Tuesday, July 2, 2013

As the 4th of July approaches, some controversial thoughts on the Pledge...

"You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that's clear
I will choose freewill"
                                                               (Rush, "Freewill")

Didja miss me?  After a prolonged absence from the blogosphere due to some personal and family medical crises, I'm back.  With a vengeance.

As the 4th of July approaches, something to think about:  “Under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance at the years-long insistence of the Knights of Columbus (a Catholic organization).  It was an attempt to counter-balance the perceived Communist threat Joe McCarthy claimed to have identified, which was seen as “godless.”  So its origin was not religious piety and principle; rather, it was a strategic and pragmatic countermeasure to a perceived threat, and an attempt by a religious organization to use the current coin of the realm – anti-communist fervor – to sidestep the Bill of Rights and leave its mark on a nation it sought to change into its own image through creeping gradualism.

This, from a 2002 New York Times article by David Rosenbaum:
Introducing his resolution in the Senate, Senator Homer Ferguson, Republican of Michigan, declared, "I believe this modification of the pledge is important because it highlights one of the real fundamental differences between the free world and the Communist world, namely belief in God." 
President Eisenhower, in 1954 (emphasis mine):
"From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty. To anyone who truly loves America, nothing could be more inspiring than to contemplate this re-dedication of our youth, on each school morning, to our country’s true meaning.... In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource, in peace or in war.”
This is NOT indicative of an America that touts the First Amendment as something of value.

Please take "God" out of my (our) public schools. I'd like my kids to be able to choose when (and if) they speak something that sounds dangerously like a prayer, especially if they're doing so under the direction of someone other than their parents. There is simply no justification for this; it is a black mark on our national character. We can discuss the heroic actions of our soldiers and fighting men and women without invoking a deity, and we can respect the nation, the flag that represents it, and the actions people have taken to defend it (many of them anyway) without forcing children to recite a religious mantra.

I don't know why Neil Peart chose to write "free will" as one word instead of two, but however we choose to write it, we should consider living it a little more, especially in regards to our children. All due respect to the great General Eisenhower, in loco parentis can and should only go so far.

That's not too much to A.S.K., is it?

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