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> Pledge of Allegiance ruled Unconstitutional, Here we go again.
Is reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools unconstitutional?
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Just Leave me Al...
post Sep 14 2005, 07:57 PM
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From the Washington Post.

QUOTE
SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal judge declared the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools unconstitutional Wednesday in a case brought by the same atheist whose previous battle against the words "under God" was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court on procedural grounds.

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."

<snip>
Karlton, ruling in Sacramento, said he would sign a restraining order preventing the recitation of the pledge at the Elk Grove Unified, Rio Linda and Elverta Joint Elementary school districts in Sacramento County, where the plaintiffs' children attend.

The order would not extend beyond those districts unless it is affirmed by a higher court, in which case it would apply to nine western states.

We have discussed this here before.

Questions for Debate:
Is the Pledge of Allegiance a patriotic exercise, or a religious affirmation? Why?
Will this case make it to the Supreme Court? If so, how will the Court rule?

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Vibiana
post Sep 14 2005, 08:21 PM
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QUOTE(Just Leave me Alone! @ Sep 14 2005, 07:57 PM)
Is the Pledge of Allegiance a patriotic exercise, or a religious affirmation?  Why?
Will this case make it to the Supreme Court?  If so, how will the Court rule?  [/b]
*



I can't predict how the Supreme Court will rule -- but I hope that if the case DOES make it there, they rule that the words "under God" be removed from the Pledge. I learned it with "under God" included in my grade-school days, but there are a number of people older than me (40) who learned it just as well without those two words that can be so divisive.

For the record, I am a Christian. But I am not living in a theocracy, nor do I want to.

EDITED TO ADD that with the words "under God" included, the Pledge becomes something of a quasi-religious affirmation -- enough to make me uncomfortable about it. It SHOULD be a patriotic exercise.

This post has been edited by Vibiana: Sep 14 2005, 08:22 PM
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Eeyore
post Sep 14 2005, 08:23 PM
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Is the Pledge of Allegiance a patriotic exercise, or a religious affirmation? Why?

I believe the pledge is designed to be a patriotic exercise. It also requires that pledger to utter the words "under god" in the pledge.



Will this case make it to the Supreme Court? If so, how will the Court rule?

I would think this case would make it back to the Supreme Court. It is a hot political issue and is overwhelmingly supported by the general public. This is great cannon fodder for those who believe in activist judges who are trying to force their will on the people.

I believe the court will support the pledge as it exists and be roundly applauded for its sanity on this issue.
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lordhelmet
post Sep 14 2005, 08:25 PM
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QUOTE(Eeyore @ Sep 14 2005, 04:23 PM)
Is the Pledge of Allegiance a patriotic exercise, or a religious affirmation? Why?

I believe the pledge is designed to be a patriotic exercise.  It also requires that pledger to utter the words "under god" in the pledge.



Will this case make it to the Supreme Court? If so, how will the Court rule?

I would think this case would make it back to the Supreme Court. It is a hot political issue and is overwhelmingly supported by the general public.  This is great cannon fodder for those who believe in activist judges who are trying to force their will on the people.

I believe the court will support the pledge as it exists and be roundly applauded for its sanity on this issue.
*



We have two choices. We can confirm Roberts and get another conservative on the court and inject some common sense into our system and reject this nonsense.

Or, we can cater to the ACLU and the 9th circuit, and replace the phrase "under God" with "using condoms".

The 9th circuit, to my view, is most often not part of the United States. I don't know exactly who they represent now that the USSR is no more.
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ConservPat
post Sep 14 2005, 08:31 PM
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QUOTE
Is the Pledge of Allegiance a patriotic exercise, or a religious affirmation? Why?
Neither. You aren't patriotic because you say the Pledge and you aren't more religious because you say "under God". The pledge is made of words...that's it. It's a unnecessary part of a high school student's day meant to make him/her appreciate the country. It's a monumental waste of time. Having said that...there is nothing unConstitutional about the Pledge. Having someone SAY "under God" in a public school does not mean that the government is trying to "establish" a religion.

