Sunday, March 14, 2010


Other than Barack Obama, homosexuals, and taxes, there's nothing Republicans hate more than "activist judges;" and there's no kind of judge more revered by them than a "strict constructionist." So you'd think there'd be outrage from the right at the decision just rendered by that most "liberal" of federal appeals courts, the Ninth Circuit, seated in San Francisco. I'm waiting.

The case was about the inclusion of the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Not a problem, they ruled, 2-1. Clearly, there's not a strictly-constructed, non-activist argument to be made. So what the judge said was this:
"The Pledge of Allegiance serves to unite our vast nation through the proud recitation of some of the ideals upon which our Republic was founded... [The Pledge] is a recognition of our founders' political philosophy that a power greater than the government gives the people their inalienable rights... Thus, the pledge is an endorsement of our form of government, not of religion or any particular sect.

Now, it seems to me, no matter what one's opinion of the Pledge might be, it's impossible to see those words as any sort of Constitutional argument. It's pure opinion (and not a little purple prose.) It's an argument ex cathedra; it's an attempt to rationalize a preconceived conclusion. Activism, in other words, at its most undisguised. Wrote the dissenting judge: "Under no sound legal analysis adhering to binding Supreme Court precedent could this court uphold state-directed, teacher-led, daily recitation of the 'under God' version of the Pledge of Allegiance by children in public schools."

I was ten when The Pledge changed to include those two words, and my recollection is dim. I recall less about my own feelings which, I'd guess, were somewhere between neutral and puzzled, than I do about my parents' reaction. They were upset. And that was at a time when they were sending me to Sunday School.

It's a position that some people will never understand. Too subtle. Not a winnable argument (which is not to say unimportant, as they march, crosses in hand, toward my door). But anyone should be able, with only a minimum of thought, to recognize that the decision just rendered, on whatever else it might be based, had nothing to do with Constitutional law.


  1. "Nothing to do with Constitutional law"?
    Oh you mean like Roe v Wade?
    Which I'm all for BTW, can you imagine the Global Warming, I mean Blizzards, We'd have with 60+ million more slobs drivin cars, breathing out 250ml/CO2/minute? And its probably more like 70 million when you realize some of the fetuses from 1973 would be grandparents by now...
    And did you know Slavery's mentioned more in the Constitution than God? In fact the only reference to the big guy's at the end, where they signed there names...
    It says "In the year of our LORD, 17-whatever"
    You went to Sunday School?? Thought you were a fellow Christ Killer...


  2. Like Roe v. Wade? Yes. Which is exactly my point. (Although in R v W they actually did make constitutional arguments: privacy, in particular.) Activism: another word for hypocrisy.

  3. "And did you know Slavery's mentioned more in the Constitution than God?"

    That's because God isn't mentioned in the Constitution at all.

    By the way, the constitution didn't mention slavery until the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified. Before that it used "free persons" and the the disgracefully euphemistic phrase "other persons" (Article I, sect. 2).

    Anyone who thinks the framers were incapable of cowardice hasn't read the Constitution closely.

  4. What is the big deal?

    Why do people get all bent out of shape because God is mentioned?

    We said it that way in school. I never knew of anyone that was offended by it.

    Our court system is based on the Judeo/Christian ethic.

    Congress opens with prayer.
    The president places his hand on a Bible when sworn in.

    People place their hand on a bible when they swear they will tell the truth in court.

    In God we trust is on our coins.

    It is part of our heritage.

    But the beautiful thing about our country is that we are all *free to believe* as we wish. Turn away from what we don't like.

    It baffled me when I heard that a government building in Alabama and a school in the midwest was forced to take down the Ten Commandments that had been in their lobby from the beginning because some people were offended. We say we are concerned about the values our kids have and yet people are offended because they might read..Thou shalt not kill, steal, covet, commit adultery, lie, and to honor your mother and father and I forget the rest.

    If someone doesn't believe in God.. ignore it. What are some people upset about and why take the comfort or guidance that it gives others away. It doesn't inspire people to kill others and do wrong, but rather possibly inspires good.

    I think it is very sad. I grew up with Judeo/Christain values as the norm in our society and it grieves me to see thees things torn down.

    I am very grateful I grew up in a more wholesome God/family valued time. My family life was sad with parents divorcing (unheard of then) and things I went through ..but life over all had a much better feel to it than now... with so much violence and perversions going on. And there's always been violence and perhaps we just didn't hear about it because we didn't have satellites and the instant news we have today. But there was also a time where a handshake meant something could trust people ..leave your doors open, etc. Kids could leave in the morning outside all day and come back at night. Now ..I don't know any parents that would ever let their kids do that... and we didn't with our sons in the 80s and 90s.

    Is invoking God into something really so bad?

  5. Dr S - I assume your "Texas" Comment is about George Bush.

    But that doesn't settle anything for me.

    This was going on for years and has nothing to do with Bush.

