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Unassisted
08-12-2005, 09:45 AM
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,165368,00.html

Court Upholds Va. Pledge Requirement Thursday, August 11, 2005
http://www.foxnews.com/images/service_ap_36.gif

RICHMOND, Va. — An appeals court on Wednesday upheld a Virginia law that requires public schools to lead a daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, rejecting a claim that its reference to God was an unconstitutional promotion of religion.

A suit filed by Edward Myers of Sterling, Va., a father of three, raised the objection to the phrase “one nation under God.”

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the pledge is a patriotic exercise, not an affirmation of religion similar to a prayer.

“Undoubtedly, the pledge contains a religious phrase, and it is demeaning to persons of any faith to assert that the words ‘under God’ contain no religious significance,” Judge Karen Williams wrote. “The inclusion of those two words, however, does not alter the nature of the pledge as a patriotic activity.”

Myers’ attorney, David Remes, said the 4th Circuit judges failed to examine the pledge’s effect on children.

“The problem is that young schoolchildren are quite likely to view the pledge as affirming the existence of God and national subordination to God,” Remes said. “The reference to God is one of the few things in the pledge that children understand.”

Remes said he and his client had not yet discussed whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A spokeswoman for state Attorney General Judith Williams Jagdmann did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Three years ago, a federal appeals court in California sided with another father who had argued that requiring the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools was unconstitutional because of the words “under God.” However, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed that case last year, saying Michael Newdow lacked standing to sue on behalf of his young daughter because he didn’t have custody of her.

Newdow, an atheist, has since filed suit against four Sacramento-area school districts on behalf several atheist children and their families.

registerthis
08-12-2005, 09:52 AM
I don't see "Under God" coming out anytime soon, so long as Courts continue to view it as patriotic language. People tend to forget that "Under God" wasn't added until the 1950s, under Eisenhower, and wasn't part of the original Pledge.

I guess, ultimately, I don't understand why people think others should be *forced* into acknowledging God. If you choose to, great. I'd recommend it, personally. But if you don't want to...? What is gained by forcing someone to recite something they don't believe in?

RedsBaron
08-12-2005, 10:13 AM
The title to this thread is misleading IMO.

traderumor
08-12-2005, 10:17 AM
Of course, leaving it out supports the religion of atheism :p: .

The pledge of allegiance is about teaching kids the idea of patriotism and was consistent with the context of the nation at that time. Maybe they could have various alternatives when you get to the "under God" part:

A) monotheistic view: "one nation, under God, indivisible..." [NOTE: Muslims may insert "allah" for God without penalty]

B) agnostic view: "one nation, under the likelihood that there is an intelligent life force (must speak fast), indivisible..."

C) atheist view: "one nation, I respectfully refuse to invoke a Sovereign deity (also must speak fast), indivisible..."

D) pantheistic view: "one nation, all is god, indivisible..."

E) polytheistic view: "one nation, under gods, indivisible"

Did we leave anybody out? :evil:

GAC
08-12-2005, 10:19 AM
The title to this thread is misleading IMO.

Amen. :lol:

All of a sudden, kids are damaged by having to use those words. Fickled adults are more worried about it then the kids I bet. ;)

Go out and asked the average kid what they think of the pledge and see what kind of response you'll get.

If someone does not want their kid saying those two ugly words (and I bet they are an overwhelming minority), then I'm sure that child can leave them out, and no one will know the wiser, or say anything in protest.

GAC
08-12-2005, 10:21 AM
Of course, leaving it out supports the religion of atheism :p: .

The pledge of allegiance is about teaching kids the idea of patriotism and was consistent with the context of the nation at that time. Maybe they could have various alternatives when you get to the "under God" part:

A) monotheistic view: "one nation, under God, indivisible..." [NOTE: Muslims may insert "allah" for God without penalty]

B) agnostic view: "one nation, under the likelihood that there is an intelligent life force (must speak fast), indivisible..."

C) atheist view: "one nation, I respectfully refuse to invoke a Sovereign deity (also must speak fast), indivisible..."

D) pantheistic view: "one nation, all is god, indivisible..."

E) polytheistic view: "one nation, under gods, indivisible"

Did we leave anybody out? :evil:

F) the satanist who will simpy blaspheme God's name while saying "it sure is hot in here".

