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Newdow Marches On
2005.09.15 (Thu) 21:42
As reported yesterday by ABC News:
A federal judge declared the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools unconstitutional Wednesday, a decision that could put the divisive issue on track for another round of Supreme Court arguments.
The case was brought by the same atheist whose previous battle against the words "under God" was rejected last year by the Supreme Court on procedural grounds.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled that the pledge's reference to one nation "under God" violates school children's right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God."
We've said it before, and we'll say it again — it doesn't get much more straightforward than this. Public schools lead children of all ages in a pledge that includes a reference to "God" as part of an otherwise non-religious exercise. If that isn't a "coercive requirement to affirm God" then we don't know what is.
A little while back when Judge Karlton chose to narrow Newdow's case to just encompass whether it was unconstitutional to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in a public school (instead of whether the Pledge itself was unconstitutional), it was pretty clear that this decision was forthcoming. Most likely the decision will be appealed to the 9th circuit court, upheld there, and — in light of a direct conflict with a 4th circuit verdict earlier this year in Virginia — we'll end up right back at the Supreme Court.
In honor of this step forward for Newdow and non-religiosos everywhere, the Jesus Freaks have been crawling out of the woodwork on one of our older Newdow posts to let us know exactly how narrow-minded and ignorant they really are. If you'd like to see the originals, feel free to read them on our Rant. We'll present a few here to illustrate the obstacles that rational folks are up against — the ignorance, the false sense of persecution, and the feeling of special entitlement that these people exude. Oh, the rampant typos, spelling errors, and grammatical slips will be kept in their original form to heighten the overall atmosphere of dumbness.
First up, the inimitable Mrs Gong:
I thought we were a democracty. Rule by the majority.
Majority believe in a higher power and the minority do not.
Is everyone an atheist now? If there is a god then it is good to praise him, if there isn't what harm is there in the few words. As long as there are tests in school, there will be prayer.
We agree that the United States is a democracy (in many respects), we're just not sure why you, Mrs Gong, think that means that only the rights of the majority are worth protecting. One of the basic functions of our representative democratic republic is to protect the minority from the tyranny of the powerful, which often means the majority. Despite what you might think, we all have equal rights here, not just the majority. Here's an example: in the south, many years ago, the powerful white landowners preferred to have their work done by free labor known as "slaves." These slaves didn't always like their lot in life, but according to your logic, Mrs Gong, they should have just shut up and slaved away. Hey, rule by the majority, right? They even had a nifty way of making sure that the white folks stayed in the majority — they made black folk equal to only 3/5 of a person. What a great deal! Even you, Mrs Gong, should be able to see that the rule of the majority isn't always right, and isn't always the side the government takes (fortunately).
To your next point, are we all atheists now? No, and we never pretended to believe that. However, we're also not all Christians, which is something many Christians seem to forget. Our personal desire to remove the reference to "God" in the Pledge is based on our honest understanding that we all have different beliefs. Omitting such references is the only way to be inclusive of all Americans. You see, removing mention of "God" does not make it an "atheist" pledge, but rather a pledge that doesn't address religion at all. If, on the other hand, we replaced the mention of "God" with an acknowledgement that there is no "God," that would be an atheist pledge. Needless to say, we have never been and are not now in support of any such move; by his own statements, neither is Newdow.
You then move on to the old "if there is no god, then what harm is there in praising him" gambit. Well, Mrs Gong, we'll let a quote from Newdow illustrate how we feel about this. Remember above when we talked about an atheist pledge and what it would look like? Well, this is from the same article as above:
"Imagine every morning if the teachers had the children stand up, place their hands over their hearts, and say, 'We are one nation that denies God exists,'" Newdow said.
"I think that everybody would not be sitting here saying, 'Oh, what harm is that.' They'd be furious. And that's exactly what goes on against atheists. And it shouldn't."
Indeed. Would you, Mrs Gong, be sitting idly by while children — perhaps even your own children — were being asked to utter such an oath every day? We somehow doubt it. But atheists don't count, right? So what about if the pledge in question swore allegiance to Allah? We'll use your own words here. "If there is an Allah then it is good to praise him, if there isn't what harm is there in the few words?" Of course, Muslims aren't currently the majority in our country, but humor us — if, hypothetically, they were the majority, would that shut you the fuck up? We believe that, if you're honest, you'll admit that you would still protest the insertion of Allah into our Pledge of Allegiance. Please, enlighten us, Mrs Gong. We're dying to hear your words of wisdom.
