Tuesday, June 15, 2004

The Newdow Decision: As the story says, kind of anticlimactic, eh?
The Supreme Court allowed millions of schoolchildren to keep affirming loyalty to one nation "under God" but dodged the underlying question of whether the Pledge of Allegiance is an unconstitutional blending of church and state . . .

The outcome on Monday does not prevent a future court challenge over the same issue, however, and both defenders and opponents of the current wording predicted that fight will come quickly.

Now, I'm undisturbed to see "under god" go away. I'm not attached to the phrase, and it seems tacked on to the rest of the pledge -- for which I also have no particular use of affection. On the other hand, I'm not bothered if the phrase stands. I certainly don't feel victimized by it. I know that most people in this country believe in a god of one sort or another, and they like pinning their partiotism to religious conviction. As long as the pledge is non-compulsory, I see no constitutional issues. (All this crap about an environment of implied compulsion (taken down here) is too touchy-feely for me: Don't call the arbitrators, call the multicultural emotion-sharers. We'll talk about how the pledge makes us feel for a while. Never you mind what the law says, if Uncle Sam makes me feel uncomfortable, then the pledge should be struck down!)

It doesn't pay to look at this stuff too closely, or you end up having to rule on every silly thing that comes along (crosses on county emblems, "In God We Trust" on coins, etc.). A true, full separation of church and state would take some serious policing. I'm not in favor, but should that day come, I for one would argue that any belief that can't be demonstrated at a reasonable level of scientific evidence should fall into the category of religion. Perhaps then we can get government disentangled from such faith-based concepts as diversity, the social security trust fund, central planning, agricultural price supports, fetuses that aren't actually "alive," recycling, and the notion that every third-rate artist in America deserves to make a living from that art, no matter how risible it is.

More: Dana Mulhauser says liberals got the best deal available, though by "liberals" I think s/he means secular absolutists. Elected Democrats famously walked away from their principles on this issue -- as did, Mulhauser admits, the ACLU. So when Mulhauser says, "Yesterday's ruling . . . granted liberals a chance to fight the issue another day," we need to throw the flag and ask for some clarification on the categorical term liberals.

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