And there has to be a clever one for the Star Wars fans, with something along the lines "may the force be with you". :p:

RedsBaron
08-12-2005, 10:22 AM
Incidentally, students are not literally forced to recite the pledge. That issue was resolved in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943). A W.Va. school board had adopted a resolution making the pledge mandatory. This was challenged by Jehovah's Witnesses, who maintained that the mandatory salute to the flag violated their freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The U.S. Supreme Court found that their free speech rights had been violated. Since this decision, public school students should not have properly been required to recite the pledge, with or without any reference to God.

GAC
08-12-2005, 10:24 AM
Incidentally, students are not literally forced to recite the pledge. That issue was resolved in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943). A W.Va. school board had adopted a resolution making the pledge mandatory. This was challenged by Jehovah's Witnesses, who maintained that the mandatory salute to the flag violated their freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The U.S. Supreme Court found that their free speech rights had been violated. Since this decision, public school students should not have properly been required to recite the pledge, with or without any reference to God.

And that is the way it should be RB. But that is only in WV right. Its up to each state to address the issue on their own.

traderumor
08-12-2005, 10:24 AM
F) the satanist who will simpy blaspheme God's name while saying "it sure is hot in here".

And there has to be a clever one for the Star Wars fans, with something along the lines "may the force be with you". :p:See, that's the trouble once you start trying to keep everybody happy all the time, someone is always left out :laugh:

RedsBaron
08-12-2005, 10:26 AM
And that is the way it should be RB. But that is only in WV right. Its up to each state to address the issue on their own.
No. That was a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that applies nationwide. Public school students cannot be properly forced to recite the pledge and must be excused from the activity if they so request.

registerthis
08-12-2005, 10:30 AM
Did we leave anybody out? :evil:
Actually, yes. The VISA corporation:

One nation, under debt...

Sorry, really, that was bad...

Unassisted
08-12-2005, 10:46 AM
The title to this thread is misleading IMO.I thought it summed up the plaintiff's attorney's view nicely. Granted, it does take a side.

I doubt the thread would have drawn any replies if I'd used "Verdict on Yet Another "Pledge of Allegiance" Case."

traderumor
08-12-2005, 01:08 PM
Actually, yes. The VISA corporation:

One nation, under debt...

Sorry, really, that was bad...That would be the fatalist view, "eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die." I think it is included quite nicely. :)

registerthis
08-12-2005, 01:45 PM
That would be the fatalist view, "eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die." I think it is included quite nicely. :)
Just make sure your eating and drinking is on your VISA card...along with the new Porsche.

oneupper
08-12-2005, 02:09 PM
I don't see "Under God" coming out anytime soon, so long as Courts continue to view it as patriotic language. People tend to forget that "Under God" wasn't added until the 1950s, under Eisenhower, and wasn't part of the original Pledge.


Thanks. I learned something today. :)

Dom Heffner
08-12-2005, 03:54 PM
Of course, leaving it out supports the religion of atheism

Actually, no it does not. Leaving it out supports government neutrality, not the neutrality of the individuals who make up the country.

If you take "under God" out of the pledge, in no way could the revised pledge be read to support atheism. The pledge was basically a Socialist work, and was not designed to profess the government's stance on monotheism.

If you haven't read the Newdow decision, do yourself a favor and see how the Ninth circuit destroys the state's argument on how "under God" is just historical patriotism.

NJReds
08-12-2005, 04:02 PM
I guess he'll be giving up all of his money, too, because it says "In God We Trust"...

pedro
08-12-2005, 04:07 PM
Of course, leaving it out supports the religion of atheism :p: .



that's a bunch of hooey.

ther rest of your post was pretty funny though. :)

westofyou
08-12-2005, 04:10 PM
Can you call atheism a religion?

Atheism

1. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
2. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.

Religion

1. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
2. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.

traderumor
08-12-2005, 04:11 PM
Actually, no it does not. Leaving it out supports government neutrality, not the neutrality of the individuals who make up the country.

If you take "under God" out of the pledge, in no way could the revised pledge be read to support atheism. The pledge was basically a Socialist work, and was not designed to profess the government's stance on monotheism.

If you haven't read the Newdow decision, do yourself a favor and see how the Ninth circuit destroys the state's argument on how "under God" is just historical patriotism.I would have to qualify that if it was removed to appease atheists' objections based on their belief that there is no God. Then it is favoring their religion.

Maybe that's a little less hooey ;)

RedsBaron
08-12-2005, 04:18 PM
Actually, no it does not. Leaving it out supports government neutrality, not the neutrality of the individuals who make up the country.

