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Supreme Court Will Hear Pledge of Allegiance Case 1476

Posted by michael
from the one-nation-under-allah dept.
Decaffeinated Jedi writes "As reported in this CNN.com article, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case next year (most likely in June) involving whether public schools can lead students in a 'voluntary' recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. At issue in this case is whether the inclusion of the phrase 'under God' in the pledge constitutes an establishment of religion on the part of the state and an infringement on students' religious liberty when it is recited in the public school setting. This case comes to the Supreme Court as an appeal of the June 2002 ruling made by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals--a decision that led to one of the most active stories in Slashdot history." The CNN article's emphasis on voluntariness -- "whether schoolchildren can be allowed to recite the Pledge voluntarily" -- is grossly misleading, almost propagandistic. Most states have laws requiring the pledge to be recited every day as a class activity, and these are the laws in question. In theory students shouldn't be punished for failing to recite along with the rest of the class (due to a previous Supreme Court decision). No state has a law prohibiting anyone from reciting the pledge voluntarily, whenever they want to.
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Supreme Court Will Hear Pledge of Allegiance Case

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  • This case originated in my home town. They're a bunch of religious nuts out here. Very wholesome in Sacramento, except apparently in the legislature :)

    We plan our Sunday breakfasts around church time... you can't eat in Elk Grove past 10:00am!

    --D
    • Thank Hera this case will be reviewed:)
    • That must explain the plethora of late night coffee shops & tattoo parlors in downtown Sacramento. :P

      Elk Grove may be a bit conservative, but I dunno about the rest of the area.. ;)

      (I lived downtown for many years)
  • I really don't see a problem with someone reciting the pledge, but if you don't want to, then don't. Prayer in school isn't outlawed, its just not encouraged. I'm more interested to see if kids really care whether or not they recite the pledge or not, my guess is "i dont care either way" responses would prevail.
    • by Decaffeinated Jedi (648571) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @05:36PM (#7213782) Homepage Journal
      Given the sometimes cruel nature of peer pressure and cliques in public schools, do students really have that much of a viable choice in this matter--or do they risk being labeled as "anti-American" and treated as a social outcast if they decide to sit out on the recitation of the pledge? I'd argue that there's more to it from a social standpoint than students just not saying the pledge if they don't want to.
      • At least where i'm from, a conservative utah school, i didn't see that as the case. Being labeled "anti-american" was far from any issue on our mind. I was editor of my newspaper, and no one really batted an eye when any of my articles about the patriot act being patently anti american (in the sense that our liberties were, and are, being taken away from us) and the anti conservitve viewpoint i shared was met with little more than "you think too much."
      • I decided not to give the pledge of allegiance for the better part of my high school career and caught hell for it early on. Kids are very pure in their actions and tend not to be as political, so if they think you're out of line they let you know. Middle and high school teaches conformity as much as knowledge, and even the teachers encourage the recitation of the pledge. Acting on principle or doing what is right, especially at that age, is neither easy or without reprecussions, and it is much easier to
      • Given the sometimes cruel nature of peer pressure and cliques in public schools, do students really have that much of a viable choice in this matter--or do they risk being labeled as "anti-American" and treated as a social outcast if they decide to sit out on the recitation of the pledge? I'd argue that there's more to it from a social standpoint than students just not saying the pledge if they don't want to.

        I declined to say the pledge throughout high school, but I don't think it was that big of a deal.
    • The problem is that by saying it every day you are reinforcing that God is as important as country, which we are all supposed to believe is of utmost importance. Therefore kids who otherwise had no opinion will come to believe that God=Good, and this will happen in school. So in effect, the government just told them not only that they should be religious, but what religion (or what subset of religions) they should follow.
    • by mshomphe (106567) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @05:53PM (#7213903) Homepage Journal
      This ties directly in to the Texas case (Santa Fe [cornell.edu], I think). You may not have to recite the pledge (although in this case, I believe pledging was compulsory; please correct me if I'm wrong), but school property is being used to endorse a theistic viewpoint. Moreover, the message broadcast is that this is the position of the authorities.

