I'm surprised about the lack of discussion re; The Pledge

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Personally, I will defer to two of the finest minds that ever lived.

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State."

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

"Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

-Jesus Christ, Matthew 22:21

-- Uncle Deedah (unkeeD@yahoo.com), June 28, 2002



Lets have a discussion of the matter.

I find considerable evidence that Thomas Jefferson existed. I even have some original letters that he wrote to ancient grand folks [stamped sealing wax is still there; they don't make wax like that anymore ;<)))].

As to the second person mentioned, I have never been able to find any verifiable, historical information that this person existed [excluding the bogus stuff written by the early church].

What do you think?

Best Wishes,,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), June 28, 2002.

I think the issue is a red herring. I suspect that what really offends the litigants is the The Pledge (in any form) itself. I grew up before the "Under God" was inserted. I would not care if it were removed. But if it is removed, I bet the same people will be soon petitioning to have the bowdlerized Pledge itself removed from schools. A "Pledge of Allegiance"? How insensitive!

-- (lars@indy.net), June 28, 2002.

What's the point? Most people, including most of our dumbass politicians, can't even think long enough to understand what this is really about. They just instinctively react like a bunch of loudmouth blowhards who automatically assume that this is some kind of attack against patriotism. I imagine since most of the people on this forum are Repugs they have already jumped on that bandwagon.

-- (people@are.idiots), June 28, 2002.

Unk, considering this decision came out of the 9th circuit court and the jurisdiction I live in, I am assuming it will be overturned. They have THE WORST record of any of them! Something like 26 of their last 27 decisions have been overturned. Not to worry. Watch and see...just another poor decision on their part. A temporary stir, as it were.

-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), June 28, 2002.

To "people are idiots", or in other words, LL:

Once again, your blind prejudice has led you down the primrose path to intellectual degradation. Assuming that it is just "Repugs" who hold a particular point of view on this matter ignores totally the statements of Congressional Democrats. For example, I saw Tom Daschle (sp?) on TV describing the decision as "just nuts". And the House voted its disapproval of the decision 400 and something to 3.

-- Peter Errington (petere7@starpower.net), June 28, 2002.

It's really ironic Errorton, how many times you say things that seem to characterize your own behavior. It's like you're doing some kind of psychological projecting or something. Weird.

Anyway, I'm perfectly aware that Daschle and many democrats jumped on the bandwagon as well. They know the value of getting the religious voters. I said "most people" automatically jumped to the wrong conclusion, not just the Repugs. The reason I mentioned the Repugs on this forum is because I know they are among the dumber ones who always take the same idiotic viewpoints as their hero Dumbya. So far I don't see any reason to believe any different.

-- (monkey see @ monkey. do), June 28, 2002.


Like many things in life, belief that Jesus Christ was a real man is a matter of faith.

-- Uncle Deedah (unkeeD@yahoo.com), June 28, 2002.

They're just covering their political asses Peter. The decision, in light of numerous rulings in the last 15 years, is probably legally in line. That a lot of voters find it repugnant forces them to forget that it was their idols that nominated the majority of the 9th circuit.

Lars! Multiculturalism is our reality man. Where you been?

Suggestion: "I may pledge allegence to this flag of the United States of America as long as its rules don't get in my way. One nation, under whim, with liberty and a check in the mail."

This decision isn't out of the blue but just another small incremental step beyond the decisions before it. Me? I figure bin Laden is correct that we are indeed a Godless society of infidels who are simply tithing while having trouble coming out of the closet. Maybe November will prove me wrong. Maybe the people who aren't particularly religious but like having some rules around and enjoy a society roughly governed by right and wrong will get the connection and realize that the pronoun I is a lousy substitute for God.

-- Carlos (riffraff@cybertime.net), June 28, 2002.

I really wonder about the 9th circuit. I see they have already stuck their finger into the wind and backed off. Personally I'd like to see a requirement that the phrase be replaced with "under Allah", in the hopes that people might wake up and actually think about what they're saying. But on second thought, what's the use?

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), June 29, 2002.

Rare indeed is it to get an insipid post from the Flintster. Maybe he's still recovering from A-Rod's unbeliveable error. Worst toss of his career wouldn't you say?

-- Carlos (riffraff@cybertime.net), June 29, 2002.

My thoughts.....

As far as I have ever considered it, the word God is universal, people from all faiths refer to to their deity as God. I would add proof to this by asking the question that if anyone who narrowly escaped death or heard that their worst fear had been evaded would issue the phrase "Thank God!!!". So, insert your own deity and have a big time Buckwheat, I mean if you want to call a green ashtray God I won't argue with ya, it's your right, have at it.

