Scott Rosenberg has a pretty well-written column about the Pledge of Allegiance controversy, highlighting the relatively inane notion that the rights of Americans are derived from a grant by God, an idea being furthered by many of those who wish our children to be honoring the Judeo-Christian Supreme Being every morning. I mean, really — people with actual educations believe that rights, including the right to a free practice of any (or no) religion, were granted to us by the singluar head of a handful of specific religions? This honestly scares me, and the thought that these people are then in charge of creating logically-consistent laws (and amendments to the document explaining those rights) is even more frightening.

Another thing that scares me is all the posturing being done by all sides in Washington right now, and the fact that there isn’t a single Congressman (hell, a single politician anywhere!) who is willing to stand up and defend the Constitutional protection against state-enforced allegiance to religion. It’s enough to make you think it’s an election year…


In the grand scheme of things, The 9th Circuit decision is of little consequence. If it isn’t flipped on rehearing en banc I’d be suprised. Nonetheless, I appreciate the implied meaning of “God” within the context of the Pledge relates to a Judeo-Christian God. And, given that the majority of the population at the time of the amendment to the Pledge was Christian, the fact that a Jewish minority was included within those believers in “God” is by coincidence only.

Even though I don’t favor anything close to school prayer or the like, opinion troubles me. Remember, students were not forced to say the Pledge. On the other hand, they werre forced to be present when it is recited. I say this even thought I went to a public high school and had the “pleasure” as a Catholic to listen to a resounding Southern Baptist invocation recited at my graduation ceremony. It peppered with some “Jesus Christs” and the obligatory “Halleluia.” I remember thinking just how inappropriate that was. If I remember correctly, the chaplain of a student organization said that prayer. Had I led the “service” with some “Hail Mary’s” I would have been chased from the building as some deviant, idol-worhsipping, lesser-Christian.

The Constitution protects an individuals right to religion freedom. I think that stops short of the right to force-feed your religion to me.

• Posted by: Dan O'Brien on Jul 1, 2002, 4:50 PM

While I agree on the difference between forcing students to say the Pledge and forcing them to be present while others say it, I also remember the Supreme Court striking down prayer at school football games — events that are truly optional for the majority of a school’s population — as overly coercive and representative of state sanction of religion.

• Posted by: Jason Levine on Jul 1, 2002, 6:00 PM

I wanted to reassure you that not everyone fell in with the gaggle of politicians denouncing the ruling. The representative from my district, Mike Honda, has spoken out in support of the 9th Circuit Court’s decision.

Honda has his detractors, and I’m not entirely up on his legislative history, but his voting record on civil liberties issues is impressive.

• Posted by: Martin Quiazon on Jul 3, 2002, 1:59 AM

The whole issue just makes my teeth itch. Grr. But I’ve already done my rant, so I won’t bore you with it here.

• Posted by: Karel P Kerezman on Jul 5, 2002, 4:21 PM
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