      What everyone must keep in mind is the First Amendment:
      [cornell.edu]
      Congress shall make no law
      respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof


      I as an individual can profess my religious (non-)affiliations as much as I want. However, agents of the state cannot endorse or reject a religion while acting as said agents. Using school property to communicate a message with a distinctly theistic slant ("one nation, under God") is unconstitutional (again, see the Santa Fe v. Doe ruling). The state can't say one way or another about god (much in the way that Science should remain agnostic barring distinct evidence one way or another) unless it's in discussing religion in a neutral context. This doesn't mean that teachers can't pray, be religious, nor students; rather, you can't use public property or act on behalf of the government in a coercive way when doing it.
  • "under god" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by physicsboy500 (645835) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @05:31PM (#7213741)
    What I don't understand is why christians in general would get so upset when we want to take one line out to include all. Simply put I'm sure they would be as offended if we were to begin saying something like "under Bhudda" or "under no god" as some ppl are about saying "under god" in the first place. Times have changed, with them go the rules
    • The biggest point to me is that it didn't always include "under God" - and the original version is still used by the US military (if I'm not mistaken)... why not use it in the classroom as well?
    • Re:"under god" (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Nagatzhul (158676)
      America was formed on Christian principles, not Buddhist principles. It is a Christian country and it is defined and based on those assumptions. If you change that, then the assumptions loose their value. If you can change those assumptions, you can deny people their rights.
      • Re:"under god" (Score:3, Informative)

        by grondu (239962)
        America was formed on Christian principles, not Buddhist principles. It is a Christian country and it is defined and based on those assumptions.

        Care to know who disagrees with you?

        From Article 11, Treaty of Peace and Friendship between The United States and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary, unanamously approved by the U.S. Senate June 7, 1797: As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity ag
    • Re:"under god" (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The reason is this. Where does it stop? The founders absolutely founded this country under God and never intended God to be taken out of public discourse. If you read anything from the founders you would understand this. The current "understanding" of the separation of church and state is absolutely INCORRECT. It is freedom OF religion not freedom FROM religion. The provision was only to prevent the government from creating a state controlled religion not to separate religion from government.
  • Typical michael (Score:2, Insightful)

    by helix400 (558178)
    Gee michael.

    I guess there's nothing left to comment on, since the story was more of a long editorial rant than a newspiece.
    • Re:Typical michael (Score:3, Insightful)

      by btakita (620031)
      Yeah...this kindof defeats the purpose of comments.

      Anyways, if Michael can use his position to further his cause, is it ok for moderators to moderate in favor of there causes?

      Michael is clearly abusing his power. Wait a minute, abuse of power is something that Michael would complain about in one of his "editorials".

      So its ok to abuse power as long as it favors Michael's cause?
    • by Angry Black Man (533969) <vverysmartman&hotmail,com> on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @06:41PM (#7214507) Homepage
      not too mention his statements from the article are totally wrong.

      No state has a law prohibiting anyone from reciting the pledge voluntarily, whenever they want to.

      Uhmm, except that a simple google search on "voluntary school prayer" immediately showed a third result of This case [216.239.37.104]. From the article:

      A 22 word prayer, crafted by the New York State Board of Regents, was read aloud daily in public school classrooms. Student participation was voluntary. On June 25, 1962, the Court ruled the Regents' prayer unconstitutional.

      In a public school, I cannot lead a group prayer, even voluntarily. Prayer must be seperate from the school. Then, following the page a whole three links down, there is full text of a bill urging congress to pass a "voluntary prayer" ammendment to the constitution. From the house resolution [216.239.37.104]:

      32 WHEREAS, voluntary student prayer formed a part of American public schools [33] from their origination in 1642 for over three hundred years afterward, until [34] the U. S. Supreme Court, in a 1962 ruling, which the court said was "without [35] precedent," struck down what it described as "voluntary, nondenominational [36] school prayer";[]=line numbers

      Despite what the all-knowing michael says, evidently after 0 minutes of research, there ARE LAWS AGAINST VOLUNTARY PRAYER. Of course, he says "no state," and since it was ruled unconstitutional, it would actual be the federal government prohibiting it. Yeah, thats what you must have meant, right michael? "no state has a rule against it, just the federal government." sure... how about doing some research before embarassing youreself. Oh, and you ended your sentence with a preposition.
      • Question: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Was the "voluntary" prayer organized read by the teachers? Is the fact the prayer was crafted by the New York State Board of Regents inconsequential? Most (if not all) prayer-in-school cases I've heard had voluntary student participation that was "voluntary" in the same way the boss selling candy bars for his kid is "voluntary."
      • Read his comment again. What he said was

        No state has a law prohibiting anyone from reciting the pledge voluntarily, whenever they want to.