QUOTE
Will this case make it to the Supreme Court? If so, how will the Court rule?
God I hope not but God I think so. Assuming Roberts and Joe Conservative Next Justice get confirmed, the Conservatives will leave the Pledge as it is...And I won't lose any sleep over it.

CP us.gif

This post has been edited by ConservPat: Sep 14 2005, 08:33 PM
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BoF
post Sep 14 2005, 08:46 PM
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Is the Pledge of Allegiance a patriotic exercise, or a religious affirmation? Why?

As it’s written now, it’s both. I was one of those people who learned it without the phrase “under god.” Those words were added in 1954, after:

QUOTE
In 1954, Congress after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, added the words, 'under God,' to the Pledge. The Pledge was now both a patriotic oath and a public prayer.


http://history.vineyard.net/pledge.htm

Quite frankly I could care less what the Knights of Columbus want or wanted.

With all of our problems with Katrina, the war in Iraq, a possible housing bubble, the pending Senate vote on stem cell research, the possible bankruptcy of two major airlines, the hearings John Roberts and the appointment and hearings on Sandra Day O’Connor’s new replacement, we have a full plate without worrying about the pledge.

With the words “under god” I think it is a quasi-religious exercise. Minus those words, it is a rote useless waste of school time. I think it’s at best a secondary issue, but I also think unconstitutional with the words “under god” included. I support their removal.

Will this case make it to the Supreme Court? If so, how will the Court rule?

Cases take time to get to the United State Supreme Court. I don’t think we can answer this question. The case is now in a federal district court and would have to pass through the appellate courts before the USSC justices decides whether or not they wish to hear it. By that time the Court will have at least two new justices.

BTW: I am neither an atheist or theist, but an agnostic. I hedge my bets. laugh.gif Several years ago we were required to do the pledge every morning with kids with IQ's as low as the single digits and as high as about 50. Most of them couldn't pronounce the words, and none of them had any idea what it meant. Still we were required to recite it. It was, in fact a problem, getting some the kids, including some wheelchairs, turned around so that they were facing the flag. I had a teaching assistant that noticed that I omitted the words "under god" when we said the pledge. She asked me why I didn't say them and I simply told her I didn't want to. Somehow, I've never had any impulse to explain myself to someone who asks an intrusive question.

This post has been edited by BoF: Sep 14 2005, 09:18 PM
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deerjerkydave
post Sep 14 2005, 09:19 PM
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Is the Pledge of Allegiance a patriotic exercise, or a religious affirmation? Why?

Patriotic. The reference to God in the pledge is a reference to the permanence of our fundamental rights. Man cannot take away that which God has given. It's a good principle and should remain in the pledge.

Will this case make it to the Supreme Court? If so, how will the Court rule?

Considering that the last case made it could be a sign that this one has a chance. I am hopeful, however, that the new and improved supreme court will uphold the pledge as it currently stands.
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hayleyanne
post Sep 14 2005, 09:37 PM
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Is the Pledge of Allegiance a patriotic exercise, or a religious affirmation? Why?

Without a doubt -- a patriotic exercise.


Will this case make it to the Supreme Court? If so, how will the Court rule?

The case will likely make it to the Supreme Court because the circuits are split on the issue -- with the 9th circuit taking the rogue view that it is unconstitutional. The Supremes need to resolve it once and for all. It is a silly issue and I think it is ridiculous to think that our religion clause is meant to forbid the pledge.
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Eeyore
post Sep 14 2005, 09:44 PM
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QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Sep 14 2005, 04:37 PM)
The Supremes need to resolve it once and for all. It is a silly issue and I think it is ridiculous to think that our religion clause is meant to forbid the pledge.
*



I would think that the words "under God" would be under review and not the pledge in its entirety.


But I probably have similar feelings to you about this for different reasons. I wish this wasn't in a court room because I don't think that our secular based government hangs in the balance because of these words that were added to the pledge in 1954.

