Pledge of Allegiance and a federal court - Page 2 - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind > Free Your Mind Archive
Click Here to Login
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 06-26-2002, 10:58 PM   #16
War Child
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 526
Local Time: 11:17 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by U2Bama


Likewise, an atheist could say the Pledge and simply leave out "under God."

That's not the point. Anyone who understands and believes in separation of church and state has has neither a legal nor a moral leg to stand on to oppose this decision. It really is as simple as that.

What I find more frustrating is that the phrase hasn't been removed before now, and what I find most exasperating of all is that it was added in the first place--in 1954, under Eisenhower. It was little more than an extension of his loyalty probes and a remnant of McCarthyism. Contrary to what many people believe (and I'm not implying that you do, U2Bama), "under God" was neither created by nor in reference to our forefathers. It has nothing to do with this nation's birth in religious persecution, and all to do with Khruschev, the Russians, and our overbearing fear of Communism.

No informed citizen can honestly question this decision, can they?

edit: Might I add, predicting a response suggesting that those who wish not to say it may refrain, that this is neither a viable nor a fair solution. It is not fair to atheist students to force them to suffer the judgement of their peers in order to maintain their beliefs--this is no mere hypothetical. I noticeably stood out in my class when I was younger by refusing to participate. There simply is no reason for that phrase to be included, if the constitution--and its provision of separation of church and state--is to continue to be the basis of our government.
__________________

__________________
mug222 is offline  
Old 06-26-2002, 11:25 PM   #17
Refugee
 
Achtung Bubba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: One Nation. Under God.
Posts: 1,513
Local Time: 06:17 PM
Hullo, Mug.

You asked, "No informed citizen can honestly question this decision, can they?"

They can, and I'm here to demonstrate it.

(First, I'm glad to see someone else here willing debate to the larger question at hand: that is, whether California's action - that it "requires public school teachers to recite, and lead the recitation of, the current form of the pledge" - UNCONSTITUTIONAL.)

Certainly, I can see how athiests can find it annoying, but that doesn't make the thing a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

In fact, I think the term "unconstitutional" is used FAR too much - used by people who both disagree with some law or act (such as capital punishment) and want to use the court system to change the status quo, thereby short-circuiting that troublesome little process of convincing Congress to write bills that the President will sign into law.

Do I then think that this specific instance is a violation of the U.S. Constitution?

In a word, no. And I'll tell you why.

The ONLY possible violation is within the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This case isn't a violation, I believe for several reasons:

1. The amendment refers to "CONGRESS" - government at the national level - and California is a state, and the act seems allowable under Amendment X: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

2. The act doesn't respect an establishment of religion. An "establishment of religion" or "religious establishment" refers to a church; the amendment was written to prevent the creation of an analogue to the Church of England. To say this amendment prevents the "under God" phrase from being uttered by a teacher in a state-run public school is like stretching the Second Amendment to include nuclear weapons. Much as I believe Amendment II should be defended, that sort of stretch is absurd.

(Amusing, though, how many who stretch Amendment I to prevent this - and stretch Amendment IX to say that abortion is constitutionally protected - pretty much ignore Amendment II altogether.)

3. While our nation ensures religious pluralism, it has always professed the belief in a Divine Creator.

On our money, you will find our motto, the simply phrase, "In God We Trust."

The Great Seal of the United States (also found on the one-dollar bill) features the eye of Divine Providence, and I've read that the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives both mention God in their respective seals.

Most of our most treasured patriotic songs mention God:

"God Bless America"
"America the Beautiful" (God shed His grace on thee)
"The Battle Hymn of the Republic" (Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord)
"My Country, 'Tis of Thee" (fourth verse: Our Fathers' God, to thee)

Heck, even our national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner, mentions our motto in its fourth verse (And this be our motto: "In God is our trust!")

And the three most important documents in American history either mention or imply the Divine Creator. The religious-minded almost invariably mention the Declaration of Independence's invocation of the Creator:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The thorough student of history may find that the Gettysburg Address mentions "this nation under God" (there's that damnable phrase again!):

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us... that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

And I submit that the Constitution of the United States of America - that the law of the land ITSELF - recognizes the Creator in its Preamble:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our osterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Did you miss it? I'll make it easier for ya: "the Blessings of Liberty."

This appears to be a direct reference to the Declaration of Independence: "that they are endowed by their Creator... liberty..." Furthermore, a blessing is a thing given, and I believe the only One who can bless us with liberty is the Almighty Himself.


"Neither a legal nor a moral leg to stand on," indeed.
__________________

__________________
DISCLAIMER: The author of the preceding is known
for engaing in very long discussions.
Achtung Bubba is offline  
Old 06-26-2002, 11:49 PM   #18
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
U2Bama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Gulf Coast State of Mine
Posts: 3,405
Local Time: 05:17 PM

mug222:

I understand your concerns and your point of view.

