I get email »« Feynmanesque

Comments

  1. says

    From the article — “Most people do not view reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as saying a prayer,” Rassbach said. “It would be terrible to enshrine in the law this kind of allergy to God that the plaintiffs have.”

    So it’s not a prayer, but it is a prayer. There should be a tax on this level of cognitive dissonance. We could fund a single-payer healthcare system, or free secondary education for all!

    In Spaghetti We Trust”

  2. keelyn says

    From the article:

    “Rassbach is worried that if the state Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, the case would spur copycat lawsuits in other states with similar equal rights’ laws.”

    Well, heck yes!!! Let’s hope so!

  3. TonyJ says

    We should remove the Pledge of Allegiance from classrooms. Why are little kids making loyalty pledges that they can barely understand?

  4. says

    @1: Indeed. Opening prayers in legislative sessions, crosses and Ten Commandment monuments in public venues, God-talk in pledges and on money — all just quaint traditions, no real meaning attached to them; why do you atheists have such thin skins? Amazing, the contempt these people exhibit for their own religious symbols and practices!

    Oh, and “Becket Fund for Religious Liberty”? As in: “liberty” for me, not so much for thee.

  5. marko says

    We should remove the Pledge of Allegiance from classrooms. Why are little kids making loyalty pledges that they can barely understand?

    That they barely understand it is surely the important bit. It always struck me as poignant that they made me take my catholic confirmation at about 8 or 9 years old.

  6. marko says

    @duce
    I was thinking along the same lines. If you hold the belief that the earth is 6 thousand years, old you are surely starting with a fairly significant technological handicap.

  7. says

    Why are little kids making loyalty pledges that they can barely understand?

    These people don’t recall their own childhood (or just want the next generation to suffer the way they did), or they’d remember how quickly repeated rote recitation becomes pointless and just generates contempt for the object of recitation. No Pledge up here, but we could say the words to God Save The Queen, O Canada and the Lord’s Prayer forwards, backwards, and in our sleep — and we may as well have been in the latter state for all the attention we paid to what we were doing for those five minutes, every weekday morning.

  8. anuran says

    “under God” got tacked on in the 1950s. President Eisenhower tossed this low-cost feel-good sop to the Christian Right of his day who demanded that he show those pesky Commies that God was on our side. Same with “In God We Trust”.

    It was tied up with other issues. The loudest mouths pushing this belonged to the Knights of Columbus. At the time anti-Catholic sentiment was still very strong. Catholics were under suspicion as Agents of Rome. The really scary campaigns against Al Smith weren’t that long ago. Kennedy’s election was still years away. The Klan hated “Papists” as much as they hated Jews and Blacks. The campaign was partly about Catholics showing they were patriotic Americans just like Protestants.

  9. Sastra says

    I heard attorney David Niose speak on this topic a few days ago at the Atheist Alliance convention in Boston. He pointed out that in this case we were pursuing a completely different strategy than we did for similar cases in the past. Instead of arguing for Church/State separation via the Establishment Clause, we were going to use Equal Protection. If government encourages the coupling of patriotism with God belief, then this is discriminatory to those children (and parents) who do not believe in God. It is not equal treatment under the law.

    This seems so obvious to me that I was surprised that apparently this is the first time this is going to be the legal argument. Niose said that there is just so much precedent for “under God” being “ceremonial Deism” that we ought to abandon that tactic as a lost cause (despite Eamon Knight being dead-on right at #10.)

    Kiss it off. Instead, we need to play identity politics on this one because previous cases for race and sex have set the courtroom going in a very positive direction. The law is on our side and there is far less wiggle room. Would an atheist child (or child of atheists) feel left out when the pledge is recited? Is he or she being made to feel that the US is “under God” and so are they? Damn straight.

    I did ask him a devil’s advocate question re the wisdom of atheists playing identity politics, since our philosophical stance is that atheism is a rational conclusion and not a mark of identity, but he pointed out that in this matter it was membership in a discriminated group, He also thinks it’s going to work.

    I hope so.

    I get frustrated by the ‘reasonable’ and ‘pragmatic’ atheists who insist that saying “under God” in the pledge and having “In God We Trust” on our money is small potatoes, a minor and frivolous issue we need to ignore in order to go after the big problems, those church/state violations which really matter like creationism in the public schools or ten commandments in the courthouse or letting David Barton fuck around with history. I mean, it’s only words. It’s ceremonial. Besides, it stirs up emotions on the other side — and we sure don’t want that.

    The hell we don’t. Emotions get right to the hub of the issue. Words do indeed matter when they are authoritative statements and symbols which are supposed to represent the essence of what it is to be an American citizen. I don’t think there has EVER been a case of God-in-government or a violation of the Establishment clause where someone on the other side didn’t smugly and triumphantly wave the pledge or the dollar bill around and sneer “Gotcha!” For crying out loud, it’s the goddam motto. Which we are apparently supposed to ignore and be polite about … maybe because visitors need to respect the host. It can’t be because mere words aren’t important to anyone.

    So I think it might be the other way around. As long as citizens of the United States are officially under a God they trust in, we atheists are going to be playing church/state wack-a-mole. Cut to the chase. One nation indivisible. Go for it.

    And no comma between nation and indivisible either. It wasn’t there in the first place and only marks where something used to intrude. Restore the pledge.

  10. TonyJ says

    The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a filthy socialist. Maybe that’s why they felt the need to tack on the “under god” bit.

  11. Doug Little says

    Forget about removing under god from the pledge, how about we remove the whole nationalist authoritarian piece of tripe.

  12. Sili says

    Doug Little,

    Forget about removing under god from the pledge, how about we remove the whole nationalist authoritarian piece of tripe.

    With a bit of luck that’ll be the result. The fascists will think of it as taking their ball from the game. Little do they realise we’d much rather play hide and seek (to extend the metaphor).

    –o–

    Why are little kids making loyalty pledges that they can barely understand?

    “Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m really awfully glad I’m a Beta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I’m so glad I’m a Beta.”

  13. phantomreader42 says

    IT’S OVER 909 THOUSAND!

    Yes, I know, I’m probably not the first person to make that reference.

    At this rate it’ll pass 9000 thousand before too long.

  14. bad Jim says

    I remember a really old piece of humor from Reader’s Digest: one kid’s version of the pledge was “one nation in a dirigible”. Does anyone even use that word any more?

    However you feel about pledging allegiance, don’t you have to admit that “liberty and justice for all” is a pretty good line? It may not represent reality, but it’s a fine aspiration.

  15. barnestormer says

    @ Doug Little and Nemo — yes, please.

    I hate all that pasted-on McCarthy-era God-talk, but I also think the whole pledge is so creepy it’s hard for me to care what happens to it.

    When I was in elementary school, we never said any pledges. The only place I encountered anything like the Pledge of Allegiance was in a documentary about East Germany (this was in the 80s). Then I started high school in a different city and all of a sudden we were supposed to put our hands on our chests and recite this loyalty oath, like in 1984 or something. It was a shocker.