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BigSteve
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#1 Posted on 14.9.05 1343.57
Reposted on: 14.9.12 1344.11
Yahoo/AP (news.yahoo.com)

    Originally posted by the Associated Press
    SAN FRANCISCO - Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools was ruled unconstitutional Wednesday by a federal judge who granted legal standing to two families represented by an atheist who lost his previous battle before the
    U.S. Supreme Court.

    U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled that the pledge's reference to one nation "under God" violates school children's right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God."

    Karlton said he was bound by precedent of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which in 2002 ruled in favor of Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow that the pledge is unconstitutional when recited in public schools.


This is ridiculous especially considering that the "precedent" the judge claimed to follow was thrown out by the SC because Newdow didn't have standing to sue.

Even if it were somehow a "coercive requirement to affirm God", there is still no law that would force anyone to say the Pledge. SCOTUS will probably actually decide this issue now instead of basically dodging the issue. That should be interesting.
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spf
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#2 Posted on 14.9.05 1418.28
Reposted on: 14.9.12 1418.36
Public school authorities telling everyone to now stand and recite this statement affirming that we are "one nation under God" is an act of endorsing a religion. It's not a law forcing you to say it, it's a rule inside of a publically funded institution. And if you don't think that it's designed to support a specific religion, just ask what would happen to a teacher who encouraged his/her students to say the pledge, only to say "Allah" in place of "God".
drjayphd
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#3 Posted on 14.9.05 1710.14
Reposted on: 14.9.12 1717.03
Wonder if bringing up the origin of the "under God" admission would have any impact. I'm guessing not. Either way, does anyone see this ending any differently than the first run?
Jim Smith
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#4 Posted on 14.9.05 1946.18
Reposted on: 14.9.12 1947.02
    Originally posted by spf
    Public school authorities telling everyone to now stand and recite this statement affirming that we are "one nation under God" is an act of endorsing a religion. It's not a law forcing you to say it, it's a rule inside of a publically funded institution.


Exactly. The whole issue could be rendered moot if children were free to say or not say the pledge, but I'm willing to bet a lot of kids have to go along so they won't be disciplined. When I was in elementary school, it was expected that we all learn the pledge and say it every morning. If you didn't, you were bound to get in trouble--not for refusing to affirm God, but for disobeying the teacher in general. So there's no intent to coerce kids into affirming God--which I think is what has pledge supporters wondering why this keeps coming up--but the coersion exists the second consequences are attached for any reason.

I don't think they have to ban the pledge, but they do have to guarantee that kids won't be punished if they refuse to say it.

(edited by Jim Smith on 14.9.05 1948)
Mr. Boffo
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#5 Posted on 14.9.05 2037.48
Reposted on: 14.9.12 2038.12
    Originally posted by drjayphd
    Wonder if bringing up the origin of the "under God" admission would have any impact. I'm guessing not. Either way, does anyone see this ending any differently than the first run?

Could you provide what you know about the phrase "under God" and its origins with the Pledge? I know almost nothing about it, and I'm not sure I'll be able to find a level-headed perspective online, given how this issue seems to keep coming up.

Doing a search, I can across an article by Freethought Today (which promotes "freedom from religion"), which says the following (paraphrasing)):

The pledge was amended to include the phrase "under God" in 1954. This was during the "Red Scare" of Senator Joseph McCathy. As such, there were those in Congress who felt that a belief in God would save us from the "Communist Menace". Before the bill was passed, the Library of Congress was questioned as to what form would be best. They responded that "Since the basic idea is a Nation founded on a belief in God, there would seem to be no reason for the comma after nation." (they were also considering "one nation, under god, indivisible" [which seems like how we said it in grade school] and "one nation indivisible under god")

Does your information conflict with that (it was the only one I could find on short notice)? If so, I'd like to hear it (want to get both/all sides/POVs.)

(edited by Mr. Boffo on 14.9.05 2038)
Roy.
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#6 Posted on 14.9.05 2120.38
Reposted on: 14.9.12 2121.03
From CNN (cnn.com)

Click the "Timeline" under "Related". Couldn't figure out a way to link a java popup, sorry.