If you take "under God" out of the pledge, in no way could the revised pledge be read to support atheism. The pledge was basically a Socialist work, and was not designed to profess the government's stance on monotheism.

If you haven't read the Newdow decision, do yourself a favor and see how the Ninth circuit destroys the state's argument on how "under God" is just historical patriotism.
I would encourage people to read Chief Justice Rehnquist's concurring opinion.

traderumor
08-12-2005, 04:54 PM
Can you call atheism a religion?

Atheism

1. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
2. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.

Religion

1. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
2. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.

That's a pretty narrow definition of religion that would likely omit many of the Eastern religions, such as Buddhism. I do not see a clearly identified supernatural being(s) or power(s) that is regarded as creator as a necessity for a system to be religious in nature. Any object of worship will do, which will help to include pantheistic systems like Wicca, humanistic systems such as atheism, Buddhism and other Eastern mystic religions.

westofyou
08-12-2005, 05:03 PM
That's a pretty narrow definition of religion that would likely omit many of the Eastern religions, such as Buddhism.

Wouldn't be the first time it happened.

Dom Heffner
08-12-2005, 06:02 PM
I would have to qualify that if it was removed to appease atheists' objections based on their belief that there is no God. Then it is favoring their religion.

Then I would have to qualify that atheists are wanting it removed not so their beliefs are represented, but so that the government can appear to be neutral on the subject of religion, which is the intent of the establishment clause. When one looks at how "under God" was placed in the pledge, there is absolutely no way you can argue it was for neutrality or patriotism. I have a 65 page thesis on the subject if you'd ever like to read it.

Let me ask you this: Is the Constitution atheistic because it mentions no God?

Dom Heffner
08-12-2005, 06:31 PM
I would encourage people to read Chief Justice Rehnquist's concurring opinion.


You mean the same Rehnquist who had to write the dissenting opinion in Lemon v. Kurtzman and pretty much every church-state separation case?

Rehnquist- whose ability to interpret historical events I would severely call into question- wrote that James Madison did not carry his personal views onto the convention floor when determining the meaning of the establishment clause.

This is absolutely absurd, because by saying that, Madison would have been handing over power to the federal government that he denied his own state.

Pointing to Rehnquist's concurring opinion here is like me pointing to the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade and telling you that abortion is okay because five justices said so.

RedsBaron
08-12-2005, 07:15 PM
I didn't say that Rehnquists' opinions on Church-State issues have been adopted by the majority. I encouraged people to read his concurrence in the above case; I didn't expect you to like it.

GAC
08-12-2005, 07:49 PM
No. That was a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that applies nationwide. Public school students cannot be properly forced to recite the pledge and must be excused from the activity if they so request.

My son wants to know if there was one that states a school cannot force a kid to do homework? :lol:

GAC
08-12-2005, 07:51 PM
Actually, yes. The VISA corporation:

One nation, under debt...

Sorry, really, that was bad...

You need to include the wording... priceless! :lol:

traderumor
08-13-2005, 12:03 AM
Then I would have to qualify that atheists are wanting it removed not so their beliefs are represented, but so that the government can appear to be neutral on the subject of religion, which is the intent of the establishment clause. When one looks at how "under God" was placed in the pledge, there is absolutely no way you can argue it was for neutrality or patriotism. I have a 65 page thesis on the subject if you'd ever like to read it.

Let me ask you this: Is the Constitution atheistic because it mentions no God?False analogy. It did not contain it in the first place and was not subsequently removed by folks who felt their religious view was not represented. The fact that atheists continue to bring the suits is significant. Also, the invocation of the Establishment Clause here is an awfully broad brush to stroke, considering that no law has been made "respecting an establishment of religion." And that's even if you pour the wrong meaning into "establishment" as broad viewers like yourself normally do.

Dom Heffner
08-13-2005, 11:19 AM
It did not contain it in the first place and was not subsequently removed by folks who felt their religious view was not represented.

Well, given that the pledge did not contain "under God" in the first place, I'm not sure how your argument works: the pledge was neutral when it started, patriotic when the words "under God" were added, and now atheistic if they were to be removed.

The analogy is not false - your argument implied that if something was neutral towards religion that, by definition, it was atheistic. I was merely pointing out to you that the Constitution makes no reference towards religion other than to restrict governmental power, so you must feel the same way about it. You obviously don't, and have now added some sort of qualifier that if something is neutral when created, it is not atheistic, but if we add religious patriotism and later remove it, we have now made the pledge atheistic rather than simply restoring it to its original state of neutrality. Do you have some sort of scholary work we can reference for this theory? ;)


The fact that atheists continue to bring the suits is significant. Also, the invocation of the Establishment Clause here is an awfully broad brush to stroke, considering that no law has been made "respecting an establishment of religion." And that's even if you pour the wrong meaning into "establishment" as broad viewers like yourself normally do.