It also is great fuel for people who like a good straw man to bash all liberals with.
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hayleyanne
post Sep 14 2005, 10:45 PM
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QUOTE(Eeyore @ Sep 14 2005, 04:44 PM)
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Sep 14 2005, 04:37 PM)
The Supremes need to resolve it once and for all. It is a silly issue and I think it is ridiculous to think that our religion clause is meant to forbid the pledge.
*



I would think that the words "under God" would be under review and not the pledge in its entirety.


But I probably have similar feelings to you about this for different reasons. I wish this wasn't in a court room because I don't think that our secular based government hangs in the balance because of these words that were added to the pledge in 1954.

It also is great fuel for people who like a good straw man to bash all liberals with.
*



True Eeyore. It is the phrase "under God" that would be under review. And I totally agree that it has the potential to be used to "bash" liberals. What angers people like me about this case, is that it seems to go after religion in an instance where, as you say, the secular nature of the government is not being threatened. It certainly doesn't help that the man behind it is Newdow-- who appears to be a bit unstable himself and seems to have some kind of personal agenda to root out all mention of religion in any government context.
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TedN5
post Sep 14 2005, 10:57 PM
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I voted other but not because I think the clause is constitutional. (How would we feel if the clause was "under Krishna" or even "under Allah"?) However, the issue is one that has been compromised by court rulings that no one can be forced to say the pledge and that should be sufficient relief until and unless the Congress reconsiders. With issues of war, plutocracy, and militarism that have the republic hanging in the balance (to say nothing of unaddressed issues that threaten our very survival), I'm would like to let this sleeping irritant go unscratched!
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Devils Advocate
post Sep 14 2005, 11:08 PM
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Is the Pledge of Allegiance a patriotic exercise, or a religious affirmation? Why?

I think the way it's set up now it can be view as both. It's definitely a patriotic exercise, and as CP points out, a rather useless and time wasting one. It could also be seen as a religious affirmation due to the "under god" part. But this type of nit-picking for establishment clause stuff is wothless. I'm agnostic and I always get a tingling feeling when I feel the establishment clause line is being crossed, but this doesn't bother me in the least. To me this is a technicality not worth considering. If we take out "under god" in the Pledge, what about "In God we Trust" on ALL United States money? Is that Newdow's next goal? Somethings are worth fighting for, and somethings are worth letting go.

Will this case make it to the Supreme Court? If so, how will the Court rule?

I don't know, but if the Pledge gets changed back to it's origional way without the God part then great (that's seems like what would happen in any case and I think would be a fine outcome). But if that doesn't happen then no big deal.
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FargoUT
post Sep 15 2005, 12:14 AM
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Is the Pledge of Allegiance a patriotic exercise, or a religious affirmation? Why?

As of now, both. I selected "Other" in the poll, since I view the pledge of allegiance as ConservPat views it: as a monumental waste of time. Arguing over its constitutionality is also a waste of time. Still, our country can handle the multitasking, and I'm sure the Supreme Court will want to accept this case in order to set the record straight.

Will this case make it to the Supreme Court? If so, how will the Court rule?

They will vote that the pledge is not unconstitutional, although I will disagree with their decision. I don't believe children should be required to say the pledge (in fact, I don't think they should be saying it at all). But I also recognize that children can be cruel towards those they view as different, even when it comes down to something as simple as not reciting the pledge along with all the other students. It becomes a bit of a challenge whether to view this as something worth arguing over. Since it has been brought before the courts, they should strike "under God" from the pledge, returning it to its original state pre-1954. Maybe it's just me, but I find it laughable to precede the phrase "indivisible" with something as divisive as "under God".

The pledge of allegiance, as it stands, is not an endorsement of religion by government, since the pledge holds no legal authority. Refusing to abide by the pledge will not get you thrown in jail. It is ridiculous, but the only way around this is to eliminate the two controversial words. It can not be argued that God is an all-encompassing term since the basis for which it was added to the pledge was pushed by the Catholic group Knights of Columbus, using fear of atheistic communists as a means to an end. Therefore, it is intrinsically biased against atheists from the start.

