Pledge of Allegiance ruled Unconstitutional.

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is an unconstitutional “endorsement of religion” because of the addition of the phrase “under God” in 1954 by Congress.

A three-member panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the case to a lower court. If allowed to stand, the ruling would apply to schools in the nine states covered by the 9th Circuit.—CNN.com

I never thought I’d live to see it happen, but this news article just made my day. I agree one hundred percent with the court’s decision and I fully hope it is upheld if it goes to the Supreme Court. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the pledge itself, at least not the original version of it that never had the phrase “under God” in it when it was written back in 1892. Those two seemingly innocuous words wouldn’t be added for another 62 years until 1954 during the height of McCarthyism and the communist witch hunt. During that time how religious you were was a litmus test for how patriotic you were as everyone knew that all atheists were, by definition, communists. Francis Bellamy’s granddaughter publicly stated that her father would have resented the addition. It’s been a bit of a sore point with atheists ever since along with the change in the National Motto from the original “E Pluribus Unum” (One Unity Composed of Many Parts) to “In God We Trust”, which happened in 1956. In both cases it was a perfect example of the Religious Right making changes to things that didn’t need changing in order to promote their agenda. Most irritating of all is the fact that many Christian advocates point to both of these things to “prove” that America was founded as a “Christian” nation because, after all, it’s on our money and in the pledge! There was nothing wrong with either of the original versions other than neither one promoted a religious viewpoint.

Naturally, Congress is in an uproar over this judicial decision.

In an impassioned speech on the Senate floor just before the resolution vote, Sen. Robert Byrd, D-West Virginia, said he is the only remaining member of Congress who voted for the addition of “under God” on June 7, 1954. He warned the judges who declared the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional to never come before him because “he’ll be blackballed.”

“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.”

Meanwhile, House Speaker Dennis Hastert Wednesday said the decision underscores the need for the Senate to confirm “some common sense jurists.” —CNN.com

Funny, from where I’m standing, those jurists were using common sense, something that doesn’t appear to be so common amongst our Senators. If nothing else, though, it’s good to see our Senator’s are at least honest about their biases. The appeal judges did cite a number of legal precedents as to why they arrived at their decision that I felt made for a pretty good argument, but I’m no lawyer. Still, we can always count on our elected officials to stay level headed and not fly off the handle, right? Right??

The National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC), which coordinates Republican congressional campaign efforts, was set to send a memo to every Republican member of Congress and those running for Congress Wednesday afternoon.

The memo will urge Republicans to contact their local school boards and tell them to “nullify this decision” and urge them to allow the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited as it is in classrooms tomorrow morning, according to a spokesman for the NRCC, Steve Schmidt.

“This is nonsense,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt said the memo will also urge Republicans to “blame liberal Tom Daschle for holding up judicial nominees.”

“This is what you get” when you don’t fill those voids, Schmidt added.—CNN.com

Hmmm. I suppose not. Not only a declaration encouraging citizens to openly defy a court ruling, but also an attempt at taking advantage of it to bash the Democrats. With leadership like this, who needs to worry about the Taliban taking over? The 9th Circuit is considered the most liberal of all the appeals courts in the country and has had the most decisions overturned in the end. So I have little hope that this will actually stand in the long run, but I hope it at least makes folks think about the issue instead of just brushing it off as ‘no big deal’ as they’ve done for decades. If it’s not such a big deal, then why all the fuss over a decision to overturn it? Why not restore the pledge to it’s original wording as it was INTENDED to be, which didn’t leave 14% of the population feeling like they were being told they didn’t belong?

What? Pledges and motto’s that are inclusive? Why that’s un-American!

22 thoughts on “Pledge of Allegiance ruled Unconstitutional.

  1. If you are the 14% that don’t feel you belong here, then go to some other country where you are welcome.  This is GOD’S country so get over it.  If prayer’s were still in the school’s where they belong the whole world would be in much better shape then they are in now.  The only thing that’s holding it together now is GOD

  2. Sorry Pete, but we do feel we belong here. Assuming that this country is as free as it claims to be then we should be more than welcome here, but that’s the problem with people who would turn this country into a Theocracy. They’re only interested in freedom for themselves and those of like mind, not for everyone as they like to claim. This isn’t God’s country, never was and never will be. The fact that America is not and was not ever founded on the Christian religion is even a matter of national law via the Treaty of Tripoli.

