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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » I pledge allegiance... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Brian Proctor
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I appreciate it Greg. Thankyou for the clarification. And thank you all for participating in the discussions. Its kept me on my toes all day today. Haha.
Brian
RiffClown
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My comments were specifically about what the Flag means to me. I was Patriotic before Sept 11. I still cry when the "Star Spangled Banner" is sung appropriately, in reverence and with talent.

A military funeral or a missing man formation of planes gets me EVERY time. I cried the entire time I toured Gettysburg,PA and that was brother against brother.

I am a Christian; I am an American. No man has the power to threaten either for those principles are the very fiber of my being.
Rob "Riff, the Magical Clown" Eubank aka RiffClown
<BR>http://www.riffclown.com
<BR>Magic is not the method, but the presentation.
kou
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Hello All,

A couple of important legal points:

1. The Ninth Circuit of the Federal COurt of Appeals did not rule that saying the pledge is illegal. You and I are free to say the Pledge (including the phrase "under God") as much as we want, whenever we want, wherever we want. The only effect of the decision is that a public institution can't ask you to say the pledge. It's like wearing a cross: You can wear one if you want, and you can wear it wherever and whenever you want (even at a public school), but the school itself can't require that you wear a cross. In both cases, I fail to see how there is an imposition on any individual. Their freedom to do as they wish as private individuals has not been trampled on. The restriction at issue here is on what a public institution can require individuals to do while in that public place.

2. The decision of the Ninth Circuit has been stayed pending appeal. (And even if it wasn't, it would only effect those Western states that are in the Ninth Circuit: California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii). This was not a decision by the Supreme Court. It's unlikely that the decision will stand. That's because each Circuit has what's known as "en banc" review. That means that after a decision has been made by a panel of 3 judges in a particular circuit, the entire circuit of judges (or a sutiable composition thereof -- this part of federal procedure is kind of complicated to explain) sits and hears the case again. Given the publicity and controversy generated by this case, it's likely that there will be en banc review before it ever reaches the Supreme Court. And, again, given the heavily politicized atmosphere surrounding this case, it seems likely that the case will be overturned.

-kou
Mack Magic
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I'm glad everyone is stating their point of view on this.

I will check out the website.Smile
* "May your life be like toliet paper..long and useful."
* "If the shoe fits, get another one just like it."
* "Use the talents you have, for the woods would be a very silent place if only the best birds sang!"
christopher carter
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I happen to think that the ruling is both legally and historically correct. As a political move, it is horrendous.

As far as the history of Establishment jurisprudence is concerned, I recommend visiting the website of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and also The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State. I'm sorry that I can't give the exact addresses at the moment, but they should be easy to find.

I would like to point out that the first ammendment's establishment clause is a deliberate elaboration on the Constitution's prohibition against religious tests for public office. It was meant to be more than just a prohibition against a state-sponsored religion. It was meant to provide absolute freedom of conscience to all Americans, believers and infidels alike. (BTW, the use of infidels in this context is taken directly from the writings of Thomas Jefferson.) Both Madison, who authored the amendment, and Jefferson, from whose ideas he worked, were quite strict in their support of a completely secular state.

In spite of what many of you seem to think, there are many very religious people who support returning the pledge to the way it was originally intended. I for one very much resent the implication that I am unpatriotic because I refuse to recognise the right of government to tell me what to believe.

--Christopher Carter
volant
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I had to argue this way too many times in real life, so I will try not to here. I will, however, give a link from the AU website. http://www.au.org/myths.htm Sums a lot of what I say to other people.

Another thing, I hope I don't offend. I am sick of people using 9/11 to push things on other people(for example, religion, political views, etc). I'm also sick that all those Senators were saying the Pledge of Allegiance on the steps for cameras, come on, they didn't do that the day before did they?

One last thing, about the money. The reason it is different(yes it should change, no pun) is that everytime we use money, we don't have to say anything about God.

-volant(wishing he didn't offend)
By the time you read this, you've already read it.
mattneufeld
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Let's not allow emotions and bias to cloud this issue: we are NOT, constitutionally, legally, ethically and morally a nation "under God." In fact, we are a nation founded on a basic aspect of constitutional law that declares that we are guaranteed the separation of church and state. Thus, no one should have to pledge anything to any god anywhere, least of all in a public school or to the flag of a country that decrees separation of church and state. Thus, the court ruling was one of the best rulings to come down the pike in ages. By the way, there is no official god, religion or religious figure in the United States, legally or constitutionally. Also, what if you don't believe in a god? There are people who do not believe in god, you know, and there is no way on earth that in the U.S.--where we are guaranteed freedom of religion by the constitution--that anyone who doesn't believe in god should have to recite a pledge that incorrectly says that country is "under god," because legally and constitutionally, it isn't. Thanks!
Peter Marucci
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Actually, the separation of church and state is somewhat blurred.
If you are an atheist and pay U.S. taxes, you are supporting various churches, whether you know it -- or want to -- or not.
Church property is not taxed; therefore, that difference has to be made up elsewhere (i.e., from other taxpayers).
And by church property, I don't mean the land on which the church, temple, or mosque may sit; it includes ANY property owned by the church. (For years, the Catholic Church owned the land that Yankee Stadium stood on and, as a consequence, paid no tax on that property.)
There are literally thousands of similar examples across the U.S.
cheers,
Peter Marucci
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christopher carter
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Quote:
On 2002-07-03 19:47, Peter Marucci wrote:
Actually, the separation of church and state is somewhat blurred.
If you are an atheist and pay U.S. taxes, you are supporting various churches, whether you know it -- or want to -- or not.
Church property is not taxed; therefore, that difference has to be made up elsewhere (i.e., from other taxpayers).


