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One nation, under FSM
September 14, 2005 11:43 AM   Subscribe

Judge rules Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional in public schools and pastafarians unite with their noodly appendages. The "under god" bit added to the pledge in 1954 to combat the red menace is seen as unconstitutional. I'm sure most of the country will take this news well, with a calming heart and calm head.
posted by mathowie (81 comments total)

 
I for one AM taking this news well, and with a calm head... How did you know I would do that?

This is good news..
posted by HuronBob at 11:49 AM on September 14, 2005


Damnit, matt. I was going to post this as I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the united states of america, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

And it would have ruled.

Seriously, the pledge as it is stupid. Poetry by committee is always a bad idea, really. "one nation" and "indivisible" go together.

The SCOTUS ruled that the father involved wasn't actually an aggrieved party due to custody issues. They were stupid if they though this wouldn't crop up again...

It's certainly going to be an issue in upcoming confirmation issues.
posted by delmoi at 11:52 AM on September 14, 2005


Hurricanes are the direct result of giving atheists and the gays free rein over America. Hasn't Lady Liberty has suffered enough?
posted by Rothko at 11:52 AM on September 14, 2005


I remember in 1961, or somewhere around there. . .the under god part was removed from California schools for a time. No one else I know has that memory but I could not have been imagining it.
posted by Danf at 11:54 AM on September 14, 2005


get ready for a new Communist surge in California...
posted by hellbient at 11:55 AM on September 14, 2005


The Right is going to have a field day.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:56 AM on September 14, 2005


Good news for Bush.
posted by grouse at 11:59 AM on September 14, 2005


I never knew that the "under God" bit was an edit.
posted by loquacious at 12:00 PM on September 14, 2005


In principle, a good thing. In how this will be used to advance red state political agendas, a bad thing.
posted by mania at 12:01 PM on September 14, 2005


I remember as a kid I saw an old Looney Tunes cartoon on TV about learning the importance of the Pledge of Allegiance... it was before the Under God addition and as I was about eight at the time I didn't understand why the cartoon characters kept forgetting a line. It would be a funny thing to show nowadays when people start whining that restoring the pledge to its pre-Commie-hysteria edition is some kind of affront to national unity.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:02 PM on September 14, 2005


What else should we expect from those damn Pastafarian? What kind of sauce is the FSM made of? Tomato! Red to the core!
posted by RakDaddy at 12:05 PM on September 14, 2005


I, for one, welcome our new legislating judicial overlords. I mean, not like they can do any worse than the bozos we pay do do the same job,
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:09 PM on September 14, 2005


I never knew that the "under God" bit was an edit.

As is "In God We Trust", IIRC
posted by thanotopsis at 12:09 PM on September 14, 2005


I ple e alle iance t the Fla
f the Unite States f America,
an t the Republic f r which it stan s:
ne Nati n un er , in ivisible,
With Liberty an Justice f r all.
posted by brownpau at 12:10 PM on September 14, 2005


The original pledge was "I pledge allegiance to my flag, and to the republic for witch it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty, justice, and equality for all"
posted by delmoi at 12:11 PM on September 14, 2005


good news for Bush, yes. finally an important issue to debate.
I mean, who cares about Katrina and Iraq when Christians are being persecuted by activist judges?
thank God the Roberts Court will take care of all this

(not to mention, there'll be more righteous anger against the God-hating, terrahist-appeasing, fag-loving liberals who, also, look French. good stuff. maybe not as funny as the Terry Schiavo thingie, but pretty good nonetheless)


anyway let's hear it from il maestro:
Those in favor of "under God" have made the point that the Declaration of Independence has three references to God and that it is sort of a second preamble to the Constitution. That's a nice thought, but it's not true. Thomas Jefferson was writing a specific indictment of King George III and of the notion that a hereditary monarch with an established church and religion could be the absolute master of a people 3,000 miles away with, potentially, many gods unlike the one by whom the king had been divinely anointed. God was on Jefferson's mind when he wrote his notification to the king that we were no longer his subjects.