        What you said was

        there ARE LAWS AGAINST VOLUNTARY PRAYER

        That's 2 completly different things. He said there is no law keeping anyone from reciting the pledge. He said nothing about laws that keep you from leading prayer groups in school. So rather than accusing him of spending zero time researching his article you should spend a bit more than zero time reading

      • The Pledge != A Prayer

        And why is there such a need to lead a group prayer in the classroom? At my HS there were independent christian clubs (I'm not sure how the faculty was related - they may have been allowed to participate but not when class was in session or something, not 100% sure), they just did their group praying during lunch or break or whatever....the Christians were happy cuz they could still pray, the non-Christians were happy cuz they didn't have to sit thru it.

        I have no problem with people
      • by ponxx (193567)
        > No state has a law prohibiting anyone from reciting the pledge voluntarily,
        > whenever they want to
        [..]
        You claim this is wrong because:
        "A 22 word prayer, crafted by the New York State Board of Regents, was read aloud daily in public school classrooms. Student participation was voluntary. On June 25, 1962, the Court ruled the Regents' prayer unconstitutional."

        There is a difference between:

        - a student voluntarily saying a prayer, e.g. before having lunch, as they enter the school, etc. etc.

        and

        - a p
      • A 22 word prayer, crafted by the New York State Board of Regents, was read aloud daily in public school classrooms. Student participation was voluntary. On June 25, 1962, the Court ruled the Regents' prayer unconstitutional.

        In a public school, I cannot lead a group prayer, even voluntarily. Prayer must be seperate from the school. ... Despite what the all-knowing michael says, evidently after 0 minutes of research, there ARE LAWS AGAINST VOLUNTARY PRAYER.

        You are, I suspect deliberately, confusing the is

  • Pledges (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @05:32PM (#7213750) Homepage Journal
    Pledges of this sort are not reprehensible because of the mention of deity.

    Made compulsory, such a pledge is worthless, meaningless and a supression of intellectual activity. It represents a repudiation of Jeffersonian ideals, as embodied in the Declaration of Independance and U.S. Constitution.

    Do we get to wear armbands, too?

  • Online Rights (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IM6100 (692796) <elben@mentar.org> on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @05:32PM (#7213752)
    What does this have to do with online rights?

    What does it have to do with anything Nerds are interested in?

    It seems more like a topic for a civil libertarian blog.

    I'm not saying the government is right or wrong. I'm just asserting this is off topic. Michael, can't you find another website to pound your drums on?
  • I remember that... Back in 8th grade, about halfway through the year, the teachers said to us, "oh yeah, you guys are supposed to recite the pledge of allegiance every day." Most of the student body basically said, "what? Eh, f*ck it." We ended up doing it once, maybe twice, before the staff realized it was just a waste of time. :D
  • by supernova87a (532540) <kepler1@h o t m ail.com> on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @05:34PM (#7213768)
    one interesting development already: Justice Scalia will take no part in the decision of the case. Apparently he recused himself following a request by the anti-pledge side in the case. Scalia has vocally defended the right to religious activity, and I guess he recognized that this might come across as having a predisposition to the outcome of the case.
  • This bothers me.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SoIosoft (711513)
    I think at some point, the seperation of church and state goes a bit too far. Take the pledge as a whole, not word by word. It's not religious in nature; it's about the country and what it stands for. And what it stands are isn't forcing religion on people, but about freedom, liberty, and justice. Sometimes it gets a big silly, just like forcing the Ten Commandments out of the courtroom. Remember, the Ten Commandments is a very early and almost universally understood code of laws. Nobody would object if Ham
    • It's the first 3 / 4 Commandments that some people have trouble with.
    • by m0rph3us0 (549631)
      When you put quotes from other people regarding "God" on the monument to it becomes religious, if you put quotes on the monument regarding law then it becomes about history.

