Strange Musings *hyuk*
Saturday, September 17, 2005
  12:38 AM — "Under God"
As sammka mentioned in a recent post, I feel it is important to engage in civil discourse on controvertial topics. The following letter is going in the mail to my Senators by Monday.

The Honorable ***

September 16, 2005

Senator ***:

I am writing to you today as a *** State resident regarding the U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruling in California on the unconstitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance (9/14/05), and the subsequent unanimous Senate non-binding resolution condemning this ruling late Thursday September 15, 2005. I am disappointed by your decision to oppose the ruling, and would like to express why.

As quoted by CNN, the non-biding resolution said that “ ‘one nation under God’ in the pledge reflects the religious faith central to the founding of the nation and that its recitation is ‘a fully constitutional expression of patriotism.’ ” I agree that the Founding Fathers held Christian beliefs of a Creator, as is shown by the Declaration of Independence’s statement “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal,” but disagree about their relevance today. The word of the Founding Fathers is law, but laws should sometimes be changed. Non-white men, and women of all races have been given equal rights and protection under the law that the framers of the Constitution would never have dreamed of. Moreover, the phrase “under God” was added to the Pledge by Congress during the 1950’s, and therefore in no way reflects the original intents of our forefathers. Using their intentions is not a valid argument.

What is valid is the effect that these words have today. As you are a Senator of a state with a diverse population, I am surprised that you did not take our beliefs into consideration. The word “God” refers primarily to the Christian Creator – Judaism uses another word, Islam uses “Allah.” A number of citizens in this state believe in other forms of a Creator, such as a female form (Gaia) or a polytheistic form (for example, as in Hinduism and Paganism). And even others such as myself believe in a purely secular form of Creator, such as the Big Bang and Evolution. As of 2001, 21% of the state population self-identified as non-Christian – while this is a minority, we are still a significant percentage of the state. The choice of the word “God” is not inclusive of our beliefs of a Creator, just as if the Pledge contained “under Allah” or “under Evolution” that would not be inclusive of Christianity.

In conclusion, I feel that in expressing disagreement with the ruling by Judge Karlton you failed to consider that there are precedents of newer laws superceding the intentions of the Founding Fathers, and that the phrase “under God” is not inclusive of a significant number of your constituents. I hope that in the future you will consider points of view that differ from yours and represent the other constituents within the state that has elected you.

Thank you for your time. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.



Feel free to modify (or not) this letter and send to your Senator.

See Also:
* Pledge ruling
* Senators' condemnation and appeal
* Senators by Zip Code

I'm gonna quote my sister on this issue.

"Since no one forces students or anyone else to say the Pledge of Allegiance, I feel it is unconstitutional to deny anyone the right to say it. Because at my last reading of the Constitution there is nothing in it that makes saying "under God" unconstitutional but denying our right to say it is.

Why does it have to be taken out? Why can't those that believe in a different God say the name of their God, or not say anything at all in that part?
     "No one forces students or anyone else to say the Pledge of Allegiance"

Legally, you are correct as far as I know. There are no laws forcing anyone anywhere to recite the pledge. However, there are school district policies requiring teachers to lead students in the pledge. Numerous teachers interpret this as that it is their duty to force students to say the pledge. Some districts could even choose to punish students who do not.

Children are unable to distinguish the difference between a law, and a rule from their teacher or school, and do not realize that they have the legal right to not say the pledge, or portions of it. As a child I was never informed of a right to not say it, or omit or change certain phrases. I did decide to do so on my own, because it was important to me that I not declare something I believed was untrue, but I was always terrified I'd be caught. Fear is not a good way for child to have to start every day.
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