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sctmom

Court rules Pledge of Allegiance 'unconstitutional'

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I think the founding fathers would be appalled if they knew about a lot of the things we have done since those days. Thanks be for their wisdom in making the constitution so incredibly difficult to amend.

 

The problem with tinkering is that one can tinker until the cows come home, but there will still be someone or some group that is not satisfied. If we take out "under God" now, will that satisfy everyone? Tinkering with the Pledge now, almost 40 years after the last tinker, is divisive to our country and totally non-productive.

 

On another note, it is interesting that our government has also just ruled that it is appropriate to spend public tax money to support religious schools.

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FScouter, isn't it equally interesting that tax dollars of those whom have supported private schools also supported public schools their children never attended? And what about the home schoolers, and the elderly whom spend tax dollars to support schools at all? Where do we draw the line?

 

Maybe we should create a tax dollars system that allows us to direct our tax dollars just like in giving to the United Way?

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This debate is about a relatively inconsequential phrase. I don't consider pledging allegiance to a flag akin to pledging allegiance to a king, and I take some offense at that idea.

 

Historically, battle flags served a practical purpose in helping soldiers, and sailors at sea, identify friend from foe. You will recall that the colonists used many different flags before adopting the Betsy Ross flag. I also would point out that soldiers in the civil war took their flags, on both sides, very seriously. To be the color sergeant was a post of great honor and great danger. The flag went with the regimental commander and let both friend and foe know where the commander was located. Needless to say, flags, and the groups around them, were prominent targets.

 

Think of the marines on Mt. Suribachi. A larger flag was needed so the ships would not fire on the mount. Only a few of the men who raised that flag survived the battle. Even in Viet Nam American soldiers often carried small flags into battle, although the practical purpose of a battle flag had lapsed. Men died for these pieces of cloth. All we ask school children to do today is honor a symbol of our country. What is wrong with that?

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We are just going to ignore the fact that adding the phrase "under God" was unconstitutional to begin with?

 

 

Bubbabear,

We ALL benefit from public education. Lack of education is directly related to high crime rates. The founding fathers also wanted education for all (well, actually just white males, but we have changed our meaning of "all" over the years).

 

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I don't know exactly about that education thing, sctmom.

 

Some pretty educated people have destroyed a lot of people's lives by diverting funds and the like.

I remember a Business Management professor I had once; He joyed in the fact that he made his real money by writing pornography while teaching to pay the bills. No crime ultimately comes from that.

 

Over all, I get your point, and for the most part you are right.

 

The problem here is that there is no loyalty anymore. Look at the Social Security funds. By the time you and I get to recieving, there may not be any left. I would rather have the option of putting the money away for my retirement so that I can see it all the way there. That's how I view the education thing, I would rather put my money where I know what the results will be.

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The addition of under God in 1954 was not unconstitutional until just last Wednesday. Considering that the court has stayed their own opinion, we can ignore it for the time being.

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FScouter says:

 

The addition of under God in 1954 was not unconstitutional until just last Wednesday.

 

Hmmm, I don't know, that sounds a lot like "constitutional relativism" to me. :)

 

Considering that the court has stayed their own opinion, we can ignore it for the time being.

 

I agree completely. It would be far preferable to all of the pseudo-patriotic chest-thumping, hysterical exaggeration of what the decision actually says, meaningless Congressional resolutions, and calls for impeachment of judges (I heard that on a radio talk show) that I have heard about over the past 2 days. This is not an invasion of our shores, it is a legal argument. It will play itself out, and in the meantime the Pledge of Allegiance has not changed.

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sctmom,

How is the phrase "under God" unconstitutional? It doeasn't establish a religion & is a free expression of religion and also free speech!

 

I don't understand.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Ed,

Have you read the complete decision? The adding of the phrase is unconstitutional because it has no secular reason. It is even on the official record as being for the purpose of promoting religion over communist atheism. When you also think about this was 1954 before we even had a Catholic president, I feel sure it was promoting Protestant Christianity.

 

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NJ,

 

This is not an invasion of our shores, it is a legal argument.

 

No, it's not an invasion on our shores, it's something much worse. It's an attempt to redefine who we were and who we are as a nation. It's a subtle and hedious way of pushing God out of our country's conscience.

 

The adding of the phrase is unconstitutional because it has no secular reason. It is even on the official record as being for the purpose of promoting religion over communist atheism.

 

There is nothing unconstitutional about the government promoting religion. Our founders never intended that message. It should be obvious by their writings, our Declaration of Independence, our money, and probably thousands of other examples throughout history, including Supreme Court rulings. The intention was to ensure that the government did not establish and/or endorse a particular religion. However, promoting God in general was encouraged by the founders, not prohibited.

