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Postby reinder on Fri Jun 28, 2002 3:16 am

I'd worry about that if I were you.

(I'm sick at home. If I feel up to it, I may post my own thoughts on the pledge issue on my own forum. Depending on whether boredom wins against sickness, that is. My thoughts may not be all that coherent at that point though.)
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Gav's "pledge" rant

Postby regal on Fri Jun 28, 2002 10:13 am

You have the right to sing praises to the Ninth Circuit court and Michael Newdow. You have the right to do this on your web site. Nukees is completely and totally your strip. You can use it to express any views you want.

But I have the right to decide this is not what I read Nukees for.
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Postby mouse on Fri Jun 28, 2002 11:00 am

Very true, regal. At this point, you have the right to read what you want, ignore what you want, admit to your beliefs in whatever god or other philosophy you want. This is the sort of thing the Bushies seem to want to take away from us. AgentDenim - "under God" was added to the pledge by Congress in 1954 (during the Cold War, because it proved we were different from the godless Commies). It's not something any individual person decides to add on his/her own. And yes, there probably are more people who claim to believe in God than not - but that's the whole point of our system of government - to protect the rights of *everyone*, even if they are in the minority.

It was perhaps tactless of the court to rule this way on this now - but maybe we _do_ need a discussion on just what is happening to our rights in this "war" hysteria (by the way, I note it is always now listed as a war, but I seemed to have missed the day Congress actually declared it - anybody else notice that?). It frightens me that so much of Congress is so terrorized by rhetoric that they immediately leap on the bandwagon to condemn the decision, for fear they will be labeled 'unpatriotic'. In my mind, sometimes the most patriotic thing you can do is point out that your country (or leaders thereof) is making a mistake. As Ben Franklin says "Those who give up essential liberties to achieve temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety" (I may not have the exact words, but that's the gist).

The thing that bothers me most about all this is it suggests the Bushies have no faith whatsoever in the American people. I mean, really - who believes the country will collapse into chaos and immorality if we remove "under God" from the Pledge of Allegience? Who believes that if we send in a decent-sized force of peacekeepers into Afghanistan, to really patrol the country for Al Queda and Bin Laden (remember him) and some of them get killed, that the whole country will be demanding that we abandon the effort to stop terrorism? Who believes, for that matter, that if we put our minds to it, we couldn't come up with more fuel efficient vehicles, so that people could actually have their stupid SUVs, and they would actually do better than 10 mpg? (and if you don't - guess again. The technology already exists). Actually, that's wrong - the Bushies don't care what the American people can or can't do, they just want to fill their (and their buddies) pockets with our cash.

Bush is an idiot, surrounded by fanatics who will persue their agenda, regardless of how much damage it does to the rest of us. We can't be afraid to stand up to these people. (Or at least talk back to them).

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Postby Gav on Fri Jun 28, 2002 12:00 pm

Good, people are talking about this.

Let's take a ferinstance. Let's change the pledge (it's been done enough) to read "One nation, WITHOUT God..." And then lets make five-year-old kids repeat it day after day after day. And then say, "Well, you don't have to say it if you don't support our beloved country. All the other students love their country and want to do the right thing, however, so please sit down and put your god-fearing head down." You think five year olds aren't impressionable enough? You think five year olds won't try to learn something from the fact that their teachers, their role models, are telling them that they must pledge their allegiance to God when they pledge their allegiance to the country? You think five year olds have strong enough personal conviction in their faith to stand alone when the rest of their class is standing and praising their love for God? When I was five, I ate paste because everyone else was doing it. I threw rocks at girls I liked because the other boys were doing it. You're asking a five year old to "just take a stand?"

When there's discrimination happening, you don't ask the whites how they feel about it.

I said "Fuck God" and "Fuck Allah" and "Fuck Jesus" yesterday, because I want the 90+% of this country that believes in a Christian God and doesn't see anything wrong with "God-loving water fountains" and "Pagan/Atheist water fountains" to know how I felt in elementary school when they taught "separation of church and state" simultaneous with forcing us all to associate God with the flag. And I was raised Roman Catholic!!

How easy do you think it is for Michael Newdow to raise his daughter with his religious beliefs when the people who teach her tell her to pledge allegiance to God or be an outcast?

