Pledge of Allegiance ruled unconstitutional

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Chris2, Jun 26, 2002.

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  1. Mister_Bunny Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2001
    star 3
    During the contest of opinion through which we have passed the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the Constitution, all will, of course, arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good. All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions. During the throes and convulsions of the ancient world, during the agonizing spasms of infuriated man, seeking through blood and slaughter his long-lost liberty, it was not wonderful that the agitation of the billows should reach even this distant and peaceful shore; that this should be more felt and feared by some and less by others, and should divide opinions as to measures of safety. But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle.
  2. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    SnowDog, don't get me started - we didn't elect Bush. If you count by the clear rules of, say, TX, Gore won FL. But I will refrain from getting us completely off topic.... just bugs me when people refer to him as "elected".

    Cheveyo, well said. In the "Non-Religious Sanctuary Thread" I have lately started calling the Judeo-Christian "God" by "Yahweh", his correct name. I also referred to his going by "God" as an Orwellian conspiracy to make everyone forget Yahweh is one of many gods worshipped by humans. I was being a bit hyperbolic, just to make my point, but I will from now on only refer to him as Yahweh, or put "God" in quotes when needed, as in discussing the pledge.

    This argument would not be happening if the pledge said "Under Yahweh". The fact that they use semantics to disguise what they really mean doens't help.
  3. Auraveda Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 2001
    star 4
    Since I have been old enough to form an opinion on the matter the "under God" portion of the pledge has always bothered me. I've always felt that it was tantamount to the government endorsing Christianity over other religions. I have no problem with people wanting to express their religious convictions, but the government should not specificly endorse one religion over another. To me, this is exactly what the pledge does. It says that the USA exists only because of the grace of the Christian God Yaweh.

    To be honest I also have reservations about the pledge itself. Perhaps it is just because of my Catholic upbringing, but rote repetition of the pledge every morning in school reminded me of the rote repetition of prayers in church on sunday. It's like the pledge is some sort of weird patriotic prayer of devotion to the USA. This creeps me out. But then, I find mindless devotion to anything to be disturbing.

    In Jr. High I used to just drop the "under God" portion from my reccitation of the pledge. In high school I just wouldn't say any of the pledge. No one ever gave me any grief about it. I'm not sure if this was due to living in a progressive community, or if it was because no one cared that much about the whole matter.

    I suppose at this point I should point out that I enjoy being a citizen of the USA, I am fully aware and appreciative of the sacrifices others have made for me to have the kind of life I have today. I just find mindless patriotism.... stupid.
  4. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    I just find mindless patriotism.... stupid.

    Well said. Who would you rather trust to fight for your continued liberties? A guy who only fights for what he's been told to believe in, or the guy who is willing to fight for your right to disagree with him?
  5. Darkside_Spirit Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2001
    star 3
    There's nothing intrinsically wrong with patriotism. The problem arises when patriotism is taken much too far--physically assaulting people who burn the flag would be an example. In the case of flag-burning, we also have the symbol being put ahead of the ideals it represents.
  6. ImperialFC Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2001
    star 1
    Article on Mother of Girl in Pledge Case

    I thought this part was the most interesting:

    "Some legal experts said the mother's revelation that the girl herself willingly recites the pledge in class could cast doubts on the legitimacy of the case, giving the court grounds to dismiss it or send it to a lower court to weigh the allegations.

    Courts can only hear cases in which there is an injured party, and if there is no injury there is no grounds for a case, said Rory Little, a Hastings College of the Law professor who follows the 9th Circuit.

    "The federal courts can't address anything unless it's a case of controversy," Little said. "You have to have injury."

    Legal precedents also allow for cases to be reopened, even at the appellate level, if the legal standing of the plaintiff suddenly becomes an issue."

  7. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    The determination of injury in the case of a child is open to some interpretation - not to mention the social mores of the day (take corporal punishment in schools as an example of something that was accepted but has ceased to be).

    Look at child actors - historically, child actors have had parents steal all their money, been abused by both parents and directors, etc. Only as adults did some of them realize how they'd been screwed.

    This is a bit like that. Take out the Pledge issue and insert the child actor issue. Dad says the kid's acting career is damaging her, Mom claims the kid loves it and is having a valuable experience. They both have the right to their points of view, and the kid is trapped in the middle.

    So we ask the kid, and she says, "Oh, it's super! I get paid to dress up and everybody gives me attention!" The judge needs to probe deeper, because you can't expect an 8 year old not to be blinded by excitement and glamour. Is her money being kept for her properly? Is she getting her education and appropriate time off? Does she have any friends? Etc.

    It's fairly subjective. You can't just take the kids' view, although I think in this case there's little else for a judge to hold onto.

    This is why I say dump the Pledge from SCHOOLS altogether - if they're too young to seek normal employment or consent to sex, cigarettes or alcohol, then they're too young to pledge loyalty to anything or anyone. Then again, we tax kids without representation, so I guess we have a history of treating them like property in this nation.
  8. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
    Let's not accuse people for having blind allegiance to the USA if you display your own blind allegiance to the media's portrayal of Bush as an idiot.

    Anyway, should I be offended that my interests aren't being considered in this whole debate? I don't practice any religion, but I believe in God. Do I not count?

    And the thing about kids... let's not overlook the fact that they get all the benefits of living in the USA, without actually contributing to it.
  9. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Fierce, you need to read your posts before you send them sometimes.

