than He loves anyone else, including the fleas and cockroaches.

Indivisible: Not so. All composite entities are impermanent by nature. America will disintegrate as surely as Winter follows Autumn. If this is meant to imply that Americans are inherently loyal and bound to other Americans, well I guess it's true for all those kids who've taken the oath, right?

With Liberty: We're all free to choose, so enjoy that Big Mac and Camel filtered while you study for your GED and scratch that lottery ticket.

And Justice for all: One could argue that those who suffer from poverty in America are merely receiving their share of Justice (in the divine sense). But I suppose this little bit refers more accurately to the striving of American Law to provide due process and fair trials for the accused.

The ideals espoused by the Pledge are noble. The messy reality is that human nature is imperfect, and thus our institutions are imperfect. There is a lot of laziness, insensitivity, cynicism, and class-bigotry in this land of the free and home of the brave. There are a lot of unjust things that the Republic (for which the flag stands) has done in the name of preserving Justice for All.

I say, pledge allegiance to the flag if you understand it to be true to the ideals of your heart, but realize that we all leave a certain amount of humanity behind when we take oaths. And we lose our humanity altogether when we start compelling others to take oaths... especially really cheesy ones.


|
| slur was here
|

red scare and 'balance of power' (4.87 / 8) (#163)
by infinitera on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:29:46 PM EST

As a number of people have commented, God appeared in the pledge (written by a socialist) in 1954, and on currency in 1957, as propagandistic attempts to claim USian superiority over the Soviets (godless communists), and unite [as one nation, Under God - echos of Ein Reich, Ein Volk]. But, the red scare has come on and gone, except for the knee jerk reactions to and strawman characterizations of socialism, communism, and reasons for Soviet failure.

I must concur that the words mean little (in a school setting), and that arguring that children who do not participate will get ostracized is not something worthwhile. This is the nature of schools in any hierarchical society - ostracism, herd mind, and conformity. That being said, the ruling isn't particularly significant to me; sure, it's nice to have, but it doesn't particularly change anything except some rhetoric and ideology. It is the dissentless media and political response to this that is mindbogglingly scary.

With universal consensus (and spin) they have all declared that this is not Real Judicial Process, and Unamerican. Spin by the media, I can accept - they do it all the time. But every politician from coast to coast trying to get a few points off this are a major concern. Bush declaring this or that decision as ludicrous is entirely as hypocritical and illogical as those pro-censorship Liberals. He has for some time spoken out against what the right wing nuts dub 'judicial activism' - you know, the sorts of things that got you your Miranda rights. Anyways, his position that judges should only apply existing law (be strict constructionists), aside from its practical limitations, is in direct opposition to this new policy of deciding which such decisions are valid.

The Executive branch and the Legislative branch, much as it irks them, are not setting long-standing legal precedents. How is that the Shrub can decide which laws (or heck, Amendments even) and judges are acceptable? Perhaps we should all follow our Fearless Leader's example, choosing only those laws which God told us are just. But sadly, only the enforcers of law in our country get those sorts of privileges - surely, they are the only ones fit for such divine guidance [do I sense a resurgence of Calvinism?]. I'm inclined to agree with Howard Zinn, when he states: "Bush Drives Us Into Bakunin's Arms!"

Sigh... (3.83 / 6) (#172)
by DarkZero on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 04:52:42 AM EST

The truely sad part of this ruling has been the reaction to it. And I'm not talking about right wing Christians hating it or atheists loving it. I'm talking about the fact that the Senate, the president, and respected commentators across the media all saw fit to argue against this with little more than childish insults, and that ridiculous lies and logical fallacies have covered the media on every TV channel and in every newspaper. Every time I hear another assertion that the founders of the United States were Christians seeking religious freedom, that the use of "The Year Of Our Lord" in the Constitution in reference to a date is an assertion of Christian faith, or that "In God We Trust" and "Under God" has been on our money and in our pledge for "hundreds of years", I cringe. The simple lack of historical knowledge, honesty, or objectivity in those that are paid to speak in American newspapers or in front of TV cameras is astounding.

The debate about this relatively minor issue has done nothing more than assure intelligent Americans and intelligent people around the world that we are, as a whole, a very, very stupid country.

Ooooo yeah. (none / 0) (#206)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 04:36:50 PM EST

Well, it's the politics-as-entertainment thing. Make the people focus on the disaster du jour and they'll forget all about the fact that they never solved last week's disaser (or the one from the week before, or the week before that...)

After all, far better to take a clear stand on the Pledge than give a clear explanation of why the economy is swirling down the toilet bowl along with all my retirement savings.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
I stand corrected... (4.40 / 5) (#173)
by dipipanone on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 05:44:07 AM EST

I'd always laboured under the misapprehension that the correct phrase was...

