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(Seattle Times)   Entire Republican contingency of Congress in treatment for throbbing forehead veins after Democrat leaves "under God" out of Pledge   ( divider line
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16336 clicks; posted to Main » on 28 Apr 2004 at 5:55 PM (13 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2004-04-28 01:36:46 PM  
Field is clear.

Commence flamewar.
2004-04-28 01:38:02 PM  
a little history for everyone pledge
I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands- one nation indivisible-with liberty and justice for all."

----------------------------------------------------------------------​-------- --

On September 8,1892, the Boston based "The Youth's Companion" magazine published a few words for students to repeat on Columbus Day that year. Written by Francis Bellamy,the circulation manager and native of Rome, New York, and reprinted on thousands of leaflets, was sent out to public schools across the country. On October 12, 1892, the quadricentennial of Columbus' arrival, more than 12 million children recited the Pledge of Allegiance, thus beginning a required school-day ritual.

At the first National Flag Conference in Washington D.C., on June14, 1923, a change was made. For clarity, the words "the Flag of the United States" replaced "my flag". In the following years various other changes were suggested but were never formally adopted.

It was not until 1942 that Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance. One year later, in June 1943, the Supreme Court ruled that school children could not be forced to recite it. In fact,today only half of our fifty states have laws that encourage the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom!

In June of 1954 an amendment was made to add the words "under God". Then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower said "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 and war."
2004-04-28 01:49:32 PM  
Of course, the law does state that the official pledge includes "Under God".
2004-04-28 01:50:09 PM  
That's under judicial review.
2004-04-28 01:52:31 PM  
I'm sure once this issue is resolved, the economy will start to improve.
2004-04-28 01:57:44 PM  
Something is fishy.

The article gives two contradictory explanations from his spokesman on why he did it.

Reason #1: He learned it that way.

The first explanation offered was that McDermott was a schoolboy before the phrase "under God" was added:

The 67-year-old McDermott told him that as a child he had learned the pledge without the words "under God," DeCesare said. The phrase was added to the pledge in 1954.

Indeed, that's true, and I have no doubt that he learned it that way. It seems rather odd that fifty years later, he hadn't adjusted that old habit, even after countless pledges that he's participated in since then.

But, wait! There's more!

Reason #2: He wasn't sure how to recite it given the current legal status of the appeal.

Hmm, well, this sounds reasonable too:

"Basically he caught himself up," DeCesare said, adding that McDermott was unsure whether to include the phrase "under God" because the 2002 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is being reviewed by the Supreme Court.

But this explanation is inconsistent with the first. The first explanation means that he had an honest slip of the tongue, a throwback to the way he learned to recite the pledge.

The second explanation requires that he thought about it beforehand, and that it was intentional.

At least this guy should try to get his stories straight...
2004-04-28 02:02:39 PM  
That's under judicial review.

The wording of the pledge isn't under judicial review; only whether it's constitutional to recite it in public schools.
2004-04-28 02:05:46 PM  
Who cares why he did it? The fact is, the Pledge of Allegiance is an empty, vacuous gesture to a piece of cloth that has no real meaning for anyone who really is a patriot. You might as well salute a pile of dog shiat for all that it means anything.

The Pledge of Allegiance is being used by fundamentalist asshats and their mouth-breathing cronies as a litmus test for goodthink. Who cares if someone wants to recite your empty phrases or not? You should have better criteria to evaluate someone on than that.

And for those who think people who don't want to recite the pledge are wrong, or those that eliminate the words "under god" are wrong- fark off. I'm sick and tired of this McCarthy-era bullshiat. We might as well reopen the bloody House Un-American Activities Committee and start the witch hunts back up. Blacklists, anyone? This guy didn't say the right words, he must be a terrorist sympathiser!

Get a farking grip and get over it. The Pledge of Allegiance is to patriotism as a Hallmark card is to Shakespeare.
2004-04-28 02:06:07 PM  
Not taking a side...

But I will observe that every "explination" that he (or his spokesman) had was bullshiat...