What's worse is not even this debatable issue, but what George Bush and our entire Congress is saying, which is that we should teach all American children that our rights and our country come from God (yes, it does say it in the Declaration, but that's because we hadn't written the Constitution yet, and later decided on the Bill of Rights. Falling back on the Declaration is like a company ignoring their business plan and adhering strictly to the rules of an email they sent to partners before the company was formed).

I've offended. I can see that, and frankly, it's what I intended to do. Now you see how I feel.

Fuck you Athiest! You can't support America.

Say the pledge outside of the classroom if you believe it in. Fine, let's give children the choice to say if it they want, outside of the institute for education who they've come to respect as the role models that tell them every day what they must learn to be an effective human being. A real choice, unfettered by peer, teacher, and parent pressure. Let's see what they do.

And stop telling me I'm unamerican because I don't believe in George Bush's God.
Last edited by Gav on Fri Jun 28, 2002 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby NornaGest on Fri Jun 28, 2002 12:28 pm

I'm a little worried about the cultural mutations......
OUr old "Left" is becoming our right, (The old RIGHT is becoming our new
left......) .....And neither of them are up to it!
I haven't read your rant yet, because "rants" are are too alien to me, still.

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Postby NornaGest on Fri Jun 28, 2002 12:32 pm

Just read your post, Gav. (O.J. experiment & it worked!)
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Postby Aramchek on Fri Jun 28, 2002 1:08 pm

I have a number of American friends, and some of them have suggested that I should move to the US.
Stuff like this, and far too many other things Dubya and his like come up with make me very happy that I haven't moved there. I am, at the same time, scared due to the amazing amount of influence the US goverment have in this country, the goverment here care far more about how to please the US than they do in actually improving things here.
Tony Blair has "strongly implied" that he wants all schools here run by the church...

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Re: The Pledge

Postby Gav on Fri Jun 28, 2002 5:05 pm

AgentDenim wrote:The way I see it, the California court's ruling seems to want to take away every person's free speech - the right to say the plege, and to add "under God" if they so desire. What a double-edged sword this whole mess is. In my humble opinion, this stupid issue should never have made it to the courts. It took one over-educated man with a bug in his ass and an insanely poor sense of timing to ignite the country... Gav, if it's anyone you should be angry at, it's NOT our leaders. This wouldn't be an issue if Mr. Nedow hadn't brought this to court in the first place. This wouldn't be an issue if the 9th Circuit Court knew what it was doing. Fuck Michael Nedow. Fuck the 9th circuit court, and their desire to restrict the same freedom of speech they pretend to uphold.
And may I still pledge my allegiance, and may I please keep my right to say "under God" if I so desire? And may you keep your right to not say it? And may you keep your right to leave the room if you don't want to hear it? This was a simple problem with simple solutions. It should have stayed that way. Out of the courts, out of congress, and in the hands of the people to decide what's best-suited for themselves.

I should address this issue specifically as well, even if it means repeating myself.

This is not an issue of free speech. It's a question of what the schools should tell our kids what to say or pledge to. It's a question of the schools not only allowing prayer in school (which they don't), but indirectly enforcing it through peer and teacher pressure. The schools set aside time every day for students to pledge their allegiance to God and their country.

No one is saying that children can't recite the pledge before or after school, or even during recess. It's saying they shouldn't be doing it during class. Kids shouldn't stand up in the middle of learning the multiplication tables to shout "I love God!" either. Is that quashing "free speech?"

If we set aside five minutes every morning for every child to recite the Lord's Prayer, or just sit there while everyone else does as well, is that "allowing us free speech?"

If we set aside five minutes every morning to read from the Koran aloud, or just sit there, is that "allowing us free speech?"

What about if every child decided to read aloud from the Necronomicon in unison? What if the teacher passed out copies and taught it to them?

What if the teacher devoted an entire period to "allowing" children to kill a virgin goat in unholy sacrifice to Satan? So long as the children were "allowed" to not participate if they so chose, it's still okay, right? It's just "allowing" the children their free speech, right?

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Postby reinder on Fri Jun 28, 2002 5:20 pm

What puzzles me most about the Pledge is just that: the fact that kids in schools are expected to recite it every day.