I am not an atheist, nor do I believe in God. I do not know, so I opt out of passing judgment either way. If we are going to require children to recite the pledge of allegiance in schools, it is definitely unconstitutional. I remember having to say the pledge every morning. One day, I didn't feel like it. I got my name on the board with a check by it from the teacher for what was considered "poor behavior". This was the extent of punishment, which was negligible, but that I was actually punished for it is absurd. Maybe if I had cared more, I would have fought that one.

I agree with the 9th Circuit Court's decision, in which the judge's opinion was intelligent and well-reasoned. But if this is going to keep becoming an issue, the Supreme Court should simply strike the two words from the pledge. The removal of the words "under God" do not represent a promotion of atheism or any other religious value, since the resulting pledge would be secular in nature. This is, ultimately, the proper course. I doubt the U.S. Supreme Court will see this the way I do, but then again, I think it's a huge waste of resources to even bother fighting this in court.

*edited for clarity purposes*

This post has been edited by FargoUT: Sep 15 2005, 12:19 AM
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blingice
post Sep 15 2005, 12:33 AM
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QUOTE(Just Leave me Alone! @ Sep 14 2005, 01:57 PM)
Questions for Debate: 
Is the Pledge of Allegiance a patriotic exercise, or a religious affirmation?  Why?
Will this case make it to the Supreme Court?  If so, how will the Court rule? 

*



1. Purely patriotic. I think that the current policy, which is in my school now, is once a week, optional, is fine. You get to see the people that say it and don't say it. I think that the people who don't say it because they are truly atheist, etc. ought to find their own modified pledge. If they refuse to submit to the US by saying "The Pledge of Allegiance", then they shouldn't live in the US. If you don't love your country enough to die to protect it, then go to another country. I am an atheist/agnostic, I certainly don't have a problem with saying a pledge TO MY COUNTRY that has the word "God" in it. I know that the people who make up the government are religious, and the people that created the US were religious. Those religions were moral foundations, and everyone has a moral foundation. So just because someone has a different moral foundation, this isn't about "God", it's really about moral foundations, means this lawsuit-happy guy just isn't tolerant of other moral foundations. I am extremely tolerant until the moral foundation includes disrespecting the US. I really want to ask this person if they would die to protect the US.

2. This is like asking a dentist how to cure epilepsy. I haven't even finished 10th grade yet. This question is definetely for lawyers...
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DaytonRocker
post Sep 15 2005, 02:49 AM
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If you really think children are being oppressed due to reciting the pledge (when did that happen? Back in the 60's or something?) against their volition, religion is being forced down our throats by pledging allegiance to the country that gives you 24 hour news channels, and making you squirm because you think 80% of the world is delusional, then why stop with the pledge?

Shouldn't we renounce our independence? After all, the Declaration of Independence starts with:
QUOTE
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.


How about the Emancipation Proclamation?
QUOTE
And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God.


My point is, the country was founded on Christian values whether you believe/like it or not. You may believe 80% of your fellow citizens are delusional, but you are in the minority. The pledge says nothing about pledging to God, Allah, or Mickey Mouse. It pledges to a country, emboldened by the goodness of an ideal, and attempts to hold us to a moral value where no other symbol really exists.

One cynical bitter person is fighting a personal battle with his demons at our expense. The Supremes will take this case and instead of punting, set this ruling on it's head where it belongs. The Bill Of Rights has never said anything about separating the church and state:
QUOTE
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.

That's all it says. It's morphed into every agnostic's wet dream. I believe the Supremes will show that there is nothing in the pledge that establishes any religion or belief because God is simply a sign of our values.