/sick of politicians...
2004-04-28 02:08:31 PM  
Brought to you by Baghdad Jim, my congressman.

Same guy who went to Iraq (pre-war) and verbally busted GWB in the chops.
2004-04-28 02:08:33 PM  

He shouldn't be required to explain himself, and there shouldn't be a Pledge of Allegiance conducted before Congress begins session anyway. It's an outdated, divisive piece of tripe and has no meaning. It never should have been brought into the government or its operations and it should be struck from all official proceedings.
2004-04-28 02:09:26 PM  

Thanks Cyclometh, I simply could not have said it any better.

I can hardly wait to get back to the discussion of the difference between a medal and a ribbon. I know issues as earth shattering as these are what's going to elect the next president.
2004-04-28 02:09:45 PM  

So I guess we did find the WMDs, then? As I recall, Jim McDermott said that he believed Saddam didn't posses any WMDs (the reason we went to war, mind you)- lo and behold.
2004-04-28 02:12:46 PM  
This thread is gonna get ugly fast...once the unwashed masses arrive.
2004-04-28 02:13:14 PM  


John Adams, the second U.S. President rejected the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and became a Unitarian. It was during Adams' presidency that the Senate ratified the Treaty of Peace and Friendship with Tripoli, which states in Article XI that

Thomas Jefferson created his own version of the gospels; he was uncomfortable with any reference to miracles, so with two copies of the New Testament, he cut and pasted them together, excising all references to miracles, from turning water to wine, to the resurrection.

Benjamin Franklin, the delegate to the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention. He has frequently been used as a source for positive "God" talk. It is often noted that Franklin made a motion at the Constitutional convention that they should bring in a clergyman to pray for their deliberations:

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when present to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings?....I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth - that God governs in the affairs of men. (Catherine Drinker Bowen. Miracle at Phaladelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention, May to September 1787. New York: Book-of-the-Month Club, 1966, pp. 125-126)
It is rarely noted that Franklin presented his motion after "four or five weeks" of deliberation, during which they had never once opened in prayer. More significantly, it is never mentioned that Franklin's motion was voted down! Fine Christians, these founding fathers. Furthermore, the context is usually ignored, too. He made the motion during an especially trying week of serious disagreement, when the convention was in danger of breaking up. Cathrine Drinker Bowen comments:

Yet whether the Doctor had spoken from policy or from faith, his suggestion had been salutary, calling an assembly of doubting minds to a realization that destiny herself sat as guest and witness in this room. Franklin had made solemn reminder that a republic of thirteen united states - venture novel and daring - could not be achieved without mutual sacrifice and a summoning up of men's best, most difficult and most creative efforts. (Bowen, p. 127)
About March 1, 1790, he wrote the following in a letter to Ezra Stiles, president of Yale, who had asked him his views on religion. His answer would indicate that he remained a Deist, not a Christian, to the end:

As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and I think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble...." (Carl Van Doren. Benjamin Franklin. New York: The Viking Press, 1938, p. 777.)

Recent Misinformation on the Concept of Separation of Church and State

Some Christians are currently arguing that the concept of separating church and state was not in the minds of the founding fathers, and that it is a recent and pernicious doctrine that is the result of Supreme Court decisions in the 1950's and 60s.
This simply isn't true.
Separation of church and state is not something the Supreme Court invented in the 1950's and 60's. The phrase itself appears in a letter from President Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut, on Jan 1, 1802.
The Baptist Association had written to President Jefferson regarding a "rumor that a particular denomination was soon to be recognized as the national denomination." Jefferson responded to calm their fears by assuring them that the federal government would not establish any single denomination of Christianity as the National denomination. He wrote: "The First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between Church and State."
Notice the phrasing in the U.S. Constitution, Article VI, paragraph 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. (emphasis added)
The concept of the separation of church and state appears in the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message (a revision of an earlier statement where it also appears) adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention:

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate.
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<&l t;<<<<<<<<<

id go on, but theres no need.
2004-04-28 02:15:06 PM  
The liberals I would like to see gagged and duct-taped to a chair and forced to listen to an Anne Coulter speech:

Jim McDermott
Michael Moore
Ted Kennedy

Then I'd like to see her bound and gagged and forced to listen to all three of them.

