Powered by
Movable Type 3.2
Design by
Danny Carlton





Made with NoteTab

August 11, 2005

Court rules pledge not religion

From the Associated Press via NewsDay.com...

A suit filed by Edward Myers of Sterling, Va., a father of three, raised the objection to the phrase "one nation under God."

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the pledge is a patriotic exercise, not an affirmation of religion similar to a prayer.

"Undoubtedly, the pledge contains a religious phrase, and it is demeaning to persons of any faith to assert that the words `under God' contain no religious significance," Judge Karen Williams wrote. "The inclusion of those two words, however, does not alter the nature of the pledge as a patriotic activity."...

Myers belongs to the Anabaptist Mennonite faith, a Christian sect opposed to the mingling of church and state. He challenged the pledge law because of that belief and his concern that Loudoun County schools were indoctrinating two of his sons, ages 11 and 9, with a "God and country" world view.

"The combination of God and country approaches a civic religion that is in competition with my religion," he said.

The guy's arguments seem pretty silly to me. How is mentioning God, creating a civic religion? As Christians our devotion to our nation stems from our obedience to God. Look at 1st Peter 2:13-17...

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether: it be to the king, as, supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

...or Matthew 22:15-21...

Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

...or Romans 13:1-3...

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 

In the US, our system of government requires our involvement, therefore we each become part of that ruling body, and have the responsibility of making wise and moral choices when we are asked to vote. Every truly religious person I know derives their morality from their faith, and it would be idiotic to demand that they divorce their morality from the choices they are asked to vote on. Our duty to our nation is part and parcel of our duty to God.

While Virginia law requires teachers in government schools to lead the Pledge of Allegiance, no student is required by law to recite it, or prevented from omitting a phrase they disagree with. Personally I think the idea of assuming children agree with the Pledge is a bit silly. It should be offered as a voluntary exercise (voluntary on the children's part) to teach then the true meaning of a pledge, as well as the added benefit of knowing they are saying it because they mean it. There are key phrases that the Pledge would be meaningless without, such as "I pledge allegiance..." and the part noting what it is you're pledging allegiance to. Other than that the Pledge is still valid if individual students wish to drop a phrase here or there. By presenting it in that way (which is more or less allowed under the laws of all the states) it introduces the children to the concept of standing up...even if alone...for what you believe in.

Maybe that's at the core of the problem. For the most part the people opposed to the Pledge are also opposed to the concept Rush Limbaugh refers to as "Rugged Individualism". Oh, they themselves practice it, otherwise they'd never have a chance to impact the system, but they're not all that keen on it being universally practiced by the "Great Unwashed". Imagine what would happen if people all over the nation actually started thinking for themselves and took the initiative to stand up for their ideas, opinions and beliefs. It would be Liberals worst nightmare.

The Pledge is a perfect soil for growing such ideas. Unfortunately it's rarely used for that. The Left want it gone, the Right generally want it recited, then on with class. The best idea is that it be offered, always offered, accompanied by the instruction that any Pledge is voluntary, from the heart, otherwise it's meaningless.

Posted by Danny Carlton at August 11, 2005 09:45 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.jacklewis.net/cgi-bin/mt/jl-tb.cgi/1830

Comments

My children are compelled by law to reverently acknowledge religious views I consider at best heresy and at worse religious profanity and idolatry. Occasionally teachers even force my children to publicly pledge allegiance to those views.

My ability to teach my children the true character and nature of God is compromised when the government mixes patriotic and religious messages together in lessons on civic morality.

To defend the constitutionality of the Pledge with “under God” the court ignored or severely discounted these important points:

1) Young children think the pledge is a prayer or worse that nationalism itself is God;

2) The Pledge is a patriotic creed that endorses Puritan Covenant Theology as the unifying framework for civic morality which is an anathema to my religion which has over a 300-year American history of rejecting homage to a God and country worldview; and

3) Using God’s name as a gloss to burnish patriotic ideals into a sworn oath is blasphemy to those who take seriously the commandment not to take God’s name in vain.

Posted by: Edward R. Myers at August 15, 2005 10:26 PM

My children are compelled by law to reverently acknowledge religious views I consider at best heresy and at worse religious profanity and idolatry. Occasionally teachers even force my children to publicly pledge allegiance to those views.

How specifically were they “compelled” to reverently acknowledge religious views? That's a pretty vague statement.

My ability to teach my children the true character and nature of God is compromised when the government mixes patriotic and religious messages together in lessons on civic morality.

Not really. It sure sounds to me like your views are pretty far out of the mainstream of even Christians (and I mean real Christians, not Liberals who have co-opted the labels “Christians” and “mainstream”) Being able to hold fast to their beliefs, in spite of what's taught in government schools is a good exercise, if you wish them to learn to be able to hold fast when they are adults. I homeschool because we don't feel government school provide enough religious foundation in the subjects, including Civics, Citizenship and Government.

To defend the constitutionality of the Pledge with “under God” the court ignored or severely discounted these important points:

1) Young children think the pledge is a prayer or worse that nationalism itself is God;

Young children think boogers are good to eat. The answer to that and many things children mistakenly think is to teach them the correct approach, not let them wallow in ignorance.

2) The Pledge is a patriotic creed that endorses Puritan Covenant Theology as the unifying framework for civic morality which is an anathema to my religion which has over a 300-year American history of rejecting homage to a God and country worldview; and

But most Christians see their duty to the state as rooted in their duty to God. Obviously the Founding Fathers did. Do we reduce government school curriculum to whatever offends nobody? (which I'm pretty sure would leave just recess and lunch)

3) Using God’s name as a gloss to burnish patriotic ideals into a sworn oath is blasphemy to those who take seriously the commandment not to take God’s name in vain.

That is your belief, not most people's, and as long as the Pledge is not a requirement, your children have the option of abstaining for participation in it. As far as I know the argument is not about the right to abstain, but the right to force everyone else to abstain.

Posted by: Danny Carlton at August 16, 2005 02:46 PM

Post a comment




Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)

Security verification

Type the characters you see in the image above.