One nation, under God... : LUSENET : Beyond the Sidewalks : One Thread

Anybody want to discuss the Pledge of Allegiance decision? Personally, I agree with the court but I doubt if their ruling will stand on appeal. It wouldn't suprise me to see this one go all the way to the Supreme Court.

Does anyone remember if the ruling on the Ohio state motto was in the Supreme Court or a lower Federal court? I guess I could go look it up for myself. :)

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2002


Found the answer to my question. The Ohio state motto "With God, all things are possible" was found unconstitutional by a 3-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court in Cincinnati. The decision was overturned by the full 6-judge panel. The Ohio ACLU decided not to pursue it to the Supreme Court given the court's conservative bent. They were afraid they would lose the case and set a precident.

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2002

I don't believe it belongs in the Pledge, or on our money, cuz its just out of place. Seems more silly to me than offensive though. I understand that it would bother atheists, and they have a right to protest certainly. Maybe it doesnt bother me that much cuz "God" kinda is open to anyone's personal interpretation (well except atheists), but still seems silly. On the other hand, it does have an arrogant ring, like a 'god is on our side' kinda feeling.

Did anyone follow that?(thinking while I'm typing, maybe a bad idea)

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2002

I was beginning to think I was "weird" because I don't believe "under God" belongs in the pledge of allegience either!! I'd never really thought about it before 'cause our son has been out of school for over 10 yrs. now. I've seen the news clips with the politicians standing up now and making a big deal about reciting the pledge, etc. But who's God are we "under" anyways?? And wasn't "udder God" inserted by one of our past presidents and didn't appear in the original writing? I might be wrong about that, but either way, it should be removed. And I'm not an Athiest :-)!!

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2002

Good grief!!! Someone please remind me to proof read before I hit that enter button! Sorry 'bout the "udder" thing!

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2002

Marcia, that must have been a freudian slip-the "udder" part-as there was a comic strip maybe fifteen years ago called "Life in Hell", I think. This kid is being forced to do the pledge bit, sitting at his desk. He says it, but changes all the words around, with some reference to cows, as I recall. In the last frame, he's all trussed up and gagged, and thinking, "oh, yeah, so much for freedom of speech". It was funny; anybody remember it? I wanta start saying it when everyone is forced to stand and at least LOOK like they are pledging at county commissioner meetings. Rah rah.

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2002

I think "under god" was added in 1954. I was in school, and remember my folks telling me it was a stupid thing for Ike to do.

I'm an agnostic, close to atheist, and I personally am not offended by the "under god" bit. I just think it's kind of sad that so many people actually seem to believe what President Select Stranglove said this morning: "It's important to have 'under god' in the Pledge to remind us all that it WAS GOD who gave us our rights. Right. And Strangelove who took them away...

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2002

Well, I could fix it, Marcia, but I think it's funny, so I'm going to leave it! :-P

Yes, "under God" was inserted in the 50's. Eisenhower signed off on it, but I don't think it was all his idea (though I'm sure he was in favor of it).

Okay, I found the web source I usually refer to: The Pledge of Allegiance -- A Short History

I greatly prefer the "liberal" version at the end, and I really think it is up to the individual as to what they say. Since there is controversy over the "official" version, I think we could just go back to the pledge as written by Francis Bellamy. Actually, I am uncertain why there has to be a "legal" pledge anyway. No one can be forced to say it at all, much less in any "official" version!

I think I'm forgetting something I wanted to say, but I don't know what . . . .

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2002

Well thank you very much, Joy!! So does that give me the right to tease you about your "forgetfulness"??!! I think EM's teasing post is spilling over here :-)!! Really, though, I don't mind if you leave it. I'd been trimming udders early this morning so I guess I still had them on my mind! I prefer that liberal version better myself. Those words "born and unborn" in the first version make me rather nervous!

joj...I don't remember seeing that comic strip, but it sounds like it was speaking the truth!!

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2002

Well, I think it probably doesn't belong (kind of like: "patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels" or something). God is there regardless and probably doesn't need the marketing (especially given the likely highly political reasons for it being in the Pledge in the first place).

Personally, I prefer "One Nation Underdog", as it would be a blessing to start thinking humbly for a change....

And the School Vouchers ruling is an interesting juxtaposition in today's news, n'est-ce pas?

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2002

I've personally always wondered about the swearing in in court proceedings "--so help me God." etc.

Given the way that people lie on the witness stand right and left even if they profess to Christian tenents, it has always struck me as ludicrous, but I've also always wondered if a person is agnostic, athiest, Buddhist, Shintoist, etc., what do they have them swear on and whom by? "So help me Shiva"?

I was wondering how I'd missed out on the Udder God, and figured that it must be a Hindu reference.

"And jugs of wine for owls." (more from 'Life in Hell')

-- Anonymous, June 30, 2002

I've wondered that also Julie.

I was reading some of the debates about this over at the new CS board. I actually had something to say after someone went to the trouble to list quotes from the writings of the founding fathers about their beliefs concerning Christianity. They obviously were not Christian so why do people want to perpetuate a myth of this country being founded on Christian principles? I keep my ears open in all different directions so it's amazing to me that the fundamentalists get upset about revisionist history in schools when statements such as the president's of our rights coming from God and this country being founded on God is revisionist. I also find it ridiculous that so many believe that unless you are Christian that you aren't patriotic or don't love this country. Well I think the founding fathers couldn't have been MORE patriotic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence pledged their lives and everthing they had to each other. And many of the lesser knowns lost everything when all was said and done. Ok, I'm finished now. End of rant!