I love the Democratic Party, but I hate the blow-hards.
2004-04-28 02:18:13 PM  
I never believed there were WMDs. Nor do I believe U.S. troops should be in Iraq. McDermott was right to say it, but he came off looking like a fool. I don't like to be represented by a fool.
2004-04-28 02:19:22 PM  
And another thing- these fundamentalist farks have the cojones to be decrying that McDermott left the words "Under God" out of the pledge while the President makes a mockery of everything patriotism stands for?

He makes jokes about finding WMD in his office while real patriots die bleeding in the streets of Fallujah.

He wears a flight suit and does a photo-op under a banner that says "Mission Accomplished". Meanwhile, real patriots are being blown to small bloody chunks in Afghanistan.

Our government sends young men and women off to die in the Middle East while at the same time cutting their benefits, their pensions, and medical support?

We have a president who has never attended the funeral of a soldier killed in his little excursions.

He claims to be a patriot and extols the virtues of being a good American while forbidding the citizens of this great nation from seeing the honored dead being returned to us, draped in that flag all the good little patriots should be saluting.

Patriotism is not speaking a phrase, it is not adhering to a set of principles handed to you by your government and it is not blind obedience to goodthink. Patriotism is loving your country and its people, loving its positive things and working to change the negative ones.

Nationalism is "my country right or wrong" mentality. Learn the difference between an unthinking nationalist and a real patriot.

Get your priorities in order, people.
2004-04-28 02:20:30 PM  

Then get off your ass and run for his office, or support his opponent in the next election. Blowhards are the soul of American politics- I think you'd fit right in. ;)
2004-04-28 02:22:54 PM  
Once again..


I am merely commenting on the explinations given...It doesn't matter what he didn't have to's what he did...and it was total bullshiat...
2004-04-28 02:23:30 PM  
I'm doing campaign work (some envelope-stuffing, some media relations) for a candidate right now. Otherwise, I'd be all over it.

I like to think I'd keep the blowharding to a minimum, but that's probably just self-delusion.
2004-04-28 02:25:39 PM  

I wouldn't say that if I didn't think it was true- and I would fit easily under that moniker as well, I would imagine. It's an unfortunate truth of American politics these days that only the loudest and most articulate (or most controversial) can accomplish anything.
2004-04-28 02:30:58 PM  
Those are definitely the ones whose accomplishments we hear the most about. But we have several, less vocal, Washington representatives who have accomplished just as much (if not more) with their minds as JMD does with his mouth.
2004-04-28 02:31:02 PM  
First, this is a ridiculously silly thing for our Congress to be bickering about, especially at a time of war (and this issue has nothing to do with the war, and anyone who tries to work that angle is probably trolling).

Second, that guy's explanation is garbage. Was it a slip of the tongue, or was it because of the Ninth Circuit's ruling? Even if it was the latter, Washington D.C. is in the D.C. Circuit and the Ninth Circuit has no jurisdiction over it.
2004-04-28 02:31:17 PM  
2004-04-28 02:22:54 PM Dancin_In_Anson
Once again..
I am merely commenting on the explinations given...It doesn't matter what he didn't have to's what he did...and it was total bullshiat...

LMFAO, your not taking sides? Come on, D_I_A
(hee hee), you are incapable of not taking a side on a political issue, even one as stupid as this.
2004-04-28 02:34:20 PM  

It's not the US Congress, it's Washington State's Congress (which happens to be less than a mile from where I currently sit). And the connection I was making to the "war" was not trolling but pointing out that expecting people to speak a phrase as a litmus test for patriotism and belief in God while our president and his administration make a mockery of what patriotism means is, well- ironic, at best.
2004-04-28 02:36:00 PM  
Whoops, my bad. I retract that, it was the US Congress. Sorry.
2004-04-28 02:36:23 PM  

Whoops - you're right - I just skimmed the article. Mea culpa. Washington State, not DC, which is in the Ninth Circuit. But I still think the Pledge issue really much ado about nothing.
2004-04-28 02:37:02 PM  
Nope...this is like taking sides on the abortion issue...I won't change your mind and you won't change why bother?