Yes, my views on separation of church and state are strong but that really doesn't affect this controversy because the pledge is not a binding law, it can be said or not said, your choice, period. Just like a moment of silent prayer doesn't really affect anyone, you can choose not to pray and pick your nose or pray and like it, your choice.

I do have some ambivelance though, the fact that the pledge was ammended in 54 during McArthyism (sp?) does leave some room for pause that maybe it could stand to be re-ammended......but to what gain? A bunch of pissin' and moanin' over much a nothin from a dude, who as an avowed athiest and self proclaimed intellectual man started this bullshit lawsuite and a court that ain't got the good sense God gave goldfish, pardon the pun ; )


The debate as to the reality of Jesus has been settled, unless you are the type that think that man never walked on the moon. This is a non-debate.

I suspect that Carlos is more correct with his line of thinking (if I'm on target) than anyone so far, this is just a continuation in a string of incidents that seem to be numbing our senses to a greater power and replacing it with the notion that government is the alter to which we must offer our sacrifice.

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), June 29, 2002.

I am not an atheist and I believe in a higher power or creator but I don't think our government should be using the word God, because they are not supposed to be promoting religion and the word "God" is definitely religious. They made a mistake when they put it on our currency and in the pledge in 1954. My understanding is this was written by a minister, wow, what a surprise. People like Dumbya like it, because he likes to pretend he is religious and he was "chosen by God" to save us from terrorists. Ashcroft is the same way, they think they are holier than thou. Of course the majority of politicians are going to express outrage at this, because the majority of people are religious and they want to hear the word God being promoted by our government. They are trying to make it sound like this is "unpatriotic" to get people all riled up, but it isn't. No one said we couldn't still recite the pledge of allegiance, we just need to change the word God to something else. How would the religious people feel if we changed it to "One nation under NO God"? Same difference either way, but the religious freaks always want to force THEIR way upon EVERYONE.

-- (the word "God" is what causes @ all. the world's problems), June 29, 2002.

The pledge of allegiance has always rubbed me the wrong way. Besides reminding me that I am an unbeliever, it seems like a grammar error to pledge allegiance to a flag instead of a leader or government. Also, are we not more than one nation? What about the Amerindian nations? The word indivisible seems put in to put the South in its place. Only the final phrase comes out well.

In the Declaration of Independence, the phrase "the Protection of divine Providence" is used instead of "God", and the pledge is of "our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor" as compared to "allegiance" which, by contrast, has a feudal ring to it.

-- dandelion (golden@pleurisy.plant), June 29, 2002.

Ya had to be there. Read the times and lives of these men and you'll get it.

-- Carlos (riffraff@cybertime.net), June 29, 2002.

Said that badly dandy. Their words were carefully couched to avoid the word God as you note. "God" the word has too often replaced their best words as a measure of patriotism. Still, I wager they'd roll uncomfortably if bedded with the 9th circuit.

-- Carlos (riffraff@cybertime.net), June 29, 2002.

Rulings are one thing, practice another. Our little country school will continue to recite the pledge as is. They will continue to invite Christian motivational speakers and musicians to visit. They will continue to offer prayers before major events and basketball games.

However, they will not continue to observe "satanic" rituals during Halloween. The parties will continue, the carnival will continue, but they have been renamed "Fall Festival".

Kissing a mule seems reasonable to me.

-- helen (out@times.never.really.change.we.just.die.and.stop.noticing), June 29, 2002.

Pledge allegience to Allah all you want Flint. It is a free country and if you want to believe in fairy tales, go right ahead. Just don't get angry when people disagree with you.

-- (allah@osama.mullah), June 29, 2002.

Lars:"But if ['under God'] is removed, I bet the same people will be soon petitioning to have the bowdlerized Pledge itself removed from schools."

I'll take that bet, at whatever stakes you choose. I think your judgement in this matter is being clouded by your prejudices. You would like to believe this, so you believe it.

Further, you seem not to be aware that the Pledge was written in the 1880s and the phrase "under God" was not added until 1954 - at the behest of the Knights of Columbus, a powerful interest group with obvious religious affiliations. Are you arguing that the original author of the Pledge "bowdlerized" his own creation by leaving out the words "under God" when he wrote it?

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), June 29, 2002.