Tell us, then, what is the meaning of the establishment clause? Please tell me the story behind its creation and what it means. Would love to hear your input.

traderumor
08-13-2005, 12:08 PM
Do a search, Dom. I've been through this before with you. Your position, IIRC is that "establishment" can reference a religious establishment, such as the church, even though that is clearly not the context of the statement, which is to prevent establishing a state religion in the same manner as was done in the nation the framers had declared independence from. And it doesn't take an expert in Constitutional Law to figure that much out.

pedro
08-13-2005, 12:20 PM
Do a search, Dom. I've been through this before with you. Your position, IIRC is that "establishment" can reference a religious establishment, such as the church, even though that is clearly not the context of the statement, which is to prevent establishing a state religion in the same manner as was done in the nation the framers had declared independence from. And it doesn't take an expert in Constitutional Law to figure that much out.

Maybe you're the one who should do a search TR. last October we went to the mat regarding the establishment clause over the proposed gay marriage amendment and you lost.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

Notice that it does not say "the establishment of Religion" but "an establishment of Religion".

If the writers had meant it in the vein that you suggest. i.e. the creation of a state religion they would have used "THE" not "AN". As they did use "an", Establishment is a noun and not a verb in this context.

And it doesn't take an expert in Constitutional Law to figure that much out.

traderumor
08-13-2005, 12:43 PM
I find this to be agreeable to my thoughts on the subject.

http://www.teachingaboutreligion.org/MiniCourse/Lesson1/1st_amendment.htm#Historic%20Source%20Documents

Q: There is much debate over the meaning of "an establishment of religion." ... ["separationist" vs. nonseparationist" debate omitted] ... The more likely meaning is that an establishment of religion refers to the endorsement of either a single religion or religion generally. According to this point of view, government should be neutral in matters of religion, preferring neither one religion over another nor religion over irreligion... Obviously, the framers were aware that in eighteenth-century America "an establishment of religion" included multiple establishments, and any analysis of their intent in drafting the First Amendment must recognize this awareness. When presented with an amendment allowing the very sort of multiple establishments suggested by nonseparationists, Congress rejected it out of hand. Indeed, the Senate thrice rejected amendments that would have prohibited the establishment of one religious sect in preference to others while providing for aid to religion in general. Both houses ultimately agreed upon the much broader prohibition contained in the First Amendment.

The Supreme Court in the 1947 decision Everson v. Board of Education adopted the separationist point of view and, in one of the most famous passages in constitutional law, Justice Hugo Black wrote:

The "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect "a wall of separation between Church and State."

Pedro, whatever, the "pledge of allegiance" isn't a law anyhow. Your reading of "an establishment of religion" has been accepted by some, not by others. IBoth sides can claim the other reads it how they want to for their own purposes. I have no problem with neutrality with respect to government involvement. But then the government has not really ever kept their end of the bargain with the prayers and the designation of national holidays. Honestly, I could care less if the state was totally secular as long as they kept their nose out of my church and all other churches, and the Jews' synagogues, and the Muslims' mosques, etc. I have no problem with the tax-exempt issue because it does not favor any establishment of religion. I also have no problem with their stipulation that such tax-exempt religious orgs. keep their nose out of influencing elections. All in all, we probably agree about the issue of religious liberty. However, total exclusion of any religion in the public square on public property, such as the debates that always come up around Christmas time, is just as much an abuse as fussing about "under God" in the pledge of allegiance.

pedro
08-13-2005, 12:52 PM
TR, I could care less about the the pledge of allegiance or nativity scenes in the public square (as long as govt money doesn't directly go to set it up). My point is merely the interpretation of the establishment clause, which I do think is important. I do not agree that it is open to be read by anyone "how they want to for their own purposes" and frankly I'm not sure how the information you quoted above supports your previous statements.

RedsBaron
08-13-2005, 01:54 PM
Maybe you're the one who should do a search TR. last October we went to the mat regarding the establishment clause over the proposed gay marriage amendment and you lost.