    Prayer in school would accomplish nothing other than to force one religious viewpoint on a captive audience and it runs afoul of the Constitution. Why have a Constitution at all if you’re not going to follow the rules? I suppose that’s a silly question to ask considering most Christians can’t even follow their own Ten Commandants, let alone a document like the Constitution.

    If God is the only thing holding this country together then it’s in a lot worse shape than I thought.

  3. You know, it is comments like the ones that Pete has made that make me wonder why I hold fast to the ideals of democracy. Why do I insists on tolerating the views of others even when certain groups obviously cannot do the same thing? Why not take up the sword against my ideological enemies and send them packing to the religiously intolerant society that they so earnestly pray for? They would like to see me take my views and leave and I am sure that there are some that would like to wage their own christian jihad on the western world, to purge their own countries first of undesirables and then purge the world of those who worship ‘pagan’ gods. Fanatical christians and fanatical muslims are the same vile creatures who operate with their own group of freedom fighters/terrorists. Christians just like to work one abortion doctor at a time, or one abortion clinic. Who will be next when abortion is outlawed?

    And if you think that prayers in school equates to a better country I am guessing that you not only oppose the war with Iraq, you want to model the United States on their society? Your utopian vision of a country ruled by the bible is a gut wrenching nightmare to those of us who love freedom for ALL, not just those who are most like us. As a patriot I will fight your narrow view of one people under one religion and I will fight a government that seeks to push that agenda on American citizens. Pople like you deserve the slavery to seem to want to force on the rest of the world…I hope you get it.

  4. How do we ask our minor children to take an oath ( make a contract) to an inanimate object (a flag) when the bible is clear that we are not required to take an oath? The “under god” is nothing short of idolatry since nobody can name this god it could be any god. “They” say it can be any god. Apparently we christians are ashamed of the name Jesus and Jehovah so we have aquiecsed for “under god” and thus are engaging in idolatry.
    These sadducees and pharasees that want to worship and honor this nondescript god are the ones our Savior spoke of when he said, ” having a form of godliness but denying the power”.  These 99 senators who say they want the “under god” part of the pledge are the same ones that refuse to defend prayer and the ten commandments. They instead defend divorce, adultery,  homosexuality, fornication, blasphemy, gambling and all manner of evil in the name of god in direct opposition to the very god they seem to want to include in the pledge. WHAT A BUNCH OF HYPOCRITS.

  5. aloha i think we should get rid of that stupid undergod part and get onwith our lives its not that big of a deal!

  6. I have a few things to say to you people who are against the pledge of allegiance. Let me tell you a story about my substitute teacher in high school. This man was a veteran. He served this great country many years ago in a devestating war that was WW2. He protected this country and everything it stands for. This man started crying when he heard that the pledge could be taken away. He cried for what America is coming to if the pledge is taken away. Do you people not respect this great land enough to say a few lines every now and then at public places or do you think you have the right to tell this man and the others like him that even though he fought for this country he shouldnt be able to say the pledge in school. I just think you people need to stop being so selfish and respect this great country. And if you are an atheist then I really do pity you.

  7. This man started crying when he heard that the pledge could be taken away

    I’ll see your weepy veteran and raise you four atheists in a foxhole!

    capcha “inside” my mind is a scary place to beeee.

  8. Lol – nowieser, thats great!

    If anything, our atheist corner of hell is going to be the place where the funny people hang out. We GOD you all beat in matters of irony.

  9. Cameron –  I respect this country so much that I’m willing to say the pledge exactly as it was written during WWII.

  10. “One nation, . . . indivisible, with LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” Why would anything need to be inserted here? Would not the phrase “under God” negate the following, “. . . with LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL”? Does anybody study English anymore??? big surprise

  11. He cried for what America is coming to if the pledge is taken away

    No one is trying to take the pledge away.  The pledge he recited during his days in school did not have “under God” in it.  We are just trying to make it so that people are not forced to affirm a religious belief that’s not their own.

    you people not respect this great land enough to say a few lines every now and then

    Do you not respect this great land enough to follow the principles of equality for all upon which it was founded?

