I pledge allegiance to the flag

Filed under: a group of folks,thoughts @ 14:25

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
and to the republic for which it stands
insofar as that nation, ruled by its people,
champions its ideals of liberty and justice for all.

A federal court has ruled, again, that reciting the pledge of allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional on the grounds that its words require the reciter to state a positive belief in the existence of God. I agree. The government, being made of the people, will naturally be influenced by religion, but it should avoid influencing people’s beliefs back (these are personal beliefs of mine not necessarily supported by constitutional arguments). Requiring citizens to pledge their respective troths to a country they are forced to admit is ultimately subject to God’s authority does just that.

My thoughts on this infamous “under God” phrase got me further thinking about the rest of the pledge. Does reciting the pledge bind me into supporting every aspect of America’s foreign policy? Discussing that prospect with Greg, we decided we didn’t have any desire to give that sort of unconditional support. Greg suggested something like the opening rewrite of the pledge above and I took to its message immediately.

Subsequently, however, I realized that that rewrite can be redundant depending on one’s interpretation of “allegiance” and “republic”. The rewritten version serves to illustrate a point but is unnecessary as long as one espouses the (arguably more robust) interpretation that, in reciting the (“under God” stripped) pledge, one is allying oneself with the ideals meant to be represented by the republic if not the actual instance of the republic itself.

So that’s settled; on to the fools. Interstitial comments of mine are in [bracketed italics].

The Founding Fathers believed that our Creator gave us certain inalienable rights [FACT, but what does it have to do with anything? I have been a founding member of organizations in which all of the founders believed all observational reality can ultimately be described mathematically, but that belief was certainly not a requirement for joining our barbershop quartet]. The Pledge of Allegiance simply reinforces the beliefs that led to the birth of our great nation [WRONG: the pledge reinforces a subset of the beliefs that led to the birth of our great nation, but are these beliefs also among those which the Founders felt must continue to be an absolute guide to our people and their representatives?]. It is an oath of our fidelity to our country [which also requires people to voice the idea that God exists], and I am disappointed that the court chose to rule against this American treasure [if the pledge is so precious, why did congress alter it so recently in 1954 to include the tip to God? What’s that? ‘Godless communists’ you say? I see; so the government should be telling its citizens, its constituents that atheism is wrong.].
— House Speaker Dennis Hastert

This is an extraordinary and blatant display of judicial activism. Judge Lawrence Karlton relied on the activist ruling of the Ninth Circuit which was rendered inoperable by the Supreme Court’s ruling on this issue last year [only on procedural grounds]. This is precisely the reason we need Judge Roberts to be confirmed as Chief Justice. He’s made it clear that he puts the law and the Constitution first. And he’s made it clear that he won’t substitute his own values for the clear commands of the law [Thank God! Put him in!]
— Kay Daly, president of the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary

This history of the Pledge of Allegiance illustrates that the phrase ‘under God’ is a permissible acknowledgement rather than an establishment of religion [I know the precedent, but do you really think it’s OK to ‘permit’ the government to make people state a religious belief they don’t hold?]. If the Pledge established or tended to establish a religion, then that would have happened during the past 50 years of its existence. Day after day we have recited the Pledge from the classroom to the stateroom, from private meetings to public events, and not once has it tended to establish a religion [… and what about freely exercising one’s religion (or lack thereof)?]. Today’s ruling illustrates why we need judges who are umpires applying settled law rather than activists intent on imposing their own ideology [So you’d rather a judge that imposed your ideology?].
— Mathew Staver, president and general counsel of Liberty Counsel

This is another example of a federal district court exhibiting hostility toward a time-honored tradition [Hostility? Where?] which has been defended by numerous Justices including Justice O’Connor who said eliminating such references ‘would sever ties to a history that sustains this nation even today.’ [the pledge is the only place people individually and personally choose to link their respective religious and civic lives?] The Pledge clearly acknowledges the fact that our freedoms in this country come from God, not government [Please don’t tell me you just said that.].
— Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice

EDIT: Oops. Forgot to mention all the above quotes come from a cnsnews.com article.


    jjk 09.16.2005 @ 15:35

    “The Pledge clearly acknowledges the fact that our freedoms in this country come from God, not government.”


    Uber 09.19.2005 @ 03:07

    A number of random points:
    1) God references came up in 1954, after a campaign by some religious groups.(history here)
    So why not just return to (or permit) a previous iteration?
    2) Freedoms do not come from the government! They arise from natural law/god/noodly appendages (strike as applicable). If they don’t, then the government can remove them as it sees fit, and sovereignty does not rest with the people.

    MDA 09.19.2005 @ 12:54

    1) A return to that version is exactly what I advocate.

    2) Agreed. I never meant for anyone to think I felt otherwise. However, from where (anyone believes) freedoms ultimately arise is not the issue at hand. All that is germane is that, at least in America, freedoms come directly from the people.

    Alf B. 11.27.2005 @ 14:58

    Freedom – its not a joyness, but many many responsabilites to yourself and all around yourself. Not all people understand that. Sad but true.

    joey weeden 12.10.2008 @ 16:09

    You should give more information about the flag because you got me an ‘a’ on my report on the American flag.

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