[Vision2020] One Should Have Right To Object To 'Under God'

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Thu Sep 14 16:18:28 PDT 2006

Donovan et. al.

Answers to some of your comments included below:

On 9/12/06, Donovan Arnold <donovanjarnold2005 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Ted,
> You wrote that it promotes, "a specific form (t)hat form of religion as
> 'monotheism,' "
> So your whole argument is based on the prospect that there is not an "s"
> on the end of the word "God"? Seems rather silly to me.

You know that putting an "s" on "God" just changes the religious
perspective being promoted by an institution of the State.  The pledge would
have to be worded to include all religions (and no religion) to not be
promotion of some religious beliefs to the exclusion of others, or other
points of view.

 As far as I know, people that believe in One True God also believe there
> are other gods. And obviously people that believe in multiple Gods believe
> that one would be in charge of the welfare of the United States, so it can
> be that God.
> "Either you take a firm stand on separation of church and state or you do
> not."
> That is an illogical statement called a  false dilemma, Ted.  I can  very
> well  understand the  difference between a King that declares himself the
> head of the only Church in the Country and a word being recited by choice in
> a pledge. I can understand that a ruling by the Archbishop of the Boston
> Disease should not have the rule of law in Boston. I can understand that
> difference, Ted. Can you?

We can disagree on what a firm stand on separation of church and State is.
I think having the State by law word a pledge for all students in public
schools (or almost all) to recite, that promotes one religious perspective,
leaving others out, is not taking a firm stand.

 You cannot realistically completely separate the belief in God  from a
> culture based on it. It is not possible. Should we rip out the Crosses,
> Stars of David, and statues of Buddha displayed in PUBLIC cemeteries? Why
> not, it is using public space to promote a spiritual belief?
> Should we not use public dollars to hire military priests? Should we deny
> Priests the right to visit public hospitals for last rites? Should we deny
> church services to be administered to those living in publicly funded
> nursing homes that cannot leave? Even our entire form of Government was
> based on the 12 tribes of the Iroquois's, established by a religious leader.

We can assume that crosses, stars of david, and buddhas are placed in
cemeteries based on the preferences of the dead.  No one is coerced in these
cases.  And military priests and priests in public hospitals are there to
serve those of that faith.  Indeed, "free exercise."  However, their work
should not include coercing those of differing religious viewpoints take a
pledge to serve another religious orientation.

 "Apparently you have not read the 9th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals
> decision that declared the words "under God" in the pledge to be
> unconstitutional?"
> Well Ted, if we are not allowed to include God in our government, then we
> must assume that such a decision is not divinely guided, and therefore is a
> flawed decision, by its own self admission. A circular argument if you will.
> "I'm sure you've read this statement below, the First Amendment to the US
> Constitution:
> *'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
> prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech,
> or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to
> petition the Government for a redress of grievances.' "*
> And since nobody is forced to say the pledge their rights are not
> abridged. If saying the pledge is a religious act, as you claim, denying
> others the right to say it is "prohibiting the free exercise thereof," is it
> not, Ted?

You are wrong.  Those who have a differing religious orientation than what
the pledge states are having their rights violated because the State, in
mandating by law the wording of the pledge to promote one religious
orientation over another, is making a "law respecting an establishment of
religion," which is unconstitutional.  In effect, the State is saying it is
going to promote a certain religious perspective, and not include others, in
a pledge that is worded a certain way by law, meant to be recited by all (or
almost all) in State institutions devoted to forming the minds of youth.