My view as an outsider is that an oath that has to be reaffirmed every day can't possibly be any good. I mean, I have literally never in the nearly 31 years that I've been alive, pledged my allegiance to anything or anyone. Should I ever do so, it would be a momentous event - something that I would do after a lot of thought and that would change my life forever. Getting married, or accepting a new citizenship, or getting ordained in the Cult of the Sun Disc - something on that scale. Apparently, American children get to pledge their allegiance to their country as a way of marking the start of another day. That robs the ritual of its meaning as far as I'm concerned. And it strikes me that using God's name in such a debased ritual isn't something that Christians should encourage at all (on one other board that I frequent, a thoughtful Christian said as much - or maybe I'm interpreting that fellow's words). But then again, I don't really understand the religious impulse that well.
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Postby Austerity on Fri Jun 28, 2002 6:21 pm

It's somewhat amusing to me what's going on. Not just what's going on right now, or in the past 5-10 years, or even the past 50 years, but what's been going on for the past 300 or so years.

Originally there was a bunch of people, and they decided they were persecuted enough and moved somewhere else.

What came out of that was probably one of the few truly intelligent decisions ever made. They drafted a set of rules to restrict people from being persecuted in the future, because they were still hot on the idea of having themselves been the downtrodden.

The problem is over the past some odd years people have forgotten. That's the nature of the life cycle, once a generation passes it becomes difficult to instill the true feelings of those who went through what they did in the previous.

A few generations after the founding of the nation we engaged in a civil war, because people forgot. We're now a few generations off of that, and it's happening again.

There's a group of people shifting the country on a facist track. That's what I said, facism. If you look up the conceptual definition of facism it's a government marked by extreme nationalism with less regard to personal freedom.

If someone wants to attempt to debunk the idea that we're becoming a facist republic, you're welcome to it.

Now, on the idea of this pledge thing, and whether or not it's a restriction or expansion of the first amendment, relating to my previous babbling of facism:

As with anything, this brand of nationalism has certain tenants. We haven't, as a nation, shaken the puritanical basis for beliefs. We also have this constitution thing, which focuses those beliefs. And then there's capitalism.

This is where all this political correctness crap comes from. You have one side that states we must all be insane and run the streets praising jesus for no apparent reason. You have the other side that contends that by saying everything is created equal, and we should have a seperation of church and state. The third element, capitalism, states there must be constant growth, and that's the catalyst.

What happens when you put two opposing sides together? You get a whole lot of liberated gas.

What I mean by this is we're becoming a nation full of rhetoric facists. It's entirely inconsequential what happens as a result of this decision, in my opinion.

In that realm of constant growth, each side is getting more and more fervent, and has been for around 100 years. We're coming to a head now. If it's not this issue it will be another one soon enough. The problem is when you have two facists arguing neither ever sees the point of his/her opponent, and as stated in the conceptual design of facism fervent belief and faith is the main idea, reason is certainly a side thought at best.

I think we should be more concerned in the direction we're taking this by one-upping the other side by yelling louder each time.

I'm not sure it's going to be G.W. Bush, but the thing I'm most worried about is who is going to become the next Napoleon.

Don't mind my side-tracking here, it's what I do best.

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Postby Vinco on Fri Jun 28, 2002 7:02 pm

Thank you for taking a stand on this, Gav. Like several others in this forum, I was raised in a rather religious household, and endured 9 years of Catholic Schooling. Things were a lot simpler back then. I didn't even think about those of differing beliefs. They didn't really even exist in my life. Now that I've found myself away from the bonds of the Church, I have developed an entirely different view on the matter. My parents can't accept my decision, nor that I could possibly have a valid objection to government support of Monotheistic religion. It's about time that people like them learned what it's like to be in the minority, and be trampled upon whenever convenient.

We have affirmative action for racial minorities, protecting their rights at the expense of the majority. Why can't people accept this same principle for religion? Not aid, but equality and protection for those whose beliefs are not in line with the rest of society?

I don't begrudge them their right to attend church, or believe in their gods. Why should I not have the same freedoms?