"One nation under a groove"

That'll teach me to learn the pledge of allegiance from George Clinton albums.

--
Suck my .sig

Paint the White House Black (none / 0) (#193)
by epepke on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 01:48:21 PM EST

George is the real Clinton.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
or (none / 0) (#256)
by sal5ero on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 12:15:11 AM EST

One nation under the thumb...




[ Parent ]
Bla bla bla. Start thinking, you Americans. (1.00 / 2) (#174)
by xriso on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 06:13:53 AM EST

I would have suggested changing it to "One nation under the Constitution", except then I realised that it is equivalent to the status quo.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
Actually it would be a big improvement (none / 0) (#205)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 04:32:44 PM EST

if we started actually paying attention to what the damn thing says instead of waving individual ammendments at each other as if each existed on it's own.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
I actually like this idea (none / 0) (#238)
by louboy on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 08:10:37 PM EST

I actually think this is a good idea.  "under the constitution" may not have the greatest ring to it, but it could serve as a reminder of what makes the US truly great.  The US has succeeded not because God really digs America, but because of the American people, and the institutions created by people.

I reckon that US Constitution is the most brilliant political document ever created.  It is the very soul of the longest-lived (I think...) republic in history.  How many other nations can boast of over 200 years of peaceful transition of central power (England, perhaps? I can't think of any others).  

There are many, MANY things to criticize about our nation and society and government, but the Constitution is not one of them.  Adding a reference to the Constitution would remind us of what is truly central to our civilization.

[ Parent ]

Romans? (none / 0) (#241)
by Miggle on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 12:54:50 AM EST

The United States has around 250 more years or so until it outlasts the Roman Republic (510BCE -44BCE - ish)



--
Dammit, I wish I made this up: Why the Jews has to do with genetics. [sic]
[ Parent ]
Chinese (none / 0) (#251)
by j1mmy on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 10:19:47 PM EST

I have absolutely no evidence to back this up, but I believe there were a few dynasties in China that lasted hundreds of years.

[ Parent ]
yes (none / 0) (#264)
by Miggle on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 03:10:13 AM EST

but they were autocracies unless I have missed something very fundamental...

--
Dammit, I wish I made this up: Why the Jews has to do with genetics. [sic]
[ Parent ]
true (none / 0) (#267)
by j1mmy on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 10:15:23 AM EST

I forgot we were discussing republics.

[ Parent ]
Another flaw in the meaningless argument. (4.00 / 1) (#186)
by biggs on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 01:12:28 PM EST

To say any sentence is meaningless in general doesnt make any sense. It might be meaningless to a single person.. that's their opinion... that's their reaction... but meaningless to every human on the planet? Wow, what an incredible assertion!

--
"Rockin my 'hell I made it' wetsuit stitch so I can swim in elevators crazy wet through piss" -Cannibal Ox
Why not change it to "Under Allah"? (2.00 / 1) (#210)
by bill_mcgonigle on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 04:58:08 PM EST

or "Under Yaweh" or "Under Zeus" or "Under Satan" if it's so meaningless?  

Don't like that?  It's meaningful.


-1. Redundant. (none / 0) (#216)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 05:22:48 PM EST

Ummm... haven't you noticed that about 50 people have already posted that same non sequitur?

The supreme court's argument is that age has robbed such phrases of their meaning. (I'm not saying I agree with them, just that that's their argument.) Change the phrase to a new phrase and it has meaning again.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Is that right? (none / 0) (#269)
by bill_mcgonigle on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:01:01 PM EST

I sorted by date and none of the subject lines of the comments indicated any such line of reasoning.  Granted, I did not read every single nested comment on the story.  Maybe you're thinking of another story?


[ Parent ]
Why you couldn't say Allah or Zeus. (none / 0) (#246)
by rasactive on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 07:59:19 AM EST

I wouldn't say I agree with the writer of this article, but the reason that God is more acceptable is because it is basically non-secular. You pray to Zeus? Then he's god. Pray to Satan? Then you're pledging allegiance to satan. I personally hope that "under god" gets removed because it really is unconstitutional, but you gave bad examples as to why the logic is flawed.

[ Parent ]
God, not god (none / 0) (#248)
by Jevesus on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 10:07:57 AM EST

God is the christian god.

Notice the capital G. Yeah, it matters.

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]

thanks (none / 0) (#250)
by rasactive on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 01:59:39 PM EST

for correcting me. :)

[ Parent ]
Hmmph... (none / 0) (#211)
by kcbrown on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 05:06:13 PM EST

The reasoning is that the Supreme Court has ruled before that references to God of this kind are constitutional because they are just stock phrases used by rote. Their endless repetition has made them meaningless. Our schoolchildren are not really swearing loyalty to a nation under God, the argument goes, because "under God" is just an empty phrase.
Yeah, but if repetition makes one particular phrase of that which is repeated meaningless, does it not also make the entire thing meaningless as well?