Truth be known, I doubt the judge in this case really believes any of this hogwash. He saw a precedent, followed it because he doesn't want to be considered an activist judge, and knew someone else would have the final say. In other words, HE punted it and had no other way to do it. So he kicked it upstairs for all intents and purposes.
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post Sep 15 2005, 03:33 AM
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QUOTE(blingice @ Sep 14 2005, 04:33 PM)

QUOTE(Just Leave me Alone! @ Sep 14 2005, 01:57 PM)
Questions for Debate:  
Is the Pledge of Allegiance a patriotic exercise, or a religious affirmation?  Why?
Will this case make it to the Supreme Court?  If so, how will the Court rule? 

*



1. Purely patriotic. I think that the current policy, which is in my school now, is once a week, optional, is fine. You get to see the people that say it and don't say it. I think that the people who don't say it because they are truly atheist, etc. ought to find their own modified pledge. If they refuse to submit to the US by saying "The Pledge of Allegiance", then they shouldn't live in the US. If you don't love your country enough to die to protect it, then go to another country. I am an atheist/agnostic, I certainly don't have a problem with saying a pledge TO MY COUNTRY that has the word "God" in it. I know that the people who make up the government are religious, and the people that created the US were religious. Those religions were moral foundations, and everyone has a moral foundation. So just because someone has a different moral foundation, this isn't about "God", it's really about moral foundations, means this lawsuit-happy guy just isn't tolerant of other moral foundations. I am extremely tolerant until the moral foundation includes disrespecting the US. I really want to ask this person if they would die to protect the US.
*



I want to draw your attention to the part of this post I have italicized. Do you really feel that "submit" is the best word? And then - "If you don't love your country enough to die to protect it, then go to another country." Our country was founded on certain ideals. Those ideals included respecting minority views. In my opinion, what makes this country a grand experiment is precisely that groups like the Amish and the Quakers can live here without fear of persecution. Those are two religious groups who do not join the armed services. In the case of the Amish, they live their lives very separated from the "English" world. Are you saying that because they refuse to die protecting the US that they should be kicked out?

QUOTE
So just because someone has a different moral foundation, this isn't about "God", it's really about moral foundations, means this lawsuit-happy guy just isn't tolerant of other moral foundations.


But it doesn't say "one nation under a moral foundation," it says "one nation under God." Conservatives who complain that liberals often use a broad-based interpretation of the Constitution, are taking what they deride as the liberal activist view here - that "under God" is somehow a broad meaning term, non-specific. But it's not. It's two words. Under. God.

We live in a secular society. The United States does not have an official religion. The religion of the founders is irrelevant. The first amendment is clear. "One nation, under God" clearly states something contrary to the first amendment.

And liberals that use the argument "it doesn't bother me, so why change it" are using the wrong measure for this issue. Declaring our nation is one under God violates the first amendment of the Constitution.

QUOTE
Or, we can cater to the ACLU and the 9th circuit, and replace the phrase "under God" with "using condoms".

The 9th circuit, to my view, is most often not part of the United States. I don't know exactly who they represent now that the USSR is no more.


Unlike my colleague lordhelmet, I believe that a plurality of views is EXACTLY what makes America a great country. I can't think of many things that he and I agree on - but I don't think he is not a part of the great plurality of visions which comprises this country. The 9th Circuit Court is liberal. His suggestion that liberals are not a part of the US, and that the ACLU (and again, by extension, liberals) would rather have "using condoms" than "under God" is reprehensible and highly unconducive to civil debate. Even so, even though I might think he is as wrong as it is possible to be, I still count him as an American. Because America, at its essence, is the place where such debate is allowed. Where all views have a voice.

I think that if he does some careful reading of history, lordhelmet will find that, even prior to the breakdown of the Soviet Union, the 9th Circuit Court was never representing that nation. I'm not sure where he does his research... laugh.gif hmmm.gif

Saying "under God" in our national pledge of allegiance is going against the plurality of ideals that defines our great nation. It is also going against the language explicit in the first amendment. Does it 'bother me?' No. Do I find it offensive? No. But I do think the court is correct in calling it unconstitutional.