I don't know if this post made sense or not... I think I'll post more later.
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Postby Austerity on Fri Jun 28, 2002 7:37 pm

I think Arthur C Clark mentioned as a side note that religion had been abolished in 2600 or so, in his 3001 novel. Not that he's the best authority on science or even science fiction (I find his writing somewhat dry and lacking in character development to some point), but:

I think we're a ways off from accepting athiesm in general as a society. We only just started working towards people with differing pigmentation in their skin, or hell, different sexual organs as being "equal". I figure we have another few thousand years to go before we even get near equality in concept of thought.

We're always thinking in generational time, whereas evolution (of biology and of thought) happens on a much larger time scale, not quite geologic but closer to it.

By the time we get 1/100,000 near that point, the society working towards it will likely collapse.

One way to get it done is to kill off a large % of the people on the planet, while protecting those who side with true equality, so they make up a larger portion of the populous.

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Postby LCARS on Fri Jun 28, 2002 7:39 pm

I like Atheism, it's the only true non-profit organization.
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Postby Shotwench on Fri Jun 28, 2002 8:25 pm

I hate taking sides with out knowing an arguement in full, so I just want to say thank you guys for your opinions.

I grew up saying the pledge and hearing the Lord's Prayer at every major function at school. Go figure, we're small town white bread Nebraska. I was blessed however, that my parents "exposed" (for lack of a better term) me to different religions and paths in the whole spiritual aspect of my life. Ahead of their time they were.

It does bug me that they took "Under God" out, but that's my opinion. It also bugged me when the Girl Scout got rid of the mention of God in their promise. Hey I'm old, when I've been reciting the damned thing for over 10 years it's kindof hard to change it. Of course, it's still perfectly ok to sing religious songs at camp, but then again this IS Nebraska once again.

This is why I say keep religion a private home thing. While I enjoy my share of controversy, I really dont' think this is the thing to drag into court and what not. Public school really isn't the place to force the ideals of a certain sect of Christianity upon such a vast diversity of children.

As I said, just my humble opinion.

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What I find disturbing...

Postby scadada99 on Fri Jun 28, 2002 8:54 pm

I agree and disagree with you at the same time, Gav.

I disagree that the Pledge should be made unconstitutional. I agree that our hilbilly "president" should'nt be cramming his religion down everyone's throat.

I have nothing against anyone. In college, there were 3 peole(in a group of 8 ) that were each: Wiccan, Pagan, and Atheist. I myself am Jewish-agnostic(if there is such a thing). One other person in that group was agnostic. I am for the rights of people. Practice what you believe in, don't let anyone else tell you that you're wrong. Fuck all these people that advertise their religions on there Lexus RX300's.

On an off-topic note, this country is getting too PC for it's own good. I have a friend that goes to The College of New Jersey(TCNJ). Someone there wanted to hang a flag out of his window after 9/11. They wouldn't let him because an Arab* was offended by it. We can't fly the flag because someone might be offended by it? I don't go to France and Yell "FUCK JACQUES CHIRAC" from the top of the Eiffel Tower, do I? Let me show pride in my couuntry without "offending" someone! Jesus fucking Christ, people! I'm sick of not being able to walk through the town of Iselin, NJ and not be able to understand anyone! It's impossible.
Some time ago, people came to this country to be AMERICAN. Now they come to this country and want US to be THEM. They don't like it here? TELL THEM TO GET OUT!

I'm not a bigot. I'm not a racist. I'm not even sexist. But this just pisses me off. Again, did I go to England and yell "Fuck Tony Blair" from Buckingham Palace while shitting on the walkway? No. Don't do it to us, then!

I'm sorry if this offends anyone. I don't mean anything malicious to anyone, I just had to say something.

*I have nothing against Arabs/indians/hispanics. Again, I apologize.
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Postby Maritza Campos on Fri Jun 28, 2002 9:59 pm

it's a contradiction that a "democracy" speaks about freedom of speech and belief and at the same time it requires you to mention a God you might not believe in.

But, how come they're noticing this NOW??? I mean, c'mon. Look at your bills. "In God We Trust". Who is "we"? Judeo-Christian people? WASP? Why doesn't it say "In Virgin Mary we trust"? And then they make you put your hand on the Bible in COURT, and say "nothing but the truth so help me GOD". I find this unbelievable.