      When the school requires students hear that the nation is under God it establishes religion, and infringes on the student's freedom from religion. If the pledge is ok then having a athiest teacher expouse the virtues of athiesm should be just as acceptable.
    • Remember, the Ten Commandments is a very early and almost universally understood code of laws.

      I hear this argument - let's look....

      1) Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
      [Um, seems kinda religous to me.]

      2) Thou shalt not make any graven images.
      [Unless you're talking about plates for fake 20s this has no legal imapct.]

      3) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
      [Again - since when is THAT a law?]

      4) Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
      [Do I need to say it?]

      5) Honor thy father a
  • by javelinco (652113) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @05:38PM (#7213793) Journal
    The current laws on the books state the no student is required to recite the pledge. It does not state that the schools cannot set aside time to recite the pledge. Please be careful to not add any more spin to an already charged issue.
  • by StyleChief (656649) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @05:38PM (#7213795)
    It is unfortunate that zealots (on any side) have made such an issue out of what should be a non-issue. I recited the Pledge daily as a child and recall no misgivings. I am not an especially patriotic fellow nor anti-government. I am not an especially religious fellow nor anti-religion. It seems that it might be a good thing to give schoolchildren a few moments to think about potentially more important things for a few moments a day. In reality, it becomes routine, and virtually no thought is probably given by a child. But in retrospect, I rather miss those days. Be it God, Allah, or whatever name one chooses to use, it is ALL under a greater mind than ours.
  • by shoemakc (448730) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @05:39PM (#7213802) Homepage


    MSNBC (Yes I know, I'm too lazy to change my default home page...score one for MS) has this [msnbc.com] article with a little interesting tidbit at the end:

    The phrase "under God" was not part of the original pledge adopted by Congress as a patriotic tribute in 1942, at the height of World War II. Congress inserted the phrase more than a decade later, in 1954, when the world had moved from hot war to cold.

    Interesting that these contraversial two words where just an addition to seperate us from those "godless commies", no? Sounds on the whole rather silly now :-/

    -Chris

  • Before people start throwing around 'separation of church and state' and freedom of religion, remember that it's freedom *of* religion, not freedom *from* religion. Some groups want the pledge outlawed because it mentions God (heaven forbid!), others want it madatory for the same reason.

    Personally, as a heathen (unbaptised agnostic if you will), I don't care. I said it as a child, and it hasn't ruined my life. Nor have I felt the government was forcing religion on me. The pledge is to the US, and our w
    • remember that it's freedom *of* religion

      No, its "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". Congress adding the phrase "under God" the the pledge sounds likse establishment to me. Public schools playing the same pledge over the PA every morning also sounds like establishment to me.
  • The way I see the first amendment is that Congress shouldn't recognize religion at all. Congress doesn't need to protect religion, freedom itself protects religion (except for religions that involve sacrificing virgins, etc, which we don't want anyway).

    The question that people should be asking is: why are we making kids stand up and recite something in the first place? Teachers should be presenting facts and explaining concepts (hopefully in a balanced way, but that's hard to enforce), not encouraging part
  • ...and let the kids recite the Gettysburg Address. It's more stirring, it has a better pedigree, and it's not a Loyalty Oath. Oh, it's still got that "nation under God" phrase? Darn. How about just reciting the national motto, "In God we trust"? No good? Sing the national anthem? Well, the first verse is okay, since it's mostly about stuff getting blowed up, but suppose somebody notices that the later verses invoke the Almighty? Can't have that, can we? I know! Let's teach our kids what's really important i
  • I've always thought pledging allegiance to some flag is a bit quaint. It makes no sense. And pledging allegiance to your country each and every day.. doesn't that strike you folks as a bit forced? A bit nationalistic? More the sort of thing schoolkids in China or North-Korea would have to do, rather than kids in a democratic country?

    Ow, and the "under God" thing. Well, the US were kinda founded by people who didn't appreciate having religion forced through their throats, so it's only courtesy to, well, do
    • I've always thought pledging allegiance to some flag is a bit quaint. It makes no sense. And pledging allegiance to your country each and every day.. doesn't that strike you folks as a bit forced? A bit nationalistic?