This is yet another case that gives lie to the myth of conservatives as "constructionist" and liberals as "activist." rolleyes.gif
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blingice
post Sep 15 2005, 04:33 AM
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QUOTE(quarkhead @ Sep 14 2005, 09:33 PM)
QUOTE(blingice @ Sep 14 2005, 04:33 PM)

1. Purely patriotic. I think that the current policy, which is in my school now, is once a week, optional, is fine. You get to see the people that say it and don't say it. I think that the people who don't say it because they are truly atheist, etc. ought to find their own modified pledge. If they refuse to submit to the US by saying "The Pledge of Allegiance", then they shouldn't live in the US. If you don't love your country enough to die to protect it, then go to another country. I am an atheist/agnostic, I certainly don't have a problem with saying a pledge TO MY COUNTRY that has the word "God" in it. I know that the people who make up the government are religious, and the people that created the US were religious. Those religions were moral foundations, and everyone has a moral foundation. So just because someone has a different moral foundation, this isn't about "God", it's really about moral foundations, means this lawsuit-happy guy just isn't tolerant of other moral foundations. I am extremely tolerant until the moral foundation includes disrespecting the US. I really want to ask this person if they would die to protect the US.
*



I want to draw your attention to the part of this post I have italicized. Do you really feel that "submit" is the best word? And then - "If you don't love your country enough to die to protect it, then go to another country." Our country was founded on certain ideals. Those ideals included respecting minority views. In my opinion, what makes this country a grand experiment is precisely that groups like the Amish and the Quakers can live here without fear of persecution. Those are two religious groups who do not join the armed services. In the case of the Amish, they live their lives very separated from the "English" world. Are you saying that because they refuse to die protecting the US that they should be kicked out?


I'll admit that I was struggling with the word as I typed. It truly is a statement saying to your country that you will fight for it to protect it and the ideals it follows. That's why I am very pro-Iraq/Afghanistan war: because (of course this is my opinion) I think that it protects America, it preserves freedom, and it makes Americans safer. I'm sure no person in the military would forego "The Pledge of Allegiance".

QUOTE
I think that the people who don't say it because they are truly atheist, etc. ought to find their own modified pledge.


This is my religious disclaimer. If you are really against the Pledge for religious reasons, then you have no obligation to say it. I have a problem with the people that live in the US, and oppose the US's actions so much that they won't say the Pledge. I mean, if you hate America, then why do you live here and not somewhere where the grass is greener, as the adage goes (but you won't find a better country than the US, please, please tell me, quarkhead, that you agree with that). I'd hope that the Amish and the Quakers would agree with that also, because the US is probably the most nurturing country for their religions. So, if you were going to devote yourself to any country, religion-biased or not, wouldn't you want it to be the best one?

QUOTE(quarkhead)
But it doesn't say "one nation under a moral foundation," it says "one nation under God." Conservatives who complain that liberals often use a broad-based interpretation of the Constitution, are taking what they deride as the liberal activist view here - that "under God" is somehow a broad meaning term, non-specific. But it's not. It's two words. Under. God.

We live in a secular society. The United States does not have an official religion. The religion of the founders is irrelevant. The first amendment is clear. "One nation, under God" clearly states something contrary to the first amendment.

And liberals that use the argument "it doesn't bother me, so why change it" are using the wrong measure for this issue. Declaring our nation is one under God violates the first amendment of the Constitution.


I think that this would only be unconstitutional if they punished you for not saying it. Since it is optional, there is definetely not a Constitutional infringement. I would be horrified if this man stopped the option of saying "The Pledge of Allegiance" in public schools. Would you? If he did, he would probably try to stop kids praying by themselves in school as well. Pray before a test? Suspended. Accidently say "I swear to God..."? $150,000 fine.

Plus, the Pledge is very short about those words. If the Pledge theoretically said something like "By the religious values of Christianity," I'd see a problem. Church/state is always a paranoid subject. Someone always says "Uh-oh, the president's going to church. Impeach him." If the president said, "Anyone who doesn't go to a Christian church next Sunday will be deported." There is where they are connected.