In my country, we're still struggling between christianity and paganism. Christianity (especifically catolicism) was imposed by the spanish who took over the land and wiped out the different religious beliefs, where everybody had a whole stack of gods and godesses for everything from suicide to food. After THAT, when the final result was a strange mix of religion and superstition, the Church became too powerful and the government decided to end the plague by persecuting religion. Priests and nuns were killed. Mass was forbidden. Imposed atheism is as bad as imposed religion. As a result of this part of our history, in Mexico now you can find the opposite extreme... if the president shows ANY sign of support for any religion (even by the simple event of attending mass or whatever) everybody makes a big fuss out of it. I don't know if that's good or bad, but I find it annoying. Who cares what the president does with his personal life? If he runs the country well I don't care if he believes in a magical goat that punishes bad actions, unless of course he demands me to believe in said magical goat.

But in the end, what do you have? Laws, flag and a pledge that are created following the religion of the big majority. If mormons were the big majority marrying multiple times would be legal, wouldn't it? You bet. If extremist muslims run the government, it's legal to stone women because they go out on the street without a veil. And so and so.

Religion is imposed in many ways by the ruling class, that's a FACT. But I also think that even when a democracy lets everybody speak, only the voice of the ruling class is really heard.

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Under God, like it or not

Postby NTXOkie on Fri Jun 28, 2002 11:38 pm

I used to date a turk who took exception to prayer at pregame or other school functions.

I was in a Toastmasters group which had those who followed Isalm, Hindu, various Christian and the odd Jew or two.

The Toastmaster would call the meeting together, and before calling on on the Toastmaster of the day to run the meeting, a brief prayer (if you would like, please join me....), a brief thought of the day, or even a poem was offered.

It was all good.

Get over it GAV.

Your God is one of nothingness or a Null God. Everyone has there Gods.

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Postby T'Renn on Sat Jun 29, 2002 12:00 am

It's starting to bug me how people misread things. Even intelligent people like we have here.

The circuit court didn't "declare the Pledge unconstitutional". It declared that forcing all children to recite the words "under God" every day is unconstitutional. There's a huge damn difference, and I really wish people would get it right.

Thank you, I feel better now.

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Let's Get Flamed!

Postby RATmaniak on Sat Jun 29, 2002 5:25 am

FFS! I hate this forum posting thingie. I'm backing THIS copy up. Oh well.

I can't believe this. America: the SUPPOSED "Land of the Free", tries to restrict religion. That and President Schmuck is highly rated. Ugh. Goebbels had the right idea: The mob is only as smart as the lowest IQ in the mob, divided by the amount of people in the mob.
It sickens me, to see America being such a hypocrite. Constantly, historically, the biggest superpower in the world, America, is a bloody hypocrite led by great and terrible leaders.
Religion makes me sick. As far as I'd like in an ideal world, religious beliefs wouldn't exist. In that ideal world, no-one is morally weak enough to need to believe in a possibly non-existent entity(s).
In reality, since anything ideal cannot exist, the best I can hope for is a religiously accepting society. Conversionists (Evangelists) drive me crazy. I HATE anyone that tries to FORCE me to believe in something I haven't chosen to believe in.
Believe in whatever the hell you like, world, just don't force it on others. America is bad enough, forcing schools to recite the pledge of allegience, but forcing them to also add "Under God", to follow the Church is inhumane. (I do not say "Christian" here, I say the Church) The Church may be the biggest and most corrupt global CORPORATION, but it has no right to stick its ugly, interfering arse in where its not necessary. I'm sure they'd like an ideal society of mysoginist, dominant W.A.S.P.'s, (KKK!), but for fucks sake, most sane humans don't!
I could believe in my computer as the entity about to save me when I die, to take me to the Eternal LAN Gaming Centre in the sky, (paradise, lol), but I wouldn't force it on anyone else, belief is your responsibility. Americans should stop marginalising anyone different (racism/religionism whatever), and claiming they don't. Its too damn hypocritical - it makes one's blood boil.
"Under God" this, "In His name" that, its all the beliefs of a large mob. Forcing it on others, and believing it to be a holy quest or the "proper" thing to do is so damn inhumane. The mob is only as smart as the lowest IQ in the mob, divided by the number of people in the mob. Religion - the "Opium of the masses" (Karl Marx). So damn true. The dude had the right idea as far as that went. (Was a bit idealistic in others). Religion can be the cigarettes of the masses, kills you, and others, slowly, costs a fortune, is disgusting to those who don't do it, and damn impossible to get rid of .
If only Bush were as nice a President as F.D.Roosevelt, as tactically/politically genius as Hitler and racially/religiously/generally accepting as... gee.... can't think of anyone yet.