I think the pledge should be restored to it's original content. The author would not have approved of the changes. His family says it is not what he intended it to be.

-- Anonymous, July 05, 2002

What's totally hilarious is that the *Fundamentalism* of Christianity is based on stuff that was interjected into the faith around a *hundred years ago* (and thereby REVISIONIST!). That left oh, 1900 or so years before it without Fundamentalism...wonder what pre- Fundamentalism is called? (Oh gimme that ol' time's good enough for me....!!!!)

And people think spin was invented in the last decade or so. Sheesh.

-- Anonymous, July 05, 2002

Here's an interesting article that came in my email while I was busy this weekend:

link to NY Times article

When Patriotism Wasn't Religious

The word "God" does not appear in the Constitution of the United States, a document that erects if not quite a wall, at least a fence between church and state. "In God We Trust" began to appear on American coins in the 19th century, but in the early 20th century President Theodore Roosevelt, having asked the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to design new coinage, was relieved to find no statute mandating "In God We Trust" on coins.

"As the custom, altho without legal warrant, had grown up," T. R. wrote to a clergyman distressed over the prospect of godless coins, "I might have felt at liberty to keep the inscription had I approved of its being on the coinage. But as I did not approve of it, I did not direct that it should again be put on."

T. R. expressed his "very firm conviction that to put such a motto on coins . . . not only does no good but does positive harm." His objection to "In God We Trust" was not constitutional; it was aesthetic. He felt that the motto cheapened and trivialized the trust in God it was intended to promote. "In all my life I have never heard any human being speak reverently of this motto on the coins or show any sign of its having appealed to any high emotion in him," he wrote. Indeed, he added, "the existence of this motto on the coins was a constant source of jest and ridicule."

Congress, devoted then as now to religiosity, overruled T. R. and made the motto mandatory. A similar issue now arises from the decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that the insertion of the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a former Baptist minister, as part of the celebration of the 400th anniversary of what our politically incorrect ancestors called Columbus's "discovery" of America. Bellamy was a Christian socialist dedicated to the ideal of a cooperative commonwealth. His unpopular socialist critique of capitalism from the pulpit forced his resignation from the ministry. Soon afterward he joined the staff of The Youth's Companion, the once-famous children's magazine, which printed his Pledge of Allegiance on Sept. 8, 1892.

Francis Bellamy said on Flag Day in 1931, a short time before his death, that the pledge was "born out of my own love of the flag and for all the lofty Americanism it represented." Two alterations have been made in Bellamy's text. In 1924 "my flag" became "the flag of the United States of America." And in 1954 Congress changed "one nation indivisible" into "one nation under God, indivisible."

This second change came about in order to emphasize the antagonism between God-fearing Americans and godless Communists, as if that antagonism needed reinforcement in the age of Joe McCarthy. "From this day forward," President Dwight D. Eisenhower said in signing the law, "the millions of our schoolchildren will daily proclaim . . . the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty." T. R.'s objection to the cheapening of religious avowals had long since been forgotten. (Eisenhower also said, "Our government makes no sense unless it is founded on a deeply held religious belief and I don't care what it is.")

Bellamy "would have objected strongly to this change, as it changed the fundamental meaning," according to his granddaughter, Barbara Bellamy Wright. "He had considered that `One nation, indivisible' conveyed the deep meaning that after the Civil War our nation could not be divided," she said, and the reference to God "tampered with the original meaning of the pledge as well as spoiling its rhythmic cadence."

Yet a hysterical clamor has risen against the Ninth Circuit decision and in favor of returning the pledge to the original text a text that Americans found quite satisfactory for nearly two-thirds of a century. The "under God" addition, by identifying patriotism with religion, excludes agnostics, atheists and all believers in some deity or deities other than the Christian God. Nor does the "under God" addition meet Theodore Roosevelt's test of promoting reverence and appealing to high emotions. Doubtless all the crooks in the corporate community have recited the pledge without notably improving their conduct.

As for the Constitution, more than a half-century ago the Supreme Court, in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, declared unconstitutional a law requiring schoolchildren to salute the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. "If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation," Justice Robert H. Jackson memorably said for the court, "it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion."*

The court handed down its decision against compulsory pledges of allegiance and flag salutes on Flag Day in 1943, when young Americans were fighting and dying for that flag around the planet. The American people then, far from denouncing the court, applauded the decision as a pretty good statement of what we were fighting for. Are we backsliding today? Perhaps the next step for those who identify patriotism with religion will be to try to amend the Constitution itself by mentioning God.

Arthur Schlesinger Jr. is the author, most recently, of ``A Life in the 20th Century.''

* Doesn't that preclude the decision by the 9th Circuit Court being brought before the Supreme Court, since they've already ruled?

-- Anonymous, July 07, 2002


I guess all those folks that fought and won WWI and WWII without the "under God" addition to the pledge weren't really patriotic after all...

-- Anonymous, July 07, 2002

"The Pledge of Allegiance debate resolved :)

The uproar caused this week by a federal court's ruling that the words "under God" make the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools unconstitutional was finally laid to rest today with Rev. Smith's elegant solution to the problem. Congress is widely expected to quickly pass a resolution in support of Smith's proposal that the words "or not" be inserted into the pledge just after "under God" in order to please both sides of the debate. Smith's further proposal that "or not" also be added after the word "indivisible" was resolutely rejected as too goddamn wishy-washy. "

Rev. Brendan Powell Smith.......

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2002

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