This post has been edited by blingice: Sep 15 2005, 04:40 AM
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Devils Advocate
post Sep 15 2005, 05:32 AM
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QUOTE(blingice)
I mean, if you hate America, then why do you live here and not somewhere where the grass is greener, as the adage goes (but you won't find a better country than the US, please, please tell me, quarkhead, that you agree with that).


Not to get too off topic here, but I just wanted to address this. A person can hate everything, and I mean everything about America, and still want to stay. Why? Because they have the ability to voice their opinion freely, without persecution, and have the ability to try to change what they don't like. That is one reason people may live in America who don't like it. I assume you're talking about people who dislike some things that have been done in the last few years (ie. Iraq/Afgahnistan) and people who protests (ie. Cindy Sheehan) but they are exactly what makes this society great, as quarkhead pointed out. Opposing views and ideas creates a society unlike many as you know. So, just because someone is opposed to most, or even all things in America today that doesn't mean they're not trying to change it so they can have an America they'll be proud of tomorrow. I'm not sure about Quark, but I can say that I feel America is the best country, maybe not by much, but as of now it's the best.

QUOTE(quark)
We live in a secular society. The United States does not have an official religion. The religion of the founders is irrelevant. The first amendment is clear. "One nation, under God" clearly states something contrary to the first amendment.


I could not have said it better myself. I think a simple test could tell you whether or not the word "God" in the Pledge was broad based or not. If you go out and ask 100 people randomly on the street (this is a non-scientific study, sorry I don't have the time to make up a great random sample method to study the entire population) what the term "God" means to them or "Under God" I am confident they will say something about their religion/Christianity/faith/Jesus/ect. By this I'm trying to point out that the term "God" does not mean a broad all encompassing idea of faith as might be interpreted. What it means is what the population defines it as. If I call a guitar a six-string no big deal, but if I call a car a truck then there's problems. People have decided the word car means something in our society and truck means something different. Likewise the word "God," or phrase "under God," mean something too, and I would bet people give it a Christian connotation.
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post Sep 15 2005, 05:54 AM
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Ugh. I don't know where to begin sorting out this mess. I guess I'll start from the top.
QUOTE(blingice @ Sep 14 2005, 09:33 PM)
I'll admit that I was struggling with the word as I typed. It truly is a statement saying to your country that you will fight for it to protect it and the ideals it follows. That's why I am very pro-Iraq/Afghanistan war: because (of course this is my opinion) I think that it protects America, it preserves freedom, and it makes Americans safer. I'm sure no person in the military would forego "The Pledge of Allegiance".

This topic has nothing to do with the Iraq War or the military, so let's not bring them into it. It will only complicate things.

QUOTE(blingice @ Sep 14 2005, 09:33 PM)
This is my religious disclaimer. If you are really against the Pledge for religious reasons, then you have no obligation to say it. I have a problem with the people that live in the US, and oppose the US's actions so much that they won't say the Pledge. I mean, if you hate America, then why do you live here and not somewhere where the grass is greener, as the adage goes (but you won't find a better country than the US, please, please tell me, quarkhead, that you agree with that). I'd hope that the Amish and the Quakers would agree with that also, because the US is probably the most nurturing country for their religions. So, if you were going to devote yourself to any country, religion-biased or not, wouldn't you want it to be the best one?
Emphasis mine

This is the complete opposite sentiment that should be held by every American. America was founded on principles of a republic, not a majority-rules democracy. The purpose of this was to create a place where people could live without fear of governmental tyranny. When something is not as someone feels it should, they either attempt to get a law passed or ask the judicial system to rule on it. It is that fluidity that keeps our nation great. So even when I think President Bush is a complete idiot and our involvement in Iraq is a disaster that will forever alter our nation's credibility with the world, I know we can change it from within. We don't have to pick up and leave if we don't want to. I love this country too much to abandon it, frankly. Even when I see it heading in a direction that I fear will lead to totalitarianism (or, worse still, fascism), I know that if things ever get out of control, there are balances to correct our country's flaws.