Go Gav, that's all I can say. Atheism is great, it's what you believe in, Agnostic is fun, (no rules!) and every other religion has its benefits. Just don't FORCE them on anyone - they often don't need/want it.

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Postby Silver Adept on Sat Jun 29, 2002 6:18 am

*from behind the sandbags, a helmet, two eyebrows, one raised, and two eyes appear. In a flash, a pair of binocculars scans the battelfield. Determining it to be safe, the rest of the head appears, along with two hands and a white flag...*

Hmm. One would have to say that the simplest solution to this problem would be to revert the Pledge to the "godless" one and simply wait out the fallout.

However, that's not likely. So we'll have to be a bit more complex.

Hopefully having an... erm... unique perspective on this, I would like to point out that we may be confusing two concepts. Spereation OF church and state is far different than seperation of church FROM state. Which one are we aiming for?

The words "under God" make no claim to a particular religion (excepting that it be monotheistic, I believe) at all. Most people interpret it to be Christian, but it could be just as easily be Jewish, Islamic, or of the Church of Fluffy, the Pet Rock, depending on what you interpret "God" to mean.

<controversial-esque statement>
I believe that even atheists have a God.
</controversial-esque statement>
I just haven't found it out yet. Logic is curently my working theory...

But anyway... requiring a child to affirm a belief in a higher power is natural (speaking of Nature, is she considered a higher power?) in the sense that there are still some things that science cannot explain to us yet, and we have institutions like government that are higher on the social order than we are. So I think the problem is that someone interpreted, and then wanted to prove their interpretation was right, and in essence, force it upon others. That we get ruffled at.

*drops back behind the sandbags, hoping that nobody's equipped with weapons that will pierce such*
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Postby RanDomino on Sat Jun 29, 2002 8:36 am

HA HA HA HA HA! Fools! Won't you be surprised when you die and your consciousness vanishes! No heaven, no hell- these are human concepts; a way of coping with our ignorance. DNA is miles and miles of code, the brain is a CPU. Consciousness is an illusion. Your actions are the result of a complex chain of IF-THENs, ANDs, and ORs.

Here's a negative proof for y'alls: 1) God is omnipotent. 2) God creates the Earth and the floura/fauna soley for humans. [For no reason whatsoever; remember step 1] 3)God then spends the next 5000 years convincing his creations that he doesn't exist. 4)God sends his son/prophet to get us to believe in God again. 5)The son/prophet fails because God abandoned him...?

What exactly is this concept of "Sin"? Isn't it convenient that many sins are poor evolutionary traits? Isn't it also convenient that God wants his/her subjects to have as many children as possible? It's all a Babylonian plot to have the most powerful nation!

Two final points:
Would a just God allow Hell to exist?
Is being a witch still punishable by burning-at-the-stake?
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Postby KnightErrant on Sat Jun 29, 2002 11:20 am

Just wanna throw in a "FUCK GEORGE BUSH! BOTH OF 'EM!"

Hey, I'm semi-agnostic, semi-Christian, and practicing Zen. I like this discussion... but you gotta remember, the courts and Congress are not theological forums, they are political ones. It's not about civil rights. It's not about protecting the minorities and compromising with the majorities. It's about protecting their own money-backed asses and living off the state as long as possible. In George Fucking Bush's case, it's about imposing your own goddamn beliefs on the whole world and killing people that don't fucking agree with you. I'm suprised that the rest of the world hasn't fucking seen that already! Over in the Czech Republic, they say he reminds them of "someone very, very bad." Someone so bad they STILL won't say his name if they don't have to. Yeah, Hitler. It's so fucking obvious it hurts. And, as our educators have been saying since the 70's, the United States' majority is so fucking STUPID that they can't recognize anything going on in the world besides war. They view war as a fucking sport. "Kill those Terrorists! Woo!" And that's what the Bush dynasty's propaganda machine has done to them.