The pressures on children, who generally are expected to obey their teachers
and adult leaders, to recite the pledge with everyone else, are so great,
that the wording of the pledge amounts to State coercion to comply with a
specific religious perspective, excluding other perspectives, despite the
technicality that the student can refuse.  Why should those of differing
religious perspectives have to remain silent or leave the room during the
pledge?  Why not allow the pledge sometimes to be worded to include other
religious perspectives, sometimes worded "one nation under Allah, or Buddha,
or the Goddess," for students who more follow these religious orientations?
 The fact these alternatives are not allowed in the reciting of the pledge
speaks volumes.  By allowing the pledge to be the "free exercise" of a
certain religious perspective via a State sanctioned wording and recitation
in public schools, other religious perspectives are being denied their "free
exercise" in this State sanctioned recitation, unless the pledge allows the
wording to include "under Allah, or Buddha, or the Goddess, etc."

No one is blocked from private prayer in public school.  I think all major
religions and any religion of any student in a public school should be
studied in depth in the school, academically, but not from the point of view
of taking pledges that state the State sanctions one religious perspective
leaving others out.

Ted Moffett

*Ted Moffett <starbliss at gmail.com>* wrote:

>  Donovan et. al.
>  Apparently you have not read the 9th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals
> decision that declared the words "under God" in the pledge to be
> unconstitutional?
> http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa062602a.htm
> "To recite the pledge is not to describe the United States; instead it is
> to swear allegiance to the values for which the flag stands: unity,
> indivisibility, liberty, justice and -- since 1954 -- monotheism," the court
> continued. "A profession that we are a nation 'under God' is identical ...
> to a profession that we are a nation 'under Jesus,' a nation 'under Vishnu,'
> a nation 'under Zeus,' or a nation 'under no god.'"
> --------
>  of religion," not a specific religion, and I described tI wrote that the
> pledge promotes "a specific form hat form of religion as "monotheism," as
> you can read below in my previous post forwarded, referencing the wording of
> the court decision.  Even if the pledge said "under Christ" this would not
> necessarily be promoting a specific religion, given that there are numerous
> religions who follow Christ, in one way or another, with differing views of
> the divinity of Christ, the Trinity, etc. differing religions who follow
> Christ who vehemently disagree with each other's basic principles.
> I'm sure you've read this statement below, the First Amendment to the US
> Constitution:
> *Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
> prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech,
> or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to
> petition the Government for a redress of grievances. *
> ---------
> Either you take a firm stand on separation of church and state or you do
> not.  Apparently you do not take a firm stand on separation of church and
> state, because it appears you wish to promote monotheism via the
> institutions of the state.
> As long as we are clear that this is what you wish to promote...
> Ted Moffett
> **
> On 9/12/06, Donovan Arnold <donovanjarnold2005 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >
> > "The pledge does amount to state sponsored promotion of a specific form
> > or religion." Ted Moffett.
> >
> > Ted which specific religion does it promote?
> >
> > I do not understand why this is such a big deal. If you do not believe
> > in God so what. I don't believe in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, or little
> > Leprechauns. But you don't see me out there smashing the fun and whatever
> > others get out of it, do you? Who cares, really, if there is no God, it
> > won't hurt to let others say His/Her/Its name?
> >
> > Second, it isn't asking you to believe in God, or that you pledge
> > allegiance to a God, it isn't even saying saying that God is real. It is
> > simply making a statement that it is under God, real of fiction. Does
> > Rudolph pull Santa's slay, or are we going to argue that he doesn't because
> > the slay and the man he is pulling really doesn't exist? Regardless of your
> > belief in Santa, everybody knows that Rudolph has a shiny nose and Santa
> > asked him to guide his slay on Christmas Eve night. And everybody knows that
> > God is above all things, people, and nations, real of imaginary. Apollo is
> > the Sun God, I can say that, even though I personally believe he doesn't
> > exist.
> >
> > Do you agree with everything else in the pledge? Do you believe that it
> > is one nation? A nation being one group of people with a shared culture,