      I couldn't agree more. Here in the UK the Government, trying to keep one step ahead of the xenophobes (worryingly at the moment seemingly a majority of the country thanks to the tabloids), is considering forcing immigrants to read a pledge of allegiance to the UK Govt and Queen. If I had to d
  • How can you distinguish church and state in this country? The state IS the church. Not since Nazi Germany have people tied a victim complex with an inherent sense of infallibility together so closely (despite mountains of evidence taking the nation beyond fallibility to straight out complicity).

    If this nation were truly interested in liberty there would not be a dogmatic phrase at all. If students wish to burn the flag every morning in the parking lot they should be allowed to. Its their country too. Its th

  • The first amendment on religion
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

    As for this slashdot comentary, I think if a student recited the pledge out of the blue in the middle of a lesson they'd be disrupting the class. I mean if we are going to stop doing the pledge because it's got the words 'under god', then should we change the pledge? Should we remove 'in god we trust' from our currency? Do we stop swearing in government officials with
  • The flag sucks. Christianity is stupid.

    Will I end up either in jail or in another country?

  • Have we already forgotten the words of our forefathers?

    Our first president recognized this quite clearly:
    "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness...reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."
    - George Washington's farewell address, 1
  • by nizo (81281)
    ...the inclusion of the phrase 'under God' in the pledge..

    It's Zod. Seriously though, why can't we just change the pledge to keep up with the times? Maybe instead something like, "one nation, mindlessly consuming, with liberty and SUVs for all"?

  • As seen at this atheist site [ibka.org]:

    At the time of our Revolution, nine of our thirteen colonies had state-established churches, Congregational in the North and Anglican in the South. They overlapped, with no apparent understanding of the contradiction, with the eight new states who adopted Jefferson's clause, which he had proposed for his home Virginia, that granted freedom of religion, "according to the dictates of conscience." Jefferson's own Virginia did not embrace this language until ten years later. Fre

    • without kowtowing to every nit who gets his noise into a twist because I whisper the word "god".

      Except that's not the issue. The issue is not what other people are saying, it's what his daughter is being pressured to say.

      the atheist is making arguments to enfarce atheism as the religion of the USA.

      "EnFarce" is probably the right word. Because there is no way that anyone is working to enfOrce athiesm as a religion because no one is lining you up to force you to go to any theoretical church of atheism,

  • God's Pals (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Viking Coder (102287) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @05:50PM (#7213874)
    It's always amazing to me how much people think that God needs defending.

    Your relationship with God is the only important thing in the universe, and you don't need a government to tell you how to have a good relationship with your deity.

    And I don't need the government telling me how to have a good relationship with your deity. And you don't need the government telling you how to have a good relationship with my deity.

    Our country is also strong enough to not have to declare that it exists through God's will. We made it, not God. The prophet George Washington didn't see a burning bush that implored him to lead his soldiers across the Delaware.

    Our nation, like every human institution, is fallible. The more we bring God into it, the less we respect him, our nation, and ourselves.

    God might help you make your personal choices, but you make bad decisions, too. Giving God the credit for your successes, and taking personal blame for your failures is dehumanizing to you and everyone else, and it leads to both a sense of false security (in your bad decisions), and false insecurity (questioning your relationship with God, just because you messed up.)

    P.S. - if this comment pissed you off, then contemplate living in a country that forces you to worship a God that you don't believe in. Now, recognize that's exactly what you're asking other people to do in America. It's not YOUR country - it's OUR country. And the only way we can all get along, is to keep separate our personal and political worlds.

    You have your personal relationship with your God, I have my personal relationship with my God - and the laws of this land should not give either one of us preferential treatment.

    God != America
  • I guess it's time to burn some karma.

    Not "in theory" but "by law" a student cannot be penalized for not saying the Pledge. Well known in most high schools across the country, that; I didn't say it in high school nor did most of my friends, and nobody took any notice.