You're right LN, I say we go back to the original unedited version that was written in 1880 before them funky Knights came along. Just like most music, the original version is always the best. Back in 1880 they understood separation of church and state and they respected our Constitution, they didn't try to fuck with it like Ashcroft, Dumbya, Trent Lott, and the rest of these holy-rolling hypocrites.

-- (send "God" @ to. Hell), June 29, 2002.

I'm surprised about the lack of discussion re; The Pledge

Why? I've discussed it this week with my kids [all three of which don't remember ever saying it in school save two of them being LED in it in middle school]. Flint and I have already discussed how we were 7 years old when the damn thing was changed to INCLUDE "under God" and how we stumbled in the recitation.

It makes no difference to me. Leave it in or take it out. Little kids don't realize what they're reciting, anyway, and where do we see the Pledge said outside of school? I think that sporting events start with the "Jose...can you see any bedbugs on me?" song, but I don't remember the Pledge being included.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), June 29, 2002.

Well said Jonathan. Unfortunately I think the current administration is going to side with the religious right on this one and get the decision overturned. Dumbya will likely issue an executive order which establishes a new policy for government to promote religion from this point forward, and this policy will override any future conflicts which arise regarding the separation of church and state. We've seen him do this sort of thing when he recently passed an executive order which destroyed our Freedom of Information Act which was established in 1974. Apparently he felt that protecting his Poppy from having anyone discover his criminal involvement in the Iran Contra Affair was more important than the right of the entire country to have access to what their government is doing.

-- (just watch @ holier-than-thou. hypocrites), June 29, 2002.

While you are all busy arguing and whining about this, thousands of unwanted pets are euthanized, homeless are trying to get comfortable enough to fall asleep atop a slab of concrete, millions are starving to death...

Route your energy toward something positive that really will make a difference in this country, and in this world.

-- If you really care (what's@really.important), June 29, 2002.

It won't do any good to try to change the subject, eventually everyone will learn that the Bush administration is the worst in our history.

-- (time@for.dissent), June 29, 2002.

Uh, One question. Has anyone, beside myself, actually read the written decision?

I think you all know where I stand on this matter.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), June 30, 2002.

Welcome back, FS. All I can say is that for your sake, I hope you never got on LL's bad side. That gal has been going plumb ape-shit, tearing up the joint. (She continually refers to me as "Errorton," if you can believe that.)

-- Peter Errington (petere7@starpower.net), June 30, 2002.

"Little kids don't realize what they're reciting..."

This observation from Anita reminds me of a weather song our Fourth Grade teacher used to play for us from a record. I can confidently say that having the lyrics to that song embedded in my brain contributed no knowledge or understanding whatsoever. It was just a bunch of syllables. "...Now the heat keeping sun/Just repeats what it has done/And the vapor goes up with the air/And you know that water can circulate/When you see the clouds up there/(refrain:) Evaporation and Condensation/The Water Cycle, The Water Cycle/Followed by Precipitation/The Water Cycle, The Water Cycle/This never ending cycle is taking place/All around and everywhere"

Don't worry, I have no plans to record that in an mp3 file.

-- David L (bumpkin@dnet.net), June 30, 2002.

We could have an entire thread on misunderstood rock lyrics.

"excuse me while I kiss this guy"

-- (lars@indy.net), June 30, 2002.

Only a homosexual would think that's what Jimi says.

-- (in@your.dreams), June 30, 2002.

"I think you all know where I stand on this matter."

You think wrong FS. I remember you well, but it isn't clear to me whether you believe our government should be promoting religion or not. What's it gonna be, leave "God" in our Pledge of Allegiance or take it out?

-- (please@share.now), June 30, 2002.

Hey FS, nice to *see* you in these parts! Yes, I have read the actual decision. If anyone else cares to check here:

http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/opinions%20by%20date? OpenView&Start=1&Count=100&Expand=1.1#1.1

and look for Newdow v U S Congress.

I think they made the right decision in that the plaintiff's complaint passed all three tests: the Lemon, the coersion and the endorsement. However, based on the current makeup of the Supreme Court, and the political backing, I still think it will be overturned. Just my two cents.

-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), June 30, 2002.

"I think they made the right decision"

and earlier in the thread you said...

"just another poor decision on their part."

Just goes to show how the typical clueless American has no mind of their own to decide what is right and what is wrong. Whatever happens to be the latest thing they hear from the media just goes in their ears then gets spewed out of their mouths like mindless morons.

-- (americans@brainwashed.zombies), June 30, 2002.

