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Thread: Why San Francisco is going to hell again. (Unless Hell is Unconstitutional too)

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Why San Francisco is going to hell again. (Unless Hell is Unconstitutional too)

    Federal judge declares Pledge unconstitutional

    SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- A federal judge declared the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools unconstitutional Wednesday in a case brought by the same atheist whose previous battle against the words "under God" was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court on procedural grounds.
    Who the f*&% is this guy? I am sorry but this is just stupid. This is just yet another reason I donít ever want to visit.
    Last edited by michaelskis; 14 Sep 2005 at 4:27 PM.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    It won't stand on appeal.
    Quote Originally posted by michealskis
    This is just yet another reason I donít ever want to visit.
    You'll be sorry when the earthquake hits.

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    This too, Shall Pass...

    Indeed an outrage but Jordan's right. Short term, the ruling will serve as fodder for the talk show shouters but long term.....it will be forgotten.

    The only thing I'd like to know is -- who promulgates such actions when our courts certainly have more weighty matters on their dockets?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Miles Ignatius
    Indeed an outrage but Jordan's right. Short term, the ruling will serve as fodder for the talk show shouters but long term.....it will be forgotten.

    The only thing I'd like to know is -- who promulgates such actions when our courts certainly have more weighty matters on their dockets?
    I donít know if it will pass. It is the same guy who has been trying for years. Now what... will Presidents be sworn in on a stack of Playboys, when someone dies a judge will do the funeral, people will not be require to wear clothing in public because it might offend someone.

    As some point we as a society need to step the F(%^&% up and say enough is enough. This is how it is and if you donít like it then thatís just do F*&%^* bad.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    Maybe I'm the only one, but I agree that the words "under god" should not be in a mandatory pledge. They could just allow children not to participate if they don't want to or if their parents don't want them too, though, instead of making it illegal.
    "I don't suffer from insanity... I enjoy every single minute of it!"

  6. #6
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jread
    Maybe I'm the only one, but I agree that the words "under god" should not be in a mandatory pledge. They could just allow children not to participate if they don't want to or if their parents don't want them too, though, instead of making it illegal.
    Or just have the kids not say the words ďUnder GodĒ if they donít feel like it. But, I donít want to see those people use anything from our government that might say ďGodĒ on it, including money.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I'm curious about something. Why is it seen as a spectacular outrage or waste of time and effort pursuing removal of inappropriate crap like monotheistic/Christian sentiments (in God we trust) from our currency or from our Pledge of Allegiance (nation under God)? Seems to me congress spent the time and trouble to create the legislation back in the 50's to foist this on the American public, why can't congress take the very same trouble to require the removal of the offending phrases from the same? Instead it looks like the issue has to go through the courts.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, ďWhere are you from?Ē doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  8. #8
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    I'm curious about something. Why is it seen as a spectacular outrage or waste of time and effort pursuing removal of inappropriate crap like monotheistic/Christian sentiments (in God we trust) from our currency or from our Pledge of Allegiance (nation under God)? Seems to me congress spent the time and trouble to create the legislation back in the 50's to foist this on the American public, why can't congress take the very same trouble to require the removal of the offending phrases from the same? Instead it looks like the issue has to go through the courts.
    I wonder as well. While I don't care all that much if "In God We Trust" is on the change in my pocket, I think it's reasonable and fair to remove it. I do not think it is a big enough issue to put a lot of time and effort into it, though. We all have a choice as to what we want to participate in. I am definitely a believer in the seperation of church and state.
    "I don't suffer from insanity... I enjoy every single minute of it!"

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    Cyburbian RandomPlanner's avatar
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    Like it or not, this country was built on a belief in God. If you don't like it, too bad. We're not reciting the Bible here. We're not even allowed to teach creationism in some schools.
    If you don't want to say it, don't say it! I'm tired of being politically correct. It gives me a headache!!

