Monday, January 10, 2005

I support Michael Newdow

Michael Newdow was the plaintiff in the lawsuit to take "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance. His original lawsuit was rejected by the Supreme Court because they said he lacked standing, but he's back with a group of plaintiffs who have standing.

I'm writing this post because I feel he needs some support. I searched the blogosphere for posts about him and found nearly unanimous hatred.

I respect what Newdow is doing. Being an atheist, I find the Pledge's "under God" clause to be extremely offensive. I feel like I'm being told that I'm not a real American unless I believe in God.

The best pro-Newdow post I could find was this post written by John P. Hoke. I don't think that Mr. Hoke and I would agree on many other issues. His Newdow post contains an unfortunate jab against Republicans. But where is the Democratic party on this issue? Democrats are silent. Democrats and Republicans have united against rational people like myself. We think religion is stupid and we don't want our children indoctrinated in the silliness.

Also, this post at S.I.M.U. offers a brief word of support for Newdow.

21 comments:

Ricky said...

Funny you should ask. I was just saying on my blog The New Democratthat you shouldn't try to take away the Christian character of our countru, because the majority of the citizens are CChristian or religious. How is getting the Under Gos statement out of the pledge not trying to put your religious views on others. Being an atheist is a religion too, you know.

FireWolf said...

I am also going to have to disagree with your post. (Hopefully i'm not taken out back behind the wood pile for a "lesson)...

Any way, fortunately Mr. Newdow is wrong. He is a minority in this case. Just because you are part of a minority in total doesn't mean you are entitled to a majority voice.

Everyone who was born here should realize and understand the meaning of our country's birth. Because new citizens know this.

Our country was founded by a group of people who wanted to escape religious persecution. Free to practice their own beliefs away from being criminalized as heretics. Our foundation in all aspects of our government embrace a higher power, a deity if you will, and that can't be legislated out of existence. Not when you consider that over 90% of this country's citizens have a belief in a higher power.

While everyone has a right to their beliefs, or no belief, those in a minority have to right to deprive the rest of us of our rights as well to have a moral and ethical code in which we have determined justify our laws and way of life.

To think otherwise, and to try and force your non-belief on the rest of us is contrary to a society that respects the sanctity of human life, of moral upbringing, or the rule of law. So in essence, to say you are anti-god, anti-religion, and you will force everyone to not practice, or honor that in our code of law, is to support anarchy, or somehow an anti-law/moral code which is part of our fight against islami-jihadists.

Bowly said...

I dunno, I think Newdow kind of went nutjob when he tried to prevent prayers during the inauguration. It's pretty easy for me to ignore the "under God" part of the pledge.

I'm more offended by the concept of pledging allegiance to an inanimate object.

kstrna said...

I still do not see how any Supreme Court justice could let the "under God" part of the Pledge continue. It was placed into the Pledge to specifically delienate the US as a Christian country as oppossed to the atheists of the Soviet Union. Which is kinda ironic given the pledge was written by a Christian utopian socialist interested in uniting all countries and creating a utopia. It was written in to define those who did not believe in God as unAmerican. If that is not endorsing a certain religious viewpoint, than I do not know what does.

Remember in 1892 Bellmany (either Francis or Edward, I think it is uncertain who actually wrote it) wrote the Pledge as a celebration of Columbus discovering the Americas in 1492. The original pledge was:
"I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

In 1923, my flag was changed to the Flag of the United States and in 1924 of America was added. It wasn't until 1942 that is was written into law. Then came the 1950s and the Red Scare. The Atheist Commies were our enemies. The Knights of Columbus lobbied to get the Under God added to the pledge. Congress passed this change in 1954. (Of note is that a year later Under God was added to our currency, and in 1956 the national motto was changed from E Pluribus Unum to In God We Trust.)

The change was specifically designed to establish the country as a Christian country. Sorry if you are Hindu, a Jew who practices not saying God's name, Buddhist, athesit, etc. you do not belong. Having Under God establishes the government as a Christian one, which is a violation of our 1st Amendment.

Americans come from a variety of faiths and non-faiths. To codify the Pledge with language establishing the US as a Christian country, creates a climate where those of us who are other are unAmerican. This is certainly not what the Founders wanted when the Bill of Rights was written.