    Let's not accuse people for having blind allegiance to the USA if you display your own blind allegiance to the media's portrayal of Bush as an idiot.

    Who is this directed toward? I for one have always argued he's a lot more intelligent than he lets on. The hillbilly act is just how Texans behave.

    Furthermore, I don't listen to the media much at all. I do my own research and draw my own conclusion.

    Anyway, should I be offended that my interests aren't being considered in this whole debate? I don't practice any religion, but I believe in God. Do I not count?

    What interests are those? No religion I know of states that anyone's soul will be damned if they don't say "under god" in a pledge every day at school.

    And the thing about kids... let's not overlook the fact that they get all the benefits of living in the USA, without actually contributing to it.

    I assume you mean that the kids aren't contributing money. Let's analyze this further. Their little part-time jobs are taxed. Their college funds are taxed. And they spend more money, which supports the economy, than most other demographic groups. How are they not contributing?

    And what are these benefits of living in the USA, specifically? We hear that phrase day in and out, and I think you're experiencing blind allegiance to it. ;)

    I don't think the US offers kids what it should. We offer no free education after high school (most of Europe has free university). We offer cops who beat 16 year olds half to death. We offer a populace who obsesses on having the death penalty for 6-12 year olds but shows no interest in punishing their irresponsible parents. We just recently got interested in prosecuting people for baking their kids to death in hot cars while they're off doing whatever. And we offer one of the worst (if not the worst?) teen pregnancy rates and infant mortality rates of the industrialized world.
  10. EnforcerSG Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2001
    star 4
    Well, if the money said Gods, then people would complain since too many believe in only one god.

    I dont buy the whole "In GOD we trust" supporting monotheism. It is like just saying 'he' instead of saying 'he or she or it or them.' To me, that is how I would take all the refrences to God I have heard here. It is to be taken in a general sense.

    Also given that it is questionable what the daughters religion is (some reports have said she is a practising Christian and upset that the phrase is gone, but who knows, it could just be a plee to get another 15 minutes) this whole thing is becoming sort of pointless. If it is true that the daughter is christian, then there was no harm done, and since there is some law (it has a greak name, and I forget it now) that says the crime must have happened, or someone must have been harmed or something along those lines, the case is pointless and unconstitutional to have gotten this far.
  11. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
    Treecave
    "Fierce, you need to read your posts before you send them sometimes. Who is this directed toward?"

    Aw, come on now [face_mischief]. If it was directed at you, I would have put your name on it. It's a general statement that applies to a lot of people who do follow the media and the DNP's party line about the alleged stupidity of every Republican president. I don't think it was irrational as you claim it to be.

    As far as "my interests" in the pledge debate, I'm saying that I don't fall into either the category of "religious people who want religion in the pledge" or "non-religious people who don't want it". My belief is that "God" is not religious at all, and I don't see that side of the argument being made (in general, not this thread).

    Maybe I should have clarified, when I said kids, I didn't mean teens - I was thinking grade school kids. They are provided for (well, most of them) by their parents and by society, so it's a little iffy to say they don't owe at least some form of allegiance.
  12. Mister_Bunny Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2001
    star 3
    If the word God is not religious, then what is it there for?
  13. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Fierce, they DID want to put that 6 year old to death in Michigan, so I wasn't just including teens, although I see your point. I didn't think it was necessarily directed at me, but I'll take any opportunity I can to remind people Bush ISN'T stupid - he may not be brilliant either, but he USES the stupid thing the way Milton (Satan) advises in Devil's Advocate - keep yourself small, let the other guy underestimate you, then he'll miss it when you ramrod right over him. That's Bush - no one should ever believe he says his anti-non-Christian things out of ignorance. He means every word, and supports, like Sandra Day O'Connor, turning this into a fascist, religion based nation. By playing stupid, he's got everyone off their guard.

    I agree that this particular test case is stupid. We need a kid who consciously thinks, "Hey, I don't KNOW if I believe in God yet" to sue.
  14. Mister_Bunny Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2001
    star 3
    I am one of those kids. Although it occurred in a different decade. The problem is that parents don't usually ask children what it is they would like to sue about, and kids don't understand the concept of suing for their constitutional rights. After all, I was told how the pledge was worded, so I assumed it had all been straightened out, and I just wanted to skip over those words, but felt very unpatriotic to have those feelings, so I said the words every time, even though I didn't agree with them. At least at that age I knew I wasn't certain in my beliefs, so I felt greatly burdened to have them dictated by my country.

    Here's a silly question: Why is the pledge not recited in all state-sponsored government offices, in state universities, all military active duty installations, etc.?
  15. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Not a silly question at all, Bunny - it's because adults have rights and kids are property, not citizens.

    I objected the the Pledge as a whole. My parents were Baptists, and I was raised as such, but I hadn't yet officially agreed to be "saved" by Christ when I started school (American Baptists counsel very young kids to make sure they're not being pressured or just caught up in the moment if they ask to be baptised, so this was typical). Nor did I feel it meant anything for me to say I was loyal to America - I hadn't chosen to be born here, and I was in no position to know whether it was a great privelege or not. I remember several of us first-graders (age 6 or so) talking about these things (it was a small town, and we all went to the same church and school). So if a group of 6 year olds can reason this out, why does no one listen? Because they just assumed we were being rebellious.

    Convenient, isn't it? Anytime anyone disagrees with you, assume he's just childishly rebelling. That way you never have to consider he might have a valid point of view.

    Just as stupid as assuming everything someone says should be taken at full frontal face value.
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