    (and with that, I'm going home!!)
    How do I know you are who you think you are?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally posted by RandomPlanner...
    Like it or not, this country was built on a belief in God. If you don't like it, too bad.
    But, as cited above, the pledge was modified by congress to include the reference to deity. The original is as follows: I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

    In 1924, "my Flag" was replaced with "The Flag of the United States of America," to appease xenophobic fears of immigrants holding allegiances to their birth country's flag.

    In 1954, congress added the "under God" reference with two justifications: first, this was the height of the Red Scare, and many sought to distinguish the US from secular communist governments; second, adding a reference to God diminished the chances of the pledge being viewed as nationalist flag worship, and elevated it to hymn status. The Knights of Clumbus were especially instrumental in pushing for this protection against fears of idolatry and communism.

    These are two threats that I'm not particularly concerned with, and I don't think it's worth violating the separation of church and state.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Wow!!
    I have to put this in the I don't give a blazing crap category. I can't believe we (as a country) are revisiting this again. How much tax dollars has been put into this? How does the decision, either way, improve or hurt quality of life? How much resouces does this debate take away from issues that matter?

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    It's All A Matter of Intrepretation

    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    I'm curious about something. Why is it seen as a spectacular outrage or waste of time and effort pursuing removal of inappropriate crap like monotheistic/Christian sentiments (in God we trust) from our currency or from our Pledge of Allegiance (nation under God)? Seems to me congress spent the time and trouble to create the legislation back in the 50's to foist this on the American public, why can't congress take the very same trouble to require the removal of the offending phrases from the same? Instead it looks like the issue has to go through the courts.
    I'm not sure if it's all that offending; we all certainly have differing views on who the Creator is or was. It seems to me that the reference to the same the Pledge has a universal appeal not solely limited to the Christians, et.al.

    What I really find offensive: corpses on the streets of New Orleans. Congress needs to be spending its time seeing that Federal agencies are doing what they've been charged to do.

  13. #13

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    As a confused agnostic, I'm certainly not on the side of the bible-thumpers who proclaim this is a reason to send a city of 800,000 people "to hell." For one thing, the Court is a regional federal court, not a City of San Francisco institution. It's a little offensive and dogmatic to blame one city, which is not even the largest city in the region, for this decision. Particularly when there is plenty of history and constitutional law that makes me think the decision is in an abstract sense "correct."

    Even from a theological perspective, how proper is this kind of civil religion? It leads to the mistaken belief that a particular nation-or political party-is particularly beloved of God. We know where that leads.

    Still, except for the fact it bothers people like Dogbeater Dobson and that nutcase Rick Santorum, it falls into the category of "who cares" for me, too. Some Atheists are as evangelical in their disbelief as the worst prottie nuts and Inquisitionists.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jread
    I wonder as well. While I don't care all that much if "In God We Trust" is on the change in my pocket, I think it's reasonable and fair to remove it. I do not think it is a big enough issue to put a lot of time and effort into it, though. We all have a choice as to what we want to participate in. I am definitely a believer in the seperation of church and state.
    I share this sentiment, and not because I care about being "politically correct".

  15. #15
    Cyburbian plankton's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    This is just yet another reason I donít ever want to visit.
    Like BKM says, it's a federal court based in SF and not necessarily representative of SF as a whole (uh, well, okay, maybe it is, but still....). I have no problem with the federal judge's ruling on this matter. None, whatsoever. I have to admit that I say this knowing that I have strong admiration for this court for consistently upholding environmental laws in the Pac NW that are very near and dear to my heart.

    SF is a great city -- the victorian architecture, dramatic vistas, and vibrant culture, are most certainly worth at least one visit. I would say that watching the fog roll into the bay to engulf the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen. Plus, m-ski, the shark tank is an awesome place to see a hockey game (and San Jose has far fewer hippies that SF ).

    In my experiences, about half of the people in our council chambers choose not to say "under God" when saying the Pledge before public meetings. It's pretty obvious and, I think, shocking (offensive ) to bible thumpers [/sorry, religious-zeolots/] that don't attend many meetings and may not be accustomed to witnessing such insulting behavior.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    I personally think that God should be removed from the pledge. Besides, I don't think anyone should be required to pledge their allegiance to anything they don't want to. Is there a penalty for not doing so? If so, it seems like a pretty hollow requirement. Hollow requirements are worthless and should be removed. The nation's slogan (E Pluribus Onus sp?)should be place on the money instead of "In God We Trust".

