Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Pledge of Allegiance in the Supreme Court

Today, the Supreme Court will be hearing the case brought by Michael Newdow about the Pledge of Allegiance. Mr. Newdow says the statement, "under god", which was inserted into the pledge by Congress in 1954 is unconstitutional because it violates the 1st amendment's guarantee against separation of state and superstition. He is suing because his daughter's school has the students recite the pledge and he doesn't want his daughter exposed to government sanctioned religious superstition.

Here is part of the first amendment: "...Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

Some wacko christians are trying to say that Mr. Newdow doesn't have "standing" to bring this lawsuit because he never married his daughter's mother. That's pretty evil and hypocritical in my opinion. Mr. Newdow is the girl's father. Nobody disputes that fact. Yet these christians who claim to respect parenthood are trying to hedge their bets by saying Mr. Newdow doesn't have the right to sue to protect his daughter from the pervasive evil of religious superstition? The christian republicans are the first to say an unmarried father is obligated to pay child support yet they turn around and say an unmarried father doesn't have "standing" to protect his child? Pleeeez! This is absurd and hypocritical to the n'th degree!

Is parenthood only valid when children are born to a married couple? The other religions should consider this a wakeup call. If the christian majority keeps gaining power, soon only christians married according to popular christian mythology in a christian church by a christian minister will have "standing" to protect their children's welfare and control their children's education.

So many times on Fox News I've heard Bill O'Reilly and other news analysts ask the question: If 70% of Americans want the words "under god" in our pledge of allegiance, what's wrong with that? Are these news analysts total morons? No, they are simply christians with an agenda. Here are a few responses to this question that pop into my mind:
  1. If 70% of Americans want slavery, does that make it okay?
  2. If 70% of Americans want George Bush dead, can we execute him?
  3. If 70% of the people in a state want to have a public execution of an innocent person chosen at random, do they have the right?
  4. If three out of four people in a room want the fourth person to die, do they, as the majority, have the right to kill the fourth person?

A decent democracy is about protecting the rights of the minority, not just imposing the will of the majority. These rights we have in our constitution are written down precisely for this purpose - to guarantee permanently in writing that we, in the minority, have rights that cannot be diminished or misconstrued even when the majority is a mob of superstitious wackos.

I think we need a constitutional amendment that guarantees a wall between government and religion in any way, shape or form. Just as a lawyer must avoid even the appearance of impropriety, so also our government should be separated from even the appearance of religion. We already have a constitutional amendment like this but apparently it is not quite clear enough for the myopic majority.

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