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I know I'm in the EXTREME minority (as usual), but I believe the 9th circuit was ABSOLUTELY right to ban the phrase "under God." I have yet to read the decision, so I can't speak to the logic of their analysis, but I wholeheartedly agree with the result... too bad it won't stand.

BUT, I also agree with the Supreme Court voucher decision, although I have read the opinion and I think it contains a few flaws. I won't expand unless this thread goes in that direction.

The reason I can agree with both is that whether an act violates church/state separation depends on whether the act has the purpose or effect of advancing (or inhibiting) religion.

Adding "under God" to the Pledge: purpose yes. Effect yes. Therefore, unconstitutional.

Vouchers: Purpose no. Effect? Depends. Is a significant amount of the tuition money going for church activities unrelated to the cost of education? If so, then it may have the effect of advancing religion. If not, then it doesn't (and that's true even though religion is a significant part of the education, because the parents are choosing voluntarily to send their kids there --- these are the same parents who would have sent their kids to the same Catholic School anyway, if they had the money and didn't need vouchers).

And if (since?) it doesn't, then it's constitutional.
You can also make the argument that purpose and effect are significantly greater with vouchers. In the pledge, one could easily argue that simply uttering two words has very little direct connection to the instititutions and practice of religion. It has far less impact, for example, than the recognition of God on every piece of our currency*.

On the other hand, since, as CNN reports, almost all voucher dollars currently go to church or religous schools, without regard to intent, the transfer of public tax dollars to religous institutions has the direct effect of government subsidy/support.


* I think the appealas court overreached in its decision on the Pledge of Allegience. The Supreme Court will look at things like the phrase "In God We Trust" on our currency and rule that the recognition of God is not the same as the encouragement of a particular type of religion or belief. I'm guessing that this decision will be over-turned.

Onward and Upward!
"...In the pledge, one could easily argue that simply uttering two words has very little direct connection to the instititutions and practice of religion. It has far less impact, for example, than the recognition of God on every piece of our currency*...." posted by MBM


Absolutely correct, Mr. MBM! I also like the way Senate Chaplain Lloyd Ogilvie puts it....

"...We acknowledge the separation of sectarianism and state, but affirm the belief that there is no separation between God and state..."

Indeed there is not, and that was the Founding Fathers intent. This nation was founded "under God" and remains the moral compass that guides our principles.

Mr. MBM, this very issue is a perfect example of what I meant by the constant assaults on the values and traditions that defines our nation. This issue has outraged folks on both sides of the ailse, and shows a lack of understanding by those appeals court judges what the Pledge means to many Americans. Last I heard, the ruling was put on hold indefinately.

I never imagined in my lifetime a ruling that declares the Pledge unconstitutional. Nothing surprises me anymore, and no doubt there will be future attacks on our American culture by those determinded to change said culture. I really am troubled by this.

As for vouchers, I simply don't approve of the government running such a program. I see another excuse for more bloating bureaucracy and waste.

big grin big grin big grin
Well I can remember as a child being forced to say the pledge every morning in homeroom and I hated doing it.I do agree that the whole "under god" thing is in a way force feeding children religion, but I was more concerned with why children are forced to say the pledge in the first place. I think it should be your choice if you want to say it or not, you shouldn't get repramanded for choosing not to say it.Why should kids be obligated to say the pledge anyways?!

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To know me is to love me!

Don't hate me b/c of the things I say, hate me b/c I have the nerve to say them. forced
msprettygirl: "Well I can remember as a child being forced to say the pledge every morning in homeroom and I hated doing it.

Why???... How did it offend you???...

msprettygirl: "I do agree that the whole "under god" thing is in a way force feeding children religion,...

"Under God" hardly 'force feeds' religion to children... If your religion only needs a couple of words to "save" you then I want to join!!!... And you obviously do not use cash money when you pay for something, that way you won't be guilty of "force feeding" religion upon anyone... (remember "In God We Trust")

msprettygirl: "but I was more concerned with why children are forced to say the pledge in the first place. I think it should be your choice if you want to say it or not, you shouldn't get repramanded for choosing not to say it.Why should kids be obligated to say the pledge anyways?!"

No child is forced to say the pledge.... The Supreme Court ruled years ago that a child in school, or anyone for that matter, can not be made to say the pledge... So your point is moot...

.