> > religion or ethnic background? I should say that is also a false statement.
> > What about truth? Does the US ever lie? Is it always truthful, Ted? Another
> > false statement. How about, "Liberty and justice for all". Do you believe
> > that the US gives liberty and justice for all? Do you Ted? No, so if we want
> > to start ripping apart the pledge, and excluding statements we feel are not
> > true, we would not have a pledge anymore would we?
> >
> > The pledge is simply meant as tool to pull us together, instill pride
> > and a commonality among all peoples in the United States, regardless of who
> > or what we claim to be. There is no one statement, no one sentence, no words
> > in which all peoples in this country will agree. But we can all generally
> > agree what this country is suppose to be, or should be, a good nation that
> > is dedicated to doing what is right, together, as one for everyone.
> >
> > Best,
> >
> > _DJA
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > *Ted Moffett <starbliss at gmail.com >* wrote:
> >
> > Donovan et. al.
> >
> > http://www.aclunc.org/opinion/020903-pledge.html
> >
> > In adding "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, Congress
> > intended to put religion in public school. As President Eisenhower said in
> > signing the law, from "this day forward, the millions of our schoolchildren
> > will daily proclaim, in every city and town, every village and rural
> > schoolhouse, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty."
> > Since students were praying daily in many public schools, the new Pledge
> > language was not subject to an immediate constitutional challenge. Courts
> > had not yet recognized the rights of minority faiths to be free of religious
> > coercion in public schools.
> > --------------------------------
> > I recall in a 5th grade public school in North Carolina in 1961 starting
> > every school day with the Lord's prayer... The pledge of allegiance's "under
> > God" phrase was then a minor issue!
> >
> > The words "In God We Trust" on currency are not a pledge that I am
> > compelled to recite with my hand over my heart.  The pledge of allegiance
> > is, or was when I was in the public school system.
> >
> > The out for those who defend the pledge of allegiance with the words
> > "under God" continuing in public schools, despite the apparent state
> > promotion of specific religious beliefs (monotheism over the State), is that
> > any student can refuse to recite it without being officially compelled to
> > conform, or officially punished.  The student can legally opt out of saying
> > the pledge.  It is not "forced" on any student, technically speaking.
> >
> > The pledge, to be more religiously broad, might read "under whatever
> > God, Gods, Goddesses or other forms of spiritual beings or powers, or the
> > lack of them, that prevail" to avoid state promotion of specific forms of
> > religious belief, but this is cumbersome and wordy for a pledge.  And the
> > reason the words "under God" were placed in the pledge during the 1950s was
> > not to be open minded about including different religious beliefs, but to
> > send a specific message to the atheists of the godless Communist Soviet
> > Union, and other communist nations, that the USA was a nation under God, a
> > specific sort of God.  The words "under God" added to the pledge are thus a
> > legacy of cold war politics.
> >
> > I find the argument that the words "under God" are spiritually generic,
> > and can refer to all forms of spiritual belief, and thus are not state
> > endorsement of a specific religion, disingenuous.  I heard this exact
> > argument from a federal lawyer working in the federal court in Boise, a
> > lawyer who knew the justices involved in the 9th US Circuit Court who ruled
> > that the pledge's "under God" was unconstitutional.
> >
> > Given the pressures young students face to be popular, accepted, to
> > conform to the dominant values of their peers and adult leaders, odds are
> > many students will recite the pledge anyway, even if they object, or don't
> > understand the meaning of the words they parrot.
> >
> > The pledge does amount to state sponsored promotion of a specific form
> > or religion.
> >
> > Ted Moffett
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > =======================================================
> List services made available by First Step Internet,
> serving the communities of the Palouse since 1994.
> http://www.fsr.net
> mailto:Vision2020 at moscow.com
> =======================================================
>  ------------------------------
> All-new Yahoo! Mail
> <http://us.rd.yahoo.com/evt=43257/*http://advision.webevents.yahoo.com/mailbeta>-
> Fire up a more powerful email and get things done faster.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://mailman.fsr.com/pipermail/vision2020/attachments/20060914/85f774a1/attachment-0001.htm 

More information about the Vision2020 mailing list