View Full Version : Pledge Ban Set for March 10 in Nine States
Tue, 4th Mar '03, 2:24am
A ruling by a U.S. appeals court could force millions of students to stop reciting the Pledge of Allegiance within days if the controversial decision is not overturned by a higher court, legal experts said.
Public schools with some 9.6 million students in nine states have until March 10 to stop reciting the pledge after the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals backed its prior ruling that the words "under God" in the pledge are a government endorsement of religion. Those states are Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
If Friday's decision by the 9th Circuit Court is not stayed by the appellate court or by a U.S. Supreme Court order, it will take effect and may set up a challenge in the high court, the experts said.
"The 9th Circuit Court took the unusual step of saying they would not entertain any more requests for a rehearing," said Vikram Amar, a professor of law at the University of California's Hastings College of Law in San Francisco.
"I construe that as a message the 9th Circuit is done with this case and moving it in the direction of the Supreme Court."
However, if the high court does take up the 9th Circuit Court's decision, it may not result a dramatic final ruling in the controversial area of church and state separation, Amar told Reuters.
"It's hard to see more than a few votes on the Supreme Court to support what the 9th Circuit Court did," Amar said.
"The high court could reverse the 9th Circuit and have a very narrow ruling on 'religion-lite' that says opaque references like this to religion that we've lived with for a long time do not violate the establishment clause."
The words "under God" were added to the pledge in 1954 through a federal law amid a Cold War push to distinguish the United States from an atheistic Soviet Union.
Groups supporting the separation of church and state praised the San Francisco-based appellate court's decision, supporting a law suit filed in 2000 by Sacramento, California atheist Michael Newdow.
In his suit against the Elk Grove Unified School District, Newdow challenged the pledge, contending it coerced his elementary school-age daughter and claiming the pledge violated the separation of church and state because it discriminated against atheists.
The 9th Circuit Court's initial June 2002 ruling backing the claims touched off a furor across the country, where the famously liberal San Francisco court was accused of taking a hammer to a pillar of U.S. civic society and bowing to political correctness run amok.
President Bush called the decision "ridiculous," while the U.S. Senate voted 99-0 for a resolution expressing support for the pledge.
The Justice Department joined the White House, the U.S. Congress, State of California and others in asking the 9th Circuit to reconsider its initial ruling that schoolchildren could no longer recite the pledge because of the phrase "one nation under God."
The court's decision rejected the pleas and immediately drew criticism from U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.
"The Justice Department will spare no effort to preserve the rights of all our citizens to pledge allegiance to the American flag," Ashcroft said.
"We will defend the ability of Americans to declare their patriotism through the time-honored tradition of voluntarily reciting the pledge."Any questions, comments or reactions?
Tue, 4th Mar '03, 5:48am
Well, why not just remove the "under God" phrase?
Tue, 4th Mar '03, 8:18am
As if they'd be that simple and thoughtful. I just can't see why they can't make it an optional line, that way if Christians want to say it they can, and if everyone else doesn't want to say it then they don't have to
Tue, 4th Mar '03, 12:32pm
It would be about time imo. The god phrase does not matter to me but the whole pledge reeks of old fashioned over the top nationalism with a tint of brainwashing.
Tue, 4th Mar '03, 4:45pm
Can you just refuse to say the pledge??
Tue, 4th Mar '03, 9:35pm
This will probably shock some of you who are used to seeing my posts.
Bush is dead wrong on this one. The US Constitution clearly states the separation of church and state. The Christian right wants to run out the argument that the founding fathers meant the freedom of how you want to worship god, and that America was established as a Christian nation, but it simply doesn't work that way. It is fully within the legislatures authority to make every US citizen say the pledge every day, but they cannot include the "under god" in that or it would be unconstitutional.
I personally do not think that the pledge necessary needs to be said every day, or even at all, unless you are becoming a citizen of the US. However, I also believe that flag burning is a statement of expatriation, and that anyone who is witnessed by 2 people burning their nations flag should be stripped of their citizenship and have 30 days to settle their affairs and leave the country. If it is a foreign national burning the flag of the nation he is standing in, he should receive an immediate escort to the nearest airport or detention facility until such time as he can arrange transport to another country.
If a person is of the mood, and is feeling especially patriotic, they should by all means say a pledge or sing their national anthem. There are times when this happens, for instance at an air show, political speech, sporting event, whatever. Anyone who doesn't wish to participate should still stand and be respectful, even foreign nationals. (This same courtesy should be given if a prayer is being said, even if you do not participate or believe in that religion.) If you cannot show enough respect to stand quietly for a national anthem or other form of show of patriotism, then you should leave that country.
Tue, 4th Mar '03, 9:46pm
I can think of nice sign at all the entrances into the States
Welcome to the land of freedom... now say the pledge, shut up or get lost!!
Tue, 4th Mar '03, 10:12pm
If that was aimed at me, I either was not clear or you misunderstood. I don't think anyone should be forced to say the pledge unless you are becoming a citizen. Then I believe that it is the oath, or one of the oaths that you take.
Tue, 4th Mar '03, 10:14pm
I dont think you should be forced to say the pledge in either cases
Tue, 4th Mar '03, 10:53pm
Actually you are right, you shouldn't be forced. It should be considered a privilege to say it if you are becoming a citizen, just as becoming a citizen is a privilege.
Don't want to say the pledge, don't try to become a US citizen. Makes perfect sense.
