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September 14, 2005

Big Government vs Liberty

-- by Dave Johnson

The headlines frame it in the Right's preferred language: Judge: School Pledge Is Unconstitutional and Judge rules Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional and Federal judge declares Pledge unconstitutional and Judge: School Pledge Is Unconstitutional.

The right-wing blogs are in a frenzy:

California Conservative:

This action reveals that his ultimate goal is not to “protect” freedom of religion, but to purge religion from America.
Update - California Conservative notes in the comments: "As for the quote you reference, it's taken out of context. Our statement was made in regards to the fact that Mr. Newdow did not just sue to get rid of the pledge, but also tried to "purge" any oath or prayer from the Presidential Inauguration."

Part-Time Pundit gives the judge's phone number.

Patriots for Bush: Liberal Activist Judge Bans Patriotism

World Magazine Blog:

In order to be constitutional, the phrase “under God” must be able to refer to the deity of Hindus, Wiccans, Buddhists, pagans, or any other religion. Since we can’t claim, as Paul did on Mars Hill, that the “unknown god” we are referring to is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, should Christian’s fight to preserve the “Divinity” of our country’s civil religion?
MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: One step closer to the abolition of America

Conservative Thinking:

Only in San Francisco will a judge spread his hate for American values imposing his own will on the rest of the country.
La Shawn Barber:
The government school system is hopelessly lost. Focus on making sacrifices to homeschool your children and teach them biblical values, how to be decent people and good citizens. Let the deviants wallow in the muck they created.
The Political Teen:
The deal here isn’t just the small amount of atheists in America, but the fact that they have to punish everyone for something they don’t believe in.

My thoughts:

Just to be clear, this is about whether the government can force kids to say the pledge in schools as it is currently amended with the "under God" wording, not about whether people in general are allowed to recite it.

This is about big government forcing people to think a certain way, vs. liberty and freedom from governmentally imposed behaviour. If the so-called "conservatives" were actually conservative, and actually meant the things they say, they would applaud this decision. Instead they want to increase government power and use it to impose a particular belief system on the rest of us.

Posted by Dave Johnson at September 14, 2005 4:25 PM

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Comments

Dave, sorry to say, you’re wrong. Or being intellectually dishonest.

Currently, government has nothing to do with the matter. There’s no program or subsidy promoting the pledge. For over the last 50 years, many schools (not all) have been leading their students with the pledge of allegiance because it is tradition - and what is a nation without traditions? Each student retains the right (and freedom) to say “under God” or not. No force applied.

However, by way of this ruling, government is, indeed, forcing schools (teachers) not to recite the pledge. Government is forcing school children never to know the pledge. And forcing parents to conform.

(As we posted on our site, what protect our children from the "coerciveness" of political correctness? Nothing.)

By making laws that dictate social practices (either by allowing OR forbidding), government is imposing behavior. Don’t you see that?

As for the quote you reference, it's taken out of context. Our statement was made in regards to the fact that Mr. Newdow did not just sue to get rid of the pledge, but also tried to "purge" any oath or prayer from the Presidential Inauguration.

Posted by: California Conservative [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 14, 2005 5:01 PM

"Currently, government has nothing to do with the matter. There’s no program or subsidy promoting the pledge. For over the last 50 years, many schools (not all) have been leading their students with the pledge of allegiance because it is tradition - and what is a nation without traditions? Each student retains the right (and freedom) to say “under God” or not. No force applied."

Many schools were also starting classes with "The Lord's Prayer." This was also a "tradition." Conservatives also complain that "activist judges" stopped this practice.

The issue with the Pledge is the same as the issue with prayer in schools. The Courts are not "banning" the pledge any more than they "banned" prayer. They are blocking schools from indoctrinating kids with religious instruction. Conservatives like to use the phrase "government schools" -- the Pledge is an example of these "government" schools forcing kids to say our government and country are "under God."

Posted by: Dave Johnson [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 14, 2005 5:14 PM

I think it's about damn time!

None of my bibles say a single word about the United States. It is my responsibility to balance my love of God and my love of the system that let's me choose which God I can love.

Save the brainwashing until they are in the military.

Posted by: grannyinsanity [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 14, 2005 7:13 PM

I couldn't care less whether or not "God" is mentioned in the pledge. I just love how all the wingnuts have their panties in a knot over this.

Posted by: Agi T. Prop [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 14, 2005 9:36 PM

Even if it weren't for the words 'under God' and the state coercion on a religious matter, I still cannot stand the pledge of allegiance. What in the hell are children pledging? What does that allegiance entail? Is it all about submitting to the military? Or to authority generally? And why are children standing, with hands over hearts, and praying to a piece of cloth?

It's bullshit.

I have real concerns for anyone who actually believes that anything like good citizenship results from forcing children to engage in such behavior.

Posted by: James E. Powell [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 15, 2005 12:29 AM

When I was a kid we had to say the lord's prayer in school, and also pledge allegiance to the flag, but WITHOUT the words "under God." I'd very much resent being forced to pledge allegiance to THIS current government, whether I have to say it's "under God" or not. Adding those two words to the pledge was one of the early warning signs of what was to come, and we didn't pay enough attention.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 15, 2005 6:09 AM

For those of you who are old enough to remember the addition of "under god" was made in the 1950's during the time of McCarthy when everyone was terrified of being called a communist. The removal of this is long overdue. They say that no one forces the kids to say these words but, as we all know, peer pressure motivates behavior. Kids also have to worry about pleasing the teacher who might frown on a child who will not "cooperate" with the group. Personally, I will no longer even say the pledge. I started off just leaving out the words "under god" but with this administration, I have stopped saying the whole thing. Where I work there are meetings that not only require the recital of the pledge but also a prayer. I do not participate in either and have received comments from my boss regarding this. I can see how this type of behavior can cost someone their job. This is something to raise concerns because it severely limits our rights NOT to participate either as a child or as an adult. Where is the freedom in this? The quicker we limit religion to places of religion the quicker freedom of religion will return. You cannot have freedom OF religion unless you have freedom FROM religion.

Posted by: banjopuk [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 15, 2005 11:15 AM

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