What Students Dread Most About School: The Pledge!

Friday, September 16, 2005

"Anonymous" attempts to set the record straight on the pledge and its finding to be unconstitutional:

Lets be serious about this Two things;

First: There is no speech that is more coerced than the pledge of allegiance. If you can think of something, I would very much like to hear it, but it seems to me that to the extent that the First Amendment protects us from coerced/compelled speech (See West Virginia v. Barnette)
The problem with this argument is that "Anonymous" failed to explain how "no speech is more coerced than the pledge..." Sure we can come up with plenty of hypothetical scenarios about how a class full of patriotic students indirectly intimidates the lone naysayer, but until we see widespread reports of embarrassed students you can't walk around toting this myth while demanding your argument be credited.
Second: The Establishment clause does not simply protect us against the government 'establishing' religion. In Lemon v. Kurtzman, the Court determined that the requirements were 1) That the law have a secular purpose ; 2) That the law not advance or inhibit religion; and 3) that the law not foster 'excessive entaglement' (sic) with religion. This is the current test of the Establishment Clause, no matter what Justice Thomas wants it to be.
Actually Justice Thomas is in the perfect position to reinterpret the Establishment Clause, but that's neither her nor there.

The problem here is that "Anonymous" assumes "under God" is a religious reference in this context. By now, it is safe to say the pledge is a tradition, with philosophical principles; not religious. The purpose of the pledge is to pay homage to our nation; not a monotheistic God.

Just as Judge Roberts had to answer truthfully "so help you God" at his Senate hearings, and just as you had to make a sales transaction yesterday using currency imprinted with "In God We Trust," we are reminded on a daily basis that in this great nation we ultimately answer to a power far greater than any human on the planet. Whether it be the Pope or President Bush, something exists above them, even if it's the atheist or engine-design interpretation of the universe.

This is not a religious debate, and I fully expect the newly revamped Supreme Court to fix it.