    Pete:

    If prayer’s were still in the school’s where they belong the whole world would be in much better shape then they are in now.

    I wonder if you’re Christian.  Surely you can’t be, because Christ was against public prayer, and felt that it should be a private, personal thing:

    When you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Most certainly, I tell you, they have received their reward.

    But you, when you pray, enter into your inner chamber, and having shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
    (Matthew 6:5-6:6)

  12. 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.

    Read it thoroughly.  Up until the first comma, it looks familiar, eh?  That’s one of the most commonly rehashed portions of the Constitution, since, without the balance of its sister phrase, it serves as a convenient dismissal for Christian institutions of any kind.  Read on, though. 

    or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

    Eh buh?  What exactly does that encompass, you ask?  Well, for one—the expression of religion on public property.  Public.  As in one half of the phrase “public school.”  The student in question has every right to omit the phrase “under God” if she had so pleases (although SHE was never the one that had a problem with the pledge in the first place.)  Other children should be allowed to say the pledge in it’s entirety, or…oooops.

    abridging the freedom of speech,

    —is what will be happening here.

  13. As private individuals, students have the right to recite whatever variation of the pledge they wish to and even if the current version is ruled unconstitutional that won’t mean that students who wish to recite it in its current form will be prohibited from doing so. Just as there’s nothing stopping students from praying in school.

    What would be prohibited would be the school requiring or leading recitation of the pledge in its current form. The government must be neutral in regards to religious expression and if the addition of the words “under God” makes the pledge into a religious expression (which, in my opinion, it does) then the government shouldn’t be forcing captive audiences into reciting it.

    Nice try, but you’re misrepresenting the issue.

  14. Perry Frost, forcing someone to make a statement that they do not wish to make, is an abridgement of freedom of speech.

    The court cases are seeking the effect that a majority will not be able abridge the speech of the minority.  To understand what that means, imagine you were forced by the majority to say, “One nation under Allah.”

  15. Les, you make good points, except for one unfortunate turn of phrase.

    then the government shouldn’t be forcing captive audiences into reciting it.

    (emphasis mine)

    To both you and Decrepit Old Fool: trust me, the recitation of the Pledge is NOT actively enforced in the classroom. Take it from someone who lives in that environment five days a week- there is no punishment for not saying the Pledge.  In fact, at my highschool, there is a sort of verbal disclaimer at the beginning of the year wherein the homeroom teacher tells the students that they may sit through the Pledge if they so desire. Does that suit you? It suits us. If this whole conflict truly is about the well-being of the American student, then, hell, let’s have them (the students) vote on it.  But…that won’t do, will it? *shrug* I suspect that the issue is much, much bigger than a simple school tradition.  This whole stupid case is bogged down by ulterior motives, but maybe if the instigators here peeked out from behind their “think of the CHILDREN!” facade and made an honest case, we might actually get somewhere.  And really, if the youth of America were in some kind of imaginary danger before, where are we NOW? I find the phrase “under God” vastly less intimidating than the prospect of some faceless troll with a gavel dictating whether or not I’m smart enough to opt for silence. *sulk* Er, sorry if I got a bit impassioned, I just loathe being embroiled in an issue I literally have no say in.

  16. Allowing children to sit out the Pledge sounds fair and square- assuming there’s no ostracizing of such students.  A big assumption in some communities.

    As I’ve said before, the best (and very unlikely, in the foreseeable future) solution:  abolish the Pledge altogether.  No one is going to love their country more because they pledged allegiance to it as a child- rather the contrary (in my case at least): indoctrination is not often conducive to respect, at least in thoughtful people.  And unthoughtful patriotism is something the world has way too much of.

  17. Perry Frost said: *sulk* Er, sorry if I got a bit impassioned, I just loathe being embroiled in an issue I literally have no say in.

    No problem, and I’m glad to hear that at your school children are given the option of not saying the Pledge.  Of course, there are something like 88,000 public schools in this country.

    As for you having a say, you’re “saying” right now.  SEB has a lot of readers.  But having a say means just that – your voice is heard and weighed against others.  Fortunately you do credit to your point of view.

    Consider: more children could say the Pledge in good conscience if the Red-Scare era “under God” statement were removed (it wasn’t in the original Pledge). What Deadscot said on 9/25/04.

