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We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others. — Will Rogers

Supreme Court Upholds Pledge 2004.06.15.01:35

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court on Monday allowed millions of schoolchildren to keep affirming loyalty to one nation "under God" but dodged the underlying question of whether the Pledge of Allegiance is an unconstitutional blending of church and state.

This is going to come as a shock to many people who know me, but I am very heartened and supportive of this decision. I felt like the initial ruling by the district court was over-reaching in its definition of state-sponsorship of religion. The fact that it painted the bay area in an even more-kooky light than we're already viewed in didn't help, either. I felt like the father in question was looking for an excuse to make a highly-media-visible case.

More to the point, I agree with Rehnquist (and check your calendars, because this happens so rarely it could be a trivia question if I ever become famous). I feel that the phrase itself, "one nation under God", is largely (if not purely) ceremonial. It has no more specific endorsement of Christianity than having "In God We Trust" on our currency. (Granted, I know of elements who are just as adamant about removing that as well, though not so devoted as to take their protest to the point of shunning the currency itself.) I think that if you could demonstrate that any children really and truly associated the pledge with promotion of any church, that might be different. But I know that as a 10-year-old in 1978, I was way more aware of "Star Wars" than I was the words of the pledge. It was just something we all stood and mumbled our way through each morning in class.

I will accept that there are people who do stop and consider the words. But we already have precedent-setting rulings that allow a child to not say the pledge if they choose not to. But then I read that the father has custody only 10 days a month, and that the mother actually prefers that the girl be allowed to go on about day-to-day school without the pledge being an issue. And I read that he argued that each day the girl hears the pledge, "a teacher tells her, in effect, that her father is wrong." That's just too much like an ego issue for me to feel very sympathetic. The mother has it right– that the father is free to fight the pledge on his own, but that he shouldn't be dragging their daughter into it.

As a self-identifying agnostic, his brand of atheist just annoys the hell out of me.

# [/politics/religion]

Who Am I:
Randy J. Ray
Software Engineer


Buy my book!

Programming Web Services with Perl

I've also contributed three chapters to:

Computer Science & Perl Programming

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Reading and Re-reading
· The Annotated Thursday: G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Would Be Thursday, G.K. Chesterton, Martin Gardner
· The Feeling Good Handbook, David D. Burns
· Organizing From the Inside Out, Julie Morgenstern
· XML Schema, Eric Van Der Vlist
· BEEP: The Definitive Guide, Marshall T. Rose

High in the queue
· Silk, Caitlin R. Kiernan
· Coldheart Canyon, Clive Barker
· Idoru, William Gibson
· Shared Source CLI Essentials, David Stutz, Ted Neward, Geoff Shilling

Recently finished
· Planetary Vol. 3: Leaving the 20th Century, Warren Ellis, et al

Recommended favorites
· The Cowboy Wally Show, Kyle Baker
· Lost Souls, Poppy Z. Brite
· The Alienist, Caleb Carr
· Quarantine, Greg Egan
· The Authority: Relentless, Warren Ellis et al.
· Planetary: All Over the World and Other..., Warren Ellis et al.
· American Gods, Neil Gaiman
· Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
· Neuromancer, William Gibson
· A Philosophical Investigation, Philip Kerr
· Say You Want a Revolution (The Invisibles, Book 1), Grant Morrison et al
· You Are Worthless: Depressing Nuggets of..., Oswald T. Pratt and Scott Dickers
· Cryptonomicon, Neil Stephenson
· Rising Stars : Born In Fire (Vol. 1), J. Michael Straczynski

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