My plan is to sit World War Three out in Mexico and take over the world when it's all over and done with.

All right, I'm running out of steam. Again, it's not about God, it's about votes.

Peace out.
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Has anyone actually read the ruling?

Postby Kerinsky on Sat Jun 29, 2002 11:58 am

The ruling is up at ... 602opn.pdf and really should be considered required reading for this discussion.

I largely agree with this ruling, but think it ignores one major issue that I don't see anyone else talking about either. We're talking about kids here, not full citizens thus they do not have full constitutional rights. We already suspend their right to liberty for about 1440 hours a year. (And I don't care that it's "for their own good" it would be for your own good if the government forced you and everyone else to excercise for 30 mins a day and would still be unconstitutional). I don't have texts of the rulings that allow government forced schooling handy but I have to assume that these rulings give some reason or goal that justifies striping our children of basic constitutional protections. As such we should ask if reciting the pledge (with or without mention of God) furthers that goal as a stand alone act. In other words if we cannot justify bringing kids to school for 5 mintues a day just to say the pledge and then sending them home again immediately with no further schooling then we cannot justify requiring that this time be spent even though they're already at school for other reasons.

At least one court has, partially, agreed with me in the past. "3 Compelling students to recite the Pledge was held to be a First Amend-ment violation in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 642 (1943) (
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Postby mouse on Sat Jun 29, 2002 12:56 pm

reinder wrote:What puzzles me most about the Pledge is just that: the fact that kids in schools are expected to recite it every day.

My view as an outsider is that an oath that has to be reaffirmed every day can't possibly be any good. I mean, I have literally never in the nearly 31 years that I've been alive, pledged my allegiance to anything or anyone. Should I ever do so, it would be a momentous event - something that I would do after a lot of thought and that would change my life forever. ... Apparently, American children get to pledge their allegiance to their country as a way of marking the start of another day. That robs the ritual of its meaning as far as I'm concerned.

This is a good point - especially when you remember that the Pledge is full of large words (which many young children don't even know how to say right, let alone the meaning of) and presents a fairly sophisticated concept (which said children are unlikely to understand fully). So reciting it does become a rote, meaningless task.

My problem with a lot of governmental interference with religion is that all these pro-religious types seem to forget that there are responsibilities that go along with all our rights. We have the right to choose what religion (or lack thereof) we want to follow, and want our children to follow. With that goes the responsibility to teach our children our beliefs. If you truly believe the philosophy you follow is the correct one, it is foolish to believe a government/teacher/any other officious person will teach exactly your beliefs. (This leads to nonsense such as 'nonsectarian prayer' - if you have a prayer that offends no one, how can it if fit everyone's beliefs perfectly?) Leave religion out of government and similar public things, and take responsibility yourself, is my opinion. After all, if you want your kid to believe in God, do you really think having him say "under God" by rote every morning will do it, if you don't also take him to church, and pray at home? And if you actually do all those things - do you think having the kid fail to say "under God" at school will undermine those beliefs? [Which I guess means I don't know that having those two words in the pledge will be seriously detrimental to atheists - but I do think it's an indicator of a general trend that needs to be stopped]

btw - I am an atheist, and I don't believe in any sort of God - despite those of you who want to believe that somehow we must, we're just refusing to admit it. I believe that the universe, and life on this planet, was created in a fashion consistent with natural law, and that the various belief systems that have sprung up did so as a way to 1) explain all the confusing aspects of the world and 2) enforce a code of conduct that makes civilization possible. As to a "God" or "Intelligent Designer" or any sort of concious being that enforces such a code - look at the world that has been revealed to all of us post-9/11 (fundamentalist Muslims killing innocents in the US, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, etc.; fundamentalist Christians (like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell) blaming everyone who doesn't believe their way for All Bad Things; a government full of people acting clearly in their own self interest, figuring that the rest of us will pay the bill for deficits, corrupt corporations, and the impact of global warming; and just the general level of poverty and suffering in too much of the world) - face it, if such a being is around, why is he letting all this go unpunished? uncorrected? (yeah, I know - it's a character builder, to make us do the right thing. Would you put your child through such lessons, to teach them to be a "good person"?)
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