Personally, I pledge my political allegiance to the United States, which as a matter of faith, I consider to be below God. I too am a strong advocate of seperation of church and state, therefore I find it necessary to make a distinction between the two. I consider the nation to be on one level, and God to be on a much higher level. I will contiue to say "under God" when I recite the Pledge of Allegiance to verbally reaffirm that distinction.

~U2Alabama
__________________
U2Bama is offline  
Old 06-27-2002, 12:00 AM   #19
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
U2Bama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Gulf Coast State of Mine
Posts: 3,405
Local Time: 05:17 PM

Interesting; I have encountered some strong words from Senators, in BOTH parties, opposed to this ruling:

"I hope the Senate will waste no time in throwing this back in the face of this stupid judge. Stupid, that's what he is." -Senator Robert Byrd, Democrat-West Virginia

"This decision is nuts. It's just nuts" -Senator Tom Daschle, Democrat-South Dakota

"This is obviously an unbelievable decision, as far as I am concerned, and an incorrect ruling and a stupid ruling." -Senator Trent Lott, Republican-Mississippi

~U2Alabama
__________________
U2Bama is offline  
Old 06-27-2002, 01:08 AM   #20
War Child
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 526
Local Time: 11:17 PM
[preamble: it's 1 am and my mind is tired. Please excuse resulting errors ]

This to me seems like such a simply resolved topic that I am amazed that it can honestly be challenged. I am doubly amazed by the action of the Senate this afternoon (voting 99-0 to challenge the ruling.) I truly believe that this will soon be viewed as a major source of humiliation for Congress. What a laughable action.

Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba

The ONLY possible violation is within the First Amendment:
Agreed.

Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba

1. The amendment refers to "CONGRESS" - government at the national level - and California is a state.
Federal law now allows (requires?) the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance on a nationwide basis. The only reason that the case was decided in California was because the first plaintiff that had the courage to step forward was from California. Although this ruling only directly affects the immediate school district, we both know that it is national law that is being challenged.

Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba

2. The act doesn't respect an establishment of religion. An "establishment of religion" or "religious establishment" refers to a church; the amendment was written to prevent the creation of an analogue to the Church of England.
Who are you to interpret--purely, as you say above, from a phrase in the First Amendment--that it was written to prevent an equivalent of the Church of England? It doesn't matter how you would like the phrase interpreted, as it prohibits any and all connection between Church and State. How is this difficult to understand?
God, by the way, is certainly representative of Church: saying "under God" is no different from "under Vishnu." The only difference is that we were not founded by Hindi forefathers, we were founded by Christians. "God" is church. The pledge of allegiance is state. They have no official place together. (Although, Bama, I would certainly not mind if you continue to add the words 'under God' to reaffirm God's place above the U.S. The official line of the U.S. , however, cannot possibly include that term.)


Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba

3. While our nation ensures religious pluralism, it has always professed the belief in a Divine Creator.
Unfortunately Bubba, your entire last major point--to a large extent--is a throwaway. I don't give a damn that Washington or Adams or Jefferson believed in God (and I will repeat that even they did not include the phrase "under God"...it was only under threat from those 'godless Commies' in 1954.) I do not care that many presidents illegally ignored that clause of the first amendment--their inability to follow the constitution does not absolve us if we do the same.

Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba

On our money, you will find our motto, the simply phrase, "In God We Trust."
I'm well aware of this, which is why that phrase must be removed from new bills. I accept that the cost of replacing the entire circulation with legal, 'separated from Church' bills would be prohibitively high, so I would be satisfied with a gradual phasing-out of the current stock. Seriously, though, this does not support your point in the slightest--it merely provides another example of our government's inability to follow its own rules. The motto does not represent all Americans, it should not be found constitutional (from either a loose or strict construction), and it has no place in the U.S.

Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba

The Great Seal of the United States (also found on the one-dollar bill) features the eye of Divine Providence, and I've read that the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives both mention God in their respective seals.
See above.

Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba

Most of our most treasured patriotic songs mention God:

"God Bless America"
"America the Beautiful" (God shed His grace on thee)
"The Battle Hymn of the Republic" (Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord)
"My Country, 'Tis of Thee" (fourth verse: Our Fathers' God, to thee)
What exactly is the point of these examples? Believe me, I understand all too well that this is a religious nation, and I am disgusted by the sheer, arrogant hypocrisy of that religious nature seeping into our government--a government created by the descendents of the religiously-persecuted. How terribly perverse.
So I ask again--what is the point of bombarding me with examples of our religious culture? I have no problem with anyone practicing religion privately. I have no problem with the above songs, and in fact I enjoy many of their tunes . Please refer again to the first amendment to see why these songs are perfectly fine, except as official anthems of the government (see: Star Spangled Banner, below).
Furthermore (and I hope this is not the case) if the implication is that atheism has no place in our tradition and by extension no place in our society, I am taken aback.
(That religion is so completely intertwined with our society now simply serves as another display of secular Europe's superiority.)

Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba

Heck, even our national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner, mentions our motto in its fourth verse (And this be our motto: "In God is our trust!")
Yes, this too should not be allowed by the constitution. It is, however, so much a part of our history and tradition that I don't mind it as our national anthem and would not challenge it, unlike an insignificant little 1954 addition intended as a threat to the Kremlin.

Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba
And the three most important documents in American history either mention or imply the Divine Creator.
And I ask again, who the hell cares? Must we really be slave to the faults of our founding fathers? Have we advanced nowhere since 1776? Can we not finally follow through on the promise to separate Church and State?

Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba

The thorough student of history may find that the Gettysburg Address mentions "this nation under God" (there's that damnable phrase again!):
I don't begrudge Lincoln's faith in God, and I frankly again don't see how an important but seemingly random historical speech supports your stance that "under God" should remain in our pledge of allegiance.

Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba

And I submit that the Constitution of the United States of America - that the law of the land ITSELF - recognizes the Creator in its Preamble.
Although I am not sold on the fact that "the Blessings of Liberty" must be interpreted religiously, all I can say to this is: Thank God Almighty for the Bill of Rights.
__________________
mug222 is offline  
Old 06-27-2002, 03:28 AM   #21
Rock n' Roll Doggie
FOB
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 8,876
Local Time: 11:17 PM
Mug22,

Who are you to interpret that the phrase in the first amendment did NOT refer to the Church of England? Again Bubba has just as much right as you or anyone in this regard. Clearly GOD does not equal Church or religion. Clearly this phrase refers to the European countries at the time that had established churchs and were engaged in the persecution of those that did not belong to the established Church for the State. Notice also that people often say they are not religous but believe in God. God does not = Church or Religion. Nor is God the same as saying Jesus!

The Europeans may do a few things superior to the USA but it has nothing to do with secularism!

The fact is those that support the court ruling only do so because they have a different interpertation of the constitution from the vast majority of people that live in this country. The Supreme Court that opens with a prayer before every session would obviously decide against this ruling. This will be thrown out because its really a joke. The word GOD is to deeply apart of are government and society and does not refer to a specific church or religion, it will never be thrown out nor should it.

In my opinion, this individual who brought about this case has far more important things to be concerned about in regards to his childs education than this.
__________________
STING2 is offline  
Old 06-27-2002, 03:48 AM   #22
Refugee
 
Achtung Bubba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: One Nation. Under God.
Posts: 1,513
Local Time: 06:17 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by mug222
This to me seems like such a simply resolved topic that I am amazed that it can honestly be challenged. I am doubly amazed by the action of the Senate this afternoon (voting 99-0 to challenge the ruling.) I truly believe that this will soon be viewed as a major source of humiliation for Congress. What a laughable action.
Humiliation? Wouldn't that imply that, well, the vast majority of Americans agree with you rather than Congrees and the White House?

Surely, you must admit that your stand on this issue - particularly the notion that this issue is "simply resolved" against the "under God" clause - is in the extreme minority. That (alone) doesn't make your opinion wrong, but it does mean that you should take the opposing view more seriously.

Quote:
Federal law now allows (requires?) the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance on a nationwide basis. The only reason that the case was decided in California was because the first plaintiff that had the courage to step forward was from California. Although this ruling only directly affects the immediate school district, we both know that it is national law that is being challenged.
Really? I've checked several online news stories, and none of them mention a federal law requiring or allowing the pledge (as if it would take a federal law to allow it). The AP did not mention it, though it had a few interesting notes:

The 9th Circuit covers Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state. Those are the only states directly affected by the ruling. (This implies that a federal law is not involved.)

...

The nation's high court has never squarely addressed the issue, [Harvard scholar Laurence] Tribe said. The court has said schools can require teachers to lead the pledge but ruled students cannot be punished for refusing to recite it.

In other school-related religious cases, the high court has said that schools cannot post the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms.


(Perhaps most importanly...)

And in March, a federal appeals court ruled that Ohio's motto, "With God, all things are possible," is constitutional and is not an endorsement of Christianity even though it quotes the words of Jesus.

Reuters says nothing of such a law - the closest it comes is stating that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a 1954 Act of the U.S Congress that added "under God" to the pledge.

CNN also had no mention of the law, though they do mention this:

The appeals court noted that when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the act adding "under God," he said, "From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our Nation and our people to the Almighty."

Ike said all that as he signed it - this doesn't imply that the act itself mandated the recitation of the pledge. (In fact, if that had been the case, CNN would have probably reported the fact.)

And Fox News reveals an interesting timeline concerning the history of the pledge:

In 1942, soon after America entered World War II, Congress officially endorsed the Pledge of Allegiance and instituted the current hand-over-heart gesture. One year later, however, the Supreme Court ruled that schoolchildren could not be forced to recite the Pledge.

In 1954, under pressure from the Knights of Columbus and other religious groups, Congress officially added the words "under God" to the Pledge...


This flies in the face of your assertion about current federal law, but it also indicates that schoolchildren could not be coerced into reciting the pledge folowing a 1943 Supreme Court decision - a decade before "under God" even came up.