    I sincerely don't understand what the big deal is about the 10 commandments in a school or government building. Or singing a Christmas song. We've always done these things. The next thing you know the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" won't be pc anymore... because someone will take offense at it.

    These things have always been a part of our heritage. People have flocked to this country ..including my grandparents... and were not put off by the Judeo/Christian values ..that our court system is based on and is part of our heritage. People have been willing to die ..just to have the opportunity to live in this country.

    A minority of people fuss and sue over these things and ruin it for the majority. And many people are comforted by the notion of God. Why would someone want to destroy that ..just because *they* don't believe in God? Look the other way.

    It would be one thing if God was never honored or mentioned in our government and in this country... but that is not the case. God has been honored since the beginning. The first settlers came here to escape religious persecution and worship freely. Thanksgiving-they thanked God for their bountiful blessings. Even my husband's family has been here since the 16oos. They were Huguenots who came here fleeing from religious persecution in France.

    For a while (80s/90s forget when exactly), students weren't aloud to bring their own Bible to school or gather with friends on school grounds to pray... or have a Bible study. I'm not talking about teachers teaching but rather student rights.

    Now students *can* pray on school grounds and bring a Bible to school if they want to ..but it had to be fought in the Supreme Court first. How backwards was that? It never should have been an issue.

    I am saddened at how much morals and compassion have declined since I was a kid which was 60s and 70s. We weren't saints of course ..I mean society as a whole. People were more respectful,had manners, and overall it was more wholesome. Now law suits abound ..loyal workers are expendable, pensions and retirement can't be counted on and people will watch a girl being gang raped and not call for help when they have cell phones with them.

    Of course there are a lot of good people with values ..but the societal trend seems more callus and me first mentality... and pretty raunchy sometimes. I'm not a prude but things kids are subjected to on a daily basis on tv and in movies are not values I'd want my kids or grand kids to have. It's hard to maintain a child's youth and innocence because of things flaunted at them in the media. Sexually explicit and also violence. You have to be vigilant with the evening news even ..because you don't know when some heinous violent act will be broadcast.

    I think this being upset God is mentioned in the Pledge of Allegiance is ridiculous. Seriously ..what is it hurting? How are you hurt by that? I do not know anyone who is worse off for having said "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

    I do not understand ..why some people (minority)want to *undo* what has always been a part of our heritage as a nation.

    And what good comes from it?

    How does it benefit our nation and her people?

    And what is so awful that someone may actually feel a bit more of a moral compass by being reminded about God? not everyone needs that ..but what is the harm if a student is influenced to be a better person because of God?

    It just seems to me that of all the things to be challenged in this country isn't God.

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  7. Seaspray, for someone with lots of opinions you sure don't know much.

    My Texas comment had NOTHING to do with George Bush. Texas just did something really scary. Might not have been covered on Fox "news" so you might have to, you know, find a way to get real information, and then, worst of all, think about it without first being told how to think about it.

    Seriously. It's amazing how often you express opinion and then when asked about it, you say you really don't know much about the subject.

    Consider it a project.

  8. LOL! DR S!

    There you go AGAIN!

    You are correct about my not knowing what is going on least with this Texas thing you speak of. I have no idea what you're talking about and I have not been following the news as closely... by choice ..just taking a break.

    So is my project to try to find out what scary thing happened in Texas?

    I did hear about the Mexican border violence.

    And I heard that Cindy Sheehan is setting up in Washington,D C to protest the current administration's policies on the war in Afghanistan.

    And I know the big healthcare vote is supposed to occur soon.

    But ...I pulled away for a bit.

    Been watching Grey's, 24 and sitcoms and blogging. It feels good. Btw - I think "Modern Family" Wednesday nites - 9pm est is hilarious. :)

    But you still didn't answer my question on how the things I asked about hurt you and/or other people?

    And why having a theological moral compass is a bad thing?

    Instead do what you always do with me when you can't answer a question accuse me of watching FOX and only FOX and no other programming but FOX... so help you God. ;)

    It is your pattern to shout FOX when you don't know what else to say. And it's your pattern to tell *me* how and why I think.

    I am smiling as I type this. Not sarcastically ..but the humor in this does not escape me.

    Okay ..fine ..when I have a chance ..later ..I will look for the scary Texas thing... and perhaps the answer is in my assigned project... assuming I have the same interpretation as you do.

    If I created a Dr Sid doll he'd have the capability to speak. Pull a string or press his tummy and he shout "FOX!"

    I'd much rather he be dressed as a surgeon(scrubs) tho and talked in surgeon lingo. :)

  9. I understand everything I've said here is pretty subtle; in the post, and in the comments. Still, it should be possible for you to get some of it. I'm NOT telling you what to think. I express opinions, and back them up with fact. I'm suggesting that you TRY to think. When you say something, back it up. Don't just retreat into admitting you don't know what you're talking about. It's beneath you.

    And I DID answer your question. Here's what I said:



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