    Also: social pressure (you know kids) is a lousy reason for making a serious statement like the Pledge. This force is more important in the scheme of things than official requirement.

    A pledge is devalued precisely to the extent it is required.  As a country we ought to be concentrating on being worthy of allegiance.

  18. To both you and Decrepit Old Fool: trust me, the recitation of the Pledge is NOT actively enforced in the classroom. Take it from someone who lives in that environment five days a week- there is no punishment for not saying the Pledge.  In fact, at my highschool, there is a sort of verbal disclaimer at the beginning of the year wherein the homeroom teacher tells the students that they may sit through the Pledge if they so desire. Does that suit you? It suits us.

    That’s all fine and good at your high school, but what about the various states that have taken it upon themselves to pass mandatory pledge recitation laws? Look through the archives here and you’ll find several examples of states that have done just that despite the fact that it’s already a precedent set by the Supreme Court that no one can be forced to recite the pledge.

    And then what about the elementary schools? There are plenty were no such verbal agreement is made at the beginning of the year and students have been punished for remaining silent or for modifying the pledge. One kid turned his into a pledge to the Jedi order and was suspended for it.

    Again it’s not so much that I’m against the Pledge, I’m just against the prayer it’s been turned into with the addition of those two little words. I’d have no problems with a pre-1954 version being recited in classrooms voluntarily. The Pledge is supposed to promote a sense of community and oneness and yet it tells 14% of the population that they’re not part of the group because they don’t ascribe to a “God” which this nation is supposedly “under.” It ends up being divisive instead of uniting like it was intended to be.

  19. That’s all fine and good at your high school, but what about the various states that have taken it upon themselves to pass mandatory pledge recitation laws? Look through the archives here and you’ll find several examples of states that have done just that despite the fact that it’s already a precedent set by the Supreme Court that no one can be forced to recite the pledge.

    I had no idea that any such laws existed.  I’m all for repealing them, then!

    And then what about the elementary schools? There are plenty were no such verbal agreement is made at the beginning of the year and students have been punished for remaining silent or for modifying the pledge. One kid turned his into a pledge to the Jedi order and was suspended for it.

    Hmm…Well, that just goes to show that it’s not the pledge itself that needs (or ever needed, hint-hint) revision.  It’s the school system. As for the Jedi pledge – is there any chance the child might have been deliberately disruptive? *wink*

  20. I had no idea that any such laws existed.  I’m all for repealing them, then!

    It’s a topic I’ve written about many, many times. There’s Texas’ law that generated a lawsuit almost immediately and where they grade kindergartners on their ability to recite the Pledge. Then there’s Alabama which wanted both mandatory Pledge recital and the Ten Commandments in school. In Wisconsin  a female student was questioned and urged to participate by both her teacher and the school principal when she refused to stand for the Pledge in class. In Washington a student was punished for leaving out the words “under God” when he recited the Pledge over the school’s PA system. They banned him from participating in his broadcasting class from that point forward. In Massachusetts schools were reporting to parents when their kids wouldn’t stand for the Pledge. And in Ohio a student was expelled from class for refusing to say “under God” during a Pledge recital.

    So, yeah, you can refuse to say it or leave out the two offending words, but it’s clear you’re taking a chance at being punished for doing so even though it’s a well-known precedent that it’s illegal for the schools to do so.

    Hmm…Well, that just goes to show that it’s not the pledge itself that needs (or ever needed, hint-hint) revision.  It’s the school system. As for the Jedi pledge – is there any chance the child might have been deliberately disruptive? *wink*

    First I need to correct myself. It wasn’t a pledge to the Jedi order it was a pledge to Star Fleet Academy from Star Trek. Sure, it’s possible the kid was trying to be disruptive, but he’s only 8 years old and apparently he’s a huge fan of Star Trek and doesn’t appear to have been trying to cause a problem. His version of the Pledge is as follows:

    I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United Federation of Planets, and to the galaxy for which it stands, one universe, under everybody, with liberty and justice for all species.

    If you ask me that’s better than what we’ve got in a few ways and if it was said in all sincerity then I don’t see what the big fucking deal is. The teacher apparently thought it was a big deal, though.

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