Quote:
Who are you to interpret--purely, as you say above, from a phrase in the First Amendment--that it was written to prevent an equivalent of the Church of England? It doesn't matter how you would like the phrase interpreted, as it prohibits any and all connection between Church and State. How is this difficult to understand?
Your assertion that Amendment I "prohibits any and all connection between Church and State" is JUST as much an interpretation as my interpretation.

Who am I to interpret? Well, who are you to do the same?

The amendment does not mention "any and all connections," nor does it explicitly mention "separation between Chruch and State." Those phrases are interpretations.

Honestly, the amendment (like most of the Constitution) is not entirely clear, and it must be interpreted. I believe that the best way to interpret the "fuzzy" clauses is to try to ascertain the Founders' intent - to try to determine what they meant when they wrote it.

The best way to do that is to look at the other documents they wrote. The Founders invoke the name of God so often in other documents (the Declaration of Independence, state documents, etc.), that it seems unlikely that their intent was the complete removal of the name of God from all government.

In fact, a little searching online has led to President George Washington's proclamation that led to our celebration of Thanksgiving, a proclamation made just over five months after taking office (April 30, 1789):

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and

Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me " to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness: "

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be...


The first Congress - many of whom were responsible for the Bill of Rights or closely associated with those who were - requested Washington to proclaim Thanksgiving "by acknowledging... Almighty God." Surely they didn't have things like this in mind when they worked to ratify the Bill of Rights two years later (in 1791).

In fact, President Washington - one of the MOST conservative presidents in U.S. history (in that he was very careful to avoid EVER overstepping the bounds of the U.S. Constitution) continued to invoke God in his official annual addresses to Congress after the ratification of the Bill of Rights:
  • In 1793, Washington informed Congress: "I humbly implore that Being on whose will the fate of nations depends to crown with success our mutual endeavors for the general happiness."
  • In 1794, he mentioned "the gracious indulgence of Heaven by which the American people became a nation."
  • In 1795, he invited Congress to "to join with me in profound gratitude to the Author of all Good for the numerous and extraordinary blessings we enjoy."
  • And in his final message to Congress in 1796, Washington mentioned the "Ruler of the Universe."

If the writers of the Bill of Rights intended such a strict interpretation of Amendment I, Washington either disregarded the interpretion absolutely, or he had no clue whatsoever - and both conclusions are highly dubious.

Quote:
God, by the way, is certainly representative of Church: saying "under God" is no different from "under Vishnu." The only difference is that we were not founded by Hindi forefathers, we were founded by Christians. "God" is church. The pledge of allegiance is state. They have no official place together. (Although, Bama, I would certainly not mind if you continue to add the words 'under God' to reaffirm God's place above the U.S. The official line of the U.S. , however, cannot possibly include that term.)
I disagree that "God" is equivalent to Vishnu (or, as the court added, Jesus or Zeus) in that the term is vague enough to encompass many more religions. I also disagree that "God is representative of Church," since one can worship God without every joining any church.

Basically, I believe the following: God is an entity outside of any specific religion or church. "Religion" is an organized system of beliefs about God. The "church" is a body that practiced a specific religion. The First Amendment certainly says something about churches ("an establishment of religion"), and it might say something about religion (if you ignore or interpret differently the word "establishment").

It does not follow that the First Amendment says anything about "God."

Quote:
Unfortunately Bubba, your entire last major point--to a large extent--is a throwaway. I don't give a damn that Washington or Adams or Jefferson believed in God (and I will repeat that even they did not include the phrase "under God"...it was only under threat from those 'godless Commies' in 1954.) I do not care that many presidents illegally ignored that clause of the first amendment--their inability to follow the constitution does not absolve us if we do the same.
You're absolutely right that the personal beliefs of the Founding Fathers is quite irrelevant, but I am asking you to look at their public actions, literally their words and deeds as officials within the government.

If these Founding Fathers professed the belief in the Creator from within their posts, then it means they never intended such a strict interpretation of the First Amendment.

Quote:
I'm well aware of this, which is why that phrase must be removed from new bills. I accept that the cost of replacing the entire circulation with legal, 'separated from Church' bills would be prohibitively high, so I would be satisfied with a gradual phasing-out of the current stock. Seriously, though, this does not support your point in the slightest--it merely provides another example of our government's inability to follow its own rules. The motto does not represent all Americans, it should not be found constitutional (from either a loose or strict construction), and it has no place in the U.S.
"It merely provides another example of our government's inability to follow its own rules."

Remember what the Founders did: they demanded a Bill of Rights before they would accept a Constitution to replace the Articles of Confederation. They met and debated both the original Constitution and the amendments with a rigor rarely seen in politics, and they discussed the documents and their meaning in great detail (see also: The Federalist Papers).

Which is more likely: That the VERY people who wrote the rules broke them incessantly? Or that your interpretation of the rules is woefully incorrect?

"The motto does not represent all Americans, it should not be found constitutional (from either a loose or strict construction), and it has no place in the U.S."