    Where you failed to RTF'nA is that this is not a student saying "I was penalized for not wanting to say the pledge." Ergo, here's some relevant text (bolding mine):

    In the Pledge of Allegiance case, Michael Newdow, an atheist, sued the Sacrame

  • The key point here, and the reason the Supreme Court will decide in favor of the Ninth Circuit, is that until congress added "Under God", that phrase was not used when reciting the pledge.

    The constituion has simple yet direct and literally applicatble language, when it states " Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". Congress made a law that established the Christian Religion as the defacto religion by enforcing "Under God" to be added. Its a simple as that.

    An easy test case
  • A much better article from Washingtonpost.com [washingtonpost.com]:

    Supreme Court Weighs 'Under God' Reference in Pledge
    Justice Scalia Recuses Himself; Could Lead to a 4-4 Split Decision

    By Charles Lane
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Tuesday, October 14, 2003; 1:07 PM

    The Supreme Court announced today that it will attempt to settle the legal battle over the Pledge of Allegiance -- but without the participation of one of its most conservative justices.

    The court said it would consider whether the Constitution's ban on o

  • The CNN article's emphasis on voluntariness -- "whether schoolchildren can be allowed to recite the Pledge voluntarily" -- is grossly misleading, almost propagandistic.

    Kind of like not letting people decide if an article is propagandistic on their own.... i mean make a comment as yourself because i don't think a lot of people understand that the news is cnn posting that, not your interpretation of the news.
  • The CNN article's emphasis on voluntariness -- "whether schoolchildren can be allowed to recite the Pledge voluntarily" -- is grossly misleading, almost propagandistic. Most states have laws requiring the pledge to be recited every day as a class activity, and these are the laws in question.

    What the hell is Michael smoking here? They are not "the laws in question" They are going to decide on a California law. It may have precedence elsewhere at some other time. Michael should be either canned or at le

  • Seeing as how the phrase "under God" was added in the 1950s in response to the spread of "unholy" Communism, why not drop the phrase? It's not original, was added for purely political reasons, and can solve a lot of asinine problems if it is simply removed.
  • I'm hoping the result will void out the congressional act in the 50's putting the phrase, "Under God" into the pledge(As per the 1st amendment, which prohibits congress from respecting an establishment of religion), but require kids to pledge as per each state's law.
  • by Lucas Membrane (524640) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @05:56PM (#7213933)
    The guy who wrote the pledge back in the 19th century was very religious, but after considering the issue, he decided to leave God out of it. Congress added God in the 1950's. Altering the text of an author's work without permission is an offense against IP law. And, although it is legal after the author's rights are expired, as they were for the pledge in the 1950's, it is very contrary to the current utmost respect in which copyright owners are held under the American system. Restore the old-time values. Restore the author's intent. Get the God out.
  • I fail to understand why the inclusion of "under god" in the Pledge is even thought to be a good idea in the first place. The United States has so many different religous opinions in it that such a statement doesn't seem very appropriate. Putting aside the validity of the idea of the pledge in the first place, let's assume its purpose is to make young people aware of their obligations to a larger common society of which we are all a part. OK, fine. What does "under god" have to do with the governmental
  • by Kenja (541830)
    These days I'd more concerned about the whole "and liberty and justice for all" bit. How about some truth in advertising here?
  • maybe the supreme court has nothing better to do?
    Would you let a lawyer pilot the jet plan you are in? Why do we elect them into office...
  • Slashdot FUD (Score:3, Informative)

    by Brandybuck (704397) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @06:24PM (#7214285) Homepage Journal
    The CNN article's emphasis on voluntariness... is grossly misleading, almost propagandistic... Most states have laws requiring the pledge to be recited every day as a class activity

    More Slashdot FUD. Did any of you editors actually go to public school in the US?

    Pledging allegiance was voluntary when I went, thirty years ago. Many students did not pledge. Some were Jehovah Witnesses. Others weren't US citizens. Still others simply chose not to. This wasn't in some "enlightened" urban school, but down in deep rural America.

    The schools may be required in some states to have this activity. But it is not required for any of them to coerce any students into participating.

    No state has a law prohibiting anyone from reciting the pledge voluntarily, whenever they want to.