 

When you also think about this was 1954 before we even had a Catholic president, I feel sure it was promoting Protestant Christianity.

 

This is the argument that atheist and others like to make. However, it is unfounded. If you can point to a legal document which establishes this "fact" then you may have a case. I dare say, you will NOT find such a document. And even then, the fact that one group thinks (says to themselves, this reference is obviously meant to be the God of Abraham...the God of the bible), the reality is...its just the opinion of that group. The words can mean anything the listen wants them to be; "under God" is not specific to any one faith.

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A law (any law) is passed by the legislature in accordance with the provisions of the constitution. By default, the law is considered constitutional. Until an adverse ruling is made by a court, laws are considered constitutional.

 

Time passes and the constitutionality of the law is challenged in court. The court rules either that the law is constitutional, or rules that it is not.

 

In the case of the 1954 law adding under God, no challenge was made until recently. And until last Wednesday, no court had ruled the law unconstitutional. Therefore, the law was constitutional from 1954 up until now. A ruling last Wednesday does not take effect retroactive to 1954. And since the court has stayed its own opinion, the law remains constitutional.

 

Any arguments by the citizenry about the constitutionality of the 1954 law are simply personal opinions. Only courts determine constitutionality.

 

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There is nothing unconstitutional about the government promoting religion. Our founders never intended that message. It should be obvious by their writings, our Declaration of Independence, our money, and probably thousands of other examples throughout history, including Supreme Court rulings.

 

Not true; for example, Lee vs. Weisman says:

 

While the Establishment Clause's concept of neutrality is not self revealing, our recent cases have invested it with specific content: the state may not favor or endorse either religion generally over nonreligion or one religion over others.

 

Right there, it says the state can't endorse religion over nonreligion.

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sctmom,

The wording "under God" doesn't establish a religion. Christians aren't the only ones who believe in God. Jews and Moslems come to mind.

 

Merlyn,

Aside from quoting case law, where in the Constitution or Bill of Rights does it say the wording "under God" promote religion? And by trying to ban the phrase, the remainded of the 1st Ammendment is being violated.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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sctmom,

The wording "under God" doesn't establish a religion. Christians aren't the only ones who believe in God. Jews and Moslems come to mind.

 

Merlyn,

Aside from quoting case law, where in the Constitution or Bill of Rights does it say the wording "under God" promote religion? And by trying to ban the phrase, the remainder of the 1st Ammendment is being violated.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Clearly, the plain language of the First Amendment prohibits the government from promoting not just one denomination over another, but any religion. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." If they had intended that government would promote religion generally, but be neutral among the various sects, they could have said so. "Congress shall make no law favoring one religious belief above another...", for example.

 

I also suggest care in invoking the beliefs of the Founding Fathers. While most of the founders were religious men -- Washington was a faithful Episcopalian and very prayerful -- others were not. I suspect the beliefs of Jefferson and Franklin, to name two, would not sit well with the members of this discussion group. As the principal author and editor of the Declaration of Independence, those two wrote of "the Laws of Nature and Nature's God," and "their Creator" with a purpose. Natural law was a specific line of philosphical thought in the 18th century, and not at all what we think of as today's mainstream Judeo/Christian beliefs.

 

One issue which has not been mentioned here -- and is especially pertinent among Scouters -- is the special status the courts have given children in this issue. The courts have consistently ruled that children should not be placed in the position of participating in religious practices which are contrarary to their own beliefs or having to protest them, silently or otherwise. In cases involving adults (the case over opening legislative sessions with a prayer, for example), the courts are much less likely to get involved. If you have the moxie to get yourself elected to the state legislature, you can presumably handle a prayer outside your own faith.

 

I have to admit that one of my pet peeves is the notion that prayer is not allowed in public schools. Baloney! No one has ever suggested that a student or anyone else is prohibited from bowing their head and offering a pray before lunch or a math test. Neither is a speech by the class valedictorian on how his or her faith led to their academic success. Think of it this way, if the Supreme Court ruled tomorrow that private, silent prayers are prohibited on school property, how would they stop you?

 

What is prohibited is for the principal -- a paid government official -- to stand before the students and lead them all in a prayer. I really get irked when some ding-a-ling school official makes the papers by completely mis-applying the courts' rulings by prohibiting students from wearing St. Christopher medals or carrying bibles to class.

 

I've always joked that the public schools have a hard enough time teaching the three R's -- why the heck would I want them involved in my child's religious upbringing? Ultimately, the courts are protecting my fundamental right as a parent to guide my own child's religious faith. The day my child's teacher asks the class join her in bowing toward Mecca and praying to Allah (or some even more remote faith), I will especially appreciate these protections.(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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