    Worried that orations used by "godless communists" sound similar to the Pledge of Allegiance, religious leaders lobby lawmakers to insert the words "under God" into the pledge. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, fearing an atomic war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, joins the chorus to put God into the pledge. Congress does what he asks, and the revised pledge reads: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

    Source: The Associated Press and Encyclopedia Britannica Inc.


Sounds similar to what you've heard.
drjayphd
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#7 Posted on 15.9.05 0251.34
Reposted on: 15.9.12 0259.01
Yup, I was referring to the Red Scare. If the phrase didn't have religious, but rather political origins, then depending on his case, it could strengthen it or completely blow it to hell.
too-old-now
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#8 Posted on 15.9.05 0916.42
Reposted on: 15.9.12 0916.57
Ten years ago, my sister simply told my nephew (who was then age nine) he could remain silent for the two words "under God", then continue with the rest of the pledge, if he wanted to. She had discussed this with his teachers, who had no problem with this position, as long as he wouldn't draw too much attention to himself to be a distraction in class.

A couple of years later, at 11 or 12, my nephew got into a rebellious mood and started saying, very fast, "under a hypothetical Supreme Being" and got sent to Madam Principal. After a discussion, he returned to class and I recall his words at the time "I lerned to mutter under my breath!"

The point is, 99% of the pledge is simply perfunctory rambling to most students and teachers. Once in a while someone will think about it, and few among them will care enough to do something about it. In my nephew's case, I applaud the school system for not making a huge deal of it, and my nephew for realizing the consequences were coming because of the disruption. No need for TV interviews or newspaper editorials, or even letters home to all other parents, they just dealt with the perceived problem in a mutually respectful way.

This same nephew is not an atheist or agnostic (like his mom), he is a practising Roman Catholic (like his dad). He believes in the separation of church and state. He wrote his college entrance application essay on the topic and earned himself a scholarship to a Jesuit University.

DrOp
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#9 Posted on 15.9.05 1009.14
Reposted on: 15.9.12 1009.16
Don't forget about the idea and judicial precident of "coercive effect" with regards to children and religious endorsements (stated or implied) and the possible interpretation of the pledge as such.
TheBucsFan
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#10 Posted on 15.9.05 1015.45
Reposted on: 15.9.12 1016.14
    Originally posted by too-old-now
    I applaud the school system for not making a huge deal of it, and my nephew for realizing the consequences were coming because of the disruption.


How is any kind of civil change supposed to come without "a disruption"? I mean, if he thinks it's wrong, he's supposed to just shut up about it, keep to himself and ignore it while hoping what he thinks is an unjust law magically changes itself? Is that the moral of this story?

Intentionally or not, you just provided great evidence of the "coercive" aspect of the pledge people were discussing earlier in the thread. He's sent to the principal for speaking out on an issue he apparently felt strongly about, and was taught by the ordeal to be submissive to the majority. This is a good thing?

I guess I'm supposed to be impressed that he won some scholarship, but to me you just presented a disgusting image for whatever school system your plucky little nephew was lucky enough to attend.
BigSteve
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#11 Posted on 15.9.05 1143.20
Reposted on: 15.9.12 1143.23
    Originally posted by TheBucsFan
    keep to himself and ignore it while hoping what he thinks is an unjust law magically changes itself?


Correct me if I'm wrong here, but there is no law requiring anyone to say the Pledge. In fact, I doubt there is even a school rule. If a student has grave moral concerns about voluntarily saying the words "under God", the best thing that student could do is to exercise his option not to say those words. I don't understand how this can be a constitutional issue if everyone has the option not to say it if they don't want to say it.

Even if everyone were to agree that it's wrong for schools to say the Pledge of Allegiance in the mornings, I don't see how doing so violates the first amendment. Just because something is wrong (which I don't personally think that this is) doesn't therefore make it unconstitutional.


    Intentionally or not, you just provided great evidence of the "coercive" aspect of the pledge people were discussing earlier in the thread. He's sent to the principal for speaking out on an issue he apparently felt strongly about, and was taught by the ordeal to be submissive to the majority. This is a good thing?