First of all, no motto could represent all Americans. Look at some of the other phrases from the pledge: Some Southerners bitter about the American Civil War disagree with the word "indivisible." Communists and fascists - whose beliefs are protected by the First Amendment - probably don't really believe in liberty; and racists and chauvinists don't really subscribe to "liberty and justice for all." Yet, our government stands for all these things, and that is enough.

Second, the fact that "it should not be found constitutional," should not and DOES NOT follow from the fact that the motto may not represent everyone. We should NOT begin interpreting the Constitution to fit our whims; the document is what it is.

I remind you of a point I made earlier:

I think the term "unconstitutional" is used FAR too much - used by people who both disagree with some law or act (such as capital punishment) and want to use the court system to change the status quo, thereby short-circuiting that troublesome little process of convincing Congress to write bills that the President will sign into law.

Implying a connection between "The motto does not represent all Americans," and "it should not be found constitutional" comes dangerously close to that practice.

Finally, even if it is the case that "it has no place in the U.S." it may have nothing to do with constitutionality. And if you want that motto to be unconstitutional, it seems to me that would require an actual change through a new amendment.


Quote:
What exactly is the point of these examples? Believe me, I understand all too well that this is a religious nation, and I am disgusted by the sheer, arrogant hypocrisy of that religious nature seeping into our government--a government created by the descendents of the religiously-persecuted. How terribly perverse.
So I ask again--what is the point of bombarding me with examples of our religious culture? I have no problem with anyone practicing religion privately. I have no problem with the above songs, and in fact I enjoy many of their tunes . Please refer again to the first amendment to see why these songs are perfectly fine, except as official anthems of the government (see: Star Spangled Banner, below).
Furthermore (and I hope this is not the case) if the implication is that atheism has no place in our tradition and by extension no place in our society, I am taken aback.
(That religion is so completely intertwined with our society now simply serves as another display of secular Europe's superiority.)
The point of those specific examples, the patriotic songs, is to demonstrate how fully God's place in our nation's culture really is.

That certainly doesn't exclude atheism from the great melting pot, any more than the Second Amendment excludes people from debating banning guns altogether. All it simply means is that our government has the ability to invoke the name of God - as it has since the beginning - since God perhaps the only basis for the following claims: all men are created equal, they all possess certain inalienable rights, and that these facts are self-evident.

(I honestly know of no way to assert those absolute claims as an atheist.)

Oh, and secular Europe's so-called superiority is not a given. There's certainly no reason to digress from the current discussion, but I suggest you do one of two things with the claim: back down, or start backing it up.

Quote:
Yes, this too should not be allowed by the constitution. It is, however, so much a part of our history and tradition that I don't mind it as our national anthem and would not challenge it, unlike an insignificant little 1954 addition intended as a threat to the Kremlin.
I wonder what particular problems exist with the 1954 addition: is it the fact that it's only (only!) half a century old, or is it that it is the result of the Soviet threat - a threat that was real (Kruschev: "We will bury you.") and that had forced atheism down its people's throats?

Quote:
And I ask again, who the hell cares? Must we really be slave to the faults of our founding fathers? Have we advanced nowhere since 1776? Can we not finally follow through on the promise to separate Church and State?
Again, these "faults" seem to imply that their intent was not how you interpret the Constitution.

Maybe we have "advanced" since '76 (though I wouldn't call secularism an advance automatically), and maybe we should "follow through." But to do so does NOT mean we should interpret the Constitution to fit our whims; it means we should amend the Constitution.

Quote:
I don't begrudge Lincoln's faith in God, and I frankly again don't see how an important but seemingly random historical speech supports your stance that "under God" should remain in our pledge of allegiance.
Well, it serves two purposes.

First, when asked what most people consider the seminal documents of American history, the Gettysburg Address ranks fairly highly on every list. To show that it too invokes God is yet more proof that the First Amendment doesn't mean what you think it means.

Secondly, it shows that the phrase "nation under God" predates the wicked 1950s by nearly a century.

Quote:
Although I am not sold on the fact that "the Blessings of Liberty" must be interpreted religiously, all I can say to this is: Thank God Almighty for the Bill of Rights.
Amusing conclusion.

I know it's getting late, but I think my last point is among the most important: if the Almighty is invoked in the Constitution itself, it is very hard to suggest that the First Amendment demands a purely secular government.

Again, I assert that a "blessing" is a thing given. If the Founders did NOT imply that God Almighty was the giver of the blessings of liberty, than I must ask: who were they referring to?
__________________
DISCLAIMER: The author of the preceding is known
for engaing in very long discussions.
Achtung Bubba is offline  
Old 06-27-2002, 03:57 AM   #23
Refugee
 
Achtung Bubba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: One Nation. Under God.
Posts: 1,513
Local Time: 06:17 PM
Sting:

Odd to be on the same side of an issue, huh?

