ONE NATION UNDER SCRUTINY
Antonio Hernández, IBA
Jefferson, for example, wrote a great deal about God, yet he was an atheist.
is a pleasant shock that one of the U.S.s circuit appellate
courts is reviewing the Pledge of Allegiance, hoping to remove the
words "under God", which were inserted by President Eisenhower
in 1952. The court may very well succeed in implementing the change,
in certain states. It all started when a Californian atheist recently
became angry, because his 2nd-grade daughter was forced to recite
the Pledge at school.
The federal appellate
court, reversing the lower court, ruled that "under God" is
an infringement upon First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. They ruled
that it is an example of mixing church and state, thus violating our establishment
and neutrality clauses. Many other people, however, are screaming bloody
murder, including most judges and politicians.
We know that the Founding Fathers acknowledged a higher power. In some
cases this was heartfelt; mostly it was mere pandering, just as it is
today. Thomas Jefferson, for example, wrote a great deal about God, yet
he was an atheist. He wrote that he couldnt find any difference
between "our peculiar Christian superstition" and any other
superstition he had studied. Justice Felix Frankfurter wrote at the beginning
of the Cold War that the separation of church and state "is a wall',
and not a thin line over which the government or courts can dance at whim.
The Founding Fathers had this very idea uppermost in mind: their fear
was that a particular religious group would seize power of the United
States, and such a scenario easily met their definition of "tyranny".
We know from the Communists that it is horrible tyranny to force atheism.
What makes forcing God any different? The United States was not founded
by an order of monks or a specific church. The freedom to believe or not
was one of the prime motivators in our fight for independence. It was
that knowledge, knowing one could believe whatever one wished without
repercussion, that inspired all Americans to fight for freedom. Yet today,
any American who separates "God" from "country" is
considered a traitor. Only a few months ago, a former Federal Circuit
Appeals Court judge went so far as to claim that "separation of church
and state was meant to keep the corruption of the state from touching
the sanctity of the church"!
At the end of the day, my only real problem is with the definition of
the Pledge. When we say "under God", it is a prayer, which renders
it illegal if people are coerced in public to recite it. No other words
in the Pledge carry the loaded ambiguity of "under God". Remove
the words and it becomes what its supposed to be: our pledge of
allegiance to our flag and the nation it represents. Then, anyone can
say the nation is under anything they want
as long as I dont
have to say it too.
"Christian" is not meant to be a prerequisite for American citizenship,
and "God" is not meant to be Americas primary leader.
Yet we never learn. On September 11, 2001, Usama bin Laden and his Al-Qaida
thugs amply demonstrated what ultimately comes of the concept of "one
nation, under God".
© Rev Antonio Hernandez IBA July 2002
Rev Antonio Hernandez unravels the mythology of Star Wars
To be a good person is to think, speak, act, work, study and live in the
of the Giggles
Reverend Antonio Hernández
on STAR WARS
we are treated to a cartoon Yoda, hopping about like an angel-dusted Kermit
Antonio Hernández IBA
Lustiger, cardinal and Archbishop of Paris, is this front-runner in the
soon-to-be-held conclave to elect the next pope.
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