Tue, 4th Mar '03, 11:53pm
I don't mind the pledge; I can recite it in English (and in French too! ;) ), and it is likely that 99% of my fellow students can too. But I will say that it is not certainly a brainwashing exercise.
The pledge is drilled in the heads of the students, but I'll bet that few are actually saying the pledge with true belief. They stand up, say it, and get back to work. I rarely see any real dedication in my classmates when they recite the pledge.
Of course, I know plenty of people who do not recite the pledge. One of my friends, an atheist, does not say the words "under God". I do not say the pledge because I am not an American citizen and because I do not feel it would be right for me to pledge myself to a country. However, neither me or my friend has been reprimanded for not saying (all of) the pledge.
I hardly see the pledge as a big issue. If you feel you shouldn't pledge allegiance to America, then don't. I doubt any teacher will be harsh on you for not saying it. However, I think that you should at least maintain a passing respect for your country.
Wed, 5th Mar '03, 12:04am
I pledge allegiance to God.
Wed, 5th Mar '03, 5:45am
Does this meant that the U.S. Mint is going to remove the "Under God" phrase from money?
Since this is such a big issue, I think the government should let us vote on whether they should keep it, or remove it. :rolling:
Wed, 5th Mar '03, 10:02am
The thing is when the country was founded, I don't remember reading in any history books (or anywhere for that matter) of non-christian religions coming to this country. So in that case, saying "Under God" or "One Nation Under God" was not a problem. For all intents and purposes, God was the same in all the religions.
Today there is so many different religions and so many 'gods' and they aren't all called God either.
But I do agree that since we do claim to have freedom of religion in this country, that also means if you want to live here, you need to be tolerant of other people's beliefs. If someone wants to recite the pledge, or pray before a meal, or sing the national anthem before a sporting event, and you don't, be respectful and let them do it. If someone wants to get on their knees at a certain time and face a certain direction during the day, let them. Be respectful and don't interrupt them. Its actually not that difficult.
I don't know how it is in schools today, but I remember, and my wife does too, in school if you didn't say the Pledge of Allegiance with the rest of the class in the morning, you got in trouble. Big trouble.
[ March 06, 2003, 09:06: Message edited by: Elios ]
Wed, 5th Mar '03, 10:03am
I didn't hear the full story, but I managed to catch a radio news item yesterday that the court that made the decision (US 9th Circuit?) was going to stay enforcement. Surf National Public Radio (http://www.npr.org) for more info.
Wed, 5th Mar '03, 12:31pm
First, just because I'm not sure everyone is clear on this: know what happens if you are a citizen of the U.S. and refuse to say the pledge? Drumroll........ nothing. You're not required to say it. You're not required to stand for it, take off your hat etc. If, let's say hypothetically, a public school were to in some manner punish you for not saying the pledge then congratulations, you are now a proud owner of a cause of action.
Second, and this is off topic but a response to above -- loss of citizenship for burning the flag? So much for that whole first Amendment thing eh?
Wed, 5th Mar '03, 6:08pm
There is a stay on enforcement (pretty sane decision by the 9th circuit if you ask me), and I cannot fathom how someone can harmonize the first amendment with a requirement that people say the pledge (or a ban on flag burning). Folks, it's a free country (really it is) over here. If someone wants to say the pledge with the under God language, great. If they want to say it without the language, great. If they don't want to say it, equally great. I have issues if someone wants to drop to his or her knees in the middle of, say, a science class in order to extoll the virtues of creationism, but only from the perspective of the disruption to the class. The person's beliefs are entirely his or her own. The less involvement the government has in our beliefs and everyday lives, the happier I am.
Thu, 6th Mar '03, 4:53am
I say the pledge as it was originally written, before the alterations that were a side effect of the Cold War. Personally, I think that the original version ought to be reinstated.
Also, is anyone aware that the proper way to dispose of a flag that is no longer fit to display is to burn it? Yeppers.
Thu, 6th Mar '03, 6:49am
I'm trying to remember my Boy Scout days. Yes, to properly dispose of the American Flag, you are to burn it. However, there is a certain ceremonial way in whic you are to do it. Not hang it on a pole, pour lighter fluid on it and light it up.
Big difference there.
Joacqin,that old fashioned over the top nationalism with a tint of brainwashing.(is first of all not brainwashing) is what has kept our country strong for over 200 years. Maybe you don't have a sense of nationalism or respect for your country. But I do for mine. Please don't insult my country or my patriotism.
I peldge allegiance to the flag,
of the United States of America.
And to the republic, for which it stands
One nation, under God
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
God bless America!
History of the pledge
[ March 06, 2003, 09:19: Message edited by: Elios ]
Thu, 6th Mar '03, 6:04pm
I do not respect imaginary borders on a map. I may respect people and sometimes even ideals but I cannot respect any country really. I can be proud of the history of the people that lived where I live before me and sense a belonging with the community but I do not respect any country just like that, especially not a fledgling new country who still does its best to brainwash and control its citizens with a sense of nationalism and dangerous patriotism just as the european states in the early 20th century, and I trust you know what that lead to?
But I respect individual people and a system that lets its citizens have reasonable freedom and which does its best to take of its citizens but that is its obligation and sole reason for existing that does not make me feel love or respect for the state of USA and nor do I feel any love for the state of Sweden or whatever else as they are only doing what they are supposed to do and if they werent doing that they have no reason at all to exist.
Fri, 7th Mar '03, 7:22am
I will only recite the pledge in the form prior to the 1954 revision.