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!