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The Liberal/Progressive mantra: "We are the champions of diversity and opinions... We tolerate all beliefs, all religions, and all customs.......... Unless they disagree with ours!"
It seems the same people who criticize the government for these decesions, are the same ones who pass the blame when their kids do something wrong.
Yes the pledge was required in school and still is in some. Saying the "Pledge of Allegiance" does not make you a christian, as not saying it makes you a non-christain.
I believe that one of the purposes was to unite the country, but the idea of unity just took another blow.
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
You can also make the argument that purpose and effect are significantly greater with vouchers. In the pledge, one could easily argue that simply uttering two words has very little direct connection to the instititutions and practice of religion. It has far less impact, for example, than the recognition of God on every piece of our currency_*_.

On the other hand, since, as CNN reports, almost all voucher dollars currently go to church or religous schools, without regard to intent, the transfer of public tax dollars to religous institutions has the direct effect of government subsidy/support.


To be honest, I wonder why the plaintiff, being a confirmed atheist, didn't also sue to remove "In God We Trust" from currency. Maybe he felt, as I do, that having his daughter refer to her country as being "under God" is more of a forced, dictated action, while the phrase on money is fine, because no one is forcing anyone to say anything, or to profess to believe it.

quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
The Supreme Court will look at things like the phrase "In God We Trust" on our currency and rule that the recognition of God is not the same as the encouragement of a particular type of religion or belief. I'm guessing that this decision will be over-turned.




Actually, from what I heard on the news, the 9th circuit themselves will probably step in and reverse it.
quote:
Originally posted by B Bankins:
I ... like the way Senate Chaplain Lloyd Ogilvie puts it....

"...We acknowledge the separation of sectarianism and state, but affirm the belief that there is no separation between God and state..."

Indeed there is not, and that was the Founding Fathers intent. This nation was founded "under God" and remains the moral compass that guides our principles.


BB, the thing I can't get past is the fact that the constitution does not say anything about "separation of church ans state;" it says that there shall be no law "respecting an establishment of religion." The word "respecting" is important, because the 1st Amd. doesn't simply forbid a law proclaiming that a certain denomination shall be the official state religion. That's why it says, "no law respecting an establishment" rather than "no law establishing." One of the themes thruout the constitution is that they wanted safeguards against a movement toward authoritarianism. They must have known that is all you do is prohibit congress from passing a law declaring a state religion, that people bent on doing so could just pass laws encouraging or favoring a religion, or subtlely move toward encouraging a faith. That's exactly what the Knights of Columbus did when they petitioned Congress to add this new phrase, "under God" to the venerable Pledge in the 1950s. Belief in God is religious. it is the very dictionary definition of religion.

In the end, though, there's no way this decision is gonna stand. Funny thing is, the plaintiff's daughter says "under God" anyway, because it's a rote recitation that probably means nothing to her.


quote:
I never imagined in my lifetime a ruling that declares the Pledge unconstitutional.


Same here. I wonder why they didn't just rule the phrase itself unconstitutional. The addition of the phrase in 1954 is the act of Congress that was at issue, not the whole pledge itself. That decision by this court, phrasing it that way, is why it's so inflammatory.

I have to go; I'll hit vouchers in the next post.
quote:
BB, the thing I can't get past is the fact that the constitution does not say anything about "separation of church ans state;" it says that there shall be no law "respecting an establishment of religion." The word "respecting" is important, because the 1st Amd. doesn't simply forbid a law proclaiming that a certain denomination shall be the official state religion. That's why it says, "no law respecting an establishment" rather than "no law establishing." One of the themes thruout the constitution is that they wanted safeguards against a movement toward authoritarianism. They must have known that is all you do is prohibit congress from passing a law declaring a state religion, that people bent on doing so could just pass laws encouraging or favoring a religion, or subtlely move toward encouraging a faith. That's exactly what the Knights of Columbus did when they petitioned Congress to add this new phrase, "under God" to the venerable Pledge in the 1950s. Belief in God is religious. it is the very dictionary definition of religion.


Most of what you say is true, Vox. You clearly know the Constitution better than I.
However, "under God" does not adhere to any particular religious establishment. God can be applied to any religious belief, so the concept of no law "respecting an establishment of religion." is not subverted.

Also, the entire phrase "respecting an establishment of religion." is key because I take it to mean no state can declare itself to be the official state of Muslim, Buddha,...et. The clause does not say "no law respecting religion".

I'm not a religious person, but I do understand the God concept behind the creation of this nation and the framing of the Constitution. God brings the needed moral, ethical, backing our nation functions under. Without it, the Constitution is just a collection of laws and nothing more. Without the God concept you and I would probably be doing shifts on some southern plantation-an embarrassment this nation will never recover from.

