Saturday, June 29, 2002
Well, this Pledge of Allegience ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has certainly gotten folks in a tizzy. Add to that the ruling by the Supreme's about vouchers, and you've got aspects of the long-awaited-by-many culture war within the USA.
And what great timing, eh? Right when we ought to be conducting an all-out war with the ones who want to decide who does what on this planet based on their not-too-ideosyncratic interpretation of Islam and its 5th century (Christian Era!) rules, we here in the USA get to deal with our internal inconsistencies in trying to reconcile overwhelming Judeo-Christian dominance of the culture (and by "Judeo-Christian", I mean the post-WWII three-part Protestant-(Roman) Catholic-Jewish religious framing of US civic culture) with our sometimes-ignored Constitutional prohibition on the establishment of religion.
Here's an idea. Let's go ahead an roll back the clock. Let's take active political steps to return the state of The Pledge and the motto of the US to what they were before those who wanted their beliefs to be the official beliefs of the US government got ahold of them. Remove "under God" from the official version of The Pledge, make "E Pluribus Unum" the official motto of the US Government, and take "In God We Trust" off of all US Currency and any other government documents and devices on which it appears.
Let's return to complete secular government with complete protection of individuals to practice their individual beliefs without government intrusion. And let's do it by using the political, not the judicial process. It is such a shame that since our politicians have been such total weenies in the face of lobbying pressure from religious institutions for fifty or sixty years now that individuals who are offended by the improper government adoption of such phrases have to resort to the judiciary for consideration of their grievences. (Yes, this is somewhat in contradiction to what I wrote previously. Further reflection sometimes results in such states of affairs.)
Given the situation with current politics, it is likely difficult for many individuals running on a Freedom from Establishment of Religion platform to get very far very quickly. But if we are ever to get back to reduce the undue influence religion in general (and certain particularly-vocal Christian sects, in particular) have over our government, politicians are going to have to start vigorously supporting the idea that the government of this nation is secular, makes no distinction betwen individuals who believe in zero, one, or multiple gods, and that it refuses to favor any one belief-based set of institutions over another.