__________________
DISCLAIMER: The author of the preceding is known
for engaing in very long discussions.
Achtung Bubba is offline  
Old 06-27-2002, 04:41 AM   #24
Babyface
 
Ballistic Tweed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: The land of the capitalist-pigs and freedom-loving infidels
Posts: 17
Local Time: 03:17 PM
You know, this is what I love so much about our country. That we can all disagree with each other so strongly without fear of retaliation by our government and that we can go back and challenge that decision, if we choose. It is an awesome priviledge.

I am kind of torn on this decision. I believe firmly in the "Apostle's Creed", but I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state. I think one of our greatest strengths is the success of pluralism in our nation and the diversity that makes our nation so great. Our great constitution ensures the fact that we will never face the possibility of being subjected to a tyranny such as the Taliban or the Pharisees, in ancient Israel. But, at the same time, I find it hard to believe that atheists and "other" religions, if you will, can find "God" so offensive.

If you we, as Christians, are accepting of your values and beliefs, why can't you show us a bit more patience and tolerance? Mind you, I'm not asking you to be tolerant of such intolerant hypocrits as the Christian Coalition ( ie. Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson), by any means. If being "One nation under God" meant being subjected to the Christian Coalition, I would completely, 100% agree with this decision.

They definately DO NOT represent the unconditional love and acceptance of God (Jesus as I believe). For their intolerance, I do apologize. As a christian, I believe that it is our obligation to stand up for the rights of ALL individuals, no matter how much we agree or disagree. If you're a Christian and believe that our nation's foundation was established under the principles of the Judeo-Christian beliefs, that's fine, but it doesn't EVER give you the right to violate the basic human rights that EVERY INDIVIDUAL (no matter how much you disapprove or disagree with) deserves the chance to have in this country.

Anyway, I didn't mean to go off on a tangent, but I hardly think that this decision by the 9th circuit is going to knock God off his throne.

God Bless America!
__________________
Ballistic Tweed is offline  
Old 06-27-2002, 09:00 AM   #25
War Child
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 526
Local Time: 11:17 PM
Bubba:

I don't have time right now to reply to your post at length, but it seems that you base your argument on a point that is fundamentally unacceptable:

Quote:
I believe that the best way to interpret the "fuzzy" clauses is to try to ascertain the Founders' intent - to try to determine what they meant when they wrote it.
Am I wrong in saying that this essentially forms the backbone to your post? Because it is incorrect--the Constitution has been attached with the phrase "living document" so often that it is nearly a cliche, and yet it is absolutely a necessary and correct. If we want to apply the ideals of liberty, freedom, and equality to the 21st century, we must be ready to depart from following the strict intentions of the founding fathers. (Additionally, I might add, the document they created was far from perfect--I need not mention its rulings on slavery as proof of that.)
At the tail end of the 18th century, the U.S. was a Christian nation, perhaps not de jure but de facto. Therefore, it did not seem to contradict the first amendment to invoke their Christian God in many circumstances. At the start of the 21st century, our population is composed of people from many nationalities and many religions. Phrases referencing a Christian God exclude non-Christians. Phrases referening any God exclude atheists and agnostics like myself. The original views of the founders notwithstanding, we must interpret the phrases of the constitution in order to provide equality and freedom from persecution to the greatest number of people--this can be done by eliminating any all ties between Church and State.

People who suggest anything else--trying, as they are, to ensure that the U.S. represents Christian beliefs above all others--frighten me terribly.
__________________
mug222 is offline  
Old 06-27-2002, 10:58 AM   #26
Refugee
 
Achtung Bubba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: One Nation. Under God.
Posts: 1,513
Local Time: 06:17 PM
Thanks for the reply, Mug.

Kudos on pointing out my belief in interpreting by intent - AND by bringing up the question of the Constitution being a "living document." I was actually planning on doing the same if no one else did.

The question is, is the U.S. Constitution a "living document", and what does that phrase actually mean?

Well, as far as I can tell, the phrase can have three meanings:
  1. That the document itself can be changed through a process of ratifying amendments.
  2. That the document can be applied to situations that the Founders never anticipated, and can be applied without new amendments.
  3. That the document can be interpreted to mean pretty much anything.

The first meaning is obvious: it's outlined in Article V of the Constitution itself.

The second meaning, while not obvious, has shown itself to be true; radio, film, television, and the Internet have all emerged as new forms of media - and they have all been protected by the Constitution (Amendment I specifically) without requiring any new amendments.

The third meaning - which is what most people mean by the term "living document," is frankly preposterous, for one very important reason:

If the U.S. Constitution can be interpreted to mean anything, it ceases to mean anything in particular; in the end, it means nothing.

Take, for example, the controversial Amendment II. If you interpret it outside of any effort to find the Founders' original intent, you can interpret it to mean one of several things, including the following:
  • That individuals can own any sort of weapon they want: firearms, artillery, chemical, biological, and nuclear - and that they can form their own "well-regulated militia."
  • That individuals can only own conventional firearms, but still organize their own militias.
  • That individuals can only own conventional firearms, but can only serve in militias organized by the state or federal government.
  • That individuals can only own conventional firearms and serve in the federal government militia (state armies being "unconstitutional").
  • That individuals CANNOT own any arms of any kind, and only the government itself can exercise the right to bear arms on the behalf of the people.

