September 15, 2005

Ok, you can stop now.

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at September 15, 2005 12:53 PM

Michael Newdow is still at it:

Judge Rules Pledge of Allegiance in Calif. Schools Unconstitutional

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 14 -- A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the law requiring the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional and said he was ready to issue an injunction to three California school districts to halt the daily reciting of the pledge.

I heard Newdow speak at Berkeley a couple years ago. He seemed like a good, well-intentioned guy, and I agree with him on a lot of things. But I wish he'd put his quest on hold for a while. This is terrible timing: it'll just create a backlash that'll provide lots of support for whatever theocrats Bush nominates to judgeships. Obviously "under God" in the Pledge is unconstitutional, but equally obviously the Supreme Court won't rule that way after two appointments from Bush. So there's no way to win here.

Not to mention that there are ongoing battles over church/state separation on issues that actually have a major impact, like the teaching of evolution. Insofar as activists have limited resources it's probably better not to focus on purely symbolic issues.

Tags: Atheism, Politics, Religion

The guy is a grandstander, you ask me. It's not about the principle of the thing unless the principle of the thing is derfined as more ink for him.

Posted by: Dad | September 15, 2005 12:58 PM

Eh, I'm not sure that he can't win at the Supreme Court level. As I recall the previous case, it was five to dismiss for lack of standing, three saying Pledge v.1954 is constitutional, and Scalia off in recusal-land. O'Connor and Rehnquist were both in the threesome claiming it's constitutional, so Bush's wingnuts won't change anything on this case, that I can see. The real question is how Kennedy would rule when/if he can't duck the case.

Overall, I think I agree with you - he's right, but there are bigger problems to deal with first...

Nice blog, btw!

Posted by: Justin | September 15, 2005 5:38 PM

I'd forgotten that O'Connor had voted to uphold "under God". That does change the equation a bit.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | September 15, 2005 7:31 PM

Personally, I am very happy to see the pledge of allegiance go, although your point about timing is well taken. (However, a big part of me still has the gut reaction of timing be damned, and I can't decide if I would end up being practical here...)

When I was in elementary school, I was forced to recite it every day. I attempted not to (without any knowledge of what my rights were), and my teachers basically forced me to on threat of punishment. (I don't know if the punishment was detention or what it was. I don't remember.) As I discovered in high school, they never informed me of the fact that it was my constitutional right not to say it (or stand up for it) as long as I didn't disrupt anyone else. (Rather, I was compelled to join in, which usually resulted in the spoken equivalent of lip synching on my part.) I forgot which Supreme Court cases were relevant. I read the decisions in AP Poly Sci and have the documents somewhere in my parents' home. In high school, some other students tried to get me to 'at least stand up'. (I reasonably often stood up for the sake of not drawing attention [and I think I originally thought one still had to do that], but never when somebody actually made a comment like that.)

Anyway, I'm happy with the ruling---we'll see how the more practical side of things plays out. The purely symbolic issues do mean _something_, even with the (much) bigger fish to fry.

Posted by: Mason | September 15, 2005 10:49 PM

Hrm, just to throw in 2c (but no more), I always made a point to stand up for the pledge in HS, but once I thought about it, I also made a point not to actually say it. I liked the idea of paying my respects (note sarcastically remorse innuendo there) but that's it.

Posted by: Lemming | September 16, 2005 7:58 PM
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