Embarrassment stems from morality ( else you wouldn't have so many "Johnsons" registered at weekend motels ), and our morality comes from a belief in God. Any God. Even Atheism is a form of religion.

I'll say again, if our traditions and laws can be so easily altered, what's to stop any court from declaring the civil rights, and citizenship rights of certain racial groups "unconstitutional"?

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You asked me why and how did it offend me. It was not so much as the pledge it's self or the words,"under God," that offended me, it was the being forced to say it that I had a problem with. I didn't understand what the pledge meant or why I should even say it, but the teachers didn't seem to want to tell me what it meant, all they were concerned with is that I said it. I remember a time when I asked the teacher one morning, (and not in a rude way or anything-very politely) why do I have to say the pledge and what does it mean anyway? She said that it was school policy and bla bla bla... She got highly offended and told me to go to the principals office, where he then called my parents in. I felt that was totally uncalled for, just because I asked a question!

Really when I said that it force feeds religion to kids, I should have clarified that it forces christianity on the kids. I mean there are people with many different religions in this country and the 1st amendment states that there is suppose to be freedom of religion.I don't think that people who believe in Allah(I hope I spelled that right) or other things feel comfortable saying "under God."Likewise, you wouldn't feel comfortable saying "under Allah,"would you? Maybe forces christianityisn't the right words, more like uuuh..promotes christianity,that everybody in this country,"one nation under God," should follow God and not who they believe in.


And as for children no longer being forced to say the pledge, I beg to differ. I have a 7yr. old sister and at her school if the children do not get up and say the pledge they will receive either a behavior report or a detention. So to me that is forcing the kids to do it, of course they will say it if they run the risk of getting punished for not saying it.

And I will have to agree with you on the "in God we trust" on our currency.If they remove one, they should remove the other.

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To know me is to love me!

Don't hate me b/c of the things I say, hate me b/c I have the nerve to say them.
Ok let me give it a shot. A little history. Before 1954 the words "under god" were not in the pledge.
For the young ones in 1954 the enemy of this country was Russia and we wanted to stop the spread of communism. Communism was godless and we were god-fearing. This change to the pledge was introduced to teach our children that we were god-fearing people and the communists were godless. House testimony gives as a reason to show we are god-fearing and the communist are godless. Dwight Eisenhower signed the bill into law. So under god = one god. For those religions with more than two gods they are out in the cold and this applies to the ones who worship no god. So the intent of the pledge identifies one god and that is discrimination. The appeals court was right in their ruling. A solution would be to remove the words "under god". Now the pledge is being recited in government (public) schools which is introducing the one god concept which is against the law.
That is my story and i'm sticking to it! wink

Anubis98
The plains of hesitation are bleached by the bones of those who hesitated and in hesitating died.
"..For the young ones in 1954 the enemy of this country was Russia and we wanted to stop the spread of communism. Communism was godless and we were god-fearing......" Anubis98.

We wanted to show the world that our system of government has a moral foundation that recognizes the basic human need to live in a free and open society.

We wanted to show the world that without the God concept providing that moral frame, you have a "Godless" system of government (Communism) that tramples on individual freedom and only exists to enslave its' people. With Communism, it's the people who serve the state. Our distinct American culture views this as evil and rightly so.

We can hand out condoms in public schools because the kids will have sex anyway..... eek

we can teach kids homosexual activity among consenting adults (and apparently kids) is just fine and normal..... eek

We can even ban dodgeball and condemn sports for being too violent and competitive...... eek

But reciting the Pledge with the words "under God" in public schools, well....That just can't be tolerated.

Far too many people in this country take their freedom and citizenship for granted. Brave and courageous Americans gave their lives to secure the kind of lifestyle we enjoy today. The sheer lack of understanding of how this country came into existence, the blood, sweat, risk, and sacrifices that went into building this land.....

But some of us have a problem with the Pledge.

It is not my intention to badmouth anyones opinion, and I'm not right about everything. But in recognition to what went into creating this wonderful nation, to ask American citizens who blissfully go about their life and enjoy the freedom and protection that comes with said citizenship.....

To ask them to recite a 31 word Pledge that takes about a minute is somehow bad and should be stopped, is a dishonor to the millions of Americans past and present who put up their lives to maintain our nation.

As I said before, nothing surprises me anymore, and I find this issue troubling. I have nothing more to say........


-B Bankins
We can keep blaming phrases like "In God We Trust", "Under God" and so on but where does it end? Yes the phrse was added to stop the commie hordes from invading America, but it also served to unite the country. By dragging that little girl to court at a young age is she learning pride in the flag, country, the sacrifices made for this lifestyle or how to whine about nothing to beat the system?