But even you can admit that Jim McDermott's response to this issue was total bullshiat...can't you?

This is a yes or no answer...anything else is incorrect...
2004-04-28 02:38:27 PM  
Well, for crying out loud, cyclometh. You've got me questioning my reading comprehension skills. The Representative was from Washington State.
2004-04-28 02:40:05 PM  
OK, where's Weaver95 for this flamewar? At a NAMBLA meeting? I look forward to his thoughts on the matter.

2004-04-28 02:40:43 PM  

No, you were right- I had connected "Washington" with the Seattle P-I and assumed they were reporting on the local Legislature's latest peccadilloes, which they often do with no little amount of relish.

However, McDermott is a Federal Congressman:
2004-04-28 02:42:36 PM  
Well, McDermott never was quoted in the article. It was his spokesman. Who should probably be fired.
2004-04-28 02:44:20 PM  

Ah, when you posted your correction, I jumped to the same conclusion. Don't sweat it. We're not the first people on Fark to post without a clear reading of the article. Hell, the fact we even glanced at it at all puts is in the minority in flame wars.
2004-04-28 02:44:36 PM  
contingency - a possible event
contingent - a representative group
2004-04-28 02:44:44 PM  
why is everyone pissed he didn't say it? I thought people didn't have to say "under god" if they're not of that religion?
2004-04-28 02:45:12 PM  
/sick of politicians...

We may be polar opposites politically, but I can say "you and me both" and mean it. Almost all of them are full of it. Always have been, always will be.
2004-04-28 02:45:53 PM  
Excellent post AgonistAlex.

There is a very clear reason why "Under God" should not have been added to the pledge or to our money back in the 50's, and it is directly tied to the mess we are seeing with the power hungry religious right today.

Look at other countries around the world where there are state religions.
They are farked up beyond belief...plain and simple. In every single case there will be a subverted group of people which are treated as pariah ether on a social or state level due to their disagreement with the established state religion.

In the same vein, as Jefferson stated in the doc which Alex referenced above, seperating religion from the state and ensuring that the state neither attempts to subvert or elevate one religious view over another is to the benefit of all followers of religion or secularism alike.

By instituting those changes back in the 50's and by allowing the modern religious right to further encroach upon those protections today we have moved into a dangerous place where secularlists and those that follow less popular religious views are equally endangered and or disenfranchised on a growing scale.

These are sad days, for many, many reasons.
2004-04-28 02:46:30 PM  

Well said on many points. Although I the Ann Coulter speech is a bit harsh for anyone other than Michael Moore.

This stunt, which is exactly what it was, was stupid, did not serve the party and was poorly timed.

See, Right-wing apologists, this is how it's done. Admitting that one of "your guys" screwed up once in awhile doesn't bring the world crashing down around your ankles. Try it sometime. It shows that you're more than just a puppet for the Party.
2004-04-28 02:47:04 PM  
why is everyone pissed he didn't say it? I thought people didn't have to say "under god" if they're not of that religion?

It's just something else minor to encourage bi-partison bickering. TNext week, it'll be something else.
2004-04-28 02:47:14 PM  
Scratch that first "I". My apologies.
2004-04-28 02:48:54 PM  
2004-04-28 02:37:02 PM Dancin_In_Anson
Nope...this is like taking sides on the abortion issue...I won't change your mind and you won't change why bother?
But even you can admit that Jim McDermott's response to this issue was total bullshiat...can't you?
This is a yes or no answer...anything else is incorrect...

