The school district was equally adamant that the pledge is "not a religious act or a profession of religious belief," but merely "descriptive of the historical ideals upon which the country was founded."
Aha! Maja's favorite argument. But not everybody's.
But what does it mean to claim that affirming allegiance to "one Nation under God" has no religious meaning or significance? That's the concern raised by 32 rabbis and ministers in an amicus brief filed in support of Newdow's position.
"If the religious portion of the pledge is not intended as a serious affirmation of faith," say the clergy, "then every day, government asks millions of school children to take the name of the Lord in vain . . . This is just as bad from a perspective of religious liberty, and it is worse from a perspective of religious faith."
No matter what they do, the court is going to offend a lot of people. Well, they would if anybody was paying attention and actually cared about the nuances. People try to say their support for this is logical, rational, non-religious. Yet if this nation were forty-five percent atheist, do you think the decision might be more likely to go against "under God?" This is about religion and I'm tired of people pretending it's not.
Some of the strongest support for the current pledge comes from Americans (mostly conservative Protestants) who see the United States as a divinely blessed "city upon a hill" -- whose prosperity and freedom depend on public acknowledgement of our dependence on God. Those who hold this conviction would view removal of "under God" from the pledge as yet another sign of America's fall from grace.
So, they clearly consider it religious. Are they confused, Maja? Wait, they can't be. You told me this wasn't really confusing at all.
But many other supporters of keeping "under God" don't see it as much of a religious issue. If polls are accurate, many of these folks are wary of government involvement in religion -- and would likely oppose any attempt by government to endorse one religion over another.
So many other supporters don't see "under God" in the pledge as religious, huh? So what do they see it as?
At the same time, however, they're attached to a patriotic vision of the United States that inseparably links God and country. That's why the words "one Nation under God" capture for them America’s special place in history and in the world. Any attempt to change the pledge (especially by an unpopular atheist) is seen as unpatriotic.
But, if the United States is inseparably and officially linked to God, isn't that at the very least an eensy-weensy establishment of religion?
Maja, there's only one thing I can say. BLASPHEMER! HERETIC! BURN THE WITCH!
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I took the name Phaedrus from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Not that I'm as smart as that Phaedrus, but I am a ghost. Sort of.
I started doing odd jobs at a motel when I was 14. I lasted one day at a McDonald's, quit, lasted a lot longer at Taco Bell. I've been a gas station attendant, janitor, die cast production worker, day laborer, course maintenance at a miniature golf course, warehouse, union janitor, cabbie, statistical clerk, pool cleaner, working homeless for a few weeks (day labor), and several other things I can't remember. And I've survived. Sort of. I'm not a Marxist, but I am a genuine member of the lumpen proletariat.
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