Jumping on the B. Banks band wagon, the freedom others paid for is being taken out of context, by anyone with a gripe.
Let me offer this, prior to 1954 the words "under god" was not in the pledge. Apparently the founding fathers did not think it was needed or desired. Since the founding fathers thought religon and the government should be separate entities. The introduction of "under god" indicates a preference of a single god over any religion with multiple gods or no gods. That dear friends is against the law.
The appeals court made the correct ruling. It will be overturned by popular demand or "public opinion." Legally the ruling is correct. Oh by the way didn't we have a ruling based on popular demand instead or the rule of law. Last week we were moaning about the ruling based on public opinion and now we want public opinion to overturn the rule of law. We can't have it both ways. Let us try to be consistent in our own thinking. cool

Anubis98
The plains of hesitation are bleached by the bones of those who hesitated and in hesitating died.
quote:
Originally posted by B Bankins:
I'm not a religious person, but I do understand the God concept behind the creation of this nation and the framing of the Constitution. God brings the needed moral, ethical, backing our nation functions under. Without it, the Constitution is just a collection of laws and nothing more. Without the God concept you and I would probably be doing shifts on some southern plantation-an embarrassment this nation will never recover from.

Embarrassment stems from morality ( else you wouldn't have so many "Johnsons" registered at weekend motels ), and our morality comes from a belief in God. Any God. Even Atheism is a form of religion.




I was "Efram Cumberbatch" at a nearby motel one time, but I wasn't married; I just did it for fun.

Anyway, I think your post, while thoughtful, strikes at the heart of my main agenda and biases. The fact that I hadn't even thought about it until this post of yours shows how deeply rooted my belief has become over the last 4 years or so, since it first occurred to me. Here goes...

Basically, I agree with you on the importance of morality and its central role in our lives and national ideals. But sticking point for me is whether belief in God is necessary to acceptance of this reality. True morality is what I call "natural morality," morality which comes from God. Because failure to adhere to these concepts always leads to disaster among societies, and because all working societies understood these moral concepts, natural morality can be seen as both correct and universal. So it can be seen as the Law of God's universe. Since we live in the universe, we are subject to its law, and we understand them because their correctness makes them basically self-evident. If they're universal, correct, and self-evident, then once we reach a certain point in our evlution, we don't need religion to teach it to us.

Do we need to believe in God in order to understand it? I see no reason why an atheist can't understand self-evident natural morality. But it just makes sense to me that there's a God. Especially if natural morality is his law (and God is recognized in almost all religions).

The bottom line is, the Pledge was a socialist concept to begin with, and "under God" was added some 60 years later, because the Knights of Columbus wanted to impose their religious will on us and the McCarthy-era Congress knew a thing or two about will-imposition. That to me, is exactly the type of thing the Founders were trying to prevent. If a coalition of agnostics, Confucianists, Muslims, and Christians, none of whom frequented a church, sought to do the same thing the Ks of C did, maybe I'd feel differently. Because then I'd feel like they were more interested in the morality most people associate with God --- which you point out quite well --- than in a movement toward enhancing the Catholic church's position in the US.

Hey, I'm curious: how much positive media attention did the "under God" addition bring to the Ks of C back then, at a time when catholics felt discriminated against? Maybe it was calculated to reduce anti-Catholic sentiment among Americans.

Sorry for the lengthy "Voxspel."
Actually, once I stopped laughing, I kinda like the name. It has an aristocratic sense of high society associated with one who has wealth. I may use it on another forum-with your permission of course. wink

quote:
Posted by Vox...
Do we need to believe in God in order to understand it? I see no reason why an atheist can't understand self-evident natural morality. But it just makes sense to me that there's a God. Especially if natural morality is his law (and God is recognized in almost all religions).


With these very words, you answer your own questions and support what I've been saying all along this thread.

It makes sense to me also that there must be a God. Who else could have created all this before us. When I was a kid, I attended Catholic school and church, was taught bible study and hated every minute of it. But when reaching adulthood,I saw the results of those who ignor the teachings of the Lord. Most of these people were miserable and hated life.

By contrast, those who worshipped God always seem to have a calm, inner peace, along with a joy and zest for living. I found that the more people accepted God, the better life seems for them. Of course, an Atheist can attain such inner peace and zest for life. They just don't associate God with their state of being. They must believe in something, however.