2004-04-28 02:49:29 PM  
It was added in the 1950's probably because of the Red Scare. Everybody knows that those pinko commies were godless evil people. Which means every good American should believe in good. After all, you're either with us or against us. Right? Sound familiar?
2004-04-28 02:58:44 PM  
Leaving "under God" out of the pledge is a lot better than leaving "congress shall make law respecting an establishment of religion" out of the constitution.
2004-04-28 03:03:14 PM  
At my school we captured a terrorist when he stumbled over part of the Pledge of Allegiance.
2004-04-28 03:06:23 PM  
I don't think either side of this debate has been acting in a restrained fashion. Yes, it is something that was added to the Pledge during the McCarthy era to separate us from those godless Commies. It was a completely different time. My dad got lead dog tags in first grade, and was told that he would need to wear them, because when the Russians dropped "the Bomb," the lead dog tags were the only things that would survive the blast to be able to identify him. Nice thing to tell a six-year-old. Don't forget "duck and cover" drills. Times are different, now.

That said, there used to be a doctrine in law that considered some breaches of the hypothetical "Wall of Separation" (which is not literally in the First Amendment, but comes from a long line of writings on the subject of church and state) called "de minimis" intrusions. That is, technically speaking, it may be an Establishment Clause violation, but it's so small, has so little effect, and so little likelihood of being a slippery slope, that it's no big deal. Like "In God We Trust" on money. It's not like you can't spend it if you don't believe in God. For all I care, the Treasury Department could put Snoopy on there, and I wouldn't have a problem as long as it was legal tender.

Anyway, liberals have been acting hysterical about this, and the religious right is acting like it's the first salvo in some kind of cultural war. Neither of them are right. Yes, the Founders intended that the Congress not recognize the establishment of religion, but the Founders also invoked God right in the Declaration of Independence. I think that they intended it as a vague reference to a divine creator, and I think that the phrase "under God" is the same vague reference that is not intended to recognize any particular religion as a "state" church a la the Church of England, but I can see how those of other faiths, or none at all, can read it as such. But, it certainly isn't a threat to anyone's ability in this country to practice their faith as the please. Except maybe human sacrifice, of course, but that's a completely separate issue from "under God" in the Pledge, because with or without it, you still can't do human sacrifices here.

Personally, I think they ought to legislatively remove it. I don't think it's much of a Constitutional infringement if no one is forced to say it. If they don't remove it, I don't think it's a big deal either. If you don't like that, then we disagree.

Also, if you really have a problem with "In God We Trust" on your money, send it to me, and I'll be happy to dispose of the offensive currency for you.
2004-04-28 03:07:45 PM  
Thanks B S

Now since you were so kind to answer the question:

The First Amendment states

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

I can see where the law passed by congress dictating the exact wording of the pledge can get confused with the "establishment" of religion. Saying "under God" does no such thing IMHO...(as noted above,some of the Founding Fathers were believers). I view the "establishment" of religion as something akin to Iran. No paralell here...Also, if congressman McDermott wishes to excercise his view, he is more than welcome to...But he can expect it to upset some people...which (from the bullshiat excuses that we have mutually noted) was exactly what he wanted...

Personally, I like the pledge. I am a proud American and the flag means allot to me...if you don't like polite, and lasts less than a minute and doesn't hurt you in any way...

Another interesting thought here...this deals with the issue of "democracy"...Now those of you that think a pure democracy is good...(Gore got more of the popular than Bush) would be in deep shiat on this issue...I would suspect that a vast majortiy of the American population is made up of believers of one type or keep that in mind here...(just an observation)
2004-04-28 03:10:26 PM  

Is there a question in there anywhere?
2004-04-28 03:12:39 PM  
McDermott's actions were asshattery, pure and simple.
2004-04-28 03:13:33 PM  

I am a proud American and the flag means allot to me.

I'm also a proud American, and what the flag symbolizes means a lot to me. A flag is just a piece of cloth. Don't worship dyed cotton; remember what the flag means.

I think the Pledge of Allegiance cheapens the idea of patriotism and true love of country, by reducing it to cheap Hallmark card doggerel.

Removing the Pledge of Allegiance from government functions won't stop you or anyone else like-minded from saying it. Removing the words "Under God" doesn't stop anyone from believing in God. The reverse is not true- you can be a patriot and not believe in God.
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