The way I'm reading the story, it seems to me that he was sent to the principal for intentionally causing a disruptance in class rather than becuase he refused to swear a loyalty oath to the Christian God. You can refuse to say the Pledge without having to disrupt other people from saying it.
wmatistic
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#12 Posted on 15.9.05 1620.43
Reposted on: 15.9.12 1625.47
"If a student has grave moral concerns about voluntarily saying the words "under God", the best thing that student could do is to exercise his option not to say those words. I don't understand how this can be a constitutional issue if everyone has the option not to say it if they don't want to say it."

See here's where you aren't thinking. I was a kid who just didn't say those two words. Didn't take long for other kids to notice that, and as kids will do, bug the hell out of me about it. They did their best to make me feel like I didn't belong.

There is simply no way to be sensitive to everyone while leaving those words in. There is no good reason for them to be there, and a million why they shouldn't.
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#13 Posted on 15.9.05 1850.45
Reposted on: 15.9.12 1851.45
Way back in the ninth grade, we had a kid named Bill in my home room class who stood there and crossed his arms when we were supposed to stand and say the pledge. He was an exchange student from Germany and said he would not say the pledge but he would readily stand in observence while the rest of the class did.

By the second month of school, there were about half the class who ended up doing the same thing and slowly, it got to the point where the teacher decided to actually ask the class if they wanted to even bother attempting to say the pledge anymore.

The class didn't care and neither did the teacher.
too-old-now
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#14 Posted on 16.9.05 1534.33
Reposted on: 16.9.12 1536.00
    Originally posted by TheBucsFan
      Originally posted by too-old-now
      I applaud the school system for not making a huge deal of it, and my nephew for realizing the consequences were coming because of the disruption.


    How is any kind of civil change supposed to come without "a disruption"? I mean, if he thinks it's wrong, he's supposed to just shut up about it, keep to himself and ignore it while hoping what he thinks is an unjust law magically changes itself? Is that the moral of this story?

    Intentionally or not, you just provided great evidence of the "coercive" aspect of the pledge people were discussing earlier in the thread. He's sent to the principal for speaking out on an issue he apparently felt strongly about, and was taught by the ordeal to be submissive to the majority. This is a good thing?

    I guess I'm supposed to be impressed that he won some scholarship, but to me you just presented a disgusting image for whatever school system your plucky little nephew was lucky enough to attend.


At age 11 or 12, how many kids even pay attention to the actual words of the pledge? For my nephew, because his mom guided him, he hadn't said "under God" for a couple of years, but when he started to understand what it meant he tried to take it to another level. His disruptive behavior in the classroom was what got him a visit to the principal. He didn't feel strongly enough about it to press it any further, I got the impression the "rebellion" had more to do with the particular teacher he had at the time.

Being that my nephew was one of the bigger kids in his class, I doubt he had to deal with the teasing / peer comments.

Yes, his scholarship is impressive, have you checked into tuition and room/board cost at a private school lately? He is a good student (never the top in his class) but a very good writer. I personally think that what impressed the school was that he was able to describe how such an experience affected his life, his faith, and how he doesn't see himself as an extremist on either side, and that complex problems are often resolved when starting from a position of mutual respect.

I have e-mailed him this thread and invited him to give his thoughts, since he is in college he may be more inclined to use his free time in other ways, instead of rehashing stuff with his uncle.

    Originally posted by BigSteve

    Even if everyone were to agree that it's wrong for schools to say the Pledge of Allegiance in the mornings, I don't see how doing so violates the first amendment. Just because something is wrong (which I don't personally think that this is) doesn't therefore make it unconstitutional.



The unconstitutionality stems from the whole separation of church and state, the gov't shall pass no law establishing a religion, etc. Since schools get state and federal tax dollars, and some require/coerce students to recite the pledge, that includes 2 words added during the Red Scare, they are effectively requiring (or establising) a religion.

I don't think the words "under God" should be included either, but I don't think its enough of a problem that I'd go to court over it. There are bigger problems in the world.
BigSteve
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#15 Posted on 16.9.05 1559.26
Reposted on: 16.9.12 1605.24

    The unconstitutionality stems from the whole separation of church and state, the gov't shall pass no law establishing a religion, etc.