It's nicely ironic that the pledge's "under God" (added by Congress in 1954) and our currency's "In God We Trust" (added in 1955) were duly blessed by President Eisenhower: "In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future...." In 1952 a fellow West Pointer teased Eisenhower that he would, if elected president, have to start going to church for the first time since childhood. "The only way they'll ever get me into a church will be feet first," Ike said grimly.

-- Gore Vidal
posted by matteo at 12:12 PM on September 14, 2005


As is "In God We Trust", IIRC

In god we trust was always on the money, although it was removed from some gold coins because the president though they would be used for prostitution and gambling!
posted by delmoi at 12:12 PM on September 14, 2005


The U.S. Treasury has a fact sheet on the use of "In God We Trust" on U.S. currency.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:14 PM on September 14, 2005


21. And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly:
22. Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?
23. But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me?
24. Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's.
25. And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's.
26. And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace.
Luke 20:21-26
posted by alumshubby at 12:14 PM on September 14, 2005


I pledge allegiance to the Flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands:
one nation under the Flying Spaghetti Monster, indivisible,
with strippers and beer volcanoes for all.

On preview: everybody knows that Katrina was caused by global warming, and there's a direct causal relationship between global warming and declining numbers of pirates.
posted by mullingitover at 12:16 PM on September 14, 2005


They were stupid if they though this wouldn't crop up again...

They knew. They were just hoping that we could do the civil thing and settle it without court rulings. It was worth a shot.

I remember hearing an account of the proceedings on the radio. There were cheers in the courtroom when the father of the girl in question answered that everyone knew an Atheist couldn't be elected to public office; Rhenquist was said to have blanched, and shouted that if there was another outburst he'd have the room cleared for the remainder of the arguments.

Observers remarked that he seemed genuinely shocked that the issue was volatile enough to upset Court decorum. I've wondered, since the judgement came down, whether that made up his mind to put it off. What CJ wants his term defined by something like that?
posted by lodurr at 12:18 PM on September 14, 2005


Thank God they took the "equality" out. Can't have too much of that or we might as well be Norway.
posted by QuietDesperation at 12:19 PM on September 14, 2005


I won't pledge allegiance to any rag,regardless of wether it is the one of the United States of America, one nation under no god, divided, with liberty and justice for those who can afford it.
posted by NewBornHippy at 12:29 PM on September 14, 2005


What would actually be sweet is if it did go to the SCOTUS and Roberts upheld/supported this ruling. What would Bush et al think then

I am ambivliant about the fellow, and I think it is unclear how he would rule on such a case.
posted by edgeways at 12:30 PM on September 14, 2005


I'm certain all our fundamentalist friends will understand that pledging allegiance to a symbol of nationalism, with or without the "under God" part, is nothing less than heresy and idolatry. Yes?
posted by nofundy at 12:36 PM on September 14, 2005


F the Pledge of Allegiance. Whether or not it contains "under God" is immaterial; it's indoctrination conveyed through mind-numbingly bad poetry.

Two things I loathe.

Yet being atheist, I also heartily support anything that keeps church and the state as far apart as possible.
posted by Floach at 12:38 PM on September 14, 2005


Take that Francis Bellamy!
posted by dwordle at 12:45 PM on September 14, 2005


More judicial activism. When will judges stop legislating from the bench?
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 12:47 PM on September 14, 2005


Does anyone else object to the whole idea of the Pledge, not just the god part? I mean, I'm all for being loyal to one's country (much more so than to whatever people happen to be governing it) but using mandatory loyalty oaths to indoctrinate little kids who don't even know what half the words mean...just always gave me the creeps.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 12:47 PM on September 14, 2005


I pledge allegiance to the Constitution of the United States of America, and to the principles for which it stands, one nation, many peoples, indivisible, with liberty, justice and equality for all.