God is the best teacher of all when it comes to moral, ethical values. Just look at the decline of our culture today and it's hard to believe that late pop culture icons like Frank Senatra and Elvis Presley were considered in their time to be lewd and lascivious performers.

Again, I'm not a religious fanatic, but with the steady decline in basic human dignity, manners, and respect our kids are exposed to on a daily basis, to call the Pledge unconstitutional because of "under God" added, and say this is being forced on kids......

Sorry, but I'll never understand the thinking behind this kind of logic. Maybe their school day should begin with an episode of Ozzy Osbournes' family.

big grin big grin big grin
quote:
Originally posted by B Bankins:
Actually, once I stopped laughing, I kinda like the name. It has an aristocratic sense of high society associated with one who has wealth. I may use it on another forum-with your permission of course. wink


Feel free. I have a few extra in my Fake Name Vault.

quote:
Originally posted by B Bankins:

...when reaching adulthood,I saw the results of those who ignor the teachings of the Lord. Most of these people were miserable and hated life.

By contrast, those who worshipped God always seem to have a calm, inner peace, along with a joy and zest for living. I found that the more people accepted God, the better life seems for them. Of course, an Atheist can attain such inner peace and zest for life. They just don't associate God with their state of being. They must believe in something, however.

God is the best teacher of all when it comes to moral, ethical values. Just look at the decline of our culture today and it's hard to believe that late pop culture icons like Frank Senatra and Elvis Presley were considered in their time to be lewd and lascivious performers.

Again, I'm not a religious fanatic, but with the steady decline in basic human dignity, manners, and respect our kids are exposed to on a daily basis, to call the Pledge unconstitutional because of "under God" added, and say this is being forced on kids......

Sorry, but I'll never understand the thinking behind this kind of logic. Maybe their school day should begin with an episode of Ozzy Osbournes' family.

big grin big grin big grin



Somewhere in my last post, I got off the point I was trying to make. What I think is that it is possible to embrace morality and not believe in God. People who live in tribes who never heard of God still have a sense of right and wrong that's not outside of that of most people. It makes sense for me to believe in God, but the "agenda" I spoke of before is my desire to see people understand that morality and religious belief are not one and the same.

Like you, I've noticed that people who abandon the religious teachings they grew up with seem to end up in miserable situations. Family and friends of mine who grew up in church do well if they stay in church, but those who give up on that stuff tend to get in trouble with the law, have kids out of wedlock, and have all kinds of drama and beef in their lives. The linkage is clear.

If religion didn't try to claim itself as the only source of moral principles, this wouldn't be as much of a problem. Those who abandon their religious upbringing usually abandon the whole thing, including the moral principles their church taught them. But if they were taught that morality exists regardless of religion, then when they start questioning the religious teachings ("Why would God let such-&-such happen?" etc.), the natural, self-evident moral principles would remain with them. The way it is now, most people in that position throw the baby out with the bathwater, because they link religion and its dogma with the otherwise universal moral principles, and don't understand that the flaws they see in their man-made religious concepts have nothing to do with right-and-wrong.

This is one of the top causes, in my opinion, of the problems so many blacks deal with. Religion is everywhere black people turn, and so many of us come to see religion's flaws as morality's flaws. If we don't feel up to "doing" what religion requires us to do, we implicitly don't feel up to "being" the kind of people that moral principles require us to be. And that's unnecessary, and wrong to me.

Anyway, I ramble. But this belief underlies my problem with the "under God" phrase. The way most people see it, when enough Americans, black and otherwise, stop being "God-fearing," they will necessarily become immoral (or amoral, or believe in "moral relativism," and all that crap). That has already happened with a lot of people. But it didn't need to happen, because regardless of how we look at God, if morality were seen as the common sense, inherently correct, self-evident body of belief that it should be, we would all be better people.


By the way, MBM, the NY Times article gave great insight. It'll help next semester if I take "Constitutional Law II."
Interesting points Vox, and yes you could have a strong moral understanding without relating to God, as Atheist do. To me, God is the BEST teacher of morality. Also, morals and ethics must come from somewhere if not from God.

Anyway, here's another take on this issue....

The Appeals court found the Pledge to be unconstitutional because of the "under God" phrase. I wonder if the oath taken by newly elected congressmen and women would also be unconstitutional.

As required by Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution, Members of Congress shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support the Constitution. Representatives, delegates, and the resident commissioner all take the oath of office on the first day of the new Congress.

Here is the oath, and notice the last four words....

"I, (name of Member), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

Should "so help me God" be removed from the oath based on what anubis98, Vox, and others have written?

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