Exactly. Since no level of government has passed a law ordering people to say the pledge then this doesn't violate either the Establishment Clause or the Free Exercise Clause. It's freedom of religion not freedom from religion.

(edited by BigSteve on 16.9.05 1701)
spf
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#16 Posted on 18.9.05 0207.53
Reposted on: 18.9.12 0208.17
    Originally posted by BigSteve

      The unconstitutionality stems from the whole separation of church and state, the gov't shall pass no law establishing a religion, etc.


    Exactly. Since no level of government has passed a law ordering people to say the pledge then this doesn't violate either the Establishment Clause or the Free Exercise Clause. It's freedom of religion not freedom from religion.

    (edited by BigSteve on 16.9.05 1701)

An agent of the government, in this case a publically funded school, has ruled requiring students using their facilities to say the pledge of allegiance. Therefore, by definition, the government is doing this, as the public school system is an agent of the government.
StaggerLee
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#17 Posted on 19.9.05 1127.52
Reposted on: 19.9.12 1129.04
What I dont understand is why the lawsuit was to eliminate the pledge, instead of ammend it to exclude the two words that make everybody lose thier minds.

Either way, "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,"

messenoir
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#18 Posted on 19.9.05 1326.56
Reposted on: 19.9.12 1329.01
Aside from how maybe that should be changed too, Creator is far different than God. Also, that statement doesn't imply this is a nation under God, simply that people were created with certain rights by some sort of Creator being.

God is a another kettle of fish. Some pagans, for example, worship a Goddess (or Mother Earth), which could also be considered a Creator, but would not be considered a God. The Flying Spaghetti Monster could be considered a Creator but not a God. Heck, some people believe we create life, that there is no higher God. All of these beliefs could fit under that line, Stagger, but not under the "One nation under God" line.

Also, the writers themselves were pretty far from what Christians today would call Christian:

Thomas Paine rejected organized Churches.

George Washington had Universalists in his employ and never, that I've read, declared himself a Christian.

John Adams wrote "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!", and it was during Adam's administration the Senate ratified the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which states in Article XI that "the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion."

Thomas Jefferson said:"I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die a Unitarian."

James Madison wrote "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise" and "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 the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."

Ethan Allen wrote "That Jesus Christ was not God is evidence from his own words."

Benjamin Franklin wrote "As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion...has received various corrupting Changes, and I have, with most of the present dissenters in England, some doubts as to his Divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the Truth with less trouble."

Most of them believed in some sort of Creator, but seemed to take great pains to not call this nation Christian or even under any God. They took great pains to push the concept of freedom of religion, and despite the sheeplike "but that's not freedom from religion" mantras, forcing a kid to sit in a required classroom while those around them chant "one nation under God" is the same as having a preacher in the classrom promoting Christianity while saying kids in the classrom aren't required to be Christian.

Unless you're going to change the pledge to "one nation under some sort of god, goddess, multiple deities, possible higher beings we are still searching for, the evolutionary process and any other ways in which we might have been created" then this pledge is wrong, discriminatory, and has no place in publically funded schools.

AWArulz
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#19 Posted on 19.9.05 1522.05
Reposted on: 19.9.12 1524.37
ah, I can play the quote game too:

Paine:
“ It has been the error of the schools to teach astronomy, and all the other sciences, and subjects of natural philosophy, as accomplishments only; whereas they should be taught theologically, or with reference to the Being who is the author of them: for all the principles of science are of divine origin. Man cannot make, or invent, or contrive principles: he can only discover them; and he ought to look through the discovery to the Author.”


Washington:
"To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian" [May 2, 1778, at Valley Forge]

Adams:
“ The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

Need I go on? Like the Bible, you can quote the founders to twist your own ideas. Seems clear to me that while the founder weren't down home Southern Baptists, they had a pretty good idea they God was God and they were not and wrote that into almost all their early documents.

John Adams and John Hancock:
We Recognize No Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus! [April 18, 1775]





Jaguar
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#20 Posted on 19.9.05 1620.03
Reposted on: 19.9.12 1621.32
What a bunch of flip-floppers.
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