Besides, the Under God was written into the Pledge based on a silly notion: the Communists are atheists and our enemies therefore all atheists are our enemies. It makes no sense. It is right up there with after Columbine harassing students who wore trench coats or after Oklahoma City white guys who do not like the government. We are celebrating poor logic skills and doing it in the schools which makes no sense whatsoever.

fanplant said...

I find the “under god” part of the pledge troublesome. Growing up with an atheist father I was always confused with the pledge. I respect your view. I also feel changing the pledge is going to far. My town hall no longer has a nativity or menorah. They do however have a Christmas tree. It is decorated during the Christmas season and although I have not been to the lighting ceremony I am sure there is prayer. The catch is it is not a Christmas tree, the town named it a “holiday tree”. Look this post may not make much sense but aren’t their more important things to fight? I’m fine with the ACLU when they are not going overboard. BTW you are Gorgeous!

TigerHawk said...

I've never understood why it would not be possible to have two fully authorized versions of the Pledge -- one that said "under God," and another that omitted those words or perhaps inserted a substitute ("equal" has been suggested). Then, everybody recites the Pledge, and at that one spot the little athiest kids say "equal" instead of "under God." What's the big deal?

I'm not too hot on this question and am barely religious, but I think it takes a hair-trigger reading of the Establishment Clause to argue that "under God" in the Pledge somehow violates it, any more than "In God West Trust" on our coinage or any other non-sectarian expression alluding to divinity.

Almost a year ago I blogged this issue here.

Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

Atheism is not a religion. It is a an absence of religion.

Religious belief (even plain deism) should not be preached in a public school, which is what "under God" in the pledge is doing.

Frankly, the whole having our children recite a loyalty oath to a flag every morning things disturbs me enough, adding in the religious indoctrination just makes it that much more sinister.

Stacey said...

I'm wholeheartedly with Ms. Jacqueline on this one.

I am a democrat and I've taken heat on this site before. I believe in God. In other words, I'm the last person that LG would expect, based on the I'm-an-athiest-and-democrats-and-republicans-are-all-out-to-get-me incitement, to chime in on her side.

But I'm am on your side here, without reservation. It doesn't belong in the pledge and I'm not so sure that the pledge belongs in schools.

Jeremy said...

I think it's ridiculous to have a "pledge of allegiance" at all. And it's even more ridiculous to have schoolchildren reciting it.

We're a free country. You shouldn't be forcing people to pledge allegiance to a flag, the republic for which it stands, or anything else. A functioning democratic republic generates its own allegiance without having to brainwash kids into saying the democratic equivalent of "All hail the overlord... all hail the overlord..."

Should it surprise you that the pledge is socialist in origin?

Adam said...

My problem with Newdow has nothing to do with the Pledge of Allegiance. His attempts over the years to sue to prevent the president from saying "So Help Me God" while being sworn in annoy the hell out of me. It's a completely optional thing that the presidents have all chosen to say. I could care less either way about the pledge -- I don't like the idea of government schools in the first place, so to me it's a moot point because there are bigger problems. But trying to prevent the president(whoever he or she is) from being able to CHOOSE to say "So Help Me God" after the oath of office? Sorry, he sucks.

JohnO said...

Simply stated I remember the fact that this is a democratic nation. If we really want to resolve this fact we need to put it on the ballot. Let the country decide whether or not as a whole we want to keep it or not. I can honestly say that I think the nation would vote to keep it bearing in mind the results of the last election. Let the people decide and our voices will be heard. I don't believe that any person is necessarily wrong to form a certain view. I don't have to agree with it and as a result I have many avenues to express my difference in opinion but I don't have the right to force everyone else to believe what I believe. Thats what makes this country so great.

Jeremy said...

Screw that. Voting doesn't make this country great. What makes this country great are the vast amount of things that are NOT subject to change by the whims of man.

The Bill of Rights would probably be voted away if it was possible. So would the better half of all our liberties. I don't trust the electorate as far as I can chuck 'em. What makes this a great state is not what the gov't can do - it's what the gov't *can't* do. I don't want mob rule, where what the majority wants goes - I want a consitutional republic where the electorate votes on a gov't that can only do so much.

Jon said...

LG, I agree with you, in particular this piece:

"We think religion is stupid and we don't want our children indoctrinated in the silliness."

Yes, this is a democracy, but we all have rights that the state cannot usurp, regardless of how large a majority votes to usurp them. I know we have argued about what "an establishment of religion" means for over 200 years, but as it is my son cannot pledge his allegiance to his country without me having to explain why the whole country is "under" this imaginary God that I don't believe in.

