The liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance is not a government endorsement of religion, even though not all religions believe in God and many Americans are not religious.
The dissenting judge understood what’s really going on here, even if his two colleagues pretend otherwise. In his dissent, Stephen Reinhardt wrote:
All that would be required would be the deletion of the two words added by an amendment designed to promote religion and to indoctrinate schoolchildren with a religious belief.
I’ve always been troubled by two things about the Pledge of Allegiance.
First of all, why does “the freest country in the world” and “the greatest nation on Earth” (according to conservative “wisdom”) even require a loyalty oath? They are generally required by fascist, communist, and totalitarian regimes.
Pardon me, but your subconscious is showing.
My second concern, of course, is the inclusion of the malevolent deity in a patriotic oath. By declaring that the United States is subservient to God, we are actually swearing allegiance to God.
As much as I believe that the Supreme Bastard needs to be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, I’m worried that Michael Newdow’s suit will fail, especially if it succeeds.
The Americans United blog agrees with my concerns:
While the lead opinion is not well reasoned, some observers think it was inevitable. Advocates of church-state separation have been divided over Newdow’s strategy. Newdow seemed to think he could prevail before the Supreme Court. But anyone can look at the composition of the conservative Roberts’ court and see that that is highly unlikely.
And what if the Supreme Court did concur and strike down “under God”? How would Congress react? In 2002, when Newdow won his first case, members of the House of Representatives and Senate in both parties practically tripped over themselves to condemn the ruling.
Had the ruling stood, some type of ill-considered constitutional amendment would have been inevitable. Could we have stopped it? Given that most state legislatures quickly passed resolutions attacking the “under God” ruling, I wouldn’t bet my rights on that.
They then make an overly-optimistic statement:
The day may come when “under God” is removed from the Pledge – not by a court ruling but simply because our increasingly diverse society realizes it’s wrong to recklessly mix religion and patriotism.
But at least they qualify their optimism:
But that day is not coming any time soon.
Yesterday’s expected miscarriage of justice gives me the opportunity to present something else that I’ve been meaning to put in this blog since day one. Red Skelton was well-known in Hollywood for his conservative leanings. Here is a clip from his TV show in 1969. You can watch the whole thing if you want, but I’ve set this clip to start at the noteworthy part at 3:23.