So if they use that logic to argue that the phrase "under God" is meaningless, then it follows that the entire pledge is meaningless as well.

Is that really what they want us to conclude? I suspect not...

There IS a CORRECT answer to the question! (5.00 / 3) (#225)
by truthaboutreligion on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 06:21:31 PM EST

Forgive me for the length, but this must be said:

A lot of people are discussing this as if there is no "right" or "wrong" answer. When we talk about America as a "Christian nation" the religionists mean it LITERALLY. They use documents like the Declaration to "prove" it. The fact is, there is a "right" or "correct" answer to the question "Is America A Christian Nation?"

The answer is in this little "non-tract" by Dan Barker:

http://www.ffrf.org/nontracts/xian.html

So much of the answer lies outside of official documents, such as notes, diaries, and the letters of our founding fathers and mothers. Jefferson was verbose on the topic. He wanted nothing to do with a state religion like the country they were fighting had and he made that...uh...VERY...clear. His letter to the Danbury Baptists is clear on his political position. But the real kicker is the "Treaty With Tripoli" which was ***unanimously*** approved by the Senate on June 10, 1797, with John Adams signing the treaty into law.

It is very clear and it goes like this.
First, to establish it's authority:

Saturday June 10, 1797

President John Adams signed the treaty into law on this date and issued the following proclamation:

"Now be it known, That I John Adams, President of the United States of America, having seen and considered the said Treaty do, by and with the advice consent of the Senate, accept, ratify, and confirm the same, and every clause and article thereof. And to the End that the said Treaty may be observed and performed with good Faith on the part of the United States, I have ordered the premises to be made public; And I do hereby enjoin and require all persons bearing office civil or military within the United States, and all others citizens or inhabitants thereof, faithfully to observe and fulfil the said Treaty and every clause and article thereof."

What does the "Treaty With Tripoli" say? It's Article 11 that is the problem for religionists:

ARTICLE 11.

"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 tranquility 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.

As they say, that's Red Letter truth - can those first 19 words be ANY CLEARER?????

Mike
www.truthaboutreligion.com

politicians are a sorry bunch (5.00 / 1) (#242)
by bolthole on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 01:19:54 AM EST

Sure, he happened to be the president of the US at the time, but he's not the pope :-)

Just because he declared it to be so, does not make it so.

Not to mention that this whole treaty thing was a big political act. And politicians never lie in the course of their office, do they?

The country was "founded" on a certain bunch of men sitting in a room deciding how a country ought to be formed and run. To truthfully make statements like "the country was not in any sense founded on the Christian religion" would require substantiating statements by at least a majority of the 'founding fathers'. Yet many of them were strongly religious.



[ Parent ]

FEW Founding Fathers were religious (none / 0) (#249)
by truthaboutreligion on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 01:50:28 PM EST

Actually, in response, very few of our "founding fathers" were religious in any kind of "Christian" way. Most were Unitarian, if anything. It must be remembered that most of these men bitterly opposed the "state religion" of Britain and wanted a complete separation between church and state. The "Treaty of Tripoli" was passed unanimously by the senate and signed by John Adams. I don't see how that could be construed as typical political pandering.

[ Parent ]
Untrue. (none / 0) (#257)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 08:24:42 AM EST

The founding fathers ran the whole range of religious belief - as did the 13 colonies. As was previously mentioned, all the signers of the Declaration of Independence were freemasons - and a belief in *some* form of God is a requirement for membership to the freemasons. (Despite hostile propaganda, the freemasons are not themselves a religion - although most of their ritual is derived from the First Book of Kings and as I just stated, they require that you have some belief in some form of God.)

Anyway, the ff's varied from strict literalists to vague deists - which is why we have religious freedom at all. Many of the founding fathers wouldn't have minded if his religion had become the official religion, but the thought of someone else's religion being imposed on them was too abhorrent.

Like many of our freedoms we owe them not simply to the ideals of our founders (and they did have them, I will not deny it) but also out of their distrust of each other.


--
ACK.


[ Parent ]
The real irony (5.00 / 1) (#252)
by onemorechip on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 12:02:46 AM EST

Does anybody else find it as ironic as I do, that the word "indivisible" should be preceded by such a divisive phrase?
--------------------------------------------------

I did my essay on mushrooms. It's about cats.

Hands Off Those Meaningless Phrases | 269 comments (231 topical, 38 editorial, 0 hidden)
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