September 14, 2005

Pledge Ruled Unconstitutional

Fellow blogger Dan Riehl is hot that a federal judge has ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance containing the words "under God" is unconstitutional. I can certainly understand his frustration, but I'm hardly surprised.

This cased was led by Michael Newdow, the same man who had his case dismissed by the Supreme Court last year. The judge on this case was more or less bound to follow the precedent laid down by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which in 2002 ruled in favor of Newdow that the pledge is unconstitutional when recited in public schools.

Personally, with John Roberts almost certain to be confirmed as Chief Justice and a seat on the Supreme Court still open for a conservative nominee, I think that the possibility exists that this case could, if circumstances unfold in a particular manner, destroy the liberal myth of a Constitutional separation of church and state once and for all.

The "wall of separation" is a court-mandated wall, not a Constitutionally mandated one. If you doubt this, simply read the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The only Constitutional mandate is that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

It was written to make sure there was no formal U.S religion, i.e., the Church of England. It was not written to strip all religion out of American public life. For that, we have only liberals, atheists, and the ACLU.

This case might just be the beginning of the end for those who have been steadily been rolling back American religious liberties over the past decades. Personally, I welcome the challenge and the chance to restore our rights.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 14, 2005 11:32 PM | TrackBack

I like the "under God" in the POA because it "outs" the Godless commies in our midst and I then know who to persecute. After all, that's exactly why it was added years and years after the original POA was formulated.

Posted by: Locomotive Breath at September 15, 2005 09:25 AM

These are the same courts that make us sware on a bible when we are testifying.If they suceed in taking this out of the poa. I would love to see the ripple affect of religious people withdrawing their children from public schools.

Posted by: La Tesha Waters at September 15, 2005 10:26 AM

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.

Posted by: TexasFred at September 15, 2005 12:06 PM

And I dare ANY SOB to make ME take it down and NOT say it....

Once in a while, a little *civil disobedience* is a GOOD thing...

Posted by: TexasFred at September 15, 2005 12:07 PM

My blog and forum have both gotten some positive comments on this but I am really disappointed at the response so far, not big enough or vocal enough...

Posted by: TexasFred at September 15, 2005 01:33 PM

Article 11 of the first Treaty of Tripoli 1796 and unanimously ratified by the US Senate:
"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 tranquillity, 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."

Posted by: scholar at September 15, 2005 04:35 PM

Now scholar, be honest enough to provide all the history of this document, will you?

Article 11 was not in the Arabic version of the text, and the Barbary States broke the treaty in 1801 It was rewritten in 1805, and when it was rewritten, article 11 was completely dropped.

Please cholar, being all wise and powerful, tell me just how much legal weight a nullifed treaty has, especially when the article in question was written out of the next draft?

Of course, this treaty has no bearing upon whether or not religion can be practiced, it simply stated that we were not specifically a Christian nation.

It is the equivilent of saying we don't sell Glocks in this store, not that we don't sell guns.

All of this is an irrelevant red herring.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 15, 2005 04:52 PM

Whenever the "Pledge of Allegiance" debate comes up, I am reminded of my childhood in the early sixties in public school, where my only classmates who remained seated were Quakers, who don't believe in pledging allegience to anything but God! So I guess the Atheists and the Quakers have some common ground; united against our common flag.

Posted by: Tom T at September 15, 2005 07:05 PM

In my opinion, if you can't pledge you loyalty to the nation you call home, you might need to find a new home...

Posted by: TexasFred at September 16, 2005 06:30 PM

Thank god for Michael Newdow. He is a true American and a patriot. Last time I checked, we have freedom of religion in this country. Anyone who is really honest knows full well that when Congress changed the Pledge, they violated the 1st Amendment. I wonder what all those jingoists (big word - better look it up, or just pretend it doesn;t exist if you're in the religious right and you don't agree with it) would think if Congress changed it to "one nation under secularism." If you would object, but you don't object to "under God," you are a hypocrite.

The best anyone can do is say it's so rote and mechanical that it's meaningless and therefore ok. But I didn't know the Constitution had a de minimus requirement. I guess if the police search your house only a little, it's ok. The Supreme Court knew this too; that's why they dismissed on technical grounds rather than have to admit what is obvious to any lawyer: Congress adding "under God" in the 50s to the pledge is as plain a violation of the endorsement clause as you can get. Face facts, intolerant conservatives (that was redundant).

Posted by: joe at September 17, 2005 02:42 PM

I love how you equate "public life" with "government expressions of religion." Religion in public life is alive and well. Walk out into your street and hand out flyers. Express your desire (market pressure) for a nativity scene at your local mall during Christmas. Head a youth group at your church.

These are distinct paradigms from government pushing/endorsing religion. Government explictly endorsing a God in an officially sanctioned oath to schoolchildren IS a formal endorsement of religion. The addition of God (60+ years after the original pledge) was done for the express purpose of declaring AMerica a theistic nation. This is not the purview of our secular government.

No, there are no American sacraments, govt priests, etc., but this is not a matter of degree for you to decide - it is a matter of strict constructionism. Literal interpretation of the words of the Constitution, in their most broad terms, not distilled "intent." And to me (and others) "one nation under God" belatedly legislated into a public oath constitutes the government unnecessarily establishing religion. I can live with it, but strictly speaking, from a logical perspective, it's treading on very thin ice.

And the separation of the state from religion isnt taking way your rights - it's protecting them in the long run. It amazes me that you folks can't see that.

Posted by: Bill from INDC at September 18, 2005 03:02 PM

Bill, as I understand it, it is fine for the government to have the concept of religion as long as it doesn't endorse a specific religion. As "God" mentioned in the pledge is about as generic as you can for monotheism (unless you want to go with "god"), then I don't see the problem.

The pledge does not endorse a specific religion, and therefore in my opinion, is not a violation of the First Amendment.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 18, 2005 06:38 PM

Let me help you understand. The Constitution says government can't establish religion, not "a" religion. That means that it can't choose to favor the idea of religion over the idea of secularism, AND ALSO any particular religion over another. That is why saying the reference to "God" is generic misses the point, because it ignores those who don't choose to believe in God. If it said "under God or whatever your believe system is", that would be closer to ok. Not to mention the fact that there's religions where there are more than one God, so it also ignores polytheism as well as atheism.

How typical for a conservative living in their own little bubble to think "oh, it's fine" as long as THEIR beliefs are protected.

Posted by: joe at September 20, 2005 05:37 PM