This was first published (by me) on the John Stark Review blog a little while ago….being reminded of it, I decided that you folks may find it interesting. In the time that this was first posted, Mr. Newdow has tried again to have "Under God" removed, and was rebuffed by the courts…..
A self-avowed atheist, Michael Newdow achieved notoriety a while ago by bringing suit to ave the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. The Ninth Circuit District Court agreed with him, but was overturned by the US Supreme Court. The Supremes ruled that Mr. Newdow was unable to bring suit due to “lack of standing” – a legal term that says “you have to have a dog in this fight”. Since he did not have custody of his daughter, he could not sue in her name. Sounds like a valid reason to me: one cannot come through the door unless you have the key to the lock.
He again has brought suit, using a group of families to do so and persuaded a Federal judge to agree. While many have crowed that “under God” has been ruled unconstitutional, the debate has not yet ended – it has been appealed to the Ninth District Court again and is expected to go to the US Supreme Court.
Frankly, I believe this is another case of “tyranny of the minority” where a tiny number of people want the rest of society to bend to their needs and wishes. After all, we are the “ME” generation, right?
It is said that shared traditions, history, civility, and language bind a society together, holding separate peoples together. These elements form a common bond and a sense of unity between citizens. Remove them, however, and you end up with a fractured Balkanized society, aimless and unattached. Our national motto is E Pluribus Unum – from one, many – and not “many, to isolation”. Yet, that is where I believe we are heading.
Like the pegs from a timber framed house removed one by one, I see the underpinnings of our society being slowly removed and not always for the best of reasons. It seems that at every turn, another group is pulling at yet another pin just because something offends them. Yet, the damage is not done all at once, nor recognized at any given time.
In the beginning, the removal of one or two pins generally will not cause a house fall down; the structure is sufficiently robust to withstand this attack for some time. Yet, over time, if pins continue to be removed, the structure will become compromised. Sooner or later, the point of no return is reached and the house will collapse. Our society is robust, but how long can the attacks on those binding elements continue before it fails?
It is my contention that we may reach that point of no return sooner than many realize.
Removal of “under God” is just one more step in the attempt to remove religion completely from the public arena, a removal of yet another cultural pin. As with a trampoline that finally has enough springs removed, society is becoming less resilient and may soon cease to operate properly.
Yet, this is a nation that was founded on a Judeao-Christian foundation. Our Founding Fathers gave honor to God in their letters and the Declaration of Independence. Even today, God is mentioned as part of this nation; prayers at the beginning of Congress and the Supreme Court sessions, and “In God We Trust” on our coinage has been ruled constitutional. Our Founders correctly knew that our cherished rights are given to us by God. If given by God, who is man to take them away? And the Constitution forbade our government from establishing a state religion similar that to the Church of England; it does NOT prohibit the practice thereof but there seems to be a demonization of public displays of religion in many places in our nation.
Over and over again, we hear that phrase of “separation of church and state”. I agree that I do not wish the State to create and enforce obedience to any given religion. However, I do see that this is exactly what is happening – government and court decisions are slowly enforcing, depending on your viewpoint, either a religion of secularism or an environment of no religion at all (hardly what the Founders wished for at all). God IS being pushed out of the public arena, much to my dismay and my belief, to the detriment of our nation. Thus, with only moral relativism as a compass, there is nothing that is not possible or allowed.
If God is removed from public society, what does that leave? Without God, only the State remains. What remains is solely human judgement, subject to the whims of the day, swaying from one end of the pendulum to another. And as we have seen from history, a State can enforce and decree what it wishes when what it wishes relies solely upon what men desire.
While many are honorable, we have all seen what happens when men behave in a not so honorable manner. They are willing to define and redefine whatever needs be to reach their aims.
Several phrases have survived from the 60’s and have become codified in society:
"Question authority", "Do what ever you want, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone", and "Who are you to judge me?".
These latter two phrases – I believe that those that wish to rid society of God may be doing so in order to rationalize their behavior. Without an absolute sense of right and wrong, there can be no judgement except that set by man. Result? Anything is permissible, and if not just yet, perhaps soon. After all, if there are no absolute right and wrongs, if there are no God’s laws, who are you to tell me I am wrong? Thus, eliminate God from the public arena, and the stage is set. Removing this governor from society will result in a society that runs faster and faster to the bottom.
After all, the only governor on society that would be left would be – yes, government.There is a problem when leaving only government in charge. A government that is large and sufficiently powerful to rule in and of itself can enforce what is right is also a government large enough to enforce what is wrong. And take away what it wishes. In setting its own rules, the quaint notion of “absolute right and wrong” will be irrelevant.
Tied into this debate, those of faith have been castigated in the public arena with such phrases as “religious fanatics who hate America”, “the religious right”, and “right wing worthies”; an ad hominum attacks all (when you can’t win with logic, smear!). I also find it almost amusing that some will quote Jesus while attempting to censor the use of the word God.
While I am a conservative in my societal and political outlook as an American, I am also an evangelical Christian. I believe in God and His plan for me, that He loved us so much that He gave his Son as a sacrificial offering for our failings. My morality is based on that fact and my attempting to follow His teaching in the Bible (“attempting” is used, as I certainly do not always live up to the standard therein). Yet, I am forgiven by grace.
I can no sooner remove this God-given morality from my persona than I could step out of my skin. Yet, this is a good thing, as it acts as a built in governor – my faith lets me know when I am about to move out of bounds. And I would hope and pray that this assists me when in the public arena. So why should I not be able to discuss this? Why remove this from the public arena? I am not advocating that others be forced to believe what I do; I do ask that my expression of such be not abridged. I do not believe that keeping “under God” in the pledge, or mentions of God anywhere in the public realm forces any one to accept any religion at all, but why attack me for mine? Like what many may have thought upon reading his screed, “no one is forcing you to say it, so don’t!” By removing mine, you enforce yours on me.
Again, the tyranny of the minority seems to bent on removing many things that most of us cherish as part of society of a whole and replacing them with things that are abhorrent (e.g., Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that live s*x act shows are protected as freedom of expression, yet, a creche cannot be on public property at Christmas?).
At some point, the majority must say “enough” or find that we have given up our rights to the minority. One should not willy nilly discard that which one holds in little esteem – it may end up being the last pin pulled out from society.