Haven't read the actual decision, and agree that it will probably get overturned. But nobody will ever convince me that the government should have anything to do with influencing religious beliefs or behaviors, especially in the public schools. Government's bidness is best served by government, and God's bidness is best served by the church.

And Flint's right, if the government was attempting to put "One nation under Budda" into the pledge folks would see what the actual issue is. "Make NO LAW respecting the establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free excersise thereof." Just by choosing the name to call "God" respects the establishment of certain religious beliefs over others. Hell, just saying there IS a God does that too.

Next, we need to untangle the tax-exempt status for certain religious beliefs thingy.

-- Uncle Deedah (unkeeD@yahoo.com), June 30, 2002.

Zombie There IS a difference between a poor political decison and a poor legal decision. Hope you can figure out the diffence.

-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), June 30, 2002.

Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Dr. Benjamin Rush.

Washington, April 21, 1803.

DEAR SIR, In some of the delightful conversations with you in the evenings of 1798-99, and which served as an anodyne to the afflictions of the crisis through which our country was then laboring, the Christian religion was sometimes our topic; and I then promised you that one day or other I would give you my views of it. They are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from that anti- Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed, but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others, ascribing to himself every human excellence, and believing he never claimed any other. At the short interval since these conversations, when I could justifiably abstract my mind from public affairs, the subject has been under my contemplation. But the more I considered it, the more it expanded beyond the measure of either my time or information. In the moment of my late departure from Monticello, I received from Dr. Priestley his little treatise of "Socrates and Jesus Compared." This being a section of the general view I had taken of the field, it became a subject of reflection while on the road and unoccupied otherwise. The result was, to arrange in my mind a syllabus or outline of such an estimate of the comparative merits of Christianity as I wished to see executed by someone of more leisure and information for the task than myself. This I now send you as the only discharge of my promise I can probably ever execute. And in confiding it to you, I know it will not be exposed to the malignant perversions of those who make every word from me a text for new misrepresentations and calumnies. I am moreover averse to the communication of my religious tenets to the public, because it would countenance the presumption of those who have endeavored to draw them before that tribunal, and to seduce public opinion to erect itself into that inquisition over the rights of conscience which the laws have so justly proscribed. It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others; or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own. It behooves him, too, in his own case, to give no example of concession, betraying the common right of independent opinion, by answering questions of faith which the laws have left between God and himself. (Emphasis mine, Unk)

Accept my affectionate salutations.

Th: Jefferson

-- Uncle Deedah (unkeeD@yahoo.com), June 30, 2002.

"There IS a difference between a poor political decison and a poor legal decision."

Unfortunately true due to so much corruption in politics, but ideally the best political decisions should also be the best legal decisions. The reasons we have laws, a Constitution, and a legal system is to protect the rights of the people. Just because it may be a "poor" decision in the eyes of our crooked politicians doesn't give them the right to overturn a perfectly good legal decision. Yet you support this idea. If we start letting our politicians overturn any decisions they don't like just to satisfy their own self interests, we might as well just burn our Constitution. Next time they want to overturn a legal decision it might be something that you don't agree they should overturn. Even though it may cause harm to you personally you won't be able to stop them because if you let them do it once they can do it whenever they want. Giving ultimate power to political "leaders" is a very dangerous business.

-- (Remember@Adolph.Hitler?), July 01, 2002.

There are problems with the glib answers on both sides of this debate.

I can make a reasonable argument that modern environmentalism is a religion. Still, school children are routinely taught the wisdom of recycling. Steven E. Landsburg offers an amusing anecdote in the "The Armchair Economist" where he asked his daughter's teacher to refrain from teaching his child "environmentalism."


What constitutes religion often depends on whose ox is being gored. There is a great deal of "nonscience" taught in the public school system. It just happens to be politically correct "nonscience."

I don't think anyone, even school children, should be required to say the Pledge, as originally written, revised or potentially modified. The greatness of America is measured in part by its willingness to tolerate those who scorn it.

As for "God," I suspect those who fret most about about the divine refernece in the Pledge and on currency simply wish to substitute a different "God" for our benefit.

-- Ken Decker (kcdecker@att.net), July 01, 2002.

Ken: "I can make a reasonable argument that modern environmentalism is a religion."

Then, by all means, make the argument -- but let us be the judge of whether it is a reasonable one or not.

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), July 01, 2002.

grabbing a pillow ... gonna be a l-o-n-g night ...

-- helen (watching@from.the.peanut.gallery), July 01, 2002.

dratted tags anyway

-- helen (sleepy@dopey.grumpy.sneezy.etc), July 01, 2002.

