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C vs. S Newdow (and America) versus religious tyranny
by Bryan Zepp Jamieson
January 20, 2004

In the near future, the Supreme Court, minus the opinionated, undisciplined, and noisy Antonin Scalia, will hear oral arguments regarding what is being called "The Newdow Case". Michael Newdow brought suit on behalf of his young daughter, stating that the school was violating her first amendment rights by subjecting her to a state-sponsored prayer in school. The court will consider two elements of the case; first, if Newdow had standing to bring suit (he is the father, but divorced from the mother and does not have custody) and if the Ninth Circuit was correct in ruling in Newdow's favor.

Why did Newdow do it? In his own words: "One Nation under God" in our Pledge of Allegiance is infuriating to me - as much as 'one Nation under white people,' 'one Nation under Jesus,' or 'one Nation under no god' would be. We are a nation of laws - to be applied equally for every citizen. That a religious belief - the one category of belief that is specifically forbidden by the Constitution - has been inserted by the government into the Nation's Pledge is offensive, unconscionable, unconstitutional and wrong. Since no one else has righted that wrong, I'm doing it. To end the offense. To strengthen the Constitution."

The case has gathered a lot of attention, and of course, the right wing spin machine is hurling disinformation as far as its little fax machines and email routers can toss it. So let's cover a little bit of ground here, first.

First, the Ninth did not "ban the pledge of allegiance." It merely stated that the pledge could not include the words "under God" as that was a specific intermingling of church and state.

Nor does the pledge reflect the views of the Founders. Indeed, the little prayer wasn't added until 1954, when the country made the mistake of electing both a Republican President and GOP majorities in both houses. At a time when the country was coming to grips with a second nuclear power in the world and a massive change in the world, Republicans decided this was a good time to force everyone to pray to their particular little God.

If that sounds disrespectful, it stems from the fact that I have no more use for coercive obeisance to any deity than I do for such obeisance to the flag itself. I regard such as the province of vile little banana republics run by insecure but vicious little cabals that need to see the masses all lined up and chanting the same slogans. In the land which invented the notion of individual sovereignty, it always struck me as a grotesque betrayal of the very principles upon which America was formed. Try to imagine the looks on the faces of the founders such as Madison, Jefferson, and Adams, as little kids are told to line up, perform identical gestures, and recite a silly little poem to the country.

To put the whole pledge thing in perspective, the pledge was originally formulated by an avowed socialist who thought that the exercise would help brainwash the masses into coordinated socialistic societies. I'm serious. You can look it up. He particularly wanted the children so inculcated, and envisioned the children standing all in a row, right arms outward and up at about a 45 degree angle, hands extended with palms down. That salute was changed to the hand over the heart in the late thirties when the original salute developed some unsavory connotations. Unfortunately, the notion of coerced obeisance to state emblems didn't die with it.

One of the things the right wing spin machine loves to do is assure everyone that America is a "Christian nation." America never was, and hopefully it never will be. Christian nations have a way of causing the deaths of millions who aren't Christian, or even worse, aren't the right SORT of Christian.

One need only look at the amazing nonsense from the religious right about Creationism, and the purblind reactions against homosexuality, much biological science, and history, to get a pretty good notion that if this cabal ever succeeds in stealing America from the people, we will see a country that is morally, intellectually and scientifically crippled, one trapped in the dead hand of theology as badly as much of the middle east has been for 1400 years, or Europe in the days when rival popes and then rival sects battled for supremacy. Pope Innocent III and the Cromwells aren't exactly glittering examples of the virtues of political Christian regimes, and few Europeans remember them with any fondness.

While many of the founders were Christian, they knew well the sordid and bloody history of Christian governments in Europe, and resolved not to let America fall into the same morass. That is why there is no mention of God or Jesus in the constitution. That is why the Constitution forbids Congress (and by extension, all inferior government bodies) from involving themselves in an establishment of religion. That is why the only other mention the Constitution makes of religion is to ban any form of religious test for any office seeker or person in a position of public trust.

When the Constitution forbids even ASKING if a job seeker is Christian, that should be a pretty solid hint that the Founders did not want the government giving special treatment to Christians - or any other religious faith.

The oaths for all offices must include "or affirm" to accommodate those who do not believe in swearing to God, or who don't believe in a God to swear to.

The claim that Christianity, promoted by the government, will enhance public morality, is utter hogwash. In fact, a better description might be that it strongly resembles the type of substances that get washed off of that hog.

The Constitution makes it very, very simple. People are free to worship - or not worship - as they damned well please. No man can EVER go to jail for being a member of the wrong church, or for such asinine "crimes" such as heresy, blasphemy, or idolatry.

No man can ever be taxed to support someone else's church. If Putsch pulls off his scheme to put public funds into church charities and schools, you should consider it your patriotic duty to stop paying taxes until this is remedied. Jefferson's promise to us all was that we would never be taxed on behalf of any church. Ever.

A lot of right wingers are trying to claim that "liberals" (the term right wingers use for ordinary Americans who believe in the Constitution) are trying to destroy Christianity, or are at least "anti-Christian". What makes them anti-Christian is that they don't allow "faith-based organizations, not specifically Christian" to be supported by tax dollars or granted special priviledges. That's right, folks: they simultaneously argue that they aren't trying to promote Christianity, but all faiths, and in the next breath, condemn those who oppose them as "anti-Christian."

The intellectual dishonesty of such apologetics is appalling under the best of circumstances. With this mad rush to establish a new theocracy in America, it's downright frightening.

We have a dangerous outlaw regime that is striving mightily to tear down the wall of separation that Thomas Jefferson considered the most vital element in a healthy society.

If you really love America, if you want this country to remain something more than a backward morass of religious gobbledegook and repulsive "public morality" laws, then hope that Newdow prevails in the Supreme Court.

And then hope that free people can prevail, and rid America of this neo-fascist regime that want to use our necks as their prayer mats.

Posted: January 20, 2004


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