    And no state has a law requiring anyone from reciting it either. If you don't want to say, don't say it. Duh!
    • Re:Slashdot FUD (Score:3, Informative)

      by EvanED (569694)
      "More Slashdot FUD. Did any of you editors actually go to public school in the US?"

      Yes; I graduated High School 1 1/2 years ago.

      "Pledging allegiance was voluntary when I went, thirty years ago."

      And nothing can change over 30 years...

      "And no state has a law requiring anyone from reciting it either."

      Yes, but laws are not the only thing in force here. Perhaps a personal account is in order here. In Elementary School we began each day with the Pledge. Now of course you are taught by your parents that you s
    • Re:Slashdot FUD (Score:3, Informative)

      by dvdeug (5033)
      Pledging allegiance was voluntary when I went, thirty years ago.

      And my sister, who was in school a couple years, was stunned to find it was voluntary, because students who didn't choose to stand were forced to. (Clark County School District, NV. And yes, you have the right not to stand for the pledge, too.)
  • brainwashing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jtilak (596402) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @06:42PM (#7214515) Journal
    When I was a kid, I recited the pledge just like everyone else in my school every morning. I memorized it. I had no idea what it meant. Talk about brainwashing. They never once told me that I didn't have to do it if I didn't want to. We never once discussed what the pledge meant. Why do we make kids do this? Whats the point? Shouldn't we wait until they are old enough to decide for themselves before we have them make pledges?

    By the way, as far as I know, America is the only country whose citzens pledge allegience to a FLAG.
  • Mark My Words... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by goldmeer (65554) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @10:43PM (#7216241)
    Regardless of the United States Supreme Court's ruling, the words "under God" will be in the Pledge.

    It really comes down to 2 options:
    1. The SC rules that it is NOT UNCONSTITUTIONAL
    IRC, this has already happened not once, but twice. Life goes on until the next time it is challenged. *yawn*

    2. The SC rules that the words "under God" ARE UNCONSTITUTIONAL
    If this happens, then things get fun. I would not be suprised to see a Constitutional Amendment proposed that specifically states that the United States of America has a Pledge of Allegiance and specifically states what that pledge is. This pledge will include the words "under God" This proposal will be approved in the House and Senate with speed to match the " Oops, We Forgot to Give Authority to Implement the Do Not Call List Bill" (Not the real name) that was passed within days of the courts ruling that the previous bill passed wasn't done right. Within weeks, enough states will have ratified he new proposed Constitutional Amendment, making any claims that the pledge is unconstitional moot, since something specified in the constitution cannot be unconstitutional. (Did I just say that?) You see, that is how checks and balances work, congress passes a law, president vetoes it, congress overrides the veto, the courts rule it unconstutional, the congress amendmends the constitution, the states ratify the change. Like I said, it gets fun then.

    Now, a real Conspericy Nut (IANACN, Figure it out) would go on to state that the whole process has been initated to get the American Voting Sheep used to congress messing with the Constitution, by floating out some softball issue like the Pledge, then propose something else, then something else, then what the heck, repeal one or two existing amendments, then add another one or two... Rinse, and repeat... If it goes in reeeeaaaalllly slowly, it dosen't hurt as much, I've been told.

    Again IANACN, but I do love to play Devil's Advocate.

    Then again, I could be wrong. It's be known to happen regularly.
  • by t_allardyce (48447) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @03:47AM (#7217387) Journal
    For fucks sake! your president talks about god all the time and half his voters and party think hes gods gift, do you not think this slightly more of an issue? Do you not think he might have a slight vested interest or biased opinion leading to violation of the bill of rights? Does this mean that if the court decides that 'under god' shouldnt be there then Bush should go? well i can
    kill the suspense now and tell you that the mostly-friends-of-bush supreme court will be deciding in favour of god.

    George Bush states that atheists are not citizens or patriots [holysmoke.org]

    Bush puts God on his side [bbc.co.uk]

    George Bush Invites God to School [about.com]

    America Attacked Iraq, Because God Told George Bush To [jamesglaser.org]

    President George "W" Bush: God's Man for This Hour [ncubator.com]

    Is George W. Bush God?s President? [observer.com]

    Bush announces war with plea for God's blessing [ekklesia.co.uk]

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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