Why can't people just say "One nation under MY GOD"

There, that settles it!

-- (me@myself. I), July 01, 2002.

I have little evidence, Nipper, that your notion of "reasonable" is any more compelling than your insights into animal behavior. Landsburg argues the point rather well. Modern environmentalism is no longer mostly science; it is mostly dogma.

One inherent problem is aptly revealed in your anthropomorphism of the raven. As Landsburg notes, the scientist ought not impart a "moral" value to goods. When a scientist moves from testing theories to protecting them, he (or she) becomes a priest.

I don't expect you to understand my point any more than a Baptist preacher would understand my disagreement with a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible.

-- Ken Decker (kcdecker@att.net), July 01, 2002.

I have little evidence, Nipper, that your notion of "reasonable" is any more compelling than your insights into animal behavior. Landsburg argues the point rather well. Modern environmentalism is no longer mostly science; it is mostly dogma.

Score 3 for pure assertions, zero for "reasonable" arguments.

BTW, whether the description I made of the raven I observed amounted to "anthropomorphism" remains subject to dispute, Ken. Throughout that rather lengthy thread, you were the only person convinced that the term comprised the mot juste. I didn't see anyone else climb aboard that train, even though the tickets were free.

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), July 01, 2002.

Decker you dimwit, lots of things could be considered a religion, that's not the issue. The word "God" has definite religious connotations no matter who you talk to, and it doesn't belong in a pledge that our goverment requires in public schools. You got 2 choices, either change the word God in the existing pledge, or get rid of that pledge altogether and hold a contest for citizens to write a new politically correct pledge.

-- gaaawd (people@are.dense), July 01, 2002.

Thanks for not reading Landsburg, Nipper, in the same manner you did not read any research concerning ravens. I think an exchange about environmentalism with you would be about as productive as an exchange with Paul Milne about Y2K vintage 1999. By the end of the long thread on the "pride" of ravens, you hadn't provided a shred of scientific data (your personal observation aside) to support your assertion. Find a reasonable person, and I'll make a reasonable argument.

And young troll, religion is precisely the issue. The objection to the word "God" is the Pledge is based on the principle of a separation of "church" and state. It easy enough to identify a building with a steeple and cross or the word "God." It's tougher when religion enters the public schools disguised as science or revisionist history or environmental dogma.

Personally, I agree with Gregory Kane (Baltimore Sun).


A free nation shouldn't require a "loyalty" oath. And I see no particular reason a voluntary pledge should invoke the Almighty. Still, if someone wants to say the Pledge (in any form), so be it. I am not offended by the utterance of the Pledge with or without the mention of God.

While I agree with keeping the State out of religion, I do not think a person has a fundamental right to never feel uncomfortable. If you don't like the Pledge, don't say it. Don't listen. And tolerate the fact that some people believe in America and God.

-- Ken Decker (kcdecker@att.net), July 02, 2002.

If you don't like the Pledge, don't say it.

Once again you inflate yourself to full size, deliver your opinion, and miss the point. Since I left school, I find I have no trouble with exerting my own free will over whether I will recite the pledge or not, so your advice is superfluous.

However, if schoolchildren were left to their own devices (as most adults are) in regard to saying or not saying the pledge, there would have been no lawsuit and no ruling. You might find a few children wandering about the schoolyard, mumbling the pledge in a low voice thirty times in a row -- because they are enamored with the word "indivisible". Others would just run and play and the pledge would never crosss their minds. But such is not the case. The children are gathered in front of the teacher (who must be obeyed in all things) and told (in the imperative voice) that "now we will recite the pledge", and "put your hand over your heart", and "begin". These are hard to refuse.

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), July 02, 2002.

I prefer lemon pledge, especially for my Shaker cherry chairs.

-- (Algernon C. Braithewait III @ Ptown.MA), July 02, 2002.

Ah, the constantly thin veneer of your intellect. Thanks for not reading Gregory Kane. Had you, you would have learned about the 1998 case where young MaryKait Durkee refused to say the Pledge.

You would have also learned that the Newdow child is not "forced" to say the Pledge. I have to laugh at your imperious description of the elementary school teacher. Given such royal command, I imagine every classroom a tomb of silence while the high and mighty teachers lord over the young pupils. Obviously, Nipper, you have not visited a public elementary school in some time.

In your world, Nipper, I imagine a child who stands and hears the Pledge, the jingoistic bit of nationalism with the theistic note, is terribly damaged. We certainly know it has hurt the elder Newdow who crosses "In God We Trust" off money.

