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

Paul Rumelhart godshatter at yahoo.com
Fri Sep 15 19:06:18 PDT 2006

If it's trivial and not important, then why don't we change it to "under 
the gods" for a while, just in fairness?  Or how about "under Allah"? 

I agree that there are more important issues on the docket right now, 
not the least of which is trying to get our President to respect the 
Geneva Convention, but it still matters.  It seems obvious to me that it 
should be removed if fairness is a goal at any level.  If it really is 
trivial, then it should be no problem to just remove it, right?


Donovan Arnold wrote:

> Ted,
> There is nothing unconstitutional about the state promoting religion. 
> The state can promote religion all it wants. It is forbidden from 
> establishing a religion, like King James did in England. Western Kings 
> and other monarchies demanded that people worship a particular God or 
> face a government punishment.  That is what the founding fathers were 
> talking about. The writers of the same Constitution, the one you keep 
> bringing up, publicly funded and handed out Bibles. They heavily 
> promoted religion.
> Atheism is not a religion. It might be a spiritual belief, but it is 
> not a religion. 
> Allowing people to freely say the Pledge of Allegiance, or not, is not 
> violating free speech, or establishing a religion. People are not 
> hung, fined, burned, jailed, excluded, or punished in anyway for not 
> saying the Pledge. The law does not force ANYONE to say the pledge. So 
> it is not State Establishment of a Religion anymore then printing of 
> school textbooks in English is an establishment of a Language. Which 
> we don't have either.
> You are right it is offensive to Atheist. But you know what, it is 
> also offensive to non-atheists to take it out. So you going to offend, 
> 95% of the population, or 5% of the population?
> Atheist have to deal with the Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, Leprechauns, 
> and the Tooth Fairy. They can deal with another character they 
> consider fictitious.
> As for harassment from their peers for not saying the pledge, or parts 
> of it, the law ought to just come down on all bullying.  Anyone can 
> stand, say the  pledge, and pause during the second the words "under 
> God" are stated. Nobody would notice.
> This is just silly. There is so many other more important issues and 
> violations of human rights out there. Truly, what next, the 
> elimination of Ground Hog Day because the idea that a ground hog can 
> mythical predict the weather is a violation of my religious believes?
> Is catching a leprechaun for a pot of Gold a violation of my spiritual 
> beliefs because a Rainbow was put their as God's Promise to the World 
> he would never flood the world again?
> Some people need to get a better perspective on life then to be 
> offended about such mundane irrelevant things.
> Best,
> _DJA
> */Ted Moffett <starbliss at gmail.com>/* wrote:
>     Donovan et. al.
>     Answers to some of your comments included below:
>     On 9/12/06, *Donovan Arnold* <donovanjarnold2005 at yahoo.com
>     <mailto: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 <mailto: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
>         <mailto: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
>             <mailto: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
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