So, assuming that third point above, this very same amendment can be reasonably interpreted to mean things as different as "Everyone can own a tank" and "No one can own even a revolver."

If the Second Amendment CAN be interpreted both ways, it ceases to be anything more than a way for judges to legislate whatever they want; if it can mean everything, it ceases to mean anything.

Quote:
Originally posted by mug222
Am I wrong in saying that this essentially forms the backbone to your post? Because it is incorrect--the Constitution has been attached with the phrase "living document" so often that it is nearly a cliche, and yet it is absolutely a necessary and correct. If we want to apply the ideals of liberty, freedom, and equality to the 21st century, we must be ready to depart from following the strict intentions of the founding fathers. (Additionally, I might add, the document they created was far from perfect--I need not mention its rulings on slavery as proof of that.)
Must we depart from the strict intentions of the Founding Fathers? Perhaps, but that's what amendments are for.

Is the document perfect? I must say that, being manmade, it cannot possibly be perfect - however, I believe that the last 230 years have demonstrated that it is perhaps the closest thing to perfection any political document has ever achieved.

(As a God-fearing Christian, I must also admit that it seems possible that its creation was guided by - as Washington put it - the Author of all Good.)

You mention its stance on slavery, but how was this position overturned? The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments - NOT through a re-interpretation.

Quote:
At the tail end of the 18th century, the U.S. was a Christian nation, perhaps not de jure but de facto. Therefore, it did not seem to contradict the first amendment to invoke their Christian God in many circumstances. At the start of the 21st century, our population is composed of people from many nationalities and many religions. Phrases referencing a Christian God exclude non-Christians. Phrases referening any God exclude atheists and agnostics like myself. The original views of the founders notwithstanding, we must interpret the phrases of the constitution in order to provide equality and freedom from persecution to the greatest number of people--this can be done by eliminating any all ties between Church and State.
It seems to me that you believe that atheism and agnosticism did not exist during the birth of our nation; I cannot (yet) prove otherwise, but it seems over-simplistic. After all, the 18th Century also gave us the humanist Enlightenment. And while the Enlightenment influenced the Founders (giving them the notion that God gave us liberty), it could also easily lead to pure humanism (atheism).

If that's so, the documents of the Founding Fathers "excluded" atheists from the beginning.

Either way, if you think these documents are wrong in doing so, fine. You should push for an amendment to change the Constitution - not attempt to hijack the Constitution by interpreting it to fit your whim and fancy.

Quote:
People who suggest anything else--trying, as they are, to ensure that the U.S. represents Christian beliefs above all others--frighten me terribly.
I personally am suggesting interpreting the Constitution by intent because twisting it to fit any meaning is FAR more dangerous than anything the Constitution currently means.

And, if the debate were to move to whether the Constitution should be amended to remove God altogether from our government, I would reject the idea, for reasons beyond an attempt to see that the government is always Christian "above all others:"

I would do so for the sake of theism in general, not Christianity specifically. The reason is this: I believe that humans do enjoy certain rights - inalienably and self-evidently. As far as I know, the ONLY basis for such a claim is the existence of the Divine.

And I would do so because, frankly, our system has worked so far. It is the Judeo-Christian culture that has brought us to realize the dignity of all men, and Christians in particular have led the charge to protect the rights of all (the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. comes immediately to mind).

I would also support continuing to invoke the name of God because I am, after all, a Christian who believes that God would well-pleased by such a simple and universal act.

The fact remains: I believe that the "under God" phrase in the pledge is constitutionally permissible if you interpret it as the authors intended. If that's bad for the country (you clearly think it is; I strongly disagree), the solution is an amendment, not a reinterpretation.
__________________
DISCLAIMER: The author of the preceding is known
for engaing in very long discussions.
Achtung Bubba is offline  
Old 06-27-2002, 11:54 AM   #27
Blue Crack Addict
 
joyfulgirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 16,615
Local Time: 04:17 PM
I thought it might be interesting to include some quotes from our founding fathers on religion and their interpretation of the First Amendment. These were sent to me by a friend who believes that our founding fathers were mystics, not Christians. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of these quotes, or be certain that they weren't lifted out of context, unfortunately, nor am I asserting an opinion as to our founding father's spiritual orientation. I'll let you all read them and decide for yourselves. Pretty interesting, if they're accurate, though:

United States Constitution

The First Amendment
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...”

Article VI, Section 3
“...no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”


John Adams (the second President of the United States)
Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli (June 7, 1797). Article 11 states:
“The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”

From a letter to Charles Cushing (October 19, 1756):
“Twenty times in the course of my late reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, ‘this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.’”

From a letter to Thomas Jefferson:
“I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved — the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!”

Additional quotes from John Adams:
“Where do we find a precept in the Bible for Creeds, Confessions, Doctrines and Oaths, and whole carloads of trumpery that we find religion encumbered with in these days?”

“The Doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.”

“...Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.”