Personally, Nipper, I think what damages school children is a lack of education. The "under God" is a tempest in a teapot. The real storm is the abject failure of public education in America. And as noted, religion is taught in public schools... but only the politically correct brand.

-- Ken Decker (kcdecker@att.net), July 02, 2002.

Maybe, maybe, vouchers will now bring some competion to the monopolized world of public education.

-- (Mr Chips@blacboard.jungle), July 02, 2002.

We don't have a private option other than homeschooling. In the next few weeks, I'll be applying for a position as teacher's aide in the public school system. The job does not require a college degree, and it pays minimum wage. I have a degree and currently make more than minimum wage working for a corporation. I figure the only solution to the problem is to get in there and become part of the problem. >;)

-- helen (pledge@THIS.kids), July 02, 2002.

In your world, Nipper, I imagine... [stand by for Ken's dream sequence] ...a child who stands and hears the Pledge, the jingoistic bit of nationalism with the theistic note, is terribly damaged.

To what do we owe this flight of pure fancy, Ken? Are you smoking something? Or do you, um, imagine that make-believe lends some peculiar weight to your, um, argument?

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), July 02, 2002.

Ken & LN,

Can you synopsize exactly what the premise of this debate is about in your own words? If you had to milk it down in its purest content what would be the juxt of the point?

I would seperate the difference between kids saying the anthem and adults saying the anthem, this seems to be the dividing line that quickly gets muddled up in this debate.

More points:

Did saying the anthem 'as is' permanently damage any of you?

Is it such a bad thing to be pro American and hold the belief that God has blessed your nation?

Is it written in the Constitution "seperation of church and state"? or is this purely an ideology of Jefferson's?

Could this be an athiests' agenda?

If they struck "the" words from the pledge would it diminish your love for America?

Is "God" an analogous word that can be used by all religions? and only dismissed or offend athiests?

And, if so, why would athiests take offense to something, that to them, is a joke?

Well, I gotta put my flip flops on, get the hell outta here and soak up a lil salt-n-sun : )

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), July 03, 2002.

Hello Bee. And others. I am glad to see some folks actually read the thing.

The problem is not so much a simple phrase added to the pledge. The problem is that referencing God in a public school setting is the tip of the iceburg of the agenda of religionists, particulary christian radicals, who would turn our country into a religious state-one could make an argument that this is exactly what is occuring- Did Ashcroft really have to spend taxpayer money to cover up the breast of Lady Justice?

There is a working Domino theory here. You let the "under GOd" thing stand and then more and more incursions of religion into "state" life are allowed to just slide. There is no need to expound further. This is an "ad absurdum" situation, because the argument for letting the phrase stand ultimately leads to more and most egregious establishment of religion.

It is a tragedy of epic proportions that not a single senator stood by the ninth circuit in defending the seperation. Politics and office are such strong motivators that trump personal conscience. SO what else is new. I should not be surprised at all.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), July 03, 2002.

Cap'n, as per your request.

Because people like Ken have introduced a few red herrings into the discussion, it seems proper to clarify what the debate is not about, as well.

It is not about the amount of damage done to schoolchildren by having to recite the pledge with the words "under God". Whether the damage to the children is huge, slight, or non-existant does not matter. What matters is the real damage to the principle of freedom of relgion, not some imagined damage to the pysches of children.

This debate is not about the desirability of patriotism or of religion. No one is arguing that a person is better off by being unpatriotic or irreligious, or that the same person cannot (or should not) be both patriotic and religious at the same time. The debate is about whether the State (through the agent of the schools) may authorize one religious position over another and give it the color of an official State-sponsored belief.

The whole crux of freedom of religion is that the government and its laws provide a strictly neutral medium, within which all religions and beliefs may flourish, uninfluenced by state sanctions either for or against. As a citizen, you may adopt any belief, proselytize any belief, associate with whomever you please, and succeed or fail in influencing the beliefs of others.

What you cannot do is enlist the power of the government to assist you in those processes. That is illegal and unconstitutional. By putting "under God" in the pledge and putting the pledge in public schools, that bright line is crossed.

Ken's arguing that schoolchildren are not damaged by saying "under God" is exactly equivalent to shoplifters arguing that no one is really damaged if they steal a candy bar, since 50 cents is a trivial sum of money. The real damage is not summed by the amount of money involved, but the importance of the principle involved. Stealing is wrong. Using the government to establish religion is wrong. There are no trivial exceptions.