But since the same is true of any non-profit organization, whether secular or sectarian, I think this fact can reasonably be perceived as an artifact of the tax system. Certainly the concept of separation as articulated by Jefferson in his letter to the Danbury Baptists would prohibit the government funding of religious bodies, but the funding by default you cite seems to me unavoidable if the government is to also attempt to not be hostile toward religion. Nevertheless, there is a marked distinction between the point you make and the government actually taking sides in an issue of theology, which many of us think the pledge issue amounts to.


--Christopher Carter
Andy Leviss
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Matt hits the nail right on the head a few posts back!

I agree with Chris that it's historically and legally dead on, and probably politically disastrous. I also agree with Greg that an atheist (or an agnostic, like myself) shouldn't force those views on anybody else. Likewise, however, the court is right that no believer in another religion should force their beliefs on another person by mandating the recitation of a pledge containing the phrase "Under God".

If you want to say the pledge, that's your right, with or without the "under God". Personally, I am strongly against the "under God" part, because I am an agnostic and am not certain whether I believe in a God, particularly the Judeo-Christian "God" that is strongly implied in the pledge.

Honestly, in school I usually chose not to recite the pledge at all, but to just stand silently in respect to the flag, because I found the concept of blindly reciting a pledge that nobody even really understands the meaning of to be a rather scary lemming-like behavior. But that's just me. Not to say I'm unpatriotic, I love this country (although I can't say I'm incredibly fond of the people running it), I just don't like the whole blind faith thing, nor the whole concept of the pledge. Schoolkids blindly reciting a pledge to their country every morning before class doesn't sit well with me, call me crazy (and I'm sure some will).

And no, I'm not so keen on the "in God we trust" on currency, but I'm not about to fight it, either. There are much more significant battles than things like that to worry about.

You all are welcome to your opinions, whether you agree with me or not. I just ask that you don't shove them down my throat, and I'll give you the same courtesy :o)

Respectfully,
Andy
Note: I have PMs turned off; if you want to reach me, please e-mail [email]Andy.MagicCafe@DucksEcho.com[/email]!
saglaser
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There is no doubt in my mind that the addition of "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance was absolutely unconstitutional, especially considering the atmosphere when it occured in the early 50s. At that time, reciting the pledge was required in many schools. Inclusion of the phrase was in effect a government requirement that children voice a particular religious stance. I can think of little that is more unamerican.

The question of the phrase on the money is perhaps less absolute. One does not take a religious stance by spending money with the phrase "In God we trust" on it. One does take a religious stance in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in its current form. If there is no difference in the basic principle involved (separation of Church and State), there is certainly a difference in degree.

BTW, there is some thought that the vagueness of the phrase "under God" is almost totally non-sectarian and would therefore not be offensive to anyone other than atheists (which, for some reason, many theists believe don't count -- which is itself an unamerican attitude). That sort of formulation could also be offensive to some Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, Wiccans, Taoists, and Shinto. It does not belong in a governmentally mandated pledge.

As for the President, or any other elected official, closing with "God bless America," that's an individual making his own personal statement -- something which is fiercely protected by the same constitution than bars making such a statement a requirement.
Peter Marucci
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So what to do with the Declaration of Independence, which includes in its opening:
". . . , the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them. . ."?
cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
christopher carter
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Peter,

Yours is a somewhat interesting question, although it is one most often used as a red herring in an erroneous attempt to portray those who support a stricter interpretation of the first amendment as being ignorant of America's Christian heritage.

First of all the words "Laws of Nature or Nature's God" are Deistic terms, entirely suffused with enlightenment sensibilities. More importantly, absolutely nobody I know of denies that many of the nation's founders were very religious men, or that their founding of the nation was based upon their religious sensibilities. Still, this does not mean that they wanted these religious views enshrined by laws. Indeed, quite the opposite. The religious views of the most prominent minds behind the drafting of the Constitution were such that they explicitly did not want this.

While Jefferson did not have a direct hand in drafting the words that became the consitution, it is a matter historic record that Madison, who was after all Jefferson's protege, constantly solicited his opinion during the writing process, and was heavily influenced by his opinion.

Since you brought up Jefferson's words in the Declaration, consider his more articulate arguments in the Virginia Bill for Religious Freedom, which he drafted in 1779. In this document, Jefferson argued that since God endowed man with reason, man was entitled to unfettered exercize of that reason with regard to "religious opinion." Since any government could only be seen as a compact among men, and not in any way supported by the divine, Jefferson argued, government intrusion upon man's religious opinions was tantamount to treason. Some of Jefferson's quotes: "our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinion" "the opinions of men[with regards to religious matters] are not the object of civil government, or its jurisdiction" "to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his power into the field of opinion..at once destroys all religious liberty."

So it was because of the religious views of men like Jefferson and Madison that the ideal of church-state separation was conceived, not in spite of their views.

Also important is the fact that the Declaration of Independence is not an official proclamation of the government of the United States. It preceeds the legal establishment of the United States by some 13 years. It was intened to be a call to arms, not a document establishing civil govnernment. By the time the Constitution had been written, many of the founding fathers had been to and from France several times, and had been extremely influenced by the ideas of the Enlightenment. It was not by accident that the word God, or any of its Deistic alternatives, such as Nature's Law or Providence, appeared nowhere in the Constitution.

I reiterate, many very religious people support the idea of strict separation of church and state. They are not trying to undo or push under the rug America's religious heritage. Rather they, like many of America's founding fathers, support secularism precisely because of their religious convictions.

Sincerely,

Christopher Carter
christopher carter
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I'm sorry. In the above where I wrote, "tantamount to treason," I meant to write "tantamount to tyrrany."

--Christopher Carter
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