Saying who won and lost depends upon who is keeping score.
Just sayin'

traderumor
08-13-2005, 02:04 PM
TR, I could care less about the the pledge of allegiance or nativity scenes in the public square (as long as govt money doesn't directly go to set it up). My point is merely the interpretation of the establishment clause, which I do think is important. I do not agree that it is open to be read by anyone "how they want to for their own purposes" and frankly I'm not sure how the information you quoted above supports your previous statements.

Not sure which previous statements you are referring to, but what snowballed from my comment regarding atheists, in which I was being a tinge facetious (although I do consider atheism to be a religion, but that's another argument for another day), was Dom invoking the Establishment Clause. I did not see your "I lost" comment on your previous post until RedsBaron pointed it out, but I'll concur with RedsBaron as I recall that enlightening banter.

Dom Heffner
08-13-2005, 03:55 PM
Do a search, Dom.

I do not need to do a search- I have all of this in my personal library, and with all due respect, I can give you a history of the establishment clause from memory.


I've been through this before with you. Your position, IIRC is that "establishment" can reference a religious establishment, such as the church, even though that is clearly not the context of the statement, which is to prevent establishing a state religion in the same manner as was done in the nation the framers had declared independence from.

This does not represent my position at all, and it is mostly incorrect.

The establishment clause was created when the states had multiple establishments- the states had nothing like what was going on in England at the time. While there had assuredly been an established religion for England, that country was too much of an entrepreneur to hold the colonies to that standard. They sold charters for colonies that would have religious beliefs different than the mother country - think Pennsylvania and the Quakers- for hundreds of years. Thus, no member of the founding generation would have been exposed to a singular establishment of religion.

So it would be silly to think that the framers were only talking about a single establishment of religion with the federal government in mind, especially when there were multiple establishments happening at the state level when the Constitution was being written. Context is everything, TR, and that is why you just can't look at the words and take a literal meaning.

The framers were actually fine with the state governments promoting all the religion they wanted. If Pennsylvania wanted to establish Quakerism (?), that was absolutely fine. They just did not want the federal government making laws that- via the supremacy clause- would infringe on the rights of the states.

Madison was happy to deny the power to the federal government since his state had just passed the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom one year earlier, which entirely separated religion from government. Think about this: would it make sense for Madison to hand over to the government powers he denied his own state less than 365 days earlier? No way.

The establishment clause, when the Constitution was ratified, merely applied to the federal government. Since then, the First Amendment has been incorportated within the states, so it has the same meaning at both levels of government. That was not the original intent - though Madison surely wanted this- so you can make a good case that based on the framers intentions, the states can do what they want with religious establishments. But that isn't the law as it stands today.

I read the link you posted above, and unless I am misunderstanding, it appears to support even what I have written here, and tends to discredit your own argument.

As the Ninth Circuit stated in the Newdow decision - referencing Supreme Court precedence- neutrality towards religion would mean that the pledge should not mention any religion whatsoever. That holds with the the court's rulings over the past 120 years. Saying "under God" is not only an endorsement of monotheism, but it is no different than saying "under Vishnu" or "under Allah." I assure you, if the pledge read either of those ways, you would have an entirely different view of the establishment clause.

Saying that we are one nation "under God" means the government has claimed that there is a God, and that is prohibited by the Constitution. As Madison indicated, if the government has the power to say there is a God, it also has the power to say there is not, and that is an equally offensive proposition.

One cannot be indifferent about religion and then go make claims that we are under a monotheistic deity. The two ideas cannot coexist. "Yeah, I'm neutral on religion, but by the way, there is only one God." Doesn't work that way.

Since Atheism is not a religion - it can't be by definition- it really is a stretch to say that a godless pledge supports atheism. That's like saying Ford Motor Company supports atheism because there is no mention of God on its automobiles. My pencil is atheistic, apparently.

I realize automobiles aren't religious artifacts, but neither was the pledge. Again, Congress amended it to read "under God,"- It wasn't that way to begin with.

This is an establishment clause case because an Act of Congress amended the pledge.

"Congress shall make no law..."

How anyone can get an empowerment from that is beyond me.


And it doesn't take an expert in Constitutional Law to figure that much out.

You are entitiled to your opinion.

traderumor
08-13-2005, 06:35 PM
I do not need to do a search- I have all of this in my personal library, and with all due respect, I can give you a history of the establishment clause from memory.Is that before or after you leap tall buildings in a single bound? ;) The request to do a search was related to your questioning my position on the "establishment of religion" question, which is documented elsewhere if you were interested. I'll leave it at that.