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), July 03, 2002.

I like being under God.

-- (Mrs God @ center of the.void), July 03, 2002.

Just as a jolly diversion, Ken, since you are arguing that environmentalism is a religion, does that mean you are in favor of extending the current religious tax-exemptions to all environmental organizations? Or would you prefer to tax huge numbers of neighborhood churchs out of existance, as an alternative policy?

Just trying to stir the pot, by examining all the ramifications of Ken's argument.

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), July 03, 2002.

I'm not Ken, but out of those two choices I'll pick the second one, heh.

-- Uncle Deedah (unkeeD@yahoo.com), July 03, 2002.

BTW, LN. Let's explore your position.

If in fact you believe that "The whole crux of freedom of religion is that the government and its laws provide a strictly neutral medium, within which all religions and beliefs may flourish, uninfluenced by state sanctions either for or against." where do you stand on the tax issue you raised? Doesn't giving a tax break to some religious organizations sanction for or against a religious belief?

I don't know if Rasta is a tax exempt religion, how about Wicca?

-- Uncle Deedah (unkeeD@yahoo.com), July 03, 2002.

Ironically, some religions are in coflict with the Church of Nature-Forfend. There are American Indian (I believe that is the current PC language, no longer "native Americans") tribes that claim that Enviro regs impinge on their religious practices (such as whale hunting).

There are legal definitions that differentiate twixt religions and cults, for the purpose of identifying taxable entities. When I had my Church of Larsism in the 70s, the IRS taxed us to oblivion. They said it was a cult. The nerve!

-- (lars@indy.net), July 03, 2002.

Unc, I think any religion, including the Rastas and the Wiccas, get a tax break. I may be wrong.

Anyway, that's not my main point.

My church gets a tax break. As part of this arrangement, I just have to accept the fact that many organizations that are cherished by some, but leave me cold, also get a tax break. I am pretty sure that Maharishi U. in Fairfield Iowa (I'm originally from Iowa) gets a tax break. That's the institute of higher learning (no pun intended) which has had people bouncing on their buns for about five years appoaching in their minds mass levitation for world peace.

-- Peter Errington (petere7@starpower.net), July 03, 2002.


-- (Maharishi@Mahesh.Yogi), July 03, 2002.

where do you stand on the tax issue you raised?

First and foremost, it is my position that the whole issue of whether environmentalism is a religion is an egregious red herring, and my raising this further digression was simply a way of highlighting that fact.

The judges of the Ninth Circuit were presented with a simple question: whether the pledge, as it now stands, constitutes a state sponsorship of religion when it is recited in public schools. They resolved that question in the only honest way open to them. Ken's argument shed no useful light on that question. It was a diversion to a subject the court never considered and an argument neither side of the case made to the court. That was Ken's own hobby horse.

If Ken wants to bring a further suit against his local public school district for teaching the "religion" of environmentalism and thereby violating the establishment clause, then I would applaud him for the vigor of his principles. I would bet a substantial amount that he'd lose his case. And deservedly so. But I'd love to see him try to make that ever so "reasonable" case of his in court.

As for the tax exemption of churches, I would personally prefer to see them treated like all other non-profit organizations, at least for tax purposes. Seems fair to me. And it removes the government entirely from the questionable business of determining which churches are "legitimate", a business they should never have entered, in my opinion. Evidently, though, the courts have let them go there. More's the pity.

Now that I have declared my view on this subject, I would like Ken to answer my original question about giving environmental organizations the same tax breaks as churches.

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), July 03, 2002.

Bump. For Ken.

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), July 05, 2002.

To the impostor who is using my name, I do not say "teee-heee-heee", that is for wimps. Yabba-dabba-doo works much better.

-- Mahareshi Mahesh Yogi (the@original.one), July 05, 2002.

You're right, "tee-heee-heee" is for wimps. That's one reason why I dumped you MMY.

-- (Sir Paul @ 2 of.4), July 05, 2002.

I'm with Robin Williams on this one: Change the pledge to read "One nation under Canada [or even over Mexico]." THAT should please everyone.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), July 05, 2002.

Unk - I was kinda surprised at the lack of discussion, too. However, I was fairly lambasted on a genteel gardening forum at the same time, so I decided to keep my yap shut here. [I think I agree with you, but you may owe me a margarita]

Proud granddaughter of at least 7 who fought the Revolution, one of whom who lost his 19 year old at Yorktown on the final day during which Cornwallis caved {Z, I'll match your bain marie, by crackie!}

-- flora (***@__._), July 05, 2002.