  17. #17
    Cyburbian safege's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by passdoubt
    But, as cited above, the pledge was modified by congress to include the reference to deity. The original is as follows: I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

    In 1924, "my Flag" was replaced with "The Flag of the United States of America," to appease xenophobic fears of immigrants holding allegiances to their birth country's flag.

    In 1954, congress added the "under God" reference with two justifications: first, this was the height of the Red Scare, and many sought to distinguish the US from secular communist governments; second, adding a reference to God diminished the chances of the pledge being viewed as nationalist flag worship, and elevated it to hymn status. The Knights of Clumbus were especially instrumental in pushing for this protection against fears of idolatry and communism.

    These are two threats that I'm not particularly concerned with, and I don't think it's worth violating the separation of church and state.
    Continuing with the history theme. In the sixties, the Jehovahs Witnesses filed a suit saying that an alliegiance to any government should not be made mandatory. This is the flip side to the current situation in San Francisco.

    This is interesting to me for two reasons. For the first 15 years of my life, I was a Jehovahs Witness, and at some point after that I became an atheist. So, the legal battle seems to follow me wherever I go.

    Personally, I don't recite pledges, pretend to pray at wedding or funerals, or celebrate any patriotic or religous holiday. For me, this is normal.

    This atheist in San Francisco has a political cause, as I see it. Then again, so do I. Ask me about transportation under-funding, I'll drone on forever.

  18. #18
    Isn't forcing kids to recite the pledge of allegiance a bit Orwellian? They're going to school to learn math and reading and writing, not to confirm their submission to the state.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    It's the same thing as saying, "One Nation Under White Males..."; What about Muslims, Bhudists, Zoroastrians, Taoists, Hindus etc? Not all Americans are white males - though it's easy to get that impression from who our presidents and senators have been, and not all Americans are Judeo/Christian monotheists either. Most religions deal with the unknown by objectifying it into some kind of anthropomorhized deific figure(s) that is/are usually a reflection of those who subscribe to it. So then you end up with debates over: was Jesus black, or white or olive skinned? A state shouldn't be represented by a deific figure because deific figures are inherently representive of specific ethnic groups, to the exclusion of others.

    But aside from the seperation of church and state issue, jaws is right, the whole pledge thing is Orwellian anyway.
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

  20. #20
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    Isn't forcing kids to recite the pledge of allegiance a bit Orwellian?
    Isn't making all males register to be drafted into the Army Orwellian? Isn't witholding a portion of a citizen's wages Orwellian? Isn't taking kids from parents who abuse them Orwellian? In the scheme of responsibilities of and restrictions on citizens, I think the requirement that they take a pledge of allegiance to the country of which they are citizens is pretty mild.

    Natualized immigrants have to take the pledge to become citizens. They have a choice, of course. They could take the pledge or they could chose not to become citizens. Perhaps we should give cradle Americans the option between taking the pledge and renouncing their citizenship?

    It is interesting that in Europe and Canada, there's little argument over theoretically religious but culturally significant symbols being a part of government. When the religious order that built the cross on Mt. Royal in Montreal could no longer maintain it, the Quebec government took over maintenance with little protest, because everyone (including the jews and muslims and even secularists) saw the cross as a cultural artifact that could be divoraced of its religious signifiance. There's no reason to go iconoclastic and tear a peice of history down or let it waste away just because it happens to be a religious symbol.

    I have Muslim friends, and Hindu friends, and Jewish friends, and many athiest friends. The only people who have a problem with christian religious symbols are the athiests. Nearly all the athiests come from a Christian tradition and are angry at it for some personal reasons (maybe guilt for forsaking it? I don't ask), and attack the symbols as a way to lash out at their abandoned religion. The people who are practicing members of other religions couldn't care less.
    Last edited by jordanb; 15 Sep 2005 at 12:25 AM.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Isn't making all males register to be drafted into the Army Orwellian? Isn't witholding a portion of a citizen's wages Orwellian? Isn't taking kids from parents who abuse them Orwellian? In the scheme of responsibilities of and restrictions on citizens, I think the requirement that they take a pledge of allegiance to the country of which they are citizens is pretty mild.

