Friday, October 14, 2005

Congresswoman Jean Schmidt may have good intentions, but she does harm to the Constitution with her support of the Pledge Protection Act of 2005

It's no accident that the very first amendment to the Constitution deals with the freedom of religion:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The Establishment Clause reinforces the 'no religious Test' for serving in public office from Article VI, Clause 3:

Clause 3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
The Pledge of Allegiance is a beautiful, patriotic and inspiring pledge created by Francis Bellamy, a minister and private citizen, in 1892. If Minister Bellamy had added 'under God' on his own to the pledge, it would not take away from it's beauty and inspiring patriotism. It would have been the act of a private citizen inspired by his faith to honor our country's flag.

That being said, Congress betrayed the intent of the Establishment Clause and of Article VI, Clause 3 when it added 'under God' to The Pledge in 1954. Many conservatives twist themselves into a pretzel attempting to logically reconcile this 'liberal' (in as much that it changed something that was already established) initative against the Establishment Clause.

Congresswoman Jean Schmidt's cosponsorship of the Pledge Protection Act of 2005 (H. R. 2389) pushes our nation further down the slippery slope that our forefathers cautioned us against; the sponsorship of religion by our government. As Jefferson shared:

Our Constitution... has not left the religion of its citizens under the power of its public functionaries, were it possible that any of these should consider a conquest over the consciences of men either attainable or applicable to any desirable purpose." --Thomas Jefferson: Reply to New London Methodists, 1809. ME 16:332
Let me be perfectly clear to my fellow conservatives that use the reverse slippery-slope argument as in:
If you take it ['under God'] out, you start sliding down a slippery slope where finally you can’t even say ‘God’ in public. First thing you know, we’re like communist China or Nazi Germany.
The opposition to 'under God' is only with reagard to the government being involved in anyway with a sponsorship of any religious references in the official pledge. Furthermore, the opposition is to government, not private individuals, directly or through the institutions under its auspice, sponsoring the recitation of the pledge with 'under God' in it. Do not pass Go and collect $200 until you understand the argument against the government sponsored 'under God' pledge/prayer.

True conservatives should feel a chill going down their collective spines when they see all the energy being expended by our representatives that seek to codify the right of public schools (established by ample precedence as government institutions) to initiate and lead our children in what is not only a pledge, but also a public prayer.

Some members of Congress support The Pledge Protection Act of 2005 in the spirit of representing the desires of their constituents. This is understandable, but it goes against the oath they take to defend the Constitution and its principles.

Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson left us with the following thought that Ms. Schmidt would do well to reflect on:

The day that this country ceases to be free for irreligion it will cease to be free for religion - except for the sect that can win political power.
More at: A Discussion of Freedom of Religion And Freedom From Religion


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see your argument, but....
- It wasn't controversial in 1954 when it was inserted.
- Its removal is being orchestrated by a nutcase (Newdow)
- Taking all of this to its logical conclusion, especially if successfully initiated by the courts (instead of by a vote of the legislature) would mean taking In God We Trust off of coins, With God All Things Are Possible off of the state seal, and effectively taking the mention of God out of public life. I'm not willing to go there.
- The same ACLU types salivating over the removal of references to God bend over backwards to accommodate Muslim public religious practices, even when they offend and/or inconvenience others in the community.

I would rather under God not have gone into the Pledge in 1954, but I'm not staying up at night worrying that it's in there. I would stay up at night worrying about the other shoes that will drop if it is successfully excised by the court system (as opposed to another vote of Congress).


October 16, 2005 at 12:49 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home