|No Fear of Freedom||
|Anti-right rants from an obnoxious lumpen proletarian. Aiming to Arm the Choir.|
March 31, 2004
Ah'm A Pledgin' On Outta Here, I ThinkThese arguments are so long-winded and boring, maja (mine as well as yours), That I don't think they really lend themselves well to the blog format, so I'm thinkin' 'bout makin' this the last one.
OK. Just for your personal info, I was joking about Olson. I mean that you would dare to agree with him. He's still completely wrong of course.
"The mere insertion of the word "god" in the Pledge does not create or even suggest the establishment of a state religion without further modification. If the phrase were to be reworded "under Christ" or "under Buddha" or "praise be to Allah", then Phaedrus would be right."Does not even suggest the establishment of a religion? I would like for you to explain to me how that's anything other than a statement of pure opinion. Buddhists, atheists, Taoists, and probably ohers don't believe in God. I don't think Muslims take too kindly to calling Allah God. A lot of toes get stepped on, and to what purpose? You can say whatever you want, but you know that this crap is purely about politicians pandering to Christians. Under God in the pledge hasn't got a damn thing to do with the Founding Fathers. The Deists among them would have actually objected to it. If the founders wanted this to be a nation under God, why didn't they mention God in the Constitution?
"God" is a generic term, owned by nobody and by everybody.
God is not a generic term. You're arguing that the word God has no meaning. Merriam-Webster's -- 1 capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality: as a : the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshiped as creator and ruler of the universe b Christian Science : the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind
Course, you can argue with the dictionary. Most people do when they're desperate to win an argument. God, at the very least, implies monotheism. There's this weird belief, and apparently you hold it, that typically American expressions of religion are totally inoffensive. Well they're not. I know, because I'm offended.
Every religion in the world uses it, and they all mean something different when they do.
That's nonsense too. Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhists, and Taoist, that I know of off-hand, don't use it. Pagans, Hindus, Wiccans, and I don't know who all else, don't use God in the sense of a monotheistic God, and that's clearly how it is used in the Pledge. Ketchup, by the way, is a generic term, but only because it doesn't exclude any ketchups. Under God, on the other nipple, excludes many people's belief's. And I'm amazed you don't see it. Care to disclose the source of your bias?
NO clause in the Consitution prevents public acknowledgement of religion, nor would the Framers have stood for such a clause. Why? Once again, Olson:
Except the civic and ceremonial? Yeah, and except for me bein' five foot five, I coulda been a hall of fame basketball center. That's a pretty big except. The part that is historical fact has nothing to do with under God in the Pledge, and I don't see how you've established that it does, unless I count repeated, unsupported assertions.
It never occured to them to banish acknowledgement of a deity from governmental discourse, and if it had, they would have rejected it outright.
That may or may not be true, but let me ask you this. Why should anyone give a shit. What's the deal with worshipping largely rich folk-protecting, anti-democratic, dead white men? The Founding Fathers' thoughts and wishes were never intended to govern us more than about 30 years. Now we've turned them into sages for the ages, demi-gods. And that's idolatry.
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship...."
But if a Hindu or Buddhist or Atheist kid refuses to participate in the teacher led pledge, there's a good chance he'll have to account for it on the playground, and he'll probably be outnumbered by a bunch of little fundamentalist bully lunatics.
No, of course, the Constitution doesn't prevent public acknowledgement of religion. That would be a violation of the First Amendment. What it forbids is government acknowledging and fostering religion, which is exactly what under God in the Pledge does. Congress passed a law that leads to people being either forced to profess that this is a nation under God or risking being singled out in unpleasant and possibly even dangerous ways. Surely you see that's wrong. I do want to ban the Senate invocation. I want to ban all official government mentions of religion in any form, and arguing, "Oh, geez, it's only tepid religion." Doesn't change a thing for me.
Oh, bull. It's not that confusing, and anyway if the question is asked it's a great lead-in to a discussion of what the Founders believed and how those beliefs affected their decision to break away from England and what kind of country to have once the break was made.
Oh, bull, my ass. It is totally confusing. The only people I hear babbling about this crap are you, Ted Olson, and right wing ideologues -- and they're working from talking points. The vast majority of Americans have never thought "under God" means what you and Ted Olson say it does. They don't think it now. For damn sure the kids we make say it don't think so. Most people, oddly enough, don't immediately jump to the conclusion that the phrase "under God" is code for something completely different than its plain meaning. If most people are confused, and they are, I'd say it's pretty confusing.