So there.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:48 PM on September 14, 2005


Karl Marx's inadequate understanding of spirituality is the root of this whole problem.

The only religions Marx knew much about were mainstream Christianity and Judaism. Based on that, he decided that all religions were simply lies and frauds - "opium for the masses".

Hence the Russian and Chinese Communists tended to ignore or deride all forms of spirituality - a very grave error, not only in terms of personal happiness, but also in terms of gaining support from uneducated, often deeply religious, peasants.

One consequence was that the wealthy parasites known as the American Right, desperate to find a convincing argument against communism, seized on religion. Up to that point, the American Government had been devoutly secular, as specified by the Constitution.

In 1954, however, Eisenhower's advisers decided to make the US an officially Christian country. This supported their increasingly violent rhetoric portraying the USA as the defender of the faith, while accusing Communists (with some justification) of being "ungodly" and "anti-Christian".

It also helped to justify the mass extermination and impoverishment campaigns ("war" is not the correct word) which America subsequently launched against the democratically elected communists in Vietnam, among other countries.

If only Marx had studied with the Society of Friends before writing Das Kapital, how different it might have been!

(/history lesson)
posted by cleardawn at 12:49 PM on September 14, 2005


/ramen.
posted by wah at 12:49 PM on September 14, 2005


Does anyone else object to the whole idea of the Pledge, not just the god part?

Yes.
Like I said above, it's heresy and idolatry if you're a fundie.
It's possibly mind numbingly stupid to you if you're not.
posted by nofundy at 12:57 PM on September 14, 2005


I always think it's odd that a nation where religious belief is so widely held can have such a stark division on such a comparatively small symbolic issue.

Here in secular England, where even in 1940 Orwell could write about "the sort of frozen disgust that most people feel when they hear the word God", our currency's only inscription is:

Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God Queen, Defender of the Faith

And, of course, we have a state Church. Perhaps it only matters if it matters, and here it just doesn't matter any more. (Paging Rev. Falwell - smiting on row F, please)
posted by athenian at 12:59 PM on September 14, 2005


Yes.
Like I said above...


Sorry, must've missed your comment :).
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 1:01 PM on September 14, 2005


Does anyone else object to the whole idea of the Pledge, not just the god part?

Heck, there are people who object to the pledge because of their religious beliefs -- people who won't pledge their allegiance to anything, or anything but their god. JoHos are in that group, IIRC.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:04 PM on September 14, 2005


I think the pledge is, at best, uncomfortable, and the G-d part, offensive.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:05 PM on September 14, 2005


When I was in elementary school we all loudly said fag instead of flag and dog instead of god. It annoyed our teacher, and this one really obnoxious religious kid, so it was a good thing.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:05 PM on September 14, 2005


I'm pretty sure it's "opiate of the masses." I think heroin is the opium of the masses. [/drug humor]
posted by OmieWise at 1:07 PM on September 14, 2005


I...

agree...

with ParisParamus.





wtf.
posted by wakko at 1:10 PM on September 14, 2005


I...

agree...

with ParisParamus.





wtf.
posted by wakko at 1:10 PM PST on September 14 [!]


posted by mullingitover at 1:16 PM on September 14, 2005


Well, I suppose most kids are just mouthing sounds they don't understand, at least up to a certain age, so they can't really be indoctrinated. I for one thought America was invisible till I was about ten. But then, I was a moron.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 1:21 PM on September 14, 2005


I always liked to say "One Nation, under the sky, with liberty and justice for all. A man."

My teachers never liked me.
posted by fenriq at 1:24 PM on September 14, 2005


I think we should stick with the Whole FSM thing, but with Parmesan cheese. It just ain't spaghetti without the Parmesan. And any of you who don't agree with this most basic tenet of the Parmesanian Church of the FSM are heretics, HERETICS I say!