Next we'll move on to Charles, who presents the old "one day you'll turn to god" argument (which you can kind of make out amidst the plethora of typos and gibberish):
Who will you be looking to when the next personal distory strikes? Who do you look to on your death bead? Mybe we should just stop teaching our children and moral codes. Let them have no respect for authority. Just sit back and see what happens! If we can not say the pledge then why can you not just stand still while we do?
First of all, what the fuck do you know about the personal tragedies we've experienced in our lives? We've had our share of heartbreak and pain, and when we have, we've leaned on people who can actually help us — our family and friends, as well as our own inner strength. In point of fact, we would say that you, Charles, have done the same thing when you've run into difficult times in your life. However, instead of giving credit to the people in your life who helped you, you probably just thanked your pretty little god and moved along. Well, buster, you're shortchanging your family, your friends, and yourself by pretending to lean on your imaginary friend for support. Bully for you.
You then move on to the argument that without the Pledge, anarchy would reign supreme. Spare us. We certainly don't want to stop teaching our children proper morals. What we want to stop is teaching our children your morals and beliefs. Sure, we share certain moral codes between us — killing is wrong (is it? The Christian view seems a bit fuzzy), stealing is wrong — but we don't really feel the need to teach our kids to "keep holy the Sabbath" or not to "take the Lord's name in vain." Get it? It isn't authority that we don't want our children to respect, it's your brand of misguided religious authority.
Oh, and why can't we just have our kids stand still why all the good little Christian children recite the Pledge? Please see our reply to Mrs Gong above for a counter example. We wait with baited breath for your reply as well, Charles. Would you stand by while your children were asked to spout out the atheist pledge or the Muslim pledge shown above? Do tell.
Next up: Keith, who mixes some of Mrs Gong and Charles with his own incredible stupidity:
My only salvation in this, is that one day all of the atheists will be seeking god with their dying breath, and it will be far too late. I know there is a God as the majority of the American Citizens do. Couldn't the minority just accept what this great country basis was built on? Freedom of Religon? Some how that has now been brushed under the carpet.?
No, Keith, we won't one day be seeking your god on our death beds. We would be just as likely to turn to the Tooth Fairy as your silly god; that is, not at all. To us, they are both the same — imaginary beings conceived of by humans to placate gullible people. Of course, the fact that the Tooth Fairy is for kids excuses their gullibility. What's your excuse? For our part, we only wish that, after you die, we could see the look on your face when you learn that there is no god and there is no afterlife. However, since there is no afterlife, we, uh, can't. But boy would you look funny, standing there ready to meet "God" only to find out that it was all a sham.
As to the notion that the minority should just shut up and take the religious indoctrination of their children stoically, we'll refer you to our reply to Mrs Gong for our view on that selfish and narrow-minded point of view. As above, please enlighten us as to your response to the atheist pledge and the Muslim pledge outlined above. We'll wait.
Now on to our favorite part of your comment: your invocation of the phrase "Freedom of Religion" to back up your argument that the minority should just shut up while the majority practices their religion in a public school. This one simply floors us. How the hell do you manage to say something like that without your brain exploding from the blatant contradiction? We have no desire to remove religion from America. People should be free to hold whatever beliefs they want, no matter how silly those beliefs may be. What we don't like is when the government funds and promotes a particular set of beliefs; for example, by having government-funded public schools lead children in a daily recital of a pledge that includes an acknowledgement of God. By including this pledge in the public schools, its advocates (and the government) are pissing on the "Freedom of Religion" that you are feebly pretending to defend. If you can't grasp this simple concept, then we really can't hope to hold an intelligent discussion with you, Keith.
Just when we thought the comments couldn't stoop any lower, Donald Mulligan informs us that we are unpatriotic, while simultaneously paraphrasing Whitney Houston:
The pledge of alligegence should absoultly be allowed and mandatory in all our school systems. Our children are our future. Our children need good, wholsome standards to live by. Anything less is just plain unpatriotic. Sincerly, Donald Mulligan
So, Donald, you'd like to go even farther than current laws provide for — by making the Pledge of Allegiance (or, as they say in your neck of the woods, "alligegence") mandatory for all students. In a way, we're glad that you started your comment with this tidbit of information, since we were able to ascertain what a miserable nutbar you are right off the bat.
As we said in response to Charles' comment above, we agree that children need good standards to live by, we just don't agree with the Christian teachings about morals. Boy, it seems so simple when we say it, yet none of these commenters seem to be able to grasp the concept.
Right at the end, you insinuate that we are unpatriotic for being atheists and for not wanting to embrace Jee-sus. The good news, Donald, is that you are in, er, "good" company — the Bush family seems to feel this way as well, as do many members of the Supreme Court. The bad news is that this impromptu poll simply means that a lot of people in this country are misguided, hateful loons. Just like you. Thanks for sharing, Donald.