I said, If the phrase is included in a National Pledge we must take the reference to be to the word as used by the people who formed the Nation. It cannot rightfully be taken in any other context without violating logic. It is far more illogocal to assume it means something else.
You're gonna have to explain your logic then. Otherwise, I'm sorry, but those statements are plainly deranged, because the plain meaning of under God is under: in or into a condition of subjection, subordination, or unconsciousness; God: one supernatural being. Yet you say we must take it to mean something altogether different from what it plainly means and what it was intended to mean. Justify that must. Remember, what a fool believes he sees, the wise man has the power to reason away. Your seeing something different than most people see, and I suspect it's purely because you want to, though I don't know why.
The weakness in your argument isn't that "god" is primarily a religious word, it's in the assumption that simply saying it establishes an official religion. The onus is on you: How does it do that?
It establishes a limit on personal beliefs by telling people that their beliefs are wrong. Tell me this. Do you believe the government has the right to say atheism, or any other belief, is wrong? That's exactly what the pledge does. Is saying that someone is wrong in their beliefs perfectly OK because it's not an actual establishment of religion? The Constitution protects government expression of religion even to the point of denigrating the beliefs of others, I suppose. Remember, even if you can find a way to technically defend the Constitutionality of the Pledge or government expression of religion, all you're doing is proving to me that the Constitution is wrong, as it is on so many other things. I only care about the Constitution up to a point. I care about right and wrong a lot more.
I'm an agnostic, but I vehemently object to the phrase "under God." The phrase says that the nation is either ruled by or guided by God, as well as saying that God exists. To say we are a nation "under God" is as anti-democratic a statement as I can imagine. We are a nation whose government derives its just power from the will of the people. From the will of the people, damnit. Not through the will of God. That's extremely offensive and dangerous.
You do realize you're playing right into the hands of the theocrats here, right? Those are your biggest allies on this issue. That would make me uncomfortable.
Phaedrus said: I'm gonna take on maja's argument on the Declaration of Independence, but not because it has anything to do with "under God" in the pledge. It doesn't. Maj, how can the Declaration be unconstitutional? It's not a law, it's not part of the constitution, for purposes of American government it doesn't even exist.
Oh, my God, maja. You must have some terrible bias here. I can't believe you've said this. If I believe that for something to be declared unConstitutional it has to be a law or have some force in law I've lost my argument? If something has no force in law and is not part of government, it's constitutionality simply isn't at issue. If you think it is, please explain how. Is it your claim that if I'm telling you the Pledge is a law I've lost my argument? If it turns out the Pledge, quite unlike the Declaration, is a law passed by Congress, can I declare that you've lost? Cuz it is, and most people, I think, know that. I notice you didn't even bother to defend your claims that overturning the Declaration (though there's nothing to overturn) would somehow damage the nation.
It doesn't say the govt can't express religious feelings or thoughts or beliefs. It says it can't establish one in preference to others, in other words, a state religion. The words in the Pledge don't establish because they don't single out one religion over the rest. Your problem is that they single out religion over non-religion.
Where in the First Amendment does it state that you can't single out one religion over the rest, but it's OK to select out a group of religions in preference to the rest. I don't see that in the black type, so it must be in the white part. So it shows preference for all monotheistic religions over all non-monotheistic religions. A group over a group. That's OK. Discriminating against Pagans, Wiccans, Buddhists, Taoists (All of whom you've apparently unilaterally declared non-religious.), as well as atheists and agnostics, all that's perfectly OK in the Constitution. Then change the damn Constitution. It's wrong. If government doesn't respect the beliefs of all people, religious and non-religious, we cannot have anything like a democracy. It should guarantee freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of belief, among many other things. If it doesn't, it needs to be changed. It's pretty outdated in general anyway.
Oh, come on. Are we to pass laws now only if they can be understood by children 5-11?
Yes! When the law aims to have them repeat some bit of anti-democratic religious bunkum every day, and under the guise that it means something altogether different from its plain meaning, yes, that should be a criteria. The pledge is meant to indoctrinate kids, but you don't think it matters if they understand? And you say you don't think it should be said in schools. It's hardly said anywhere else, and hardly ever said by anyone but kids.
You'd have to torture the First Amendment to get your interpretation out of it.
If I have to torture the First Amendment to get truth and morality out of it, then I fuckin' well will. It's better than torturing the plain meaning of words like you and Ted Olson. If offending peoples beliefs by government "expression" of religion is Constitutional, then the First Amendment sucks. "Under God" in the Pledge is morally wrong, and I base this on one of the few moral rules that is held by nearly every major religion. Do unto others as you would have others do unto. We're not doing that with the Pledge. And that's my whole position in a nutshell.