Teach me to be gone for a week. Nice Ken bruising there nipper.

-- Carlos (riffraff@cybertime.net), July 06, 2002.

Proud granddaughter of at least 7 who fought the Revolution, one of whom who lost his 19 year old at Yorktown on the final day during which Cornwallis caved {Z, I'll match your bain marie, by crackie!}

Grandaughter? What am I missing here? My grandparents were born in the late 1800s and I'm old.

bain marie? Can I get that in a fun-meal?

-- (lars@indy.net), July 06, 2002.

I pledge allegiance to all the ordinary people around the world,

to the laid off Enron workers and the WorldCom workers

the maquiladora workers

and the sweatshop workers from New York to Indonesia,

who labor not under God but under the heel of multinational corporations; I pledge allegiance

to the people of Iraq,

Palestine and Afghanistan,

and to their struggles to survive and resist

slavery to corporate greed,

brutal wars against their families,

and the economic and environmental ruin wrought by global capitalism; I pledge allegiance

to building a better world

where human needs are met

and with real liberty, equality and justice for all.

The original pledge does not include or represent us godless radicals. The backlash against the California decision shows just how thin our democracy is.


Dana Cloud

Associate professor

Communication studies

University of Texas


-- (gag me @ a chile.spoon), July 06, 2002.

I saw this today on the net, it bolsters my point that the word God is not exclusive to Christians.


Jul 10, 8:14 AM (ET)


CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - A key al-Qaida spokesman has made a new threat to attack American targets and urged Muslims the world over to "kill enemies of God everywhere."

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), July 10, 2002.

You've missed the point entirely Cap'n.

-- give it up (you just @ don't. get it), July 10, 2002.

No, I have missed no point whatsoever. I am just not convinced that the pledge, as it has stood sinse 54 is that agregious to anyone except the athiest's. As a believer in seperation of church and state I can see the points that have been brought to the conversation and can also appreciate those viewpoints.

Personally I could give a shit less what gets decided in this matter because at the end of the day it really doesn't matter, unless you are a shit stirrin' dickwipe with nothing better to do than file suits and waste the courts time.

Oh, Give it up, why hide behind your catchy phrases? It's so unbecoming and cowardly. Maybe that's why I'm giving you so little creedance.

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), July 10, 2002.

go capn go!

-- (go@cap.go), July 10, 2002.

No Lars, you can't get a bain marie in a fun meal. Sorry to disappoint. You can't get God in school anymore either, unless you bring him yourself, which is the way it should be. Not mandated by law. Just my two cents.

-- Aunt Bee (aunt__bee@dellmail.com), July 10, 2002.

"No, I have missed no point whatsoever."

LOL, of course that's what you think, because you don't even know what the real point is. There's no way you could know you were missing it, unless you knew what the real point was!

-- capnfun2 (capnfun2@excite.com), July 11, 2002.

Stickler lars,

Great great great great -

& it all depends on what the meaning of a fun-meal is.

-- flora (***@__._), July 11, 2002.

"LOL, of course that's what you think, because you don't even know what the real point is"

The oh so wise speaketh. At least I'm open minded and have openly said so, there are many points of view here and all seem to have their valid positions. Unlike you, I am able to see that and try and discuss it. Oh well, later.

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), July 11, 2002.

The real point is that there is no real point, at least no discernible real point. We live in a mystery wrapped in an enigma and anyone who claims to understand it is a charlaton or a fool.

Just live it. Let it wash over you. Soon enough there will be more revealed. Or not, in which case none of it mattered anyhow.

-- (semi-nihilist@short road.ending), July 11, 2002.

Flora, thank you for confirming that one of us doesn't live in a time warp.

J'aime un bain avec Marie

-- (lars@indy.net), July 11, 2002.

I'm surprised about the amount of discussion about the pledge.

I have an email which should put an end to all this squabbling. But I don't know how to move an email into a post here. If someone can tell me, you all will get the definitive opinion on this subject.

I have Outlook Express, if that makes any difference.

-- Peter Errington (petere7@starpower.net), July 11, 2002.


You could try copy and paste, but be ready to be assaulted by Roloboy and the rest of the pugs.

-- (just@an.idea), July 11, 2002.


You sound like FS: "a mystery wrapped in an enigma" was his line I believe...hmmmmm

-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), July 11, 2002.

Actually I think it was Winston Churchill's.

-- (lars@indy.net), July 11, 2002.

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