    Natualized immigrants have to take the pledge to become citizens. They have a choice, of course. They could take the pledge or they could chose not to become citizens. Perhaps we should give cradle Americans the option between taking the pledge and renouncing their citizenship?

    It is interesting that in Europe and Canada, there's little argument over theoretically religious but culturally significant symbols being a part of government. When the religious order that built the cross on Mt. Royal in Montreal could no longer maintain it, the Quebec government took over maintenance with little protest, because everyone (including the jews and muslims and even secularists) saw the cross as a cultural artifact that could be divoraced of its religious signifiance. There's no reason to go iconoclastic and tear a peice of history down or let it waste away just because it happens to be a religious symbol.

    I have Muslim friends, and Hindu friends, and Jewish friends, and many athiest friends. The only people who have a problem with christian religious symbols are the athiests. Nearly all the athiests come from a Christian tradition and are angry at it for some personal reasons (maybe guilt for forsaking it? I don't ask), and attack the symbols as a way to lash out at their abandoned religion. The people who are practicing members of other religions couldn't care less.
    In a more rational United States, jordan, I might have no problem at all with your arguments here. As I've stated before, this is much ado over not much, imo (yet, here I am posting another argument )

    We live in an irrational society, though. Dobson, Fallwell, George W Bush, Rick Santorum, Tom DeLay, etc etc, see doubters and nonconformists like me as THE ENEMY. They are GOD-ANNOINTED, of course. They see a cruel American empire (and don't kid yourself, ALL empires are cruel) as God-ordained-no matter what the cost to the "inifdel." Not sure these symbols are quite so harmless in a country where some polls show 40% of the population as believing the world was created 6,000 years ago and that only "Christians" are fit for public office.

    And, I wonder how correct you are about minority religions in Canada being that blithe about State-sponsored Christianity.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Isn't making all males register to be drafted into the Army Orwellian? Isn't witholding a portion of a citizen's wages Orwellian? Isn't taking kids from parents who abuse them Orwellian? In the scheme of responsibilities of and restrictions on citizens, I think the requirement that they take a pledge of allegiance to the country of which they are citizens is pretty mild.
    The draft is slavery and as such has been abolished. Taxation is expropriation but we've all got to put up with it to keep society running. Taking kids from abusive parents are protecting the kids' human rights. Not one of these cases relates to the issue of discussion, recitation of a pledge of allegiance to a state during using time and resources promised to be spent for the education and the development of independent thought (arguably) of children.

    What's the true purpose of the pledge if not to impose loyalty to the state at the youngest possible age? Is it a coincidence that the moment I brought up the issue you quickly responded by bringing up four different red herrings (the preservation of religious artifacts being the most irrelevant) instead of mounting a defense of the institution?

  23. #23
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    The draft is slavery and as such has been abolished.
    That's news to me, and to selective service. Can you tell them to quit bugging me about being registered every time I apply for financial aid? I must be in that database twelve times by now.

    Taxation is expropriation but we've all got to put up with it to keep society running.
    So you're saying that citizens can be expected to make sacrafices for the good of the society as a whole?

  24. #24
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    Anyone exept me (and maybe the Bear) remember the pledge before "under God" was added?

  25. #25
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    I think it's really great how this thread seems to be eliciting lively debate among several of us who normally agree about most things. It's a noncritical, but still interesting philosophical issue raised by mi skis.

    A related issue to this is flag burning.

    I think having a pledge of allegiance is fine, and to a flag at that, but to embue said flag with such qualities as would make it a sacred object unlawful to desecrate is taking the symbol too far imo. I wouldn't want to be the homeless man who gets arrested for setting fire to a flag to keep from freezing to death in the winter.
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

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