/lame satire
/derail
/noise
posted by mmahaffie at 1:29 PM on September 14, 2005


Point out to the fundamentalists that they are worshipping a false idol, expressly forbidden by the ten commandments. Their heads should explode from trying to reconcile that with their so-called "patriotism."
posted by NucleophilicAttack at 1:34 PM on September 14, 2005


I always liked:

"...one nation, under Canada, indivisible..."
posted by jasper411 at 1:36 PM on September 14, 2005


I prefer the Matt Groening version

I plead alignment to the flakes
of the untitled snakes of a merry cow
and to the Republicans
for which they scam
one nacho
underpants
with licorice
and jugs of wine
for owls

posted by Clay201 at 2:00 PM on September 14, 2005


That's the best!
posted by agregoli at 2:02 PM on September 14, 2005


Question for religious people: How is the pledge not Idol worship?
posted by delmoi at 2:12 PM on September 14, 2005


I for one thought America was invisible till I was about ten. But then, I was a moron.

As a kid I used to think America was this giant Woodstock festival and the patriotic pledges something in the spirit of we are golden, we are stardust, we are going to get ourselves to the garden...
But then, I'd never been to America. (Don't get me wrong, I'm very glad it's not all hippies.)
posted by funambulist at 2:13 PM on September 14, 2005


/lame satire
/derail
/noise


/amen
posted by Sparx at 2:17 PM on September 14, 2005


The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof.

Whether we say it or not.
posted by konolia at 2:27 PM on September 14, 2005


Whether we say it or not.

That's not really the question, though, is it? The question is whether you're going to make other people say it. I vote no.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:30 PM on September 14, 2005


konolia's attitude is exactly the one a Christian should take in response to this ruling.

The purple mountains' majesty and the Majesty they reflect can be neither diminished nor added to by any political genuflection.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:39 PM on September 14, 2005


Actually, "under god" was not ruled unconstitutional because supposedly now the pledge is optional. Which is a pretty lousy ruling. This ruling isn't even attempting to make the pledge secular, its making it optional.
Karlton dismissed claims that the 1954 Congressional legislation inserting the words "under God" was unconstitutional. If his ruling stands, he reasoned that the school children and their parents in the case would not be harmed by the phrase because they would no longer have to recite it at school.
Doesnt sound like much of a win for anybody right now. Its just going to SCOTUS now and the new SCOTUS won't turn it down. I'm willing to bet exactly how they're going to rule.

What secularists need is a case that affirms that Eisenhower's edit of the pledge was unconstitutional and only a pledge sans "under god" or any religious reference can be recited at public schools. Or the removal of any form of forced allegience pledging in general. After 2nd grade its rote recital anyway and I doubt it helps make anymore more "patriotic."
posted by skallas at 2:42 PM on September 14, 2005


skallas, that paragraph is a little misleading. The Supreme Court ruled that the pledge could not be compulsory in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943), where the Court held unconstitutional a school district’s wartime policy of punishing students who refused to recite the Pledge and salute the flag. So it's been optional since 1943.

In this case, however, the Judge recounted the ruling of the Ninth Circuit in Newdow III, which went further:
The Ninth Circuit concluded that even without a recitation requirement for each child, “the mere presence in the classroom every day as peers recite the statement ‘one nation under God’ has a coercive effect.” Newdow III, 328 F.3d at 488. “The ‘subtle and indirect’ social pressure which permeates the classroom also renders more acute the message to non-believing school-children that they are outsiders.” The court then determined that “there can be little doubt that under the controlling Supreme Court cases, the school district’s policy fails the coercion test.” Id. Accordingly, the court held that "the school district's policy and practice of teacher-led recitation of the Pledge, with the inclusion of the added words ‘under God,’ violates the Establishment Clause." Newdow v. U.S. Congress, 328 F.3d 466, 490 (9th Cir. 2002).
The Judge next concluded that it was bound by the holding of Newdow III, apparently because although the Supreme Court vacated the judgment for lack of standing, it did not reverse the opinion. Conclusion: Although the statute modifying the pledge enacted in 1954 is not facially unconstitutional, recitation of that version of the pledge in public schools is. You can read the opinion here [pdf].
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:55 PM on September 14, 2005


Yesterday, Bush accepted responsibility for something.