Speaking of misguided, hateful loons, next up is Tony, who uses an email address containing the phrase "leftistdestroyer." Wooooooo!
Apparently the Declaration of Independance is irrelevant to Michael Neudow and his families. As well as this "Judge" If Jefferson acknokleged God, as the giver of our rights, and that he did not specifically name a specific God, it is only "offensive" to athiests. Gays sucking eachothers dicks in public during Mardi Gras, I find offensive, but there is absolutely nothing that I can do about it what-so-ever!! That is their supposed right. But my kids have a right to acknolwge God in schools and in the Pledge. They say, "If you don't like gay sex in public, then don't watch it". I say," If you dont like an acknowlegement of God in public, then don't watch it!!" This precident is extremely one sided and completely unfair, but so are LIberals. To say that The Declaration of Independance is offensive, then the absoulte entire foundation we have, is under attack. Under attack by domestic enemies. Tis rebellion my lord. We must fight.
Wow — not a fucking clue, here, y'know? Simply amazing.
So, the pledge is only "offensive" to atheists. Okay, so you're in the Donald camp, in which only atheists are human scum, unworthy of any rights. Glad we've got that cleared up. As long as you believe in some deity, you're cool, right? Wait, how about agnostics? They're kinda on the fence. Can they wade into your private club's pool up to their knees?
Regarding gay sex in public, um, actually, that is illegal in this country. Any sex in public is illegal, be it gay or otherwise. It's public lewdness, public nudity, exposing oneself — whatever you charge them with, it's a violation of some law. As a result, you can do something about it other than not watching — in fact, you can call a cop if you see so much as a wayward tit in public. So you see, Tony, you and your children are protected from having to see lewd acts in public.
Now let's flip this around a bit, shall we? Since you picked the topic of gay sex, we'll stick with it. Homosexual sex is still legal in most places (for now), as long as it's done in private. Let's say that these private Gay Sex Parties take place every weekday, and that your children are required to attend. They don't have to watch the gay sex — they can close their eyes and think of Jesus — but they do have to be in the room while it's taking place. How would you feel about that, big guy?
See, unlike school, there is no mandatory Gay Sex Party attendance law in this country; in addition, the government isn't funding (and certainly isn't endorsing) gay sex — unless you count that Jeff Gannon/Guckert guy. Since you know there will be gay sex at the Gay Sex Parties — as that is the definitive purpose of Gay Sex Parties — and since neither you nor your children are required to attend...well, you can simply make sure that your kids don't go to the Gay Sex Parties, and you don't have to go, either. Nor do you have to sponsor, endorse, or in any other way support Gay Sex Parties, if you don't like hot, sweaty, rough and hairy man-sex.
On the other hand, our children are required to attend school, and our tax dollars fund those schools. In those schools, it is not merely an "acknowledgement [which you managed to spell incorrectly every time it came up] of god in public," but rather a state-endorsed invocation of religion, since all public school teachers are acting as agents of the state in their capacity as public school teachers. Feel free to go on and on about god in public as much as you want; but just as you don't want your children exposed to gay sex, we don't want ours exposed to religious indoctrination, especially in an environment in which the definitive purpose is to educate our children. The difference is: while you can have your children avoid the private gay sex (and call a cop if it's in public), we can't have our children avoid your invocation to god, because they're required to attend their classes (which we pay for). Got it? No, probably not.
All in all, the charming e-mail address, the inability to grasp simple concepts, a complete disregard of the rights of those you classify as "undesirable," the poor comprehension of history coupled with the utter lack of the wisdom to interpret it, the rampant misspellings, and then that chilling warning at the end — which was either meant to sound biblical, or like you were in a really bad Shakespeare production — paint a pretty clear picture of you, Tony. What an intellectual dynamo you must be. And a bundle o' fun at those Gay Sex Parties, too, we bet!
There is already at least one more comment from these self-righteous pricks on our old Rant, but frankly, they're starting to repeat themselves. Mostly, we could answer all of them by instructing them to educate themselves before they post, but we somehow doubt that will have any effect.
In short, this is the mentality that needs to be overcome in order for our country to move forward. It ain't a particularly easy path, and we wish Newdow lots of luck. If he fails, then it will be one more building block for the twisted, narrow-minded Christian nation that these people envision. And the scary part is that many of them don't even realize that they're doing it. They go on their merry way, truly believing that they are being persecuted and repressed (a phenomenon that Grendel mentioned not too long ago). Fucked up, isn't it?
We'll close with a quote attributed to Mark Twain which often seems so fitting when dealing with these folks:
It is better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
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