Thomas Jefferson (the third President of the United States)

Jefferson’s interpretation of the first amendment in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association (January 1, 1802):

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”

From Jefferson’s biography:
“...an amendment was proposed by inserting the words, ‘Jesus Christ...the holy author of our religion,’ which was rejected ‘By a great majority in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohammedan, the Hindoo and the Infidel of every denomination.’”

Jefferson’s “The Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom”:
“Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, more than on our opinions in physics and geometry....The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

From Thomas Jefferson’s Bible:
“The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”

Jefferson’s Notes on Virginia:
“Reason and persuasion are the only practicable instruments. To make way for these free inquiry must be indulged; how can we wish others to indulge it while we refuse ourselves? But every state, says an inquisitor, has established some religion. No two, say I, have established the same. Is this a proof of the infallibility of establishments?”

Additional quotes from Thomas Jefferson:
“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”

“They [the clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition of their schemes. And they believe rightly: for I have sworn upon the alter of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

“I have examined all the known superstitions of the word, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth.”

“In every country and in every age the priest has been hostile to liberty; he is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.”

“Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear....Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it end in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue on the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise and in the love of others which it will procure for you.”

“Christianity...[has become] the most perverted system that ever shone on man....Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and importers led by Paul, the first great corrupter of the teaching of Jesus.”

“...that our civil rights have no dependence on religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics and geometry.”


James Madison (the fourth President of the United States)
Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments:
“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise....During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.”

Additional quote from James Madison:
“Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”


Benjamin Franklin

From Franklin’s autobiography, p. 66:
“My parents had given me betimes religious impressions, and I received from my infancy a pious education in the principles of Calvinism. But scarcely was I arrived at fifteen years of age, when, after having doubted in turn of different tenets, according as I found them combated in the different books that I read, I began to doubt of Revelation itself.”

From Franklin’s autobiography, p. 66:
“...Some books against Deism fell into my hands....It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quote to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations, in short, I soon became a thorough Deist.”


Thomas Paine

From The Age of Reason, pp. 8–9:
“I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of....Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and of my own part, I disbelieve them all.”

From The Age of Reason:
“All natural institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”

From The Age of Reason:
“The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion.”

From The Age of Reason:
“What is it the Bible teaches us? — rapine, cruelty, and murder.”

From The Age of Reason:
“Loving of enemies is another dogma of feigned morality, and has beside no meaning....Those who preach the doctrine of loving their enemies are in general the greatest prosecutors, and they act consistently by so doing; for the doctrine is hypocritical, and it is natural that hypocrisy should act the reverse of what it preaches.”

From The Age of Reason:
“The Bible was established altogether by the sword, and that in the worst use of it — not to terrify but to extirpate.”

Additional quote from Thomas Paine:
“It is the duty of every true Deist to vindicate the moral justice of God against the evils of the Bible.”


Ethan Allen

From Religion of the American Enlightenment:
“Denominated a Deist, the reality of which I have never disputed, being conscious that I am no Christian.”
__________________
joyfulgirl is offline  
Old 06-27-2002, 03:48 PM   #28
Rock n' Roll Doggie
FOB
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 8,876
Local Time: 11:17 PM
Interesting quotes, BUT no where do they say or imply that GOD = Church or Religion. Again the word GOD does not equal Church or Religion!

By the way just as in the 18th century, the vast majority of the USA believes in a God or something along those lines, well over 96%. This is a democracy where essentially, the majority will indirectly decide what is lawful or unlawful. The ruling in California is a joke and will amount to nothing.
__________________
STING2 is offline  
Old 06-27-2002, 04:12 PM   #29
Rock n' Roll Doggie
ALL ACCESS
 
speedracer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: MD
Posts: 7,574
Local Time: 06:17 PM
I think that if you asked the Founding Fathers why we have the various rights outlined in the Constitution, most of them would say that these rights are not a mere societal invention, but that these rights are bestowed upon each individual by God almighty.
The Declaration of Independence states that "all men...are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

And of course, included among these God-given rights is the right not to acknowledge Him. Ironic.
__________________
speedracer is offline  
Old 06-27-2002, 04:27 PM   #30
Blue Crack Addict
 
joyfulgirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 16,615
Local Time: 04:17 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by speedracer
I think that if you asked the Founding Fathers why we have the various rights outlined in the Constitution, most of them would say that these rights are not a mere societal invention, but that these rights are bestowed upon each individual by God almighty.
The Declaration of Independence states that "all men...are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

And of course, included among these God-given rights is the right not to acknowledge Him. Ironic.
I agree with this.

[edit] But as a non-Christian who believes in God, I feel that 'God' is a loaded word in America. Even though we are a country of many different religions, I feel that the Christian-right has done a pretty good job of at least trying to put a monopoly on the word 'God.' Many will disagree with me, but I feel that too often 'God'= 'Christian God' in this country. This--aside from getting the robotic creeps during the pledge recitations of my youth--is really my main reason for agreeing with this court ruling.
__________________

__________________
joyfulgirl is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:17 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com