The problem is that once something silly gets added to our list of national icons it is hard to remove it. It will take many years of education and conversation with the majority...

As I re-read this rambling comment I realize a clarification is needed - rights *can* be taken away if 3/4 of the states vote to do so by constitutional amendment...

Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

"Simply stated I remember the fact that this is a democratic nation. If we really want to resolve this fact we need to put it on the ballot."So if 51% of the electorate voted to kill the other 49%, would that be OK with you?

Democracy must be tempered by the strong protection of individual/minority rights.

Steph said...

First of all... to the dude who said that the US was meant to be a Christian nation... hahaha... no. Many of our Founding Fathers were Deists, meaning at the time that they didn't believe in a supernatural god. I don't think this much jives with the Christian God of today. In fact, contrary to popular belief, the Christian God is *nowhere* mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, and only the Deist God is alluded to in the Declaration. Another myth dispelled.

The great thing about the US is that the minority opinion *is* protected, mostly through the establishment of the Bill of Rights and the court system. If not for these, the US would probably be a Christian nation, and I don't mean the "love one another" variety of Christianity.

I do see how you can get confused, what with Bush being President and believing he was chosen by God to do so. It borders on being a quasi-theocracy, if you think about it.

If the vast majority of the country were made up of, say, Buddhists, and the country were founded by people that respected the Buddha, would those of you (as Christians) for keeping "under God" also be for keeping "under Buddha"?

Adam said...

If I remember correctly, actually, only "the Creator" is mentioned, and only in the Declaration. I haven't scoured them for the G- word, though, so I might be wrong. (If I am, big deal, I don't think it's that important to the discussion.)

John P. Hoke said...

Thanks for the plug... we may agree on more than we disagree ... but that's something we will tell in time :)

Anyway, added you to my blogroll, and remember, while I tend to smack republicans more often than democrats, its only because there are more republicans in office right now to hit :)

Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

"If I remember correctly, actually, only "the Creator" is mentioned, and only in the Declaration. I haven't scoured them for the G- word, though, so I might be wrong."In 15 seconds I was able to type "Declaration of Independence" into Google and then "Find" on "God". "Nature's God" is mentioned in the first sentence and that's it.

In 15 seconds I was able to type "Constitution" into Google and then "Find" on "God". No God.

John P. Hoke said...

In 15 seconds I was able to type "Declaration of Independence" into Google and then "Find" on "God". "Nature's God" is mentioned in the first sentence and that's it.

In 15 seconds I was able to type "Constitution" into Google and then "Find" on "God". No God.
Re: Nature's God...

Remember, the authors were predominately Deists, and "Natures God" is far from the idea of "Judeo-Christian God".

To Deists (which I am one) "Nature's God" is akin to a Divine Watchmaker... the entity/force/whathaveyou that "created" the universe then took an extended vacation... or in today's terms, an absentee landlord.

Other terms oft used in the Founding Father's writings that come from Deism are listed at wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism#Appellations_for_divinity)

If the founding fathers wanted us to be a Christian Nation, they could have easily made us one, they wrote the damn Constitution :)

They didn't ... and why? The Christians that were among them could not agree on who's Christianity was the "right" Christianity; and because a large number of them were Deists, or leaned that way, hense "Nature's God", "The Creator", "Divine Providence" -- and nowhere "Lord Jesus Christ", "Yahweh", or etc.

JohnO said...

"We're a free country. You shouldn't be forcing people to pledge allegiance to a flag, the republic for which it stands, or anything else. A functioning democratic republic generates its own allegiance without having to brainwash kids into saying the democratic equivalent of 'All hail the overlord... all hail the overlord...'"

I really can't remember the last time I was "forced" to pledge allegiance. I do remember that just because everyone else is saying or doing something, that does not mean that I have to. Think about it, are there soldiers watching the children in schools say the allegiance and if some kid changes the words or doesnt' even say it do they shoot him? I don't believe so.

shonk said...

We think religion is stupid and we don't want our children indoctrinated in the silliness.So why would you send your kids to a school where they will be "strongly encouraged" to recite what amounts to an oath of fealty?

Aside from that, if you don't want your kids to be indoctrinated, the Pledge of Allegiance is the least of your worries in the public schools.