QUOTE(blingice @ Sep 14 2005, 09:33 PM)
I think that this would only be unconstitutional if they punished you for not saying it. Since it is optional, there is definetely not a Constitutional infringement. I would be horrified if this man stopped the option of saying "The Pledge of Allegiance" in public schools. Would you? If he did, he would probably try to stop kids praying by themselves in school as well. Pray before a test? Suspended. Accidently say "I swear to God..."? $150,000 fine.

This is a common fallacious argument with no bearing on reality. Nobody, including Michael Newdow, is saying people shouldn't pray in school. The problem is when the school mandates prayer. Allowing a moment of silence for personal reflection or prayer is fine, but praying over the intercom is not.

The First Amendment is designed to protect citizens from a government imposing religion on them. The verbage here has been determined to imply that personal religious values are fine, as long as they remain personal. Once they push past the personal and start to involve themselves in the lives of others, it becomes questionable. Once the government starts passing laws and mottos and monetary bills which contain religious words, it becomes unconstitutional. Yes, "In God We Trust" emblazened on every quarter and dollar bill is unconstitutional, but I highly doubt that will ever be changed now. I don't really care myself (except that I find it humorously ironic that the name of God is placed on something so material as money).

QUOTE(blingice @ Sep 14 2005, 09:33 PM)
Plus, the Pledge is very short about those words. If the Pledge theoretically said something like "By the religious values of Christianity," I'd see a problem. Church/state is always a paranoid subject. Someone always says "Uh-oh, the president's going to church. Impeach him." If the president said, "Anyone who doesn't go to a Christian church next Sunday will be deported." There is where they are connected.
*

Every President has been Christian, and none has ever been impeached due to religious values. The President still maintains the rights granted by the Constitution, including the right to personally display his/her religious values. We hear President Bush mention God in his speeches, but nobody says it is unconstitutional, because they are his values. The problem only arises when government (and governmental institutions, such as public schools) become playgrounds for espousing particular religious ideologies. The pledge endorses a particular God, which makes it a violation of our First Amendment. But like I said before, the pledge is not a governing document, so it definitely blurs the boundaries. I personally find it reprehensible that a pledge of allegiance to our country contains any religious phrases at all. The pledge has nothing to do with religion whatsoever, and "under God" is inappropriate.

Lastly, I want to state that religion is a private matter and should remain one. Putting it in courthouses, schools, capitols, etc., seems to be an affront to what religion means. It's not something to be waved around like a flag or tacked onto the bumper of a car to show to everyone else that you believe in something. Because government is an inherently flawed institution, I always wonder about these people who find no trouble putting Ten Commandment monuments on courthouse properties. Isn't that cheapening the sanctity of it? But that's another topic really...

*edited for formatting mistakes*

This post has been edited by FargoUT: Sep 15 2005, 05:58 AM
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post Sep 15 2005, 08:21 AM
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QUOTE
Is the Pledge of Allegiance a patriotic exercise, or a religious affirmation? Why?

The Pedge itself is fine, but what about "Under God?"

I suppose that depends on were it originates. Determining how it got put in can give all of us a better understanding of the intent behind the words.
QUOTE
In 1954, Congress after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, added the words, 'under God,' to the Pledge. The Pledge was now both a patriotic oath and a public prayer.

History of Pledge

According to the oaths history, a group called the knights of columbus added in two words during 1954.
QUOTE
The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic men's fraternal benefit society that was formed to render financial aid to members and their families.

Knights of Columbus

So, that pretty much settles the intent. A religious group wanted a religious phrase added into the pledge of allegiance (Which, by the way, advocates a pro-life position.).

Therefore, I'm going to make the call here that a school supporting the phrase of a Catholic group is unconstitutional. No government institution should incorporate the dictation of any religious group within its daily practices.

I personally support the exemption of this phrase on patriotic grounds. The pledge of allegiance should be restored to the way it historically had been, before it had been tampered with by outside political groups. us.gif

Otherwise, its a silly thing to waste time on.

This post has been edited by BecomingHuman: Sep 15 2005, 08:31 AM
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