Today, someone finally ruled against the BS edit of the pledge that people seem to forget was stuck in there in 1954, thus killing the "tradition" argument.

Also today, ParisParamus said something I agree with.

THE END IS NIGH...
posted by twiggy at 3:03 PM on September 14, 2005


The question is whether you're going to make other people say it.

No, actually, it's not, because that question has been already answered by the Supreme Court, with a firm no in 1943. The question at hand is whether it is constitutional for teachers to lead willing students in the pledge in a state-sponsored, attendance-compulsory setting, even given that unwilling students are permitted to remain silent during the pledge.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:04 PM on September 14, 2005


Ah, monjo_bosatsu beat me to it, I see.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:05 PM on September 14, 2005


Maybe we can restore the Bellamy salute too?
posted by revgeorge at 3:27 PM on September 14, 2005


Damn. This is a disaster for the Democrats, a life saver for the GOP. This will be a major, perhaps the major, issue in the 2006 elections. I expect t will save many Republican seats. Any slim chance of regaining Congress in 2006 is probably now gone.
posted by herostratus at 3:39 PM on September 14, 2005


Delmoi states 'The original pledge was "I pledge allegiance to my flag, and to the republic for witch it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty, justice, and equality for all"'

And I must ask, which witch that stands is the republic for?

The omission of "equality" while adding the rareness of God is quite interesting.
posted by Phantast at 3:47 PM on September 14, 2005


Jello Biafra, the former lead singer of the Dead Kennedys says it all here (mp3). " . . . . one nation under god or else. One nation under psychopathic Pentagon gangsters . . . ."
posted by augustweed at 4:06 PM on September 14, 2005



Maybe we can restore the Bellamy salute too?


More Bellamy salute photos here, here, and here.
posted by augustweed at 4:13 PM on September 14, 2005


I think we should stick with the Whole FSM thing, but with Parmesan cheese.

Well then after great prayerful consideration I shall have to break away from you brother as you do not recognize the holy trinity of Parmesan, Spaghetti, and Meatballs united by tomato sauce forever and ever, Awe Men.

~~~~The Very Tasty Gravy church of FSMwith P and M
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:44 PM on September 14, 2005


"I pledge allegiance to Queen Frag and her mighty state of hysteria."

Calvin and Hobbes.
posted by dazed_one at 4:45 PM on September 14, 2005


Looking back, I think we only said the pledge up until about 5th grade or so, and even then not every day. I don't think most schools these days even bother. Kind of a wasted fight no matter who wins.
posted by jonmc at 5:17 PM on September 14, 2005


StrasbourgSecaucus: "More judicial activism. When will judges stop legislating from the bench?"

Um, no.

Did you even read the opinion? The judge explicitly says he is blindly following binding precedent:

"...the court concludes that it is bound by the Ninth Circuit’s previous determination that the school district’s policy with regard tothe pledge is an unconstitutional violation of the children’s right to be free from a coercive requirement to affirm God. The court also concludes, however, that by virtue of that determination, the claims concerning the Pledge itself are rendered moot."

Notice also that he didn't even consider the constitutionality of the pledge itself (or the 1954 Act). It's the school policies that are unconstitutional under the prior 9th Circuit case.

The only interesting part of this opinion (the only part where the judge really had an opportunity to strike out in new territory) is the question of whether SCOTUS' reversing of the previous case on the basis of prudential jurisdiction eliminates its precedential effect. Here, the judge resolved the issue in a way that keeps the scope for judicial "activism" in tighter bounds. In other words, his revolutionary legislation was a limit on his ability to "legislat[e] from the bench."

But don't let me stop your knees from jerking.
posted by dilettanti at 5:19 PM on September 14, 2005


But don't let me stop your knees from jerking.

You got trolled, dilettanti.
posted by eddydamascene at 5:35 PM on September 14, 2005


I hate the indivisible part.
posted by Mack Twain at 5:54 PM on September 14, 2005


Does this mean we're gonna have a replay of everyone in Congress saying the pledge with that whole "under GAWWWWD" performance? Because this issue, I don't really give a crap, but that experience – painful.
posted by furiousthought at 6:20 PM on September 14, 2005


Man, what I want to see is all of them out on the steps of the Capitol doing that, then someone turning a garden hose on them and scattering them all off.
posted by klangklangston at 6:48 PM on September 14, 2005


"I think the pledge is, at best, uncomfortable, and the G-d part, offensive."—ParisParamus

Go away, you stupid troll! How long are we going to tolerate this kind of behavior?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:53 PM on September 14, 2005


We had this debate back in 2001/2 in Madison. The (Republican controlled) Wisconsin state legislature passed a law that all school kids had to have the pledge or the anthem every day. The Madison school board decided that because of "under God" they wouldn't have the pledge, and decided to have all the schools play an intrumental recording of the Anthem.

Well, pundit radio picked it up and went crazy with it. Some people even tried to get the school board recalled. In the end, they decided to let the schools pick between the pledge or the anthem (the high schools mostly play the anthem) and beforehand they state "We live in a nation of freedom. Participation in the pledge/anthem is voluntary. Those who wish to participate may stand. All others may remain seated." (By this time we all know the disclaimer as well as the pledge.)

I make a point to remain seated for the pledge. Not only do I think I've pledged allegience enough to not have to re-pledge it every day but I want to given kids who don't want to stand an adult that is sitting, so they know that it really is ok.
posted by kayjay at 7:22 PM on September 14, 2005



posted by The Jesse Helms at 7:46 PM on September 14, 2005


augustweed, those rexcurry.com pages are about the worst things I've seen since David Ickes discovered the internet.

Unless, of course, you're Rex Curry, in which case they look very nice indeed. Amazing how much information you can pack into a page when you do it in columns and superimpose captions onto the pictures!
posted by yhbc at 8:02 PM on September 14, 2005


PDF of the opinion available here, in case anyone wants to read it.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:34 PM on September 14, 2005


yhbc

No I'm not Rex Curry.
posted by augustweed at 8:35 PM on September 14, 2005


A daily distraction in every Texas public school, followed by the Texas pledge, the moment of silence, channel one advertising military service to 6th graders, targeted 'news' about new electronic toys, ... Texas schools. heh.
It wasn't bad as a child, as an adult; even a patriotic adult, it seems like a watered down drink that has to be downed every day.
Once again, irreverent (excuse me) crap sucks millions of dollars from the schools systems. As if there aren't so many other things to do with funds than argue for and against some 30 second blip in an eight hour day.
posted by buzzman at 9:03 PM on September 14, 2005


Here's one a younger me wrote when this case first caught fire:

I pledge allegiance, to the old white men,
who run and rip my country apart.
One nation, under nothing in particular
except money, greed and jealousy...
-That we may conquer the whole planet
so my children may suffer long after I die
and that the continual degeneration of my species may go on forever.

Now some three years later, I can't believe I was so cynical, so young. I also can't believe it took that long for the case to be resolved... for now. Thank [something] we've only got 7 years left.
posted by phylum sinter at 2:01 AM on September 15, 2005


Thanks to Matt for including "added to the pledge in 1954 to combat the red menace" in this post. Likewise twiggy: the BS edit of the pledge that people seem to forget was stuck in there in 1954. Call me naive, but I think the bite of this whole issue would be very dulled if every news organ that reports these stories could forcibly remind or instruct the American people how recent this mutilation of the pledge is. I heard this news on NPR in a report that didn't breathe a peep